Last week , Rivers State Government signed contracts for the construction of two major roads — the Trans- Kalabari Road project (phase one), and the Saakpenwa-Bori-Kono Road (phase two).
At the event which took place last Wednesday at Government House, Port Harcourt, the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Zacchaeus Adangor, Commissioner for Works, Elloka Tasie-Amadi and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, Mrs Ebere Emenike signed on behalf of the state government while the General Manager of CCECC, Zou Xiaowei and his Deputy, Gao Qiang, the General Manager of Lubrick Construction Company, Rabich Elramedi and Kennedy Odogbo, signed for their respective companies.
Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, said the signing of the two projects was a demonstration of the importance his administration places on opening up more rural communities.
Also last week, the state security outfit code named, C.4.I was re-launched to boost security in the state.
Governor Wike, who presented 29 operational vehicles to the Police at the event which took place at Government House, Port Harcourt, urged the Police to be more proactive in combating crimes by taking the battle to the criminals.
The Governor noted that his administration has sustained its support to security agencies in the state, but expressed dismay that two armoured helicopters worth over $10 million which the state government gave to the Nigerian Airforce to fight oil theft and sea piracy in the state have been diverted to fighting Boko Haram.
The Governor warned that the state government would not hesitate to withdraw the gunboats it was about to present to the Army, Navy the Police if they are deployed for use in other states.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, who was represented by the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 16 , Austin Agbonlohor commended the governor for his continued support to the Police.
Another major event in Brick House last week was the sacking of the Commissioner for Environment, Dr Igbiks Tamuno by govovernor Wike. The governor directed the sacked Commissioner to submit all government property and documents in his possession to the Permanent Secretary of the ministry.
According to the governor, the Commissioner was sacked because he engaged in acts amounting to sabotage. He was alleged to have written a letter to Julius Berger, directing the company to stop ongoing state projects without the consent of the Governor.
“ I don’t know how a Commissioner can write a company to stop work without my approval, and Julius Berger in that matter, to stop construction in the entire state. I have never heard of such thing before. I don’t know that the commissioners have so much power like that,” the governor said .
As the world celebrates this year’s Easter, the Rivers State Governor has urged Christians to emulate Jesus Christ by making sacrifices that would advance the course of development.
The Governor’s Easter message which was contained in a release signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, called on the people of the state to rededicate themselves to the service of the state as they reflect on the ideals of Good Friday and Easter celebrations.
Governor Wike also urged the privileged in the society to reach out to the less privileged as everyone works to deepen the culture of true Christianity , before, during and after the celebrations, promising that he would continue to make sacrifices for the state, defend her interest and provide good governance.
Within the week under review, the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba paid Gov Wike a courtesy visit at Government House. The minister said he was in the state for the official launch of “ Better Education Service Delivery For All Programme for Result” .
Governor Wike used the occasion to dissociate himself from those calling for the scrapping of the counterpart funding for basic education in the country. He said counterpart funding avails state governments opportunity to show commitment in the provision of good educational foundation for children in their states.
He noted that his administration places high premium for education hence nothing less than 30 per cent is being allocated to the sector in the state budget . He called on the Federal Government to increase it’s budgetary allocation on education because of the importance of the sector
Excited by the award of the Trans-Kalabari Road project, the Kalabari Traditional Rulers Council, led by the King of Abonnema, King Disreal Gbobo Bob-Manuel , paid a thank you visit to Gov Wike last Friday in Brick House.
King Bob-Manuel expressed gratitude of the entire Kalabari people to the Gov for breaking the jinx that had frustrated progress with the Trans-Kalabari Road project.
Gov Wike said the essence of the critical projects in Kalabari Communities was to secure enduring development and not politics as beilng misconstrued by some critics of his administration. He charged the people of the area to secure the project by providing internal security.
Also last week, Gov Wike presented certificate of recognition and staff of office to His Royal Majesty, Nyenwe Eli Omunakwe Nyeche Nsirim and Amangada XI of Rebisi Kingdom , His Royal Highness, Eze Anthony Worlu Akarolo.
By: Chris Oluoh
2023: Scale Down Political Parties To Six – Fagbemi
A legal luminary and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, has canvassed for a new law that will prune political parties to a maximum of six as a way of ensuring sanity in the body politics of the country before the 2023 general elections.
The senior lawyer spoke in Abuja at the ongoing National Workshop on Election Petition Review organized by the Court of Appeal in collaboration with the International Foundation on Electoral System, IFES.
Fagbemi claimed that the present 86 political parties is too wieldy for Nigerians especially the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to cope with along with other challenges.
In his paper titled, “Reform of Election Litigation Process -The Constitution, Electoral Act and the Practice Directions,” Fagbemi argued that a situation where INEC and Nigerians will have to contend with over 86 political parties in an election cannot augur well for any electoral process.
He disclosed that the trend had led to confusion in the electoral body and among the electorates, especially exclusions that were not deliberate on the part of INEC.
“I know that my position will generate reactions but the truth and the reality is that political parties must be scaled down from the present 86 to a maximum of six parties to sanitize the party system.
“Having as much as 86 political parties is leading to confusion and exclusion that may not be deliberate on the part of our electoral body”, he said.
He pleaded that electoral reform must not be left alone for politicians because nothing good may come out of it, adding that in some cases, politicians are clever and will not enact laws they may affect their ambitions.
“Let nobody be taken off guard. Our electoral system needs some drastic rejigging and amendments to the law. The suigeneris nature of the electoral laws also dictates that reforms to them cannot but be unprecedented if they are to be effective”.
Fagbemi further argued that it may be better for the nation to have bad laws to be administered by good people than the other way round and canvassed that credible experts must be given chance in the new efforts to reform the country’s electoral process.
“We cannot overemphasize the need to ensure that our electoral laws are designed in such a way to allow for the election of credible, competent and responsible leaders at all levels.
“The influence that leaders have on the generality of the populace is so grave that where a country fails to get its leadership right, it is almost certain that the followers too would suffer the same fate.
“Our current situation where elections are characterized by rigging and violence leaves very much to be desired on the quality of both the leadership and the followership.
“As a matter of fact, our history of electoral violence is linkable to the current security challenges that the country has been battling with for some years now.
“It is unfortunate that some of our leaders through their acts of irresponsibility have succeeded in corrupting the psyche of the people and made violence an endearing enterprise of kidnapping, cattle rustling and outright armed banditry as a way of life.”
2023: PDP Has Better Chances At The Centre – Ogiri
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in Abua/Odual Local Government Area, Dr Henry Ogiri, says the party has better chances to clinch the presidency in 2023.
Dr. Ogiri in a chat recently, with newsmen at his home-town, Okolomade, said current happenings in the country indicate that the citizenry are disillusioned and unhappy about the poor performance of the APC-led federal government..
“There has to be a pragmatic leadership at the centre, what we have now is failure and the people are unhappy,” he said.
With the current political developments, Ogiri averred that the PDP provides an alternative based on experience and focus for the future.
He expressed fear that if the current government continues beyond 2023 then the country is headed for doom.
He said that the PDP-led federal government stabilised the country during the Jonathan administration and also provided even development in the country, saying that what obtains today in the country is far away from the ideals of a progressive nation.
Shortly after he voted in his unit 14 Ward 10 at Okolomade, Ogiri praised the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) for the smooth conduct of last weekend’s local government elections.
He described the exercise as peaceful and calm, as he lauded voters who turned out to cast their ballots at the polls.
The former Finance Director of the NDDC observed that the little delay witnessed in some parts of Odual as regards voting materials was as result of the terrain and road network but assured that the challenge would be addressed before the next elections.
Six Opposition Candidates Accept PDP’s Victory In Andoni
Chairmanship candidatesof six opposition political parties in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, in the recently concluded council polls have unanimously accepted the victory of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Mr. Erastus Awortu, as the wishes of the people of Andoni and Obolo in general.
Chairmanship candidates representing the political parties made their position known at a joint press conference in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
The parties also reafirmed their confidence in the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RISIEC), adding that the election was transparent, hence thete is no need for post-election litigations in the area.
“For us political stakeholders in Andoni and candidates in the contest, we can clearly state that the election was not lost, but won because PDP’s victory is our collective victory”, they said.
Speaking at the press conference, the chairmanship candidate of Accord Party, Esuku Esuku said he was satisfied with the outcome of the election
According to him, his party has also accepted the results of the election, saying that the election in the area was free and fair.
Also speaking, Abraham Ijoniye of Zenith Labour party said:” If we cannot win election at the polling units, I and my party don’t intend to go and win any election in the court, so we are not going to any court.
Charles Otowo of Action party said:” There is no is no issue that will warrant going to court, I can attest to the fairness, credibility and friendliness.
“We all went to the poll with the believe that we will win but Andoni people have spoken.”
The opposition candidates in the last sstuday pledged total support to the elected chairman, Erastus Awortu.
The candidates of the opposition parties are Mr Esuku Esuku of Accord party; Inenemente Erasmus of African Democratic Congress, Mr Micheal Dodd of Social Democratic Party, Amie Elisha Simeon of the Allied Peoples Movement. Mr Abraham Ijoniye of Zenith Labour Party and Charles Otowo.
It will be recalled that the PDP candidate Erastus Awortu, recorded a landslide victory having pulled a total of 107,658 votes as against the Labour Party candidate who had the second highest votes of 4,702.
Receiving his Certificate-of-Return from RISIEC, Awortu said that the certificate was a testimonial to the high-level success recorded during the election.
“I’m impressed with RSIEC for their competence during the election. I’m also impressed with my constituents for creating an enabling atmosphere for the electoral body to conduct credible elections.
“We look forward to addressing our collective concerns bordering on security, infrastructure and poverty in the area”, he said.
By: Enoch Epelle
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