The Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike has challenged leaders of the party at all levels in the local government to take the issue of reconciliation and enduring unity amongst members seriously in order to strengthen the party ahead of the 2011 general elections.
Wike, chief of staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, threw the challenge during the first ever chapter conference of the PDP in the local government in two years, at the Rumuepirikom Town Hall, last Friday, and asked those who had left PDP to return because Obio/Akpor has gained more since 2007 than ever.
“It is more rewarding to belong to the ruling party than the losing one”’ Wike emphasized, and charged the people to, “assess the position of Obio/Akpor in government, empowerment, and infrastructure projects from 1999 through 2006, and 2007 to date, and you will see that the LG has benefited more in the state”.
Attended by all ward chairmen and executives, elders, women, opinion and youths leaders as well as political office holders at all levels, and thousands of party members across the 17 wards the LGA, Wike repeatedly told the leaders that the time has come for them to heal the wounds of the past, accord respect to whom it is due, embark on genuine reconciliation with all aggrieved members, and strive tirelessly to unite members more as a means of strengthening the internal thread which knits the party together.
The chief of staff stressed that the meeting became imperative following the state party leader’s directive to the effect that political activities could now begin ahead of the next general elections in 2011, adding that the local government was poised, more than ever before, to mobilize party faithful and residents alike towards greater participation in the forthcoming elections.
He told those who had left the PDP, for one reason or the other, in the aftermath of previous elections, to return to the largest party in Africa, and join in the building of a more virile, democratic and stable society, where good governance, transparency, accountability, rule of law, social justice and equity, and sustainable economic growth underpin all government actions, policies and programmes, stating that PDP has come to stay, and they have no choice than to join in the effort to consolidate the gains already made.
According to Wike, the last 29 months of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi administration’s stewardship in the state has provided enough landmarks in good governance, inclusiveness, and active participation, particularly in Obio/Akpor, to justify another four years, saying that the LGA was a shining beneficiary of good governance in action, and has no alternative than to mobilize more support for the party and government.
Also speaking, Obio/Akpor LG Chairman, Prince Timothy Nsirim, said the people have always voted PDP, and charged indigenes and non-indigenes alike to remain faithful to the party, and vote massively for PDP in the forthcoming elections, because, according to him, their votes must count this time around.
In his welcome address, the PDP Chairman in Obio/Akpor, Mr Chukwuemeka Aaron, assured that members would mobilize massively as never before for the forthcoming general elections, and also ensure that people vote for the party in a peaceful, free and fair fashion, noting that PDP could not afford to compromise in the LGA.
He charged ward executives, women, opinion and youth leaders, and elders of the party to begin to work round the clock to ensure that the party remains in power at all levels of governance in the state and the national level, saying that this could be done through their tireless efforts, contribution of their resources and time towards victory at the polls in 2011.
In their goodwill messages, former president, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr O.C.J. Okocha, member, House of Representatives, Hon Ike Chinwo, and Chairman, PDP Elders Forum, Mr Collins Amadioha, reassured their commitment to the continuity of PDP in government in the next dispensation, and appealed for the support of all in the local government to bring this vision to concrete reality in 2011.
Okocha pointed out that he has now taken special interest in politics and particularly the 2011 elections because of the startling performances of Governor Chibuike Amaechi and Prince Timothy Nsirim in delivering democracy dividends to the people, and has decided to come out full scale, to support them in their quest to move the state and LGA forward, adding that “Amaechi has made Rivers people partakers in governance”, and therefore, deserves to continue in power for another four years to deepen his impact on the people.
While Okocha and Amadioha told members to “realize that only one person will emerge as winner”, and by extension, “occupation one elective office at a time”, and therefore, “should work for whoever emerges the party’s flagbearer”, Chinwo stated that the testimonials of the PDP-led government from federal to the local government level were good indices for judging performance, and would attract maximum votes for PDP in 2011.
Among those who attended the inaugural meeting of the Obio/Akpor chapter of the PDP are Chief F.N.J. Woke, Commissioner for Environment, Hon Kingsley Chinda, member, Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Tony Okeah.
RSHA: Amaewhule-Led Lawmakers Defy Court Order, Elect New Leaders
The crisis rocking the Rivers State House of Assembly took a new twist on Wednesday as lawmakers loyal to the former Speaker, Martin Amaewhule, sat under tight security in the complex.
This is contrary to the court order asking the two factions of the State House of Assembly to maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit filed by the Edison Ehie faction.
Recall that Ehie faction had obtained a court order that parties should maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit seeking to sack Amaewhule as the House Speaker.
The Rivers Assembly had become factionalised following an unsuccessful move to impeach Governor Siminialayi Fubara.
The Amaewhule-led lawmakers are believed to be loyal to Fubara’s predecessor and political godfather, Nyesom Wike.
It was learnt that ahead of Wednesday’s sitting, cleaners had on Tuesday been deployed to clean up the Assembly complex, which had been under locks, since October 29, following an explosion in the complex the night before.
One of the cleaners said they were instructed to tidy up the complex ahead of a sitting on Wednesday.
It was gathered that the Wednesday sitting was held for about two hours as a team of riot policemen and security vans were stationed in front of the House to prevent any breaches.
It was gathered that the lawmakers elected a former Chief Whip as the new Majority Leader of the Assembly.
The member, representing Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Constituency 1, Frankline Nwabochi, was named the new Chief Whip.
An unsigned statement sent to the Assembly Press Corps obtained by The Tide said the two new principal officers accordingly took their oath of office.
Amaewhule congratulated them, charging them to be committed to their new responsibilities.
According to the statement, the lawmakers also passed the first reading of a Bill seeking to amend the Rivers State Local Government Law, No. 5 of 2018.
They also debated on the Rivers State House of Assembly Funds Management (Financial Autonomy) Bill, 2023, which passed second reading on Wednesday.
Amaewhule who described the Bill as important, expressed his conviction that Governor Fubara would assent to it after the lawmakers finally pass it.
He hinted that the governor had withheld funds meant for the Assembly for the month of November.
He said the lawmakers were determined to perform their constitutional duties despite the distractions.
He thereafter referred the Bill to the House Committee on Public Accounts for public hearing and further legislative scrutiny.
The other faction of the Assembly led by Ehie, and loyal to Fubara, had yet to react to the Wednesday development as of the time of filing this report.
Ogoni Group Mulls Recall Of Lawmakers Over Foiled Fubara’s Impeachment
An Advocacy group in Rivers State, Ogoni Development Drive (ODD), says it has begun the process to recall four Ogoni lawmakers from the Rivers House of Assembly over their alleged roles in the botched impeachment of Governor Similanayi Fubara.
The lawmakers are Dumle Maol (PDP, Gokana constituency), Barile Nwakoh (PDP, Khana), Aforji Igwe (PDP, Eleme) and Bernard Ngba (PDP, Tai).
The group’s Convener, Comrade Solomon Lenu, made this known at a news conference in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Recall that Fubara survived an alleged impeachment plot on October 30.
ODD said it had on November 10 issued a seven-day ultimatum to the four Ogoni lawmakers who partook in the plot that attempted to serve an impeachment notice to Governor Fubara.
The four lawmakers, now suspended, were asked to apologise to the Ogoni people whom they represent and to Gov. Fubara for denigrating his exalted office or risk being recalled.
“Instead of heeding this advice and embracing the olive branch extended to them, they rather embarked on an egocentric escapade,” the group said.
Lenu further said the lawmakers rather than heed to the advice by ODD, engaged in various meetings that purportedly plotted to unseat the governor.
“Governor Fubara was collectively voted for by the entire Rivers people, and as such, the action by the lawmakers has not gone well with all men and women of conscience.
“It is illogical for the erring assembly members to think it is right to impeach an innocent governor for no just cause but wrong to recall them for erring against their constituents.
“The suspended lawmakers called a bluff of ODD ultimatum, and so, we have decided to carry out this recall process in earnest, to put our democracy aright,” he said.
Lenu said the group had already reached an advanced level in sensitising and mobilising the lawmaker’s constituents to recall them.
He said that ODD had also obtained the comprehensive voters’ register of all voters in the four local government areas and constituencies.
According to him, an electronic capture form has also been created to make the petition process easier for students at various tertiary school campuses and those on holiday to sign the petition.
“So far, the response from the aggrieved constituents has been very impressive, and we shall in a few weeks’ time complete the compilation of the required signatures.
“The signatures are required for INEC to call for a referendum, which shall be carried out in branches with strict security guidance, to abort any sinister counterplot against democracy.
“We know this process is not going to be easy, but we are ready to go all the way, to create a sense of responsibility in our elected leaders,” he said.
Lenu said instilling a sense of responsibility in politicians and elected leaders would further entrench democratic tenets in the country.
The ODD convener called on the people of Ogoni to come forward and sign the petition, to end political “jamboree and illicit godfatherism” in the state.
The Tide reports that 26 lawmakers on Oct. 30 proceeded to impeach Fubara but were stopped by four pro-Fubara lawmakers led by Ehie Edison (PDP-Ahoada East II).
Mr Martins Amaewhule (Obio Akpor constituency), a close ally of a former governor, was later ousted as Speaker and Ehie sworn in as the new Speaker.
However, Amaewhule insists that he is still the Speaker of the House of Assembly, resulting in some form of confusion over the office of the Speaker.
FRSC Commander Faces Sanction Over Unauthorised Comments
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), yesterday, disowned the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, over his recent statement on Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services.
Ibrahim was quoted to have said that VIO officials did not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.
But Deputy Corps Marshal, Bisi Kazeem, in a statement, yesterday, said Ibrahim’s comment was not the position of the Corps.
Kazeem added that the concerned official had been recalled to the national headquarters for necessary disciplinary action.
The statement read, “The Federal Road Safety Corps wishes to make a pertinent clarification regarding the pronouncement by the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, that Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services, do not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.
“The general public is advised to disregard the statement as it had no approval of the Corps Marshal, Dauda Ali Biu, and does not in anyway reflect the corporate or general position of the Corps.
“It is important for the public know that the laws establishing VIOs/State Traffic Management Agencies give them the statutory mandate to make arrests on different offences depending on the state within which they operate. As such, the agencies should be given the maximum cooperation for the enhancement of safety on our roads.
“On this note and in line with sustaining the Corps’ resolve that road safety is a collective responsibility, and in acknowledgement of the roles the State Traffic Management Agencies like the Vehicle Inspection Officers play in complementing the statutory responsibilities of the FRSC through enforcement of traffic laws, the Corps Marshal has ordered the immediate withdrawal of the Unit Commander to the national headquarters for necessary administrative and disciplinary actions.
“The public is admonished to always comply with all established traffic regulations and cooperate with security agencies deployed to maintain law and order on the highways, irrespective of their corporate mandate.”
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