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Speaker, 19 Others To Appeal Rivers Tribunal Judgement …‘Tribunal Ruling, Affront On Democracy’

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Rivers State Executive Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike (left), being received by his Deputy,  Dr. (Mrs) Ipalibo Harry-Banigo on his arrival at the Port Harcourt International Airport, after the verdict of the Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Saturday. With them is former Deputy Speaker, House Representatives, Hon. Austin Opara,

Rivers State Executive Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike (left), being received by his Deputy, Dr. (Mrs) Ipalibo Harry-Banigo on his arrival at the Port Harcourt International Airport, after the verdict of the Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Saturday. With them is former Deputy Speaker, House Representatives, Hon. Austin Opara,

Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Ikuinyi Owaji Ibani, has called for calm in the state, saying that the 20 lawmakers had appealed the judgement of the lower tribunal in Abuja which nullified their elections on Monday.
Ibani, who did not appear ruffled as he addressed newsmen in his office at the state House of Assembly complex in Port Harcourt, yesterday, expressed hope that the judgement of the lower tribunal will be upturned at the Court of Appeal.
He further dismissed as untrue media reports that he and 20 others were no longer members of the state House of Assembly.
According to him, they still remain members of the House until the determination of the appeal, adding that he was hopeful he would complete his tenure as a lawmaker.
“I heard over the news that the speaker and 20 others have been sacked by the election tribunal.
“No member, not even the Speaker has been sacked. The lower tribunal gave judgement in their opinion. In their judgement, they argued that there should be a rerun within 90 days”, he said.
The Speaker, who pleaded that the same principles of law should apply in all situations round the country, wondered why card reader was an issue in the election of Governor Nyesom Wike, yet it was not the same in a case on similar election in Lagos State.
“We have strong faith in the Nigerian state and its judicial system. We believe as legislators that conscience not placed on the canvass of justice is unconscionable. We believe that the same principles in law should be applied in all circumstance.
“If Akinwumi Ambode in Lagos State was not removed because of non-use of card reader, why should Wike’s case in Rivers be different? Justice is one element that keeps the faith of the people of a nation. It is my plea that wherever we find ourselves as people of Nigeria, the Nigerian state should give us justice.
“Governor Ambode’s case had nothing to do with the card reader but Governor Wike’s case had something to do with the card reader.
“I will not want to pre-empt the judgement of the appellate court. All I can tell you is that I have appealed against the judgement of the lower tribunal”, he said.
“Our lawyers have applied for the records of proceedings. Already, we have gone on appeal, if you look at the law, it states that from the day judgment is given in any petition, you have to file your appeal and in 60 days, judgement should be delivered.
“Indeed, no member of the House of Assembly was sacked by the tribunal. But we believe that if a particular principle applied in some situations in the North or West, it should also apply in the South-South.
“We did not consult God to create us as Rivers people. We did not consult God to put Rivers where it is today in the map of Nigeria. We did not consult God to make us part of the nation state called Nigeria”, he said.
The speaker, who reiterated his position that the general elections in the state were free and fair, said he was hopeful that the judiciary will redress what he perceived as wrong done with the nullification of the elections by the tribunal.
“The whole world knows that election was conducted in the state on April 11. The whole world knows as well that INEC prepared for such election for a long period. Because we have faith in the judicial system, we have faith in the judges and justices we have in Nigeria, we believe that our case will not be different.
“We have faith in the Chief Justice of Nigeria that justice must be done. We have faith in the judiciary.
“You can’t insulate democracy from justice. Through free will, the people voted Governor Wike and members of the state House of Assembly. We must keep faith with the Nigeria state”, he said.
Ibani, who sensed that the tribunal judgement so far had generated a form of tension in the state, said he had to brief the press to douse the tension.
“People will always say this Speaker does not laugh. Today, I am going to laugh. Leadership entails maturity”, he said on a lighter note.
It would be recalled that the election petitions tribunal sitting in Abuja on Monday nullified the election of 20 members of the House on the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
Among those affected was the Speaker, Majority Leader of the House, Hon Martins Amaewhule, representing Obio/Akpor Constituency 1.
The tribunal judgement upheld the election of 12 other members of the House, among them, Hon Evans Bipi, who is the Chief Whip and former leader of the anti-Amaechi lawmakers during the second term of former governor Chibuike Amaechi.
The election of the member representing Eleme constituency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was also upheld by the tribunal.
The PDP had won its case in 11 state constituencies, including Oyigbo, Etche 1, Omuma, Ogu-Bolo, PHALGA 1 and 3, ONELGA 2, Abua-Odual, Ahoada West, Ahoada East 2, and Emohua.
The APC  also won its challenge of the election in 20 state constituencies, including Gokana, Obio/Akpor 1 and 2, Etche 2, Opobo/Nkoro, Akuku-Toru 1and 2, Asari-Toru 1 and 2, Bonny, Tai, ONELGA 1, Degema, Ahoada East, Khana 1 and 2, Ikwerre, PHALGA 2, Andoni, and Okrika.
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor, on Media and Publicity, Sir Opunabo Inko-Tariah has described the recent nullification of the Rivers Governorship Election by the Elections Petitions Tribunal as an affront on democracy and a gang up against Governor Nyesom Wike and the people of Rivers State.
Sir Inko-Tariah who stated this in a press statement made available to The Tide, said the verdict of the Tribunal was a blight disregard for the will of Rivers people as evinced in the April 11 general elections.
He said Rivers people overwhelmingly gave their mandate to Governor Wike but a ‘microscopic’ few want to wrest that mandate from him through the back door.
He further pointed out that the judiciary was setting pernicious precedents by hinging their verdicts on inane points.
He faulted the moving of the juridical seat to Abuja, noting that the sole objective was to subvert the will of the people, as both the Court of Appeal and the federal High Court were sitting, and Rivers State was peaceful, as at when the tribunal was set up.
He regretted that the issue of security was only used as a basis of subverting the popular will of Rivers people. He wondered why the former Governor of Rivers State Rotimi Amaechi, “who displayed so much hatred and disgust for the courts and rule of law by closing the High Court’s in Rivers State for close to two years without a twinge of conscience is today the lovely bride of the court.
The S.A. however stated that truth will prevail at the end of the day, as Rivers people will defend their mandate given to Governor Wike.

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Our Policies Are Geared Towards Protecting Rivers Interest -Fubara

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has declared that all the policies and programmes of his administration are tailored towards the protection of interest of Rivers people, especially the youths.
This, he said, is borne out of the importance his administration attaches to youths’ development and empowerment as leaders of tomorrow.
Fubara, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Nelson Chukwudi, disclosed this when he received the youths of Emohua Local Government Area under the auspices of “Emohua Youths For SIM” on solidarity visit to Government House, Port Harcourt, last Friday.
He said that his administration has put in place modalities that will boost the livelihoods and well-being of Rivers citizens, which youths of Emohua will also benefit when they materialise.
The governor, who spoke through the Rivers State Head of Service, Dr. George Nwaeke, pointed out that the recently awarded Elele-Omudiaga-Egbeda-Ubimini-Ikiri-Omoku Road, the ongoing Emohua-Kalabari Road, reinstatement of illegally sacked workers of Emohua Local Government Area and the approval for electrification of the area, are part of deliberate measures to open up the area to make life conducive and more meaningful for the people.
According to him, “Everything about the governor is putting the interest of Rivers State first. He is looking at and taking action on those things that we need to do to restart the wheels of progress in Rivers State.
“There are many things the governor has planned and is already doing that will boost the life and welfare of every citizen of Rivers State, but most importantly the youths.
“Growing up, I learnt that Egbeda is one of the biggest communities in the whole of Ikwerre, and it’s predominantly an agrarian community. They have food in Egbeda, they have food in Ubimini, they have food in Omudiaga and other natural resources. The whole world is tilting to agriculture, and this is the way to go.
“The Elele-Umudioga-Egbeda-Ubimini-Omoku road, when completed, will open up the area for real development. Your food and everything you produce there will now have value, they will no longer be thrown away. In all these, you the youths are going to be the utmost beneficiaries.”
He added, “Same will be applicable to the Emohua-Kalabari Road which will also, trigger development in the area, and you will be the greatest beneficiaries. When the LGA is also electrified, you will be having 24 or 20 hours of electricity, and those things the youths can do with electricity, you can stay at home and create wealth for yourself and children.
“All the totality of what the governor is doing, when they are completed, or even as some are completed now, the youths are going to be utmost beneficiaries.”
While acknowledging that youths are the true leaders of tomorrow and any government that fails to carry them along in the scheme of things is doomed to fail, the governor assured them of his administration’s commitment to always address issues concerning youths and ensure that they are part of his government.
He commended the youths for toeing the path of truth by identifying with his administration, urging them to sustain the tempo and shun evil, as his government will ensure that the trend whereby politicians turn youths to beggars are over.
He said, “Youths are, indeed, the leaders of tomorrow. The time of youth is a very important time. It a time that your parents or whoever is your leader at that time have to make the greatest investment in you. And any Government that decides to only carry the elderly, chiefs aling and abandon the youths is bound to fail,” he asserted.
“But I am happy that Governor Fubara has concentrated his energy on everything that will benefit the society, especially the youths.
“And based on these, I want to thank you for recognising what is good and calling it good, for shunning what is evil, for saying the Governor is standing for you.
“Let me tell you, you are on the right direction. Let me tell you again, Rivers State is the bride of Nigeria. The whole Nigeria is looking at what will happen here. As they look here and see you standing on the path of truth, this is a very important step that you have taken to right all the wrongs of the past, to make Rivers State stand on the tripod of justice, peace and security. That is what we are going to gain through the governor, taking all the wise actions that he has already initiated.
“The projects the governor is embarking on are meant to prepare nets for the youths to fish and put food on their table, hence you should continue to follow him.
“The SIMplified Movement brought upon by the governor will ensure that Rivers youths stop the habit of going to bow down before politicians, pledging loyalty before they can eat.”
Earlier, spokesman for the Emohua Youths for SIM, Comrade Ovamale O. Ovamale, had said that the visit by youths from the 14 political wards in Emohua Local Government Area was to thank the governor for the award of the Elele-Omudiaga-Egbeda-Ubimini-Ikiri-Omoku road, the approval for electrification of the area and reinstatement of sacked workers of Emohua Local Government Council, of which the youths were mostly affected.
According to him, “Siminalayi Fubara of recent has given Emohua Local Government road that links Elele to Omoku, which comprises over four communities in the local government.”
“Emohua Local Government has also been in darkness for eight years. No community in the local government that has light. But, of recent, because of the passion and love the governor has for the people of Emohua, he has approved the electrification of the local government.
“Also, the illegal sack of Emohua Local Government workers, for which the youths were mostly affected and without the approval of the Local Government Service Commission, the governor, in his compassionate nature, has reinstated them, and that is why we said we must come and thank His Excellency”, he said.

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Our Legacy’ll Leave Lasting Impression On Rivers People -Fubara

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has assured that his administration will collaborate and continue to consult widely in delivering a liberated State experiencing enduring peace.
Fubara said, in doing so, he would not operate as a dictator but as a member of a team that has the best interest of the State at heart and determined to leave a lasting legacy that can be celebrated.
The governor spoke during the formal presentation of Certificate of Recognition and Staff of Office to the Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom, King Ateke Michael Tom, as first class tradition ruler, at Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Fubara stated that, during the Sixth State Executive Council meeting, N80.8billion was approved with 50 percent contract value paid already as the Government awarded the construction of the Elele-Egbeda-Omoku Road.
He said the project will be funded from the savings from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to underscore his administration’s prudence without also borrowing to complete the project.
“We are at a crossroad in our State where we all need to stand for what is right. It happens once in a life time. So, for now, be one of those people that will be in the course to liberate and free our dear State.
“And I know strongly that having the support of a peace-loving Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom, having the support of the wonderful Council of Chiefs, having the support of the great people of Rivers State, we will bring peace in our State. We will do those things that are right to develop our State.
“We will continue to consult. We will not act as dictators. We will act as people who know that one day, we will leave, and when we leave, the way we have acted will speak for us. We will not force people to talk good about us. Our legacy will be a signature for how we led”, the governor said.
Fubara explained that he acted within the ambit of the law to upgrade the traditional stool upon which King Ateke Tom sits in recognition of his efforts in promoting peace in Okrika, and indeed, the State, and urged him to continue to do justice to everyone.
In his speech, Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Hon Charles Amadi, congratulated King Ateke Tom for being formally presented with the Certificate of Recognition and Staff of Office as first class traditional ruler.
Also speaking, former Transport Minister, Chief Abiye Sekibo, thanked the governor for fulfilling his promise of upgrading the traditional stool of Okochiri Kingdom, and pledged the support of Kirike Se people to his administration.

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We’re Determined To Leave Legacy Of Quality Education -Fubara

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has promised to give the best attention to the education sector so that standard and quality learning will never be compromised in the State.
The governor emphasised that in achieving such legacy, schools in the State will be driven with a curriculum that will equip school-aged children to become competitive, innovative and self-reliant.
Governor Fubara made the assertion while inaugurating the Governing Council of Rivers State University at Government House in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
He said: “There is a lot of noise everywhere: people asking what we are doing; that we are not focused, and that we don’t have direction.
”But I want to tell the world that we are focused and aware that we cannot grow if our energies are not channeled to education. Not just education, but purposeful education.
”Education that is creative. Education that gives you independence. We have left the era in the world when you speak too much grammar. We are in such times when it is what you can do with your hands.
”Our purpose for education is that we should bring back our academic programmes to where, at the end of your studies, you don’t need a job but you create jobs. When one creates a job, you automatically employ others. That is what I want this council to see as their task.”
Governor Fubara noted the non-existence of public secondary schools for the male child in the Diobu axis of Port Harcourt.
He said such negligence leaves children in that area who have completed primary education, and whose parents cannot afford sending them to far away secondary schools, to roam the streets, and therefore becoming willing tools for criminality.
Governor Fubara assured that such fundamental problem will be addressed by his administration as a measure to curb the negative impression associated with Diobu axis of Port Harcourt.
The governor said he trusts in the capacity of the members of the Governing Council of Rivers State University to bring about positive change in the institution while also contributing their quota to improving the general education standard in the State.
”I charge you, not just in terms of administering the affairs of the university, but let us add something different from the normal things that we already have to see new things.”
In her response, on behalf of the other members, the Pro-Chancellor of the Governing Council of Rivers State University, Justice Mary Odili (rtd), thanked the governor for finding them worthy to serve in such capacity.
Justice Odili assured they will work assiduously as a team to solve the problems that agitate the mind of the governor and ensure their contributions form part of the legacy that will be bequeathed by his administration.
The members included Justice Mary Odili (rtd) as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council with Barrister Mela Oforibika and Chukwuma Chinwo, Esq.
Others were Adata Bio-Briggs, Esq., Dr. Jonathan Nimi Hart, Ngo Martins-Yellowe, Dr. Nancy Nwankwo, Dr. Igoni William-Park, and Mr. Ogbugbu Barisua.

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