Last week was unique in the Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt. Unique in the sense that some issues with far-reaching impacts in the life of the people of the state were taken.
The state Government, last Thursday, released a whopping sum of N16.6 billion for the upgrade of facilities in the Rivers State University (RSU).
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, who disclosed this to journalists, said N9billion out of the amount will serve as take-off grants for the establishment of three new campuses of the university in Etche, Emohua and Ahoada local government areas.
Each of the new campuses has N3billion to construct faculty buildings, hostels, offices, lecture halls, libraries among other take-off facilities.
Nsirim further disclosed that N7.6 billion was released to enable the College of Medical Sciences establish the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Clinical Sciences and Pathology building.
Also last week, Rivers State Government agreed with the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to address all pending labour concerns in the state.
The Secretary to the State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, who disclosed this last Friday, after a meeting between the State Government and Labour in Port Harcourt, said an agreement on the implementation of the National Minimum Wage of N30,000.00 which took effect from 1st January, 2020 has been executed.
He said a tripartite Committee which would commence sitting this week, had been set up to have a detailed discussion of all outstanding issues.
According to the SSG, “ Rivers State Government has agreed and commenced implementation of the payment of check-off dues and the payment of arrears of salaries of Health Workers in the State Public Service who participated in the sympathy strike of 2017 under the auspices of JOHESU.
“Other issues which were raised by Labour such as: Need for payment of arrears of minimum wage, promotion of civil servants from 2012, payment of arrears of salaries to some civil servants who weren’t paid their February and March,2016 salaries due to the aborted 2016 biometric verification exercise etc”.
The sports community in the state also had reasons to celebrate as the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, last week in Brick House released some mouth- watering motivations to Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt, Rivers Angels including their technical crew as well as the supporters club.
Governor Wike who presented a state- of- the -art Yutong luxury buses, ambulances to both Rivers United FC and Rivers Angels FC, promised a donation of coaster bus to the supporters club.
He challenged players of Rivers United to make the state proud by winning the forthcoming Confederation of African Football ( CAF) tournament, assuring them that the state government would change their lives.
Governor Wike also charged Rivers United to win their match against Enyimba, adding that as they return, a bonus of N20million awaits the team.
“ Henceforth, for the Rivers United, any match you win away, you will have a bonus of N10million. The same amount applies to Rivers Angels”, Gov Wike said.
Another major event in Brick House within the week under review was the courtesy visit by the House of Representatives Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)
Governor Wike accused NDDC of defrauding Rivers State Government in a failed partnership to build a Mother and Child Hospital in Port Harcourt.
He also expressed displeasure that Governors of the Niger Delta region were being sidelined in the affairs of the commission because they belong to the opposition party.
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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