The leadership of the Rivers State House of Assembly, yesterday, debunked views that it was being influenced by the Executive but was rather joining hands with the Chief Nyesom Wike-led administration to provide democracy dividends to citizens of the state.
It, however, congratulated the governor on his victory at the election tribunal on Monday, as the case filed by the candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Engineer Biokpomabo Awara was struck out by the court.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani made the declaration when he addressed newsmen, yesterday, at the Assembly Complex in Port Harcourt.
Ibani said the state Assembly does not believe in antagonising the Executive, as he explained that the principle of separation of powers does not say that the Legislature should attack but rather cooperate and support with the other tiers of government to enhance good governance.
In his words, “We carry out our legislative business as it is supposed to be. We know our beat, and there is no external influence whatsoever.”
Ibani argued that many people believe that the Legislature should be antagonistic, which he observed does not encourage development but stifles the democratic system.
Rather than being antagonistic, he said the state Assembly has always adopted a cooperative stance even though it still asserts itself without confrontation, adding that, “we cooperate where the need arises, and we also carry out oversight functions.”
Congratulating the governor for his victory at the tribunal on Monday, the Speaker averred that flooring the candidate of the AAC was an affirmation that the people voted and supported him.
Ibani said, “The judgment is a victory for democracy and people of Rivers State.”
He pledged that the Assembly was poised to support the governor to succeed in his electoral promises and provide good governance for Rivers people.
In the same vein, the Rivers State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bro Felix Obuah has reiterated that the re-election of Governor Nyesom Wike in the 2019 general election was divine.
This is as Obuah celebrated with the governor on his tribunal victory against the African Action Congress (AAC) and its governorship candidate in the last poll, Engineer Biokpomabo Awara, whose petition was dismissed, last Monday.
The state PDP chairman stated this in a statement issued by his media aide, Jerry Needam and made available to The Tide in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The statement recalled that Awara, who had filed a petition at the Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Nyesom Wike and the PDP, had his petition thrown out not only for being found incompetent, but also for failing to meet key procedural requirements, including applying for pre-hearing information.
Obuah also noted that the judgement has proved that the mandate of Rivers people to Wike as their governor remained sacrosanct, and could not be reversed or distorted under any guise.
He stated, “When humans and God are of one accord concerning any issue as is the case with the re-election of Governor Wike, it is usually victory all the way for the just and greater fall for the unjust.”
He thanked Rivers people for their steadfastness against the ‘force and fury of hell’ unleashed on them by the undemocratic elements throughout the election period, and enjoined them not to relent or allow enemies of the state any point of entry.
The PDP chairman also reassured the people and residents of the state of the resolve of the PDP-led government to remain on the path of good governance and economic emancipation of the people.
Also reacting to the tribunal judgment, a federal lawmaker and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Chinyere Igwe, said that the affirmation of Governor Nyesom Wike’s victory at the Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal shows a reflection of the peoples’ wishes.
Igwe, representing Port Harcourt Federal Constituency 2 at the House of Representatives, stated this during a telephone chat with The Tide, yesterday, adding that the outcome was not a surprise.
The federal lawmaker, who was former commissioner for urban development and later energy commissioner in Rivers State, however, advised the governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Engineer Biokpomabo Awara to sheath his sword and close ranks with the governor to move the state forward.
“We are very happy. The tribunal ruling is a reflection of the voice of the people. That is the voice of the people speaking, and the mandate which they freely gave the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike during the last general election.
“Let me also add that the outcome is not surprising because the governor has a huge support in Rivers State. I will advise him (Awara) to sheath his swords and join the governor for the continued development of the state. Rivers State is in dire need of development, and seeing the good works the governor is doing there in terms of development, I think he should support the governor to succeed.
“He should continue with the good works he is doing so that Rivers State will move to the next level. I have no doubt that at the end of his administration, the state will be better than he met it,” Igwe said.
Asked the state of things with the minority leadership of the House, Igwe said that the lower chamber, like the PDP leadership, is handling the matter internally.
Recall that the House witnessed a rowdy session last week when Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila ignored the choice of the PDP which adopted Hon. Kingsley Chinda as its Minority Leader, to announce fellow party member, Ndudi Elumelu to fill the position.
But Igwe said, “Well, it is a House issue, the House is addressing it with its internal mechanism, just like the party (PDP) is on the issue too. It is not a personal issue. So, we don’t need to dwell much on it”
Speaking further on the tribunal verdict, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called on the governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Engineer Biokpomabo Awara to embrace the inclusive government promised by Governor Nyesom Wike.
The State Organising Secretary of the PDP, Fyneman Ohaka, made the call while speaking exclusively to The Tide in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Ohaka, who was reacting to the victory of Governor Wike at the State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which threw out the petitions of Awara, described the decision of the court as a welcome development and victory for democracy.
According to him, “It is a welcome development and victory for democracy because from the very beginning, his party, and the APC that is supporting him, had nothing to offer. What was he going to the tribunal to do when he lost the election fair and square?
“If I were him, I would not have gone to the tribunal because the position of the law is that you must have something to hold before approaching the tribunal. They say he who goes to equity must do so with clean hands.
“Their hands are not clean. From the very day they decided to file that motion at the tribunal, they knew they had lost the election because he (Awara) is not popular. So, I believe it is victory for democracy. I knew that PDP has no case to answer in that matter”, Ohaka stated.
He further said that he sees the AAC as APC in disguise, pointing out that Awara and his party were hitherto unknown before the elections, even as he noted that the position of the law was very clear, which explains why the motion was thrown out for lack of merit.
“Awara, who is being supported by the APC because I see Awara as an APC candidate since the APC did not field candidate in the ballot. Even if he goes to Appeal Court, he will lose because the position of the law is clear”, he added.
Asked what the PDP will do if the AAC decides to approach the Appeal Court, the PDP organizing secretary said, “They (the AAC) will still lose at the Appeal Court, even if they decide to go to the Supreme Court because the position of the law is clear, it cannot be changed.
“The learned judges who constituted the tribunal were not made judges in vain. They did not just throw out the matter. They did so because it lacks merit. He who asserts must prove. The governor has said he will run an inclusive government. What he and his followers should do is to take advantage of it.
“So, I will advise him (Awara) to forget going to the Appeal Court because he will still loose. If he has ideas, let him bring it to the fore; join the governor to move the state forward. That you are in opposition does not mean that you cannot offer anything good.
“More importantly, if you have a governor like Chief Nyesom Wike that is running an inclusive government, then, the advice from the opposition is needed. So, he should embrace the Olive branch offered by the governor to move the state forward”, Ohaka added.
It would be recalled that the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal, last Monday, dismissed the petition filed by the African Action Congress (AAC) governorship candidate in the 2019 general election, Engineer Biokpomabo Awara, against Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Nyesom Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The tribunal, presided over by Justice K. A. Orjiakor, dismissed the petition on the ground that it was deemed abandoned on the ground of Paragraph 4 of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act.
According to the tribunal, the petition was deemed to be technically abandoned because the AAC and its candidate failed to meet key procedural requirements as to applying for pre-hearing information.
The three-man panel led by Justice K. A. Ojiakor declared that the petition number EPT/RS/GOV/03/2019 was incompetent, and therefore, dismissed it.
Earlier, the tribunal struck out applications by the AAC governorship candidate, seeking that he be separated from all joint applications previously made with the party.
Recall that the AAC recently adopted Mr Henry Bello to represent it at the tribunal after the former counsel, Tawo Tawo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, withdrew from the matter, with a notice of change of counsel filed before the tribunal.
This application came in after the AAC brought in another counsel to handle its matter at the tribunal.
Meanwhile, the collation agents of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) have told the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal that they did not receive reports from their polling agents that indicated that the 2019 Governorship Election was marred by illegal thumb printing and ballot materials snatching.
The defeated Rivers State Action Democratic Party (ADP) Governorship Candidate, Mr Victor Fingesi, had filed a petition at the tribunal, challenging the victory of Governor Nyesom Wike.
Speaking at the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal under cross examination by lawyers of Governor Nyesom Wike, Chief Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), Okey Wali (SAN) and the PDP, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), the collation agents stated that there was nowhere in their witness statements on oath where they indicated that they received reports that the election was marred by violence and illegal thumb printing.
Kevin Nengia, Dennis Naku
Wike Talks Tough, Moves To Recover Govt Properties …Inaugurates Tasks Force, Road Maintenance Agency, Today …Orders Contractors To Deliver Projects On Schedule
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike will, today, inaugurate the Task Force on the Recovery of Government Properties and the Road Maintenance Agency at the Executive Council Chambers of the Government House, Port Harcourt, by 11am.
A statement by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, yesterday, indicated that those to be inaugurated on the Task Force for the Recovery of Government Properties by the Rivers State governor include, the Head of Service, Rufus Godwins, as chairman; Permanent Secretary, Lands and Survey, Dumo Jack as member; Permanent Secretary, Housing, Dirokweni J. Amiofori as member; Chief Security Officer to the Rivers State Governor as member; Ejor Ngonwa, member; Elloka Tasie-Amadi, member; while Hanny Woko would serve as secretary.
Also to be inaugurated is the Road Maintenance Agency with Prince Timothy Nsirim as chairman; Chief Ogbams Ojimah, member; Mr Sunny Bekwanwa, member; Mr Destiny Nganibo, member; Mr Achinike Amadi, member; Mrs Stella Agada, member; Mr Boma Tamunoibi Jumbo, member; Engr Sam Kakoro, member; Madam Patience E. Ibiamu, member; Mr Chimezie Nwankwo, member; while Mr Fyneman Olungwe would serve as secretary.
The statement advised the listed appointees to be seated at the Executive Council Chambers of the Government House, Port Harcourt by 10.30am for the inauguration.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, last Friday, inspected ongoing projects, and ordered the contractors to ensure that they complete their work on schedule.
Accompanied by the Administrator of Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Amb Desmond Akawor, Wike inspected the ongoing construction of hostels at the newly-established Real Madrid Academy, Elekahia in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area.
Wike also inspected road projects in the Phase Two of the New Government Reserved Area (GRA) in Port Harcourt.
The governor, who defied the rains during the inspection, elicited commitment from the contractors that they would work within approved specifications.
It would be recalled that the governor had assured Rivers people that his second term projects’ delivery would surpass that of his first term.
However, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has disclosed plans by the state government to sponsor Rivers indigenes to study at the Ethiopian Aviation Academy, a subsidiary of the Ethiopian Airlines Group.
Speaking during his recent visit to the corporate headquarters of Ethiopian Airlines at Addis Ababa, Ethiopian, Wike said that the Rivers State Government would train her indigenes to become aviation professionals.
He said that as an emerging regional aviation hub, the Rivers State Government would groom professionals to drive the process, adding that the partnership entered into with Ethiopian Airlines would help the state meet the manpower needs for the new regional aviation hub.
“We are looking forward to partnering with Ethiopian Airlines on many fronts. First is for Ethiopian Airlines to fly permanently from Port Harcourt.
“The state government is also interested in training Rivers indigenes in the Ethiopian Aviation Academy as we work towards making Rivers State a regional aviation hub”, the governor said.
Wike also detailed his Executive Assistant (Research and Documentation), Dr Jacob Beredugo and a Rivers professional working with an international agency in Ethiopia, Prof Kaisirim Nwuke, to liaise with the management of Ethiopian Airlines to actualize the goals of the Rivers Government/Ethiopian Airlines partnership.
The Ethiopian Airlines Aviation Academy (EAA) is an IATA Regional Training Partner, ICAO designated Regional Training Centre of Excellence, and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved Maintenance Training Organisation, Authorized Training Centre (ATC) and Accredited Training School (ATS) by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Approved Training Organization (ATO) by the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority.
Earlier, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike had returned to Port Harcourt, last Friday, after negotiating for permanent flights of Ethiopian Airlines to Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
Wike was in Addis Ababa on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss issues relating to permanent flights to Port Harcourt by Ethiopian Airlines.
Already, Turkish Airlines is plying the Port Harcourt route, courtesy of the Wike touch.
The governor said in Addis Ababa: “As we, therefore, consolidate on our achievements, we want to also focus on making Port Harcourt city a regional air transport hub through the private public partnership approach while leveraging on the existing aviation infrastructure and related market and other advantages of the state.”
We Don’t Have Certificate Forgers As Members, PDP Replies APC …Accuses FG Of Plot To Gag Media, Free Speech
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, said it was not peopled by men who carry the burden of certificate forgery.
The party stated this in reaction to an earlier statement credited to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), which described the main opposition party as dead.
Addressing a press conference at the party’s national headquarters, PDP spokesman, Kola Ologbindiyan, said: “Our party after a long overhaul has become the centre of seeking power and good governance in our nation.
“Our party, the PDP does not contain certificate forgers. It is not a party of people who are contrivers. Our party is relating directly with the Nigerian people and we are working assiduously to make sure that democratic tenets are not only entrenched in our nation but seen to be practised.
“We do not have space to respond to former democrats who went around the nation and brought in a despot into a democratic order.
“We do not have space to engage in verbal discussion with characters who are known to be pillaging and stealing from the patrimony of our nation.
“We are not going to concern ourselves with the innuendos that such characters are branding. All we know is that the PDP remains the bastion of democracy in our nation.
“The PDP is in the Supreme Court that the mandate of Nigerians which was peacefully given to Atiku Abubakar but which was stolen is restored to us”.
He also accused a cabal at the Presidency of being the brain behind the recent insinuation of alleged tenure elongation for President Muhammadu Buhari.
Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has again accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government of plotting to gag the media, subjugate Nigerians and curtail their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.
This was contained in a statement issued, yesterday, by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan.
According to the statement, the decision by the government to impose stringent regulations on online media and broadcast organisations as recently announced by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, “is completely obnoxious, anti-democratic and a direct violation of statutory rules governing media practice and freedom of expression in Nigeria.”
The statement further read: “The PDP also rejects the Presidential declaration of political comments as ‘Class A’ offence, insisting that such is designed to undermine the nation’s constitutional democracy, exterminate the rights of citizens to dissenting public opinion, emasculate the opposition and foist a dictatorship and one-party system on our nation.
“Our party alerts that such moves amount to an attempt to amend our constitution to take away the rights of citizens and undermine our democratic institutions; a development that has the capacity to destabilize our dear nation.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note that these dictatorial pathways which the Buhari Presidency seeks to impose if allowed, will herald the gradual emasculation of freedom of expression, repression of a free press, infringements on the rights of citizens and foisting of siege mentality on the people.
“Nigerians are already apprehensive that the directive is geared towards clearing the ground for the introduction of certain harsh policies in our country.
“The party insists that our constitution has made enough provisions to guide media practice as well as the exercise of freedom of expression, and foisting of unconstitutional and suppressive regulations is not acceptable under any guise.”
The party called on members of the National Assembly, as the representatives of the people, to reject this Presidential directive in the interest of our nation.
The information minister recently announced that henceforth any broadcast of information considered as hate speech would attract a fine of N5million.
Revisiting A Letter By Ethnic Nationalities Movement
The Guardian Newspaper of Friday 13 June, 2008, published a letter by Ethnic Nationalities Movement, titled Abacha and Nigeria, written on behalf of the Movement by S.A. Asemota, SAN, rproduced here for public interest.
“The Times Online of April 19, 2018 under the Title ‘The New Scramble for Africa begins, modern imperialism on the resource-rich continent will be less benign than the old Colonialism ‘by Mathew Parris who had this to say:
‘Fifty years ago, the decolonisation of Africa began. The next half-century may see the continent decolonised. But the next imperialism will be less benign. Great power isn’t interested in administering wild places any more, still less in setting them: just raping them. Black gangster government sponsored by self-interested Asian or Western power could become the central story in 21st century African history- But a solution beckons’: buy your own gang. You hardly need visit and are certainly not required to administer the gang’s territory. You simply give it support, munitions, bribes and protection to keep the roads and airports open; and it pays you with access to resources. You dress up the arrangement as helping Africans to help themselves.
The French, who have been doing this in their former African Possessions for years, lead the way. But it is when China, then America and perhaps even Russia or India follow, that the scramble for Africa will truly be resumed:
“It is this context that we of the Ethnic Nationalities Movement see the alleged statement of General Buhari that “All the allegations levelled against the personality of the late Gen. Sani Abacha will remain allegations. It is 10 years now, things should be over by now.” He added “rather than maligning Abacha, the former ruler deserved to be praised for initiating developmental ideas that moved the country forward.”
“ General Babangida was also reported to have said. “ It is not true that he looted public treasury. I know who Abacha was because I was close to him.” General Abubakar was reported as having said. “ It is quite unfortunate and unfair to accuse the family of the late Sani Abacha of looting public funds. But now, we have been seeing what is happening .”
“ If these statements are correct, then, the former Heads of state are openly advocating gangsterism and should long have been held responsible for bringing Nigeria and Nigerians to the contempt with which they are regarded in the world. The Ethnic Nationalities Movement is not surprised that the three former Heads of State are unable to distinguish between right and wrong, criminals and honest Nigerians, because the method by which they became Heads of State was treason against the Constitution and the people of Nigeria as they were unfortunately able to ride rough shod on the people of Nigeria to become Heads of State and one of them executed some soldiers including General Vatsa who were alleged to have attempted to stage a coup the same method by which he and the two others became Heads of State.
“In a situation where the same act can produce two results, one – Heads of State, the other the gallows, must have to blurred the reasoning of these Heads of State to say in effect that “Abacha served Nigeria well.” On the contrary, Abacha and others like him made Nigeria to become a critical weak state unable to foster “an environment conducive to sustainable and equitable economic growth, aren’t and accountable political institutions; aggressions and meeting basic needs of the people.”
“Gangsterism has permeated all the facets of our public life and for these three Heads of State to make such statements is to add insult to injury and further compromise honest and hard working Nigerians who want and are working for a better Nigeria. Abacha exhibited gangsterism when his agents murdered Kudirat Abiola only to arrest law-abiding citizens including the leader of Afenifere, Chief Ajasin and Abraham Adesanya for the murder which Abacha himself through his agents committed. He executed Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni eight . gangsterism continued with the sacking of Zaki Biam and Odi and this has continued with Obiaruku massacre and the sacking of Ijaw villages and towns.
“All these are in addition to looting the country’s treasury dominated by politicians who are alleged to have obtained ‘security clearance.’ The attitude portrayed by the unfortunate statements of the three former Heads of State is that of gross insensitivity as if the feelings of the relatives and Nationalities of those who were brutally murdered by Abacha’s activities for them do not matter and count for nothing.
We of the Ethnic Nationalities Movement say with emphasis that Nigeria will not be re-colonised either by foreigners or by gangster leaders.
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