As early as 8:30am on Monday, June 21,2021,the council premises at Degema Consulate, Headquarters of Degema Local Government Area, had been thronged by hilarious crowd of elegantly dressed people from all the 17 wards of the LGA.
The people had defied the heavy rains of the day and waited enthusiastically for long periods for the official swearing-in of their councillors and the vice chairman of the council for the next three years.
The out-gone chairman of the council,Alabo Tony Philmoore, with some members of his cabinet also made the day.They came and handed over council property in their possession to the new government and made formal their severance from the governance of DELGA.
At last, the much awaited moment, the swearing-in proper came.At about 2:46pm, the Vice Chairman, Mrs Maureen Obuba Harry, and all the councillors who were already seated for long hours mounted the rostrum. The oath of office was administered on them by some judicial officials.
Highly elated brand new councilors in frenetic mood took turns and shook hands with the council chairman, party leaders, their constituents, judicial and legislative officials etc as requested by protocol.
Then it was the turn of the chairman of the council, Hon. Michael John Williams, to mount the podium. His task was quite simple as he went straight to the point in reading the Riot Act to trouble makers in whatever guise, to stay clear of his government or be ready to face the wrath of his administration.
The chairman said, he would give a listening ear to the admonitions of leaders, provided such advice are fair, just and intended to promote the good governance of the LGA, arguing that the only calling of his administration is work,work and more work.
Addressing the councillors, Hon Williams enjoined them to shun self-serving interests and unnecessary squabbles amongst them, urging them to work as a team, while promoting the ideals of Governor Nyesom Wike in their various wards.
He urged them to avoid extern influences that would distract them from enacting by-laws that would better the lot of their constituents, assuring that his administration would create the enabling atmosphere for proper legislative business.
“We must work for the people together.Just two days,we have restored power in the axis.We must also do the right things always. Democracy must benefit us if we remain united. As councillors, you should always promote the principles and ethics of Wike in keeping Degema as one entity.You must be humble as you serve”,the chairman advised.
The council boss used the occasion to announce the appointment of a few officials: Mr Nicholas Harry, Secretary of the Council; Mr Ipalibo O.Yellow, Chief of Staff; Mr Daerefa Braide, Chief Press Secretary; Mrs Margaret Omualabo, Assist Chief Press Secretary, among others.
The chairman wished the legislators a happy session and took a bow and left the hallowed chambers.
As the chairman exited the chambers, the lawmakers settled for the day’s business which is to elect their principal officers.
At the end of the session, Barr Johnson E.Johnson representing Ward 8, Tombia, was elected as the Leader.Tamunoemi O.C. Harry, representing Ward 14, Obuama, emerged as Deputy Leader. Also elected was Cherry Braide, representing Ward 4, Banana, as Chief Whip.
Speaking with The Tide on the sideline of the events, the councillor representing Ward 9, Tombia, Ngokombo Agborubere, who contested the leadership of the house said the time of politicking was over, saying,’we have to join forces with the chairman and improve the lot of our people, even as I congratulate my brother, Johnson E. Johnson, as he became leader. It was never a do or die affair, but democracy allows free expression of the will of the people”.
Mr Agborubere promised effective and quality representation to his people.
Also, councillor representing Ward 7, Tombia, Alapuye S. Duke, in a chat with The Tide remarked that strategic synergy between the executive and legislative arms of government where each arm respecting the powers of the other is required for proper functioning of democracy at the grassroots level.
Hon. Duke said he would display a mature, quality and outspoken representation to his people, adding that the interest of his constituency shall be paramount in all considerations.
He promised to ensure that whatever is due his Ward shall be brought to them as he hopes to constantly get in touch with them.
The Ward 7 councillor said: “I will pursue the stimulation of educational programmes in my ward, I will also assist indigent persons in my ward the much I can.It shall be my responsibility to see myself as the peoples’ servant.Above all, I value and thank all people of my constituency’.
Hon.Duke further stated that the legislature was ready to make good by-laws and work with the chairman to develop the LGA.
It would be recalled that on April 19, 2021, the Rivers State Independent Electorial Commission (RSIEC) conducted chairmanship and councillorship elections in the 23 local government areas in Rivers State. Subsequently, the commission declared candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winners of all the 23 chairmanship and 319 electoral wards councillorship seats contested for.
On Thursday, June 17, 2021, Governor Nyesom Wike inaugurated the elected chairmen at the Executive Council Chambers of Government House in Port Harcourt.
By: Opaka Dokubo & Iminabo Fyneface
Sanwo-Olu Signs Anti-Open Grazing Bill Into Law
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday, signed the bill to prohibit open cattle grazing and trespass of cattle on land in the state into laws.
With the law, Lagos has joined some states in southern Nigeria that have anti-open grazing laws in place.
The law is coming more than two weeks after the September 1 deadline set by the Southern Governors Forum for states.
The governor also signed the Lagos State Domestic And Sexual Violence Agency Bill, into Law.
Meanwhile, the state government has said it is committed to tackling the menace of drug abuse frontally to reduce the ravage among youths in the state.
Sanwo-Olu stated this on Monday at the Lagos House, Ikeja, during a courtesy visit by the delegates of Anglican Communion Church of Nigeria, led by the Archbishop Metropolitan and Primate, Most Reverend Henry Ndukuba.
Sanwo-Olu said his government was building a massive rehabilitation hospital at Ketu-Ejirin to tackle drug abuse, adding that his administration would partner with the Church to ensure that the people lived a better life.
He said governance started from the leadership of spiritual homes, noting that government and church can jointly build a community that would outlive all, while restating the commitment to improve the movement of people on road, water as well as building rail infrastructure to make Lagos a livable city.
Speaking earlier, Ndukuba thanked the governor for partnering with the church in the welfare of the people and commended him for his outstanding performance in tackling Covid-19.
Also present at the courtesy visit were the Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Tayo Ayinde, Secretary to the State Government, Folashade Jaji, Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotoso, among other dignitaries.
Okowa Tasks NASS On True Federalism
Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the National Assembly to embody in the 1999 Constitution being amended, true federalism and independence of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
The governor made the call on Monday at a nationwide sensitisation on the review of the existing revenue allocation formula held at Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba.
He explained that an independent RMAFC would carry out its functions independently, including laying its proposals directly before the National Assembly for approval.
According to the governor, the current practice where recommendations of the commission are presented to the President has led to the non-review of the revenue allocation formula since 1992 as no President demonstrated the political will to forward the amendments to the parliament.
He commended RMAFC for ongoing sensitisation of the states before a zonal exercise where recommendations from the states would be received.
“For quite some time a lot of talks have gone on in the revenue allocation and it’s very unfortunate that in this country we are still operating a revenue allocation formula that was actually reviewed in 1992.
“As we look forward to a new revenue allocation formula, we hope that you come out with something that is fair, justifiable and equitable.
“But, the challenge is that when you have done all this work, you are going to eventually, by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, lay this before the President and the President ought to lay it before the National Assembly.
“There is a challenge there and there has always been a challenge there, because what is there in our laws that will ensure that the President lays the recommendations of RMAFC before the National Assembly?
“We hope that the National Assembly takes a look at this amendment because RMAFC is supposed to be an independent commission, a commission on behalf of all federating units and component parts of the federation.
“They cannot tie your hands; the constitution ought to be amended to enable chairman of RMAFC to directly lay before the national assembly whatever review it has come up with so that nobody stands it down,’’ he said.
Okowa stated that the National Assembly must do what was right because “a nation is a nation.
Reps Query Presidential Committee Over Assets Seized From Past Leaders
The House of Representatives on Monday ordered the Presidential Implementation Committee (PIC) on Landed Property to produce reports of all assets seized from former Nigerian leaders.
Members were more particular about the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, whose property and money were recovered by the Federal Government.
The chairman, ad-hoc Committee on Abandoned Property, Ademora Kuye, said the House wanted a report on all assets seized from Nigerian leaders in and out of Nigeria, particularly Abacha.
He said this when the Executive Secretary of PIC appeared before the committee in Abuja.
“We need to know the state of those property and to also know if the property have titles of deed,’’ Mr Kuye said.
The committee also queried the sale of federal government’s assets held in trust by the PIC.
Mr Kuye said the committee discovered that some of the property the PIC claimed to have sold were either not sold or were not paid for, contrary to claims made by the PIC.
He added that some of the seized houses which the PIC claimed were vacant were still being occupied.
He directed the PIC to furnish the House of Representatives committee with up-to-date reports of federal government’s assets sold, amount realised from the sales, those yet to be sold and those under litigation.
Mr Kuye also asked that the PIC must state the amount of money remitted to the federal government from the sales with evidence of remittance, adding that all assets pointed out to the committee but not included in its first report should be forwarded to the House of Representatives committee.
Responding to Mr Kuye’s submissions, the Executive Secretary, PIC, Bala Samid, stated that some of the people occupying government quarters had refused to vacate them.
He added that as soon as the occupants were approached for payment or to vacate the houses they went to court to obtain injunctions restraining the PIC.
“We approached the federal government to report them and the federal government said that we should give them time”.
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