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