The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says the Federal Government has refunded to the state government the N78billion it spent on federal projects.
Wike stated this during the inauguration of the Isiopko Internal Roads Phase 2 in Ikwerre Local Government Area, performed by the 2019 Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi, last Wednesday.
The governor said the refunded money would be deployed in providing more critical projects across the state to further drive the efforts at enhancing the socio-economic lives of Rivers people.
According to him, even if it were his second tenure, he would continue to work relentlessly, for the interest of the state, and improve its stakes until it becomes what it should be.
“Rivers people, the Federal Government has refunded us the money. I have not touched a dim yet, and it is in the bank. I will use it for more projects’ execution.
“I kept it to tell those who are making noise to know that I am going to work till the last day in office. I will continue to work for the interest of our people. I am not resting.
“They need to know that I will make sure what is supposed to be done for the people of Rivers State is done. I will persist until we have improved and changed Rivers State, and bring it back to what it’s supposed to be,” he said.
The governor noted that with his level of performance in office, it would be difficult for any other party to take Rivers State away from the PDP because the people know that such party can offer nothing to them.
Wike said he has conducted affairs of governance without discrimination, or being vindictive.
According to him, this has been demonstrated by his inclusive policy in projects’ distribution.
The governor stated that he has laid a good foundation of leadership by completing all the projects that he inherited from his predecessor, and would complete all the projects that he initiated so that his successor would have a smooth sail in governance to initiate his projects and pursue them to logical conclusion.
“No matter the tactics they deplore, no party can take Rivers State away from PDP. They have to convince the people why they need the support of Rivers people. It is already known, they have nothing to offer.
“We have something to offer and we have offered it to the people. They are angry that we are commissioning projects. Our business as a party is to make the other people to have serious high blood pressure.
“Anywhere they are now, they are crying that we are in every local government inaugurating projects. We are not vindictive. We are a government that carries everybody along,” he stated.
Speaking further, Wike said he promised to change the narrative of neglect of Isiopko people by the previous administration, and has completed the rehabilitation of all their internal roads.
To further open up the town, the governor announced the award of contract for the reconstruction of the link road from Ogbodo to Isiodu.
Wike also announced that his administration would rehabilitate all internal roads in Omerelu community, adding that the money to execute the work was already set aside.
The governor also stated that only local government council chairmen who have demonstrated competence in office and have evidence of projects they have provided would qualify for re-election.
“Government is about what you can bring to your people. It is not what you will put in your pocket. People of Ikwerre Local Government and Isiopko, ask your people what they have brought back home for the good of the town.
“Some people came and said they will make Isiokpo Azumba, I told them you can’t make it so. Today, you have all the roads within Isiopko community rehabilitated. All their plans have failed, and I am telling you now, from Ogbodo Town, I will link you to Isiodu Town in Emohua Local Government.
“I am moving now to Omerelu community. I will do all the internal roads in that community. I have the money already set aside, and I will complete it. I am also not owing any contractor handling any of our projects,” he emphasised.
In his remarks, the former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, who inaugurated the road project, lamented that the Federal Government keeps borrowing in the guise of using it for capital projects to mortgage the future of posterity.
He challenged them to show the capital projects that such borrowed money has been expended on so that everybody would know such projects.
Obi said access roads as provided by Wike to the Isiokpo people would increase the quality of life they live, enhance property value and reduce poverty.
“Accountability in government is the most critical yardstick to determine good governance and to build the trust of the people. For recruitment into governance, competence, capacity, and visible performance like we are seeing here today should be embraced.
“The reason why Nigeria is not working today is that people have been recruited based on sentiment, and that has to stop because the country is collapsing.
“Every day you hear Nigeria is borrowing money, and when you ask, they say it is being used for capital projects. Please, we want to commission those capital projects. Let them invite us to accompany them for the commissioning. So, that when our children ask us about the borrowed money, we can point to the projects to answer them,” he said.
The Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Hon. Elloka Tasie-Amadi said the road project started off as a 22.5kilometre project but the governor approved that it should be expanded to become a total length of 26.9kilometre with 26kilometre drains.
“Having previously commissioned Isiokpo internal roads phase 1, today, we are commissioning phase 2 of the projects.
“The phase 2 of the projects accounts for 17.7km of the road network. All of which are 7.3metres wide with 9.78kilometre drains,” he said.
Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court
The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.
Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.
The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.
It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.
They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.
According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.
The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.
However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.
Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.
The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.
Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.
He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.
More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.
Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.
The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.
Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.
World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.
The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.
The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.
“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.
“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?
“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.
“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.
“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”
Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation
Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.
The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.
“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.
Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.
It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.
“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’
“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.
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