A pioneer member of the Peoples Democratic Party and former chairman of Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, Hon. Opakirite Mackson Jackreece, yesterday, defended the emergence of Betty Apiafi as Senator representing Rivers West senatorial district, saying that the decision of the party leadership to back her candidature has entrenched justice, fairness and equity in the senatorial district.
Hon. Jackreece who was amongst the politicians to be elected into office in the first election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the current democratic dispensation, argued, in an interview with newsmen, that two out of the four federal constituencies constituting the Rivers West senatorial district have represented the district for eight years each except Abua/Odual/Ahoada East constituency which has occupied the seat for four years and Asari-Toru/Akuku Toru Federal Constituency which is yet to occupy the seat for once.
Further buttressing his argument, the politician known for his grassroots popularity, said, “These four constituencies have eight local governments and at the inception of this democratic dispensation, Bonny/Degema federal constituency occupied the seat with late Dr. Ibiapuye Martins Yellowe for eight years.
“hereafter, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni/ Ahoada West occupied the seat with Senator Wilson Ake for another eight years and then Abua/Odual/Ahoada East Constituency occupied the senatorial seat for four years with Senator Ideozu who later decamped to another party. Therefore, justice and fairness demand that a candidate from the same federal constituency is returned to the Senate,” he said.
Hon Jackreece commended the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike for his support to the popular demand that a candidate from the Abua/Odual/Ahoada East federal constituency in person of Senator Betty Apiafi should go for the seat. “Governor Wike, in his wisdom threw his weight behind Betty Apiafi and that is acceptable to the majority of the people of Rivers West senatorial district. That is the reason behind her overwhelming victory at the polls.”
“Wike is one of the greatest politicians of our time. He is a tested and trusted politician who has remained in the PDP to weather the storm. He is a founding member. He has remained in the party to continue to build it. He means well for the PDP and that is the primary reason people like us who are equally founding members support him and his decisions. Without people like Wike, PDP would have gone into oblivion not only in Rivers State but also in Nigeria.”
“While those who effortlessly benefitted from the PDP in several ways have turned around to seek the extinction of the party, Wike has remained dogged and resolute in the fight to ensure that the party is kept afloat because of his love for the party as a pioneer member. Taking into consideration the sacrifices made to build the party from scratch, Wike has resolved to ensure the existence of the PDP despite the challenges it has faced since 2015. My prayer is that God will continue to guide and protect him.
“Those of us who won elections to become local government council chairmen in December 1998 and waited till June 1999 to be sworn into office, were the foot soldiers of the then leaders that actually mobilised support for the party as an association to qualify for registration by INEC as a political party.”
Hon. Jackreece who declared that the Rivers West Senatorial District is not for sale, dismissed some politicians who claim to be founding members of the party in the Rivers West Senatorial District, adding that such politicians only benefitted from the efforts of the then council chairmen and the leaders to win elections into the State and national Assemblies. “The Rivers West Senatorial District is the richest in the State and can only be left in the hands of matured politicians.”
“I think people should not claim what they are not. You holding political office after the foundation has been laid cannot turn round to claim to be a founding member. Apart from the major leaders of the PDP, the then nineteen council chairmen including Nyesom Wike and my humble self are entitled to such claim. Amongst us, however, Georgeford Nwosu of Omuma, Mowan Owan-Etete of Andoni, Nnamdi Wokekoro of Port Harcourt City, Ngo Briggs of Akuku-Toru are no more, but fifteen of us are still alive to attest to that fact,” he said.
Leah Sharibu Alive, Doing Well, Freed Aid Worker Confirms
A 26-year-old medical aid worker working with Alliance For International Medical Action, Jennifer Ukambong Samuel, who regained freedom from the Boko Haram captivity, said she didn’t meet with Leah Sharibu but she was told that Leah was doing well.
Jennifer, who arrived Jos, last Saturday amidst crowds after the Department of State Services (DSS) facilitated her release, told our source in Jos that they were not allowed to see other abducted girls but said they met with Alice, a lady who has been in captivity for long told her that Leah was doing fine.
“I don’t know how many of us that were taken but I think we were eight or nine in number. We started moving inside the bush and got to a place where they wanted to make video recording for us to speak to the Federal Government.
“They said we should tell Federal Government that if they want us to be released, they should release their people in government custody. When we got there, I saw Alice; the last day we were going, she was the only person we were allowed to see.
“I didn’t see Leah Sharibu but Alice said Leah and Grace were doing fine, that is what she told me. That if I had known her before she was abducted, I would have agreed that she is doing fine; she is very fat but she wasn’t fat before her abduction.”
Jennifer said they were kept in a tick bush for about three weeks, and said the insurgents gave them food, and urged them to request whatever they want for their comfort.
She noted that they were not harassed sexually but they were preparing them for the action when one of them said their religion permits them to have sex with their slaves.
Jennifer appreciated the Department of State Services, other security agencies, the Federal Government and spirited individuals who cried out for their release.
Amotekun: Yoruba World Congress Holds Solidarity Walk, ’Morrow
A solidarity walk organised by the Yoruba World Congress (YWC); an umbrella body of all Yoruba socio-cultural and self-determination groups in support of Operation Amotekun, a security network recently established by governors from the South-West to wage war against the spate of insecurity ravaging the zone will hold tomorrow across the entire region.
The congress has pleaded with the South-West governors not to back down and push the concept through.
A statement by the Director of Contacts and Mobilization of the group, Comrade Victor Taiwo, yesterday, said the walk would take place in all the South-West state capitals in Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Osogbo, Akure and Ado-Ekiti, simultaneously, from 9am.
The YWC is being led by Yoruba Leader, Emeritus Professor of History and Second Republic Senator, Banji Akintoye.
Taiwo said, “All Yoruba people are urged to come out in their millions anywhere they are in Oduduwa Land on Tuesday to show to the world that Amotekun has come to stay.
“We must show to the external forces and their internal collaborators who want to stampede our resolve to protect ourselves, safeguard our land from kidnappers and armed robbers, and put an end to consistent destruction of our farmlands, that enough is enough.
“Well-meaning Yoruba people and leaders of thought would be at designated venues to address the protest.
“We want to assure our governors that Yoruba people are behind them on Amotekun. We urge them not to shiver, and they must never shiver. It is no retreat, no surrender. We will not surrender Amotekun.
“On the meeting points, those in Lagos are to converge at Gani Faweyinmi Freedom Park, Ojota; Oyo: Opposite Agodi Cenotaph, Ibadan; Ogun: Pansheke Junction, Abeokuta; Osun: Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo; Ondo: Alagbaka Roundabout, opposite First Bank, Akure while those in Ekiti are to converge at Fajuyi Roundabout, Ado-Ekiti”, he added.
RSG Tackles CBN Over N50 Stamp Duty Charges
The Rivers State Government has vowed to check any form of double taxation in the state, just as it appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review its N50 stamp duty charge on business owners using the POS in the state.
The state Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, Dr. Peter Medee stated this during a meeting with Licensed Petroleum Products Station Owners Association in Rivers State (LIPPSOAR) led by its Chairman, Sunny Nkpe at his office in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
Medee explained that paying the extra N50 charge was a form of double taxation, which the state government under Governor Nyesom Wike was bent on stopping.
He said, “When the transporter goes to the fuel station to buy the product, and he is charged extra N50, he passes it on to the passengers in any way he can, but definitely he will pass it on, and by so doing exploiting Rivers people.”
Medee, in a five-point communique he jointly signed with LIPPSOAR Chairman, Comrade Sunny Nkpe, and read to newsmen, said the N50 petrol stamp duty fee by the CBN for the use of POS remains a merchant fee which should be paid by business owners and not the customers.
The commissioner charged the association not to allow their facilities to be used for any unpleasant activity that may negatively affect residents of the state and the environment.
The communique reads, “Government understands the challenges and difficulties the members of Licensed Petroleum Products Station Owners Association of Rivers State face on the implementation of the N50 stamp duty.
“That the N50 stamp duty is a merchant fee and should be so regarded. Further engagements will be made with the CBN for appropriate review of the N50 stamp duty charges, considering the fact that LIPPSOAR and operating in Rivers State, are adversely affected because their businesses are highly regulated.
“That LIPPSOAR members are advised not to allow their facilities to be used for any unwholesome practices that will adversely affect the residents and environment of Rivers State.”
In his remarks, LIPPSOAR Chairman, Sunny Nkpe, said the association would adhere to the decisions taken at the meeting, noting that his members have remained partners with the ministry and the state government.
He added, “On our part, LIPPSOAR and other stakeholders, we want to promise the commissioner, his team and the Government of Rivers State of our usual support and cooperation at all times.
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