Ahead of today’s Supreme Court review on Imo State governorship election, a Third Force Movement consisting of eminent academics and organised civil society have commended the Supreme Court for its decision to review its controversial ruling of January 9, 2019, on Imo governorship election.
The group says it has engaged the services of the Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, Prof Pat Utomi, leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the international community and various civil society groups to help monitor the Supreme Court review to forestall further irregularities in the state.
In a joint statement issued in Abuja, the group described as a mark of maturity the decision of the apex court to review its earlier ruling, adding that such step will go a long way in dousing the political tension in the state.
The statement to that effect was signed by the group’s spokesperson, Dr. Olusegun Awe One, and made available to newsmen.
The statement further hailed the international community and concerned Nigerians for their diplomatic vigilance and interventions on the survival of the nation’s democracy by rising up to the occasion.
The group earlier averred that apart from the total valid votes which the apex court based its ruling, which however, exceeded the total accredited voters by INEC, Senator Hope Uzodinma may also not have fulfilled the constitutional requirements for a validly elected governor of the state, having failed to score at least one-quarter of the votes cast in each of the at least two-thirds of all the local government areas in the state.
It condemned the observable “double standard” by the apex court by earlier declaring Uche Nwosu the authentic candidate of APC in the state and declaring Senator Hope Uzodinma winner who is also a candidate of APC, a development it said has remained contradictory.
The leaders also asserted that the judgment completely overthrows all known judicial precedence and electoral jurisprudence in Nigeria, insisting that its reversal by the Supreme Court will prevent the precipitation of a major uprising and anarchy in Imo capable of overwhelming security and stability in the entire South-East.
It, however, charged the people of Imo State and entire South-East to remain calm and hopeful, expressing optimism that the apex court will do justice to the matter during its review, today.
Other persons engaged by the group to monitor the review are former Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Mr Femi Falana, Comrade Shehu Sanni, Oby Ezekwesili, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Alhaji Balarebe Musa, amongst others.
Wike Orders All Markets Closed From, ’Morrow …Confirms Index Case …Directs Civil Servants From GL 1 To 10 To Stay At Home
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has confirmed the index positive case of Coronavirus in the state, declaring that the state government has commenced contact tracing of all those she had contact with.
Wike also announced that all markets in the state are to remain closed from Saturday, March28, 2020.
The governor also directed that all civil servants from Grade Level 1 – 10 are to remain at home from today until further notice.
In a broadcast, yesterday, Wike said: “It is, however, unfortunate that despite all the preventive measures we put in place, our state has recorded a positive case as confirmed by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“The positive case is a 19-year-old female model from Edo State who resides in Port Harcourt. Her travel history reveals that she travelled to France, Italy and Greece before returning to Port Harcourt on March16, 2020. ”On arrival to Port Harcourt, she was asymptomatic and commenced self-isolation in her family house before her samples were collected and sent to the Reference Laboratory, Irruan in Edo State.”
The governor added: “The patient is presently being managed at the State Treatment Centre and she is doing excellently well.
“As it is in normal established practice, intensive line listing and contact tracing of all those she came in contact with has commenced in full force.
“In addition, samples have been collected from high risk contacts for further evaluations while decontamination process has also commenced.
“As the State Chief Executive, I want to sincerely thank this young lady for her patriotic spirit which aided health officials to get relevant information in this direction.
‘May I, therefore, urge you all to remain calm because there is no cause for alarm. The state government is fully prepared to ensure that the incident is contained to avoid further spread.”
Wike outlined additional measures to check the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
He said: “All civil servants from Grade Levels 1 – 10 are to remain at home from Friday, March 27 until further notice.
“All markets in the state, no matter how small, are to remain closed with effect from Saturday, March 28, 2020.
“All local government chairmen are to head task forces in their various local government areas that will ensure that markets remain closed. Council chairmen are empowered to confiscate the goods of defaulters.
“All commissioners and special advisers are to monitor the compliance of the above directives in their various local government areas.
“Security agencies have also been directed to enforce all the decisions taken by the security council.”
Wike said that the state government cannot relax the measures as requested by some organisations.
He said: “After our announcement about border closure, we have received requests from the following companies, Nigeria LNG Limited, Total E&P Nigeria Limited, International Breweries PLC, Oilserve Limited and Nigerian Gas Company to the effect that government should relax the measures because of their activities.
“Government cannot grant their requests now because the protection of human life is more important than any other thing, and we shall do everything necessary to fulfill our obligation in this direction.
“However, we shall review our restrictions concerning their activities when we are fully convinced that it will be reasonable to do so. Let me reiterate that we have taken these painful decisions because we cannot afford to lose any life in this state.
“It is very important at this stage that all citizens continue to practice hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and social distancing to keep our dear state safe.”
Wike pleaded with Rivers people to continue to cooperate with the state government for the containment of Coronavirus.
PDP’ll Rule Rivers 16 Years After Wike-Akawor
The new Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rivers State chapter, Amb Desmond Akawor says with his emergence as chairman of the party in the state, there will be no vacancy for other political parties to rule Rivers State in the next 16 years after Governor Nyesom Wike.
Akawor gave the assurance last Tuesday in an interview with The Tide at the sideline of a private reception in his residence in Port Harcourt to thank friends and associates on his emergence as new helmsman of PDP in the state.
H said he would not allow other political parties to take over the state from PDP as long as he remained the chairman of the party and even after his tenure.
Akawor said it would be unprecedented if during his tenure as chairman of the state chapter of the party, another political party defeated PDP in the state.
“Am sure, my God will not allow other political parties to take over the state from PDP during my tenure.
“It would be unprecedented if during my tenure another political party beats PDP to take over the state”, Akawor said.
He commended the outgoing chairman of the party in the state, Bro Felix Obuah for successfully leading the party to greater heights, saying that the new leadership will borrow a leaf from his leadership of the party in the state to make more progress.
The party chairman also commended Governor Nyesom Wike for his courage and style of leadership which, according to him, ensured that peace and harmony prevailed in the party.
Also speaking, the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor of Rivers State on NDDC, Barrister Erastus Awortu expressed confidence in the emergence of Desmond Akawor as chairman of PDP in the state.
According to him, Akawor has been tested in various leadership capacities, stating that he believed that the new chairman of the party in the state would take the party to greater heights.
Awortu, who is also serving as secretary, Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority said that the party in the state was in safe hands in the next eight years and beyond considering the antecedents of Akawor.
By: Enoch Epelle
We Should Join Hands To Prevent COVID-19 Outbreak In Rivers, NMA Appeals
The Nigerian Medical Association, Rivers State branch, has appealed to all citizens of the state and stakeholders to work together and prevent any outbreak of the Coronavirus infection ravaging other parts of the world.
The NMA Chairperson in the state, Dr Obelebra Adebiyi, who made the appeal at a press conference in Port-Harcourt, to address the issue of Coronavirus, said that it was important for everyone to be involved in preventing outbreak of the disease in the state.
Adebiyi said: “All hands must be on deck to prevent an outbreak in the state and maintain high level of surveillance”.
She urged people of the state to take seriously guidelines provided by the Federal Ministry of Health through Nigeria Centre for Disease Control against the disease.
She said: “Specifically, the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health has issued protocols and guidelines for travel and gatherings during the outbreak. These guidelines are to help break transmission and ensure health and safety and are to be taken very seriously”.
Quoting Federal Ministry of Health, she said that people organizing events should use the events to reinforce the message on hand and respiratory hygiene and stay safe against the infection.
The NMA chairperson advised citizens of the state not to panic but implement steps being announced by the state Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
She advised against misinformation and causing panic about the Coronavirus, saying that the bid to prevent an outbreak of the disease in the state should be seen as a collective responsibility.
Adebiyi commended the state Ministry of Health for steps already being taken to prevent an outbreak of the disease in Rivers State.
She said: “Rivers State Ministry of Health has also embarked on sensitization and education of different groups in our society. The NMA Rivers State is advising all citizens not to panic but adhere to all protocols laid out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Rivers State Ministry of Health, especially as it concerns hand hygiene, cough etiquette and social distancing.
“We urge the general public to maintain social distancing and avoid crowded places as this will help to break transmission. The state Ministry of Health has placed appropriate measures at the entry points into the state aimed at detecting and curbing any spread of COVID-19 virus in the state”.
She said that people with symptoms such as fever, cough, catarrh, chest pain and difficulty in breathing should report to health facilities to be tested stressing that those who recently travelled to countries with high prevalence of the disease should also self-isolate for at least 14 days.
The chairperson of the NMA also commended the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, for appointing NMA members into his cabinet, saying that they will be “super performers” in the administration.
Adebiyi said: “His Excellency has once again shown by this appointment that doctors in the state are capable of effectively contributing to the NEW Rivers Project”, saying that the group assures its members will be “super performers in their ministries and departments”.
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