Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has declared that the major challenges that characterised the 2019 General Elections would have been averted if President Muhammadu Buhari had assented to the amended Electoral Act.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the Political Team from the British High Commission at the Government House Port Harcourt yesterday, Governor Wike said the amended Electoral Act would have legitimised the card reader and strengthened the process of result collation.
He said: “If the President had assented to the amended Electoral Act, we wouldn’t have had the kind of problem we had.
”That means that there must be card reader in the Electoral Process. In that case, it makes it difficult for security agencies who want to commit electoral fraud to succeed “.
The Governor said that with the card reader given legal teeth, it would have played a key role in the results that emerged and discouraged violence.
”With the card reader, results that don’t tally with accredited figures in the device will not be accepted. Since the card reader is not in the law, it creates the loopholes for them to manipulate.
“They created the room where some security agencies tried to force Returning Officers to sign result sheets. Remember in Rivers State, the Army took over the INEC Headquarters. The essence of that was to see that the Returning Officers were hijacked for fraudulent purposes.
”But if the card reader was legitimised in the Electoral Act, it would not have been possible, because the only acceptable result would be the one that tallies with the Card Reader. I have always said to Mr President that in the interest of the country, let us do the right thing. Let us not politicise everything “, he said
While insisting that the amended Electoral Act when signed into law will restore confidence in the Electoral System, Governor Wike called for the de-militarization of the nation’s democracy.
He said: “We should reduce the militarisation during elections. It is unfortunate that instead of Police, the Army takes over our elections with flimsy excuses.
”What happened in Rivers State is an eye-opener. Bringing in the Army every time is not the solution. The police should be allowed to do their job. INEC should be truly independent.
”In the case of Rivers State, we must commend INEC for being assertive. If they were not assertive, I don’t know where we would have been”.
Governor Wike urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to be truly independent, adding that the appointment of INEC leadership should not completely be in the hands of the Federal Government as suggested by the Uwais report.
The Governor said the issues of security should not be politicised as is the case. He noted that politicisation of security has led to insecurity in all states of the Federation.
He recalled that Rivers State suffered the politicisation of security as the Nigerian Army clamped down on the State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency at its training site at the NYSC Camp, even though the Agency was modeled after that of Lagos State. He noted that the Rivers State Government will go ahead with the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency and urged the British Government to provide technical support.
Governor Wike also stated that State Police is key to tackling insecurity across the country.
”But before the implementation of State Police, the revenue sharing formula of the country must be reviewed. The Federal Government should have less resources because they have lesser responsibilities “, he said.
Governor Wike reiterated that oil bunkering is fueled by the connivance and participation of security agencies.
”Security agencies are involved in oil bunkering. That is why you see so many security agents struggling to be posted to the Niger Delta. Oil bunkering has negatively affected our security and environment”, he said.
In his remarks, the Deputy Head of Political Section/First Secretary, British High Commission, Stuart Gardner congratulated Governor Wike on his well deserved victory, noting that the British Government was interested in his views on the 2019 General Elections.
He regretted that the last elections were marred by violence, saying that steps must be taken to stem the tide of violence during the 2023 Elections.
Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has expressed disappointment over the failure of the Nigerian Bar Association ( NBA ) to condemn invasion of the state Judiciary Complex by thurgs of the All Progressives Congress ( APC ).
The Governor made the condemnation, Monday, after receiving the reports of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Violent Invasion of the state judiciary complex on 11th April 2018 and the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Violence, Killings and other Related Matters during the 2019 General Elections, at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
NBA , it was gathered, did not submit any memorandum to the commission.
Wike said: “ How can people invade the Court and NBA did not submit a memorandum on the unfortunate incident.
“ NBA kept quete and it is regrettable if NBA cannot work for the interest of the state, then it is not good “.
He noted that one of the major reasons the country is not moving forward is because people refuse to condemn evil .
The Governor regretted that NBA failed to take action towards strengthening the judiciary.
He commended the two Judicial Commissions for doing a comprehensive job and assured that by the time the new Executive Council is fully constituted, the white paper would be out and that the recommendations would be implemented.
Chairman of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Violence, Killings and other Related Matters during the 2019 General Elections, Justice Monima Danagogo disclosed that the commission received 13 memoranda, 73 exhibits, while 21 witnesses testified.
He also said the report is in four volumes.
On his part, Chairman of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Violent Invasion of the state judiciary complex on the 11th April 2018, Justice Simeon Amadi , said the commission took steps to ensure that everybody is given fair hearing..
According to him, the commission received 27 memoranda, 82 documents tendered, while 27 witnesses testified.
However, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has reiterated that his second term appointments will be based on absolute loyalty, commitment to the vision of the administration and the capacity to deliver.
The Governor spoke on Monday when he swore-in the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, Chief of Staff, Government House, Engr Chukwuemeka Woke, Attorney General, Dr Zaccheus Adango and Commissioner for Finance, Hon Isaac Kamalu.
He said: “These appointments are not based on sentiments. Appointment is based on one hundred percent undiluted loyalty and competence.
I will not appoint people who will run down the government.
“We will appoint those who believe in the vision and mission of the State Government. Those who will defend the Government and her policies “.
Governor Wike said that the first set of appointments were made to kick start his second term and enhance the development of the state.
He said: “ The appointments that I made were not lobbied for. I know these officials personally.
“Going forward, I will take time to scrutinise people that will be appointed. I learnt my lesson during the last term. I will only appoint people who want to work and those who want to make sacrifices for the state.
“I have known the Secretary to the State Government closely. He is loyal and committed. This second term is for people who want to work for the state”.
He charged the newly appointed officers not to take their appointments for granted, adding that if they failed to work for the people, they will face the consequences.
Governor Wike advised the new Secretary to the Rivers State Government to work for all Rivers people.
“You are not the Secretary to the State Government for the Kalabari people. You are the Secretary to the State Government for Rivers people. You must serve the interest of the state”, he said.
The Governor urged the people of Andoni to take immediate measures to rescue the expatriates kidnapped by Andoni youths, or face the withdrawal of government recognition for their traditional rulers and the stopping of work on the Andoni section of the Unity Road.
In an interview, reappointed Chief of Staff to the Rivers State Governor, Engr Chukwuemeka Woke promised to make his contributions to the actualization of the vision and mission of the Wike Administration.
The Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo assured that he will bring his wealth of experience to bear in the discharge of his responsibilities and thanked the Rivers State Governor for the opportunity to serve the people of Rivers State, saying he will live up to expectations of Rivers people.
PROBE: EFCC Should Stop Media Trial – Rivers State Government
The Rivers State Government says its attention has been drawn to a fresh wave of media trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the officials of the state.
According to a statement issued by the state Commissioner for information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, “the latest attempt contained in today’s edition( May 24,2020)of The Nation Newspaper alleged that the State Government has refused to release top officials for interrogation in connection to the withdrawal of N118 billion in cash between 2015 and 2018.
“We have repeatedly said that the State Government will not release its officials to the EFCC for investigations until the commission approaches the Court to set aside Subsisting orders of perpetual injunction granted by various courts of competent jurisdiction restraining the EFCC from investigating or inquiring into the financial transactions of the Rivers State Government including its ministries, departments and agencies.
“In view of these Subsisting judgments, it would amount to an act of brazen illegality for the EFCC to insist on interrogating any official OF the Rivers State Government.
For the avoidance of doubt, no official of the Rivers State Government would appear before the EFCC until the subsisting judgments in favour of the Rivers State Government are set aside on appeal.
“Resorting to the Media can only be described as cheap blackmail and witch-hunt to turn away public attention from the development strides in the State.
“This media trial that they engage in all the time will not take the place of our extant laws no matter how hard they try.
“The EFCC should stop playing to the gallery and pursue its war against corruption within the ambits of the law.
“Rivers State Government is committed to the Rule of Law and cannot be intimidated by the EFCC.
“Those who want to use the EFCC to promote their political agenda in the State will fail because we know their antics.
“Targeting Rivers State for this occasional media trial should be seen by the public for what it is, “political witch-hunt,” the statement said.
Rivers Records 27 New Coronavirus Cases …Manager Of Prodest Hotel Among The New Cases
Rivers State has recorded 27 new positive coronavirus cases.
A statement signed by the Rivers state Ministry of Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, disclosed that the Manager of Prodest Hotel, Eleme is among the new positive cases.
According to the statement, the latest development validates the State Government’s proactive approach towards the fight against COVID-19.
Recall that Prodest Hotel was demolished two weeks ago because the owners violated Executive Order 7 which banned the operation of hotels.
The COVID-19 Taskforce members from the Local Government who went to enforce the Executive Order were brutalized and dehumanised leading to the death of one of them.
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