The Deputy Senate Leader, Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba, says there are no constitutional impediments against President Goodluck Jonathan if he decides to run for presidency in the 2011 general elections.
Ndoma-Egba, who represents Cross River Central Senatorial District in the Senate on PDP platform, made the clarification in an interview with newsmen in Calabar.
He also described the emergence of Jonathan as divine in spite of the so-called zoning of the presidency in the PDP.
The senator said, “When they say zoning, zoning can be done in different kinds of ways.
“As human beings they may have one, which is still being debated. But God has done his own zoning. This is divine zoning.
“But let me say this, constitutionally, nothing stops President Goodluck Jonathan from running.
“And it will be historically and politically awkward that an incumbent president is unable to run. It will be an oddity.”
He lauded the contributions of Cross River, including the hosting of the training camp for repentant militants, to the national cohesion and said that such contributions should not be taken for granted.
Ndoma-Egba said, “The state has been called upon again and again to make very extreme sacrifices for this country.
“Of all the states in the South-South, I think we are the ones that escaped militancy and it was not by accident.
“It was by deliberate policy and planning and a lot of that. Now a state with no experience of militancy is expected to do this. It is a sacrifice we are making again for this country.
“But I think the country has not been fair to us. Bakassi as you know was taken away. We shouted and shouted, but they took away Bakassi.
“After that the oil wells that belonged to Cross River by virtue of the fact that Bakassi was in Cross River were lost. Bakassi left to Cameroon, the oil wells moved to the opposite direction.
“Now, we have been left with the humanitarian problems of the people of Bakassi, with little or no support.”
The lawmaker also appealed to the Federal Government to ensure that there was no undue stress on the state due to the hosting of the repentant militants camp in Obubra, Cross River.
He said, “This time around the Federal Government should acknowledge the sacrifice we are being asked to make again and not take the state for granted.
“When Bakassi was taken away from us, we expected to be compensated for that loss.
“And we still expect to be compensated, but what happened, we were rather punished.
“You now left us with humanitarian problems; took away our resources. How do you want us to attend to this problem?
“Now you brought ex-militants to a state that has no experience in militancy. It is going to bring a lot of anxiety. It will bring a lot of social pressure.
“I just hope the Federal Government would do what it has to do to insulate the state from militancy.
“We welcome the opportunity for the militants to be re-trained. There is nothing we can do about that. But they should make sure it does not bring undue stress to the state.”
Substance Abuse Becoming Thing Of Concern -Odu
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Prof. Ngozi Nma Odu, has lauded the important role pharmacists play in the wellbeing of the society.
Odu gave this commendation while playing host to members of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Rivers State Branch at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The deputy governor said while others are sleeping, pharmacists work hard “to ensure we all live in a better society, especially when you talk about the dangers of substance abuse.”
Odu stressed that, “It is really becoming a thing of great concern because of the level of children getting involved in this thing. It is even coming down to primary schools which now increases the burden of what you are doing, so we appreciate you for what you are doing for the society which we all are living in.”
The deputy governor extolled the lady pharmacists for the scholarship scheme they were sponsoring, noting that it was “amazing because when you change the narrative of somebody’s life, you become what they call a destiny helper.”
The deputy governor added, “So, for me, it is something I would encourage. Even the Bible says when you do it for them you have done unto God. It is a thing we get a lot of blessings out off, you may not see it now but some day it will definitely come.”
She expressed gratitude to them for their support for the Fubara-led administration which according to her has continued to spur them into action.
“Let me thank you for upholding the governor and myself in prayers, because without prayers we won’t be here, many people have prayed and God has heard, please do not stop, even for good governance, we need God to grant us the wisdom and knowledge of what to do”, she said.
In her remarks, Chairman of the Rivers State Branch of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Ebelechukwu Odom, said they were at the Government House to identify with the Governor Fubara-led administration in the ongoing restructuring of the state, and pledged their allegiance and unflinching support to the administration.
She assured that they would utilize the competences of Lady Pharmacists in Rivers State and synergize with partners for improvement in health, education, research development and socio-economic wellbeing of humanity through relevant and appropriate interventions, projects and programmes.
RSG Denies Rumours Of Cholera Outbreak In Soku
The Rivers State Government says it is not aware of any cholera outbreak in Soku community in the Akuku Toru Local Government Area of the State.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt by the State Ministry of Health.
According to the statement signed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Chidinma Oreh, the clarification was necessary following numerous enquiries from the media over a purported outbreak of cholera in Soku community.
The statement read in part, “The Rivers State Ministry of Health has received numerous enquiries from the Press regarding an alleged outbreak of cholera in Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area.
“Public health teams dispatched to investigate these alleged cases and deaths have so far received no confirmation of such.”
While describing cholera as a waterborne infectious disease, the commissioner said that the disease is notifiable, warranting escalating reports from disease surveillance and notification officers at the community level.
The statement clarified that the ongoing medical outreach in Soku community is in no way related to any outbreak of cholera.
“Outreaches have always been a way of getting accessible health care to underserved and vulnerable population, however, all such outreach activities must be conducted with approval from and in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health and as such no entity should be conducting outreaches outside the coordination of the ministry”, it warned.
The ministry further said that all infectious diseases of this nature are reported, managed and escalated by the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
Dr. Oreh said the statement should serve as a strong warning to anyone conducting or planning health activities without due recourse to the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
She added that any such activities found to be carried out without the knowledge and clearance of the State Ministry of Health will be fully investigated and dealt with in order to ensure the protection of the lives of the people.
“Therefore, the general public and members of the Press are advised to disregard the rumours making the round on an ongoing outbreak of cholera and the death of some citizens of Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State as it is presently unfounded, misguided and capable of causing panic amongst citizens and residents.
“The general public is thus urged to remain calm and rest assured that the Rivers State Ministry of Health will continue to be a veritable source of public health information in the state”, the statement concluded.
Bill On State Police Scales Second Reading
The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed for second reading a bill to provide for the establishment of state police in the country.
Sponsored by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Benjamin Kalu and 14 others, the bill seeks to alter the relevant Sections of the 1999 Constitution to pave the way for states to establish their own policing outfits.
As lawmakers took turns to contribute to the debate on the floor of the House during yesterday’s plenary, Kalu who stood in for the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, urged members to look beyond political ambitions and think about the safety of Nigerians and Nigeria.
Also speaking, Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) said, “It is the job of the police to maintain law and order. We have a population of over 200m people but we have a police strength that is less than 400,000. State Police should be created to address the internal security challenges of Nigeria.”
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