Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt witnessed a lot of activities, last week, as the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike vigorously pursued good governance for the state and his added role as the chairman, PDP National Campaign Council for Edo State 2020 Governorship Election.
Governor Wike signed into law, the revised 2020 Budget with a promise to sustain his administration’s commitment to the delivery of quality projects in the state.
The revised 2020 Appropriation Bill which was presented by the Majority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Martins Amaewhule and signed by the governor has a total figure of N300, 370,071,183.33 billion. This is a 48 per cent reduction from the N530,813,357,619.00 billion which was originally presented before the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
The governor explained that the unfortunate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country necessitated the review of both the capital and the recurrent expenditure of the budget.
“By the revised budget, it means so many things have to change. We have to cut down the capital and the recurrent expenditure to face the reality”, he said, assuring however that the review would not affect the delivery of quality developmental projects and services to Rivers people.
Within the week under review, Governor Wike officially presented 41 Sports Utility Vehicles to judges in the state judiciary and seven other judges serving in the Federal Judicial Service who are of Rivers State origin.
He said the transformation agenda in the state judiciary under his administration was based on the understanding that judges and magistrates who toil daily to dispense Justice and advance societal peace need to be taken care of.
The state chief executive who decried the involvement of some judicial officers in politics through their comments, special affiliations, body language and palpable commitments and advised them to operate within the precinct of the profession, stressing that “adjudication and politics are incompartible extremes”.
The governor announced the completion of 20 purpose-built luxury and fully furnished judges quarters built in fulfilment of his administration’s policy of providing decent life- long accommodation for all judges in the state.
He urged the judges to reciprocate government’s gesture by maintaining the highest sense of responsibility in discharging their duties.
Also last week, the new General Officer Commanding Division 6 of the Nigerian Army , General Olu Irefin paid a courtesy visit to Governor Wike in Government House, Port Harcourt.
The GOC commended Governor Wike for the support of his administration to the division which he was made to understand on arrival and pledged to sustain the existing collaboration as it concerns the vital role of protection of lives and property in the state.
The governor, in his response, expressed the willingness of his administration to continue to collaborate with the division in view of the importance of security, particularly in the fight against criminality.
“ That way, we will be partners in progress and make the state safe for all residents”, the governor said.
The governor however, expressed serious concern over the prevalence of insecurity in the country, noting that it had reached an alarming state.
He called on security agencies to redouble their efforts to curb the alarming state.
Harmmer of the state Government fell on some banks operating in the state for giving unauthorised loans to some local government chairmen in the state, as the State Chief executive, last week announced suspension of the Joint Account Allocation Committee ( JAAC) accounts with the affected banks.
By: Chris Oluoh
Govs To Hold Virtual Meeting On Judicial, Legislative Autonomy
The Governors of the 36 states of the federation will hold a virtual meeting today to further discuss the issue of financial autonomy to judicial and legislative arms in states.
This is contained in a statement by NGF Head of Media and Public Affairs, Mr Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo on Monday in Abuja.
Bello-Barkindo said efforts were already being made in all states to either constitute State Accounts Allocation Committees (SAAC) or inaugurate them.
This, according to him, is preparatory to the granting of full autonomy to the two arms of government at the subnational level.
The Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) had since embarked on a nationwide strike on the issue.
He said the governors had been working day and night to establish modalities for the autonomy in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution.
He said that the governors would also be updated on the activities of the Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19 by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, who headed the governors’ interface with the committee.
Bello-Barkindo said that the meeting would also review the agenda of the National Executive Council (NEC), which would take place a day after.
“Other items on the agenda include the regular update on the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability for results (SFTAS) to provide states’ status on their DLI’s and upcoming deadlines.
The meeting would also receive presentation from the Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, regarding unlocking liquidity through sale/optimisation of state-owned redundant/sub-optimal assets,” he said.
He added that the Policy Development Facility (PDF) bridge programme would also discuss diversification and non-oil export opportunities for states in post Covid-19 era.
2023: PDP Flexes Muscle Over C’ River
Leading members of the main opposition PDP converged in Calabar, Cross River at the weekend to strategise on how to retain its grip on power in the state.
This is contained in a statement e-mailed to newsmen in Abuja, yesterday.
The Tide source reports that the PDP has been in power in Cross River since the return of democracy in the country 22 years ago but the defection of the current governor appears to mark a turning point.
Political pundits argue that the defection of the state Governor Ben Ayade from the PDP to the ruling APC may affect the fortunes of the PDP in the years ahead.
The governor’s departure is now seen as a major test for the PDP in what is now seen as a game of wits between the PDP and the APC.
Addressing the party’s chieftains, the National Chairman of the party, Mr Uche Secondus, declared that Cross River would “remain the stronghold of the PDP, in spite of Gov. Ayade’s defection.
“PDP will work to retain the confidence the people of Cross River State reposed in our party and retain its dominance in the state.
“Our party has governed since the return of party politics in 1999.
“Cross River will remain the stronghold of our party well after 2023,’’ said Secondus, flanked by other chieftains of the party, including Sen. Bukola Saraki and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.
Secondus told PDP members in the state to remain resolute to make the party retain power in the upcoming general elections.
Also speaking, a former governor of the state, Sen. Liyel Imoke, gave assurance that no other party would take the state from the PDP, “being the dominant party in the state.
“PDP is the only party known to our people. I assure the leadership of our party that we will deliver victory in 2023,’’ he stated.
Imoke governed the state from 2007 to 2015 when he handed over to Ayade now of the APC.
Other PDP chieftains, who were present at the event included former Governor Peter Obi of Anambra, former Gov. Donald Duke of Cross River and the Chairman of the party’s Caretaker Committee, Mr Efiok Cobham.
Also present were Hon. Daniel Asuquo, Hon. Etta Mbora and Hon. Essien Ayi, all serving members of the House of Representatives among other party’s chieftains.
…Vows To Take Over Anambra
The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra, Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu, says the party remains focused to take over the state in the upcoming governorship poll.
Nwobu said this in an interview with newsmen in Awka yesterday, adding that he would not be distracted by those trying to destabilise the party in the state.
He lauded the National Executive Committee of the party for organising successful ward congresses in the state.
He described the success of the exercise as a sure step to the party’s free, fair and credible primary election.
“We want to conduct our primary election, where party people will freely vote and produce a candidate that will be acceptable to Anambra people at the November 6 poll.
“This is not time for distractions. We are focused on taking over government from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
“The party has shortchanged millions of Anambra people in terms of governance.
Nwobu said he remained the valid chairman of PDP in Anambra, having emerged from a valid process that was upheld by a Federal High Court in its May 24, 2018 judgment.
He said the judgment had not been reversed by any higher court and was “unfazed by any court judgment”, which purportedly removed him.
“My leadership is still subsisting, no superior court has set that judgment aside and a court of coordinate jurisdiction cannot do that.
“Our team of legal experts is taking care of that. The decision to appeal will be advised,” the PDP chairman said.
The Tide source reports that Chief Chukwudi Umeaba at the weekend announced that he had taken over the party in the state as the Acting Chairman of the Caretaker Committee.
Umeaba, who announced the suspension of the ward congresses, said his action was predicated on the judgment of an Abuja Federal High Court.
According to him, the judgment delivered on June 9, nullified the process that produced Nwobu’s leadership.
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