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Wike Blames 2019 Election Challenge On Buhari …Says President Failed To Sign Amended Electoral Act …Birates NBA For Not Defending Rivers Judiciary …Says Absolute Loyalty, Key To Appointments

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has declared that the major challenges that characterised the 2019 General Elections would have been averted if President Muhammadu Buhari had assented to the amended Electoral Act.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the Political Team from the British High Commission at the Government House Port Harcourt yesterday, Governor Wike said the amended Electoral Act would have legitimised the card reader and strengthened the process of result collation.
He said: “If the President had assented to the amended Electoral Act, we wouldn’t have had the kind of problem we had.
”That means that there must be card reader in the Electoral Process. In that case, it makes it difficult for security agencies who want to commit electoral fraud to succeed “.
The Governor said that with the card reader given legal teeth, it would have played a key role in the results that emerged and discouraged violence.
”With the card reader, results that don’t tally with accredited figures in the device will not be accepted. Since the card reader is not in the law, it creates the loopholes for them to manipulate.
“They created the room where some security agencies tried to force Returning Officers to sign result sheets. Remember in Rivers State, the Army took over the INEC Headquarters. The essence of that was to see that the Returning Officers were hijacked for fraudulent purposes.
”But if the card reader was legitimised in the Electoral Act, it would not have been possible, because the only acceptable result would be the one that tallies with the Card Reader. I have always said to Mr President that in the interest of the country, let us do the right thing. Let us not politicise everything “, he said
While insisting that the amended Electoral Act when signed into law will restore confidence in the Electoral System, Governor Wike called for the de-militarization of the nation’s democracy.
He said: “We should reduce the militarisation during elections. It is unfortunate that instead of Police, the Army takes over our elections with flimsy excuses.
”What happened in Rivers State is an eye-opener. Bringing in the Army every time is not the solution. The police should be allowed to do their job. INEC should be truly independent.
”In the case of Rivers State, we must commend INEC for being assertive. If they were not assertive, I don’t know where we would have been”.
Governor Wike urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to be truly independent, adding that the appointment of INEC leadership should not completely be in the hands of the Federal Government as suggested by the Uwais report.
The Governor said the issues of security should not be politicised as is the case. He noted that politicisation of security has led to insecurity in all states of the Federation.
He recalled that Rivers State suffered the politicisation of security as the Nigerian Army clamped down on the State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency at its training site at the NYSC Camp, even though the Agency was modeled after that of Lagos State. He noted that the Rivers State Government will go ahead with the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency and urged the British Government to provide technical support.
Governor Wike also stated that State Police is key to tackling insecurity across the country.
”But before the implementation of State Police, the revenue sharing formula of the country must be reviewed. The Federal Government should have less resources because they have lesser responsibilities “, he said.
Governor Wike reiterated that oil bunkering is fueled by the connivance and participation of security agencies.
”Security agencies are involved in oil bunkering. That is why you see so many security agents struggling to be posted to the Niger Delta. Oil bunkering has negatively affected our security and environment”, he said.
In his remarks, the Deputy Head of Political Section/First Secretary, British High Commission, Stuart Gardner congratulated Governor Wike on his well deserved victory, noting that the British Government was interested in his views on the 2019 General Elections.
He regretted that the last elections were marred by violence, saying that steps must be taken to stem the tide of violence during the 2023 Elections.
Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has expressed disappointment over the failure of the Nigerian Bar Association ( NBA ) to condemn invasion of the state Judiciary Complex by thurgs of the All Progressives Congress ( APC ).
The Governor made the condemnation, Monday, after receiving the reports of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Violent Invasion of the state judiciary complex on 11th April 2018 and the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Violence, Killings and other Related Matters during the 2019 General Elections, at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
NBA , it was gathered, did not submit any memorandum to the commission.
Wike said: “ How can people invade the Court and NBA did not submit a memorandum on the unfortunate incident.
“ NBA kept quete and it is regrettable if NBA cannot work for the interest of the state, then it is not good “.
He noted that one of the major reasons the country is not moving forward is because people refuse to condemn evil .
The Governor regretted that NBA failed to take action towards strengthening the judiciary.
He commended the two Judicial Commissions for doing a comprehensive job and assured that by the time the new Executive Council is fully constituted, the white paper would be out and that the recommendations would be implemented.
Chairman of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Violence, Killings and other Related Matters during the 2019 General Elections, Justice Monima Danagogo disclosed that the commission received 13 memoranda, 73 exhibits, while 21 witnesses testified.
He also said the report is in four volumes.
On his part, Chairman of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Violent Invasion of the state judiciary complex on the 11th April 2018, Justice Simeon Amadi , said the commission took steps to ensure that everybody is given fair hearing..
According to him, the commission received 27 memoranda, 82 documents tendered, while 27 witnesses testified.
However, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has reiterated that his second term appointments will be based on absolute loyalty, commitment to the vision of the administration and the capacity to deliver.
The Governor spoke on Monday when he swore-in the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, Chief of Staff, Government House, Engr Chukwuemeka Woke, Attorney General, Dr Zaccheus Adango and Commissioner for Finance, Hon Isaac Kamalu.
He said: “These appointments are not based on sentiments. Appointment is based on one hundred percent undiluted loyalty and competence.
I will not appoint people who will run down the government.
“We will appoint those who believe in the vision and mission of the State Government. Those who will defend the Government and her policies “.
Governor Wike said that the first set of appointments were made to kick start his second term and enhance the development of the state.
He said: “ The appointments that I made were not lobbied for. I know these officials personally.
“Going forward, I will take time to scrutinise people that will be appointed. I learnt my lesson during the last term. I will only appoint people who want to work and those who want to make sacrifices for the state.
“I have known the Secretary to the State Government closely. He is loyal and committed. This second term is for people who want to work for the state”.
He charged the newly appointed officers not to take their appointments for granted, adding that if they failed to work for the people, they will face the consequences.
Governor Wike advised the new Secretary to the Rivers State Government to work for all Rivers people.
“You are not the Secretary to the State Government for the Kalabari people. You are the Secretary to the State Government for Rivers people. You must serve the interest of the state”, he said.
The Governor urged the people of Andoni to take immediate measures to rescue the expatriates kidnapped by Andoni youths, or face the withdrawal of government recognition for their traditional rulers and the stopping of work on the Andoni section of the Unity Road.
In an interview, reappointed Chief of Staff to the Rivers State Governor, Engr Chukwuemeka Woke promised to make his contributions to the actualization of the vision and mission of the Wike Administration.
The Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo assured that he will bring his wealth of experience to bear in the discharge of his responsibilities and thanked the Rivers State Governor for the opportunity to serve the people of Rivers State, saying he will live up to expectations of Rivers people.

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Fubara Vows To End Era Of Fiscal Recklessness In Rivers

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has vowed to ensure prudent management of the state’s resources during his administration.
Fubara made the pledge yesterday while declaring the commencement of construction of N80.3 billion 33.5-kilometre Elele-Egbeda-Omoku Road dual carriageway and bridge project in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers.
He assured the people that his government was dedicated to serving their interests and emphasised that no distraction would deter it from serving that objective.
“So I assure you that every Kobo will be accounted for in Rivers State.
“We are people that are transparent; that are ready to serve in line with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda,” he said.
Fubara expressed displeasure at recent attacks on his supporters by hoodlums allegedly backed by outgoing Local Government Council chairmen in the State.
He warned that those who attack innocent citizens in the name of politics would not be forgiven and would pay for their crimes.
“It is unfortunate that after we inaugurated the Aleto-Ogale-Ebubu-Eteo Road project on Tuesday and left, some people went there and attacked our people.
“There is no need for that. Nobody has a monopoly of violence.
“I should even be the one to come out and shout that I will do this and that, but I have not done so because both sides (people) belong to me.
“So, I am advising those people who call themselves local government chairmen and that have few days in office, to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner,” Fubara said.
The governor also highlighted the transient nature of political power and urged politicians to act with caution.
“Politics will come and go, but we will still live our lives. If you deliberately hurt anybody because of expressing your useless support, nobody will forgive you.
“I have been the target of abuse as the Governor who doesn’t know what to do with power, but have I said anything?
“So, I am begging everyone to conduct themselves properly because I do not want anything that will bring problem in this state,” he said.
Regarding the project, Fubara explained that the Elele-Egbeda-Omoku Road and bridge project would be financed from the state’s Internal Generated Revenue (IGR).
He said that 50 per cent of the project cost has already been paid and assured that it would be completed within 24 months.
The governor said the contractor, Craneburg Construction Company, had affirmed to completing the project within the specified timeframe outlined in the contract agreement.
“We are constructing this road out of our genuine commitment to serve the people, not because we have any economic interest here,” he said.
A former member, House of Representatives, Sen. John Mbata, who flagged off the road, praised the potential economic impact of the road when completed.
He applauded Fubara’s peaceful approach and leadership style of inclusiveness and consultation with all stakeholders in the state.
“We have moved away from the time when the governor of the state is seen as a god and demanded worship.
“We are now having a governor that has become a symbol and a rallying point for the people,” he said.

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We Inherited Huge Debt -Fubara …As Gov Otti Inaugurates Aleto-Ogale-Ebubu-Eteo Road Project

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has revealed that a huge debt burden was left behind for his administration to settle with several contractors who handled different projects for the immediate past administration.
Governor Fubara made the revelation at Ebubu community, venue of the inauguration of the reconstructed 10.89KM Aleto-Ogale-Ebubu-Eteo Road in Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State yesterday.
The Governor emphasised how baffling the debt owed the contractors amounted to, given the public impression created of a clean balance sheet maintained with contractors.
He said, “This is to let the world know that if there is one problem this administration has, it is the huge debt burden. Most of the projects that are being commissioned, the contractors are coming for their balance-payment and it is running into billions.
”I have said that I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to talk because I was part of that system. But, when you keep pushing me to talk, I will say it so that the people will know the true situation of things and be properly informed.”
Governor Fubara expressed delight over the commencement of the celebration of his One Year in Office Anniversary with the inauguration of a road project in Eleme where he lived when he started off with his working life.
The Governor stated that the road was awarded on August 14, 2023, to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) at the cost of N6.7billion.
He said that completed project now serves as a proof that his administration is still focused on delivering development to the people despite the many troubles thrown at it.
”I am happy to be here and to join the good people of Rivers State to start this wonderful celebration of our first anniversary in the face of all the troubles. It shows that we are still focused, not minding the level of distractions.
”This road was awarded to CCECC as a contractor. It was awarded on the 14th of August, 2023. I believe that 14th of August was within my tenure. I am not saying ‘I’, but it was this administration that awarded it.
”This project was awarded at the cost of N6.7billion, and I can say boldly that no kobo is remaining. We’ve paid the contractor its complete sum. Our gathering here is to tell our people that their problem is our problem.”
Emphasising the significance of the road, Governor Fubara said it is a bypass to be used by motorists to avoid the deplorable sections of the East-West Road now under reconstruction, and by extension, a support to the Federal Government’s efforts to give hope to Nigerians and make life better for the people.
Governor Fubara said: “What we are doing today, is it not help to the Federal Government? Is it not a show that this Government has the interest of the people at heart and it is supporting and doing everything to make the Federal Government succeed?
”So, when people come out and say some funny things, I laugh. Why are we doing this? When this administration came on board, Mr President christened his mantra ‘Renewed Hope’ to give Nigerians hope.
”What we are doing today in this State is giving our people that hope to complement what Mr President is doing at the national level.
”It is not about social media. We are talking about action. Genuine actions that make positive impact in the lives of our people,” he said.
Governor Fubara explained the rationale behind the invitation extended to Abia State Governor, Dr Alex Otti, to inaugurate the project, saying he is not an artificial integrity man but a pragmatic man.
Sir Fubara stated: “I invited him because he is not an artificial integrity man. He is an action integrity man. He is not like the one who would gather to talk because they just want to talk.
”He is a man who came into office, in the face of difficulties and challenges, just like we are here, but he is making impact in the lives of Abians.
”So, I will continue to identify with good governance. I will continue to identify with people who want to make impact in the lives of the people. Our Government, as we promised you on day one: the people first.”
Governor Fubara alluded to an unnamed person who insinuated that on assumption of office, he started a fight against the Federal Government, and wondered the veracity of such allegation.
”We are talking about Federal Government that is giving us support, and we appreciate their support. But there is a rat in the house that is eating the bags of garri. So, you can imagine such situation.”
Explaining further, the Governor noted that somebody in the house was stoking crisis to distract both the State and Federal Government from delivering their promises to give the people hope and leave lasting legacies impactful policies and programmes for posterity, and promised the people that the black legs in the family will soon be exposed for what they are.
Governor Fubara thanked the good people of Eleme for their support during the period of the execution of the project, as according to him, the contractor never complained of any challenges from the communities, adding that rather the people gave all the cooperation required.
The Governor noted that with what has been experienced, his administration is now encouraged to come back and undertake more projects as he believed that they will be protected.
Performing the inauguration of the project, the Abia State Governor, Dr Alex Otti, congratulated Governor Fubara for what he has done in remembering to execute a road project in Eleme community where he had once lived.
Governor Otti said, “I have always said it that leadership is about service. Anytime leadership departs from service, then, you are getting it wrong. Service should be service to the people, not service to self or very few interests. Anytime you are serving few people rather than the majority, you need to go and look at yourself again.
”So, for me, it’s all about good governance. Clearly, Governor Fubara came prepared, and I don’t believe that any distraction is enough to take his focus away from improving the welfare and interest of the people.
”So, I can assure you, Rivers people, that the dividends of democracy that you are seeing now is still a dress rehearsal. It is early in the morning, and I am sure that in no distance future, you will be seeing more.”
Governor Otti charged Eleme and the good people of Rivers State to continue to support the Governor of the State to do even more to make life easy for the majority.
He embossed that no matter how the dice is flipped: “Power belongs to God, no human can arrogate to himself the capacity to give power, except you have the capacity to give life. Of course, you can take life, but you cannot give it.”
In his project description, Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Works, Engr. Atemia Briggs, said the project was awarded on 14th August, 2023 to CCECC.
Engr Briggs explained that the road is 10.89 KM long, has a width of 10.5 meters, with a drain length of 10.1 KM, adding that it will, in the overall, serve human and economic needs of the people.
In his remark, the Executive Director, South-South Region of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Engr. Eric Shen, expressed gratitude for the confidence reposed in the company to handle the project, which has been completed with support from the Government, and cooperation from the host communities.
He said they were committed to delivering quality road that will serve the people for a long time, which was why they contended with the challenges of heavy vehicular traffic, daily business activities by traders on the road, and the rains to ensure timely delivery of the project within eight months.
In his welcome remark, the former Nigerian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Hon Orji Ngofa, acknowledged that the project, popularly known as the Old Bori Road, had collapsed as a result of the heavy vehicular traffic taken off the East-West Road that became deplorable, and is now being reconstructed.
Ngofa thanked Governor Fubara for reconstructing the entire stretch of the road, which now better improves the wellbeing of the people while also serving the transportation and economic needs of all users of the road.
While presenting the traditional kolanuts to the visitors, the Oneh-Eh Eleme, Chief Philip Osaro Obele, had conferred on Governor Fubara, the traditional title of Emere Ajuri Oneh of Eleme (meaning King of Peace of Eleme Kingdom).

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2026 World Cup, My Immediate Task -Finidi

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Head coach of the Super Eagles, Finidi George, has said that his immediate task and priority is to qualify the nation for the 2026 World Cup slated for Canada, Mexico and U.S.
The Board of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on April 19, appointed George as Head Coach of the Super Eagles.
George stated this at his unveiling as the new head coach of the Super Eagles by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), at the Moshood Abiola National stadium on Monday in Abuja.
The former Ajax Amsterdam winger, who was assistant to former Super Eagles gaffer, Jose Peseiro, was jointly unveiled by the NFF President, Ibrahim Gusau and Sports Minister, Sen. John Owan Enoh.
“For me, my first target is to make sure we are in line to qualify for the 2026 World Cup, the AFCON qualifiers will also be coming up soon.
“But the major target for me is the two games we have, we will do everything to win against South Africa and Benin Republic.
“Once we do that we will have set the tone and we will take it from there,” he said.
The coach warned that going forward; players will be invited to the Super Eagles based on regular playing time in their clubs and commitment to the national team.
He dismissed insinuations about having rift with some players in the Super Eagles, stressing that his relationship with the players was ‘perfect’ and professional.
“My relationship with the players is very perfect. I will try to improve on my relationship as this will be different. You will not hear any controversy on my relationship,” he said.
Earlier, NFF President Ibrahim Gusau said the coach will be given all the support he needs to succeed in the task ahead.
“We have given our coach the opportunity to choose his assistants. We will not impose anybody on him.
“We are going to engage the assistants on game basis but will pay the head coach monthly salary. We want to avoid salary issues,” he said .
The Minister of Sports Development, Sen. John Owan Enoh stressed the importance of having and supporting indigenous coaches to succeed.
“We have an opportunity to have a local coach to lead the Super Eagles. Back then in my University days, I would go to UJ Eseune stadium to watch Calabar Rovers and see Finidi George play.
“I am honoured to be here to witness his unveiling, if you love Nigerian football, you must love and support Finidi George. His success will bring joy to Nigerians.
“Any country I find an indigenous coach sitting on the bench, I always feel very proud and I am glad that we have an opportunity that has a Nigerian coach, Finidi George, as football men national team coach, “ he said.
The details of the contract was not revealed.
The coach has picked ex-international, Daniel Amokachi as assistant coach, Olatunji Baruwa as goalkeeper trainer, Mehmet Ozturk, match analyst, Benjamin James and Chima Onyeike, fitness trainers.
The immediate task of the coach is to get the Super Eagles back on track in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers where Nigeria currently sit third in Group C, with two points from two matches.
Nigeria drew with Lesotho and Zimbabwe in the first two matches in the qualifying series in November.
The Super Eagles will face South Africa and Benin Republic in June, in what has been described as a make or mar clash.

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