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Nobody Contested Against PDP On March 9, Wike Declares …Gov, Stakeholders Offer Thanksgiving, Secondus, Obuah, Eke, Odiari Hail Judgements …As Tribunal Dismisses AAC, ADP’s Petitions, Affirms Wike’s Victory

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has insisted that nobody ran election against him and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the March 9, 2019 Governorship election.
Wike and other Rivers leaders proceeded to the Government House Chapel of Everlasting Grace for Thanksgiving on the tribunal judgment that affirmed his victory.
Reacting to the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal judgement, Wike said but for reliance on connection, all PDP candidates had no opponents in the state.
The governor said: “It is so painful that someone could say that no election held in Rivers State. There was nobody who ran the election against us.
“But for connection, how can anyone say he ran election against us in Rivers State”.
Wike said that he would never be distracted by the antics of the opposition, as he will continue to promote the interest of Rivers State.
“I will never be distracted. I will do everything in the interest of Rivers State. I will continue to work. Nothing will distract me”, he said.
The Rivers State governor expressed happiness that justice has been done in the petition, and thanked his legal team for their commitment.
Ahmed Raji, SAN, attributed the victory to God who has brought the state thus far, saying that from the very beginning, God showed His hand in favour of Rivers State.
Raji said that God crowned the efforts of the legal team with success, emphasising that the judgment was a judicial confirmation of the votes of Rivers people.
Also speaking, Ferdinand Orbih (SAN) said Wike was a winner anytime, stressing that what God has done, nobody can change it.
In his remarks, National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus congratulated Wike on his victory at the tribunal, adding that justice has been served on Rivers people through the judgment.
Secondus said that in a normal setting, nobody would challenge the victory in court, because Rivers people spoke clearly.
Earlier, the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal had affirmed the re-election of Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike following the dismissal of the petition filed by the defeated African Action Congress (AAC) Governorship Candidate, Engineer Biokpomabo Awara seeking the nullification of the March 9, Rivers State Governorship Election.
Also on Saturday, the tribunal dismissed the petition filed by the defeated Action Democratic Party (ADP) Governorship Candidate, Mr Victor Fingesi against the election of Wike.
“We affirm the election of Nyesom Wike as duly elected”, the tribunal declared.
The tribunal said that both petitioners failed to prove their petitions beyond reasonable doubt, and stressed that they failed to adduce evidence to prove that the election was marred by violence and irregularities.
The judgment of the tribunal in the AAC petition was read by Justice K. B. Olawoyin.
The said that Wike won 19 out of the 21 local government areas where elections held, while the petitioner won in two local government areas.
The tribunal said the petitioner failed to call any witness to give credible evidence that there were malpractices during the election that favoured Wike.
It also held that the first petitioner can no longer lead any general and nebulous evidence on violence.
The tribunal noted that what was suspended was the collation of results for six local government areas, insisting that as at the time of the suspension of collation, INEC had concluded collation of results in 17 local government areas.
The Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal stated that by participating in the collation process, the petitioner waited his right to complain.
The tribunal said that the petitioner called 20 witnesses, adding that it had earlier struck out the evidence of two witnesses.
It ruled that the results tendered by the petitioner, Engineer Biokpomabo Awara while giving evidence were inadmissible, and therefore, expunged from the records.
According to the tribunal, the AAC Governorship Candidate tendered certified true copy of the state Governorship Election and the declaration of results by INEC, stating that neither Awara nor any of his witnesses tendered any results different from that of INEC.
The tribunal said Awara failed to call his polling unit agents to testify, even though he admitted that they were all alive, and held that PW3 to 19 who testified were alleged ward or local government agents, whose testimonies have been found not to be credible.
It added that even the results tendered by Awara had no names of polling unit agents, no signatures of polling unit agents and had no INEC stamp, and therefore, declared the said results inadmissible and of no value.
The tribunal ruled that the petitioner witness three (PW3) was not a credible witness; hence his evidence was disregarded, and held that the evidence of PW3 was contrary to the petitioner’s pleadings in his petition.
It further said that Exhibits AA1 to A12 tendered by PW4 were inadmissible in evidence, because PW4 was not the maker, and ruled that the documents were dumped on tribunal, with no polling agents called to give evidence.
While expunging the exhibits from its records, the tribunal said that the evidence of PW4 has no value as it has not proved any electoral malpractice.
The evidence of PW6 of the AAC Governorship Candidate was discredited under cross-examination, the tribunal noted, adding that the evidence of PW6 contradicted his answers during cross examination.
The tribunal noted that PW6 said that the election was peaceful, but insisted that PW6 was not a credible witness, as he lied under oath.
According to the tribunal, aside the names of the witnesses and their respective wards, the witness statements of all of them were the same and each had seven paragraphs.
It held that the evidence of PW7 and the Ward Collation Agent in Omuma LGA, Stanley Nweke, was at variance with the pleadings of the petitioner, and held that the evidence of PW7 was of no value, and therefore, discountenanced.
The tribunal also threw out the evidence of PW9, Henry Iyalla, whose name was not found in INEC’s official list of collation agents, and described him as an imposter, just as it said that Iyalla’s evidence did not contradict the fact that election held in Degema LGA.
On PW10, it held that he did not tender any results of elections in the polling units.
According to the tribunal, the evidence of PW10 goes to no issue because it contradicted the results pleaded by the petitioner.
It held that most of the witnesses of the AAC were not credible, as they discredited themselves through contradictory statements.
The tribunal noted however, that PW21 and the State Collation Agent of AAC, Mr Nenye Kocha, was consistent in his testimony from collation centre to the tribunal that the AAC lost the Governorship election.
According to the tribunal, Kocha was a truthful witness, whose evidence was credible, just as it placed probative value on his testimony.
The tribunal also accepted the testimony of PW22, Joseph Osademe, a producer with AIT, who tendered the video clip showing INEC officials declaring the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike winner of the election.
It also placed value on the document tendered by the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, ACP Victor Onugbo.
The document tendered by the police before the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, authenticated the electoral victory of Governor Nyesom Wike during the March 9, 2019 election.
The tribunal aligned with the testimony of the police, saying that it was credible.
It further stated that the fact that the first and second petitioners were opposed to each other was another ground to dismiss the petition.
Determining the petition of the ADP Governorship Candidate, Mr Victor Fingesi on its merit, the tribunal held that the petitioner failed woefully to prove that Wike did not score the highest number of lawful votes during the March 9, 2019 Governorship election.
Justice Kingsley Orjiako said that the petitioner’s complaint was vague and merely speculative.
The tribunal stated that the first petitioner did not know the number of registered voters in the state, and further noted that the petitioner under cross examination said he had no knowledge of the number of registered voters in his own polling unit in Okrika LGA.
It noted that the allegation that the winner did not score the highest number of votes was an invitation to compare figures, and held that the petitioner ought to plead his own results and that of the winner for the court to cross check.
Justice Orjiako noted that there was no evidence of any alleged inflation of results, as the evidence remains vague.
The tribunal held that the burden of proof was strictly on the petitioner and not on any weakness of the defence of the respondents.
It agreed with INEC that election was conducted in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
The tribunal explained that the testimonies of the witnesses of the ADP were mere hearsay, since most of them were not at the respective polling units where elections took place, and described most of the witnesses of ADP as impostors who capitulated in the face of cross-examination.
It said that it examined the testimonies on a local government by local government basis, adding that despite the litany of documents pleaded by the petitioner, he could only tender poorly investigated newspaper reports.
The tribunal said that INEC has the power to suspend an election, in line with Section 26 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, and also held that the ADP Governorship Candidate lacks the locus standi to file the petition, having sued the first petitioner, instead of Wike who won the governorship election.
Reacting to the judgment, the Rivers State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bro. Felix Obuah, expressed delight over the judgment of the Rivers State Election Petitions Tribunal, which dismissed the petition of the candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Mr. Victor Fingesi, in the March 9, 2019 Governorship Election in Rivers State.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Jerry Needam, Obuah commended the tribunal for rising to the occasion, stressing that justice has, once again, been dispassionately dispensed.
The state PDP boss also commended the wise decision and forthrightness of the tribunal Chairman, Justice Kingsley Orjiako, reiterating that Wike’s re-election was a divine order, which any attempt by man to upturn, would be an exercise in futility.
Stressing that Wike was God-sent to Rivers people and that no weapon formed against him shall succeed, Obuah said the time was rife for those still agitated over the outcome of the 2019 General Election, to put the elections behind for the overall interest of the state, adding that what God has approved, no man can reverse.
The Rivers PDP chairman said the Olive branch offered the opposition politicians was a demonstration of Wike’s large heart, and enjoined people, irrespective of political affiliation, to join the progressive train of the Wike administration to move the state forward.
Obuah restated his conviction that the Wike-led administration has demystified governance in the state with remarkable improvement in all sectors of the economy, saying the door was wide open for good ideas that would benefit all and sundry.
Also reacting, the Executive Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council, Hon. Solomon Eke lauded the judgment of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal for dismissing the petitions of the ADP Governorship Candidate, Mr Victor Fingesi and that of the AAC candidate, Engineer Biokpomabo Awara in the March 9th governorship election in the state.
In a message released via the Chairman’s social media handle, Eke described the judgement as a victory for all Rivers people.
“Today’s judgment is a true reflection of the peoples mandate given to His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Wike. This is a victory for all Rivers people.”
The message also congratulated the governor and Rivers people over the victory at the tribunal.
“I heartily felicitate with the good people of Rivers State and congratulate our amiable governor over this victorious judgement. This is indeed the people’s verdict,” the statement read.
Similarly, the Chairman of Asari-Toru Local Government Council, Chief Odiari Princewill and the good people of ASALGA celebrated as Governor Nyesom Wike recorded another judicial milestone in the Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal.
In a statement shortly after the judgment, last Saturday, Odiari said that with the four-hour unanimous judgement, the tribunal judges have shown that the Judiciary remains the last hope of the ordinary man.
He described the AAC petition as an effort aimed at building castle in the air.
Odiari noted that the tribunal’s order that a cost of N900,000 be paid to PDP, Wike and INEC by Awara was justifiable and would serve as punishment for taking the people of the state through the tribunal without any reason.
He said, “Once more, this is a victory for democracy and Rivers people”.

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We’ll Prioritise Health Sector In 2025 Budget, Fubara Assures WHO …Recommits To More Healthcare Access

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has said that Rivers people deserve a functional healthcare system that will avail them easy access to reliable and affordable quality services to enable them to stay healthy always.
To achieve this goal, Governor Fubara reiterated the determination of his administration to commit huge budgetary allocation to the sector in the 2025 budget in order to give necessary financial support to drive the activities in the sector.
This, he noted, will further strengthen what is being done already in ensuring that healthcare facilities in the State are functional at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels to achieve universal access for the people.
Governor Fubara give the assurance when he received in audience a delegation of the World Health Organisation (WHO), led by the Country Representative, Dr Kazadi Walter Molumbo, at Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The Governor said: “As a matter of fact, in our 2025 budget, we have three key areas: Health, Education and Agriculture. They are our key areas in our 2025 budget. We believe that when we roll out that budget, greater part of the health issues and services will be accommodated.”
Governor Fubara recalled the disheartening state of health facilities his administration inherited, as there were no functional intermediary health facilities given the fact that all the zonal hospitals were not completed.
Saying that the situation was unacceptable, Governor Fubara said, “I know quite alright that one of the most important things, if we go by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda: affordable healthcare is one major thing that is key target, and it is something the World Health Organization (WHO) is working to make sure that it shouldn’t just be an item for the privileged, but even the less-privileged in the society should afford it and fast too.
“So, as a government, when we came on board, we also knew that one very important area that we need to touch is the healthcare. Development cannot be complete if the health sector is abandoned. So, we did all we could within our power to make sure that we revitalize that area.
“And some of the achievements like the Health Insurance Scheme that has been there for long before now, that we have activated. We might not have gotten it right completely, but the most important thing is that we have started it. Rivers State has keyed into it.”
Governor Fubara insisted: “The very active state of our primary healthcare system now is better than when we came on board. Whatever it is that is required; their resources, we don’t even tamper with it.
“We ensured that they get their resources as at when due so that the aspect of their control and administrative duties are discharged. Accordingly, the primary healthcare system has improved compared to what it was before we came on board.
“We did not end there. We know the situation of the tertiary health services. We only have two: Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) and University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH). You can imagine the pressure on those two. So, we also took it upon ourselves to make sure that the intermediary health services must come to life.
“As a policy of our government, we have even started the completion and expansion to standard of all the Zonal Hospitals. We have the Degema, Bori, Ahoada, Omoku and Okehi, and we are already working on them. We didn’t end there. We also have a key facility in Bonny.
“People living in Bonny can’t come from there to access the Zonal Hospital. So, we have already started work to improve the state of the Bonny General Hospital. We know the importance of health, and we are doing our best to complement what WHO is also doing to make sure that healthcare gets to not just the rich, but the poor at affordable rate, with quality service.
Governor Fubara appreciated WHO for the wonderful work that it is doing in both supervisory and support role in the health sector and other areas of health concerns, not just in Rivers State, but in Nigeria and the world at large.
The Governor pointed out that everything is being done to sufficiently provide needed preventive and intervention measures against cholera and all related communicable diseases.
Governor Fubara said: “I have already directed the Commissioner for Health to commence all the necessary processes needed to checkmate the situation. We honestly prioritise health issues. We don’t joke with it.
“We have already started whatever it is, not just the issue of cholera. We are even talking about the issues that could arise from the anticipated flood situation in the state.
“We have also set up a medical team, knowing fully well that, definitely, there will be health issues when the flood situation breaks out. So, we are on top of the situation.”
In his presentation, the Country Representative of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Kazadi Walter Molumbo, commended Governor Fubara for his efforts and political will towards the various healthcare interventions in a bid to achieve the target for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ensure that the people enjoy good health and well-being by 2030.
Dr. Molumbo stated that Nigeria, like most countries of the world, was lagging behind in terms of reaching the target for SDGs by 2030, adding that it was for that reason that there is a global call to do things differently and accelerate the rescue of the people.
He, however, noted: “But, something is very encouraging in your administration, and I will like to commend the effort of your government in providing the enabling environment for all stakeholders in the health sector.
“We also noted your commitment towards improving primary healthcare services and the revitalisation and drive to improve the health status of the good people of Rivers State.
“I will like to specifically commend you for some of the key achievements that have come to our notice, namely: the reactivation of the task force on primary healthcare in line with the Abuja Declaration, and again, I like to emphasize the need for other departments to participate towards efforts to reach that reactivation.
“The consistent release of counterpart funds for supplementary immunization activities. This is something we like to see in many states. What is happening in Rivers State is truly encouraging,” he said.
He commended the Governor for his determination to complete and upgrade the zonal hospitals, strengthen primary healthcare services, and support other efforts to improve the quality of life of Rivers people.

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Tinubu Consults Labour, Defers Decision On New Minimum Wage

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President Bola Tinubu yesterday held consultations with the organised labour in furtherance of his engagements with critical stakeholders toward arriving at a new national minimum wage.
Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting yesterday in Abuja.
Onyejeocha said, “The meeting was a conversation between a father and his children, and not a negotiation on the new national minimum wage.”
Also speaking, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Joe Ajaero, said there was no discussion in terms of what the new national minimum wage would be, and that the status quo remained.
“We didn’t discuss figures.
“The status quo remains, the Federal Government stands on N62,000 while labour is sticking to N250,000.
“We will be back after one week to continue the discussion,” Ajaero said.
President-General of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Mr Festus Osifo, also said labour presented the issues bothering Nigerians to the President as part of his consultations toward arriving at a new minimum wage.
Osifo said the meeting was an opportunity for labour to let the President know how the economic difficulties and the value of the Naira have affected the prices of goods in the market.
“We are all aware of what is happening in the country, how the high cost of living has impacted the ordinary Nigerians and workers.
“So, it was necessary to let the President know the exact situation of things in the country,” Osifo said.

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We’ve Started Preparing Our 2025 Budget -Fubara …Says Amaewhule, 24 Others’ Seats Were Declared Vacant On Dec 13

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has said that his administration has started the process of preparing the 2025 budget, just as he insisted that the legislative seats of Martin Amaewhule and his co-travellers that were declared vacant on December 13, 2023, will remain so.
The Governor stated that they are truly gone and will eventually return home because they desired it to be so when they defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the platform on which they won their election, to the All Progressives Congress (APC), voluntarily.
Governor Fubara spoke when he received on solidarity visit the leadership structure, critical stakeholders, opinion leaders, women and youths of Etche and Omuma Local Government Areas led by Ogbakor Etche, the apex socio-cultural organisation of Etche Ethnic Nationality Worldwide, at Government House in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
The Governor, who dismissed their recent ranting as noise-making from delusional folks, urged the 25 former lawmakers to wake up from their slumber to see the ship of governance in the State sailing on smoothly.
Governor Fubara also said that his administration has started preparing details of the 2025 Appropriation Bill, with priority placed on education, healthcare and agriculture.
He said, “Let me assure you that agriculture is an area that we have promised the very special and peace-loving people of Rivers State that our 2025 budget, which we have already started preparing, will address. Don’t bother about those people that are delusional. They think we are still sleeping. Let me tell you people so that they can hear anywhere they are.
“I wanted to help them, sincerely because I know them. And I have said it before, these are people that I have helped. I paid their children’s school fees. I paid their house rents. So, I wanted to help them.
“We all knew what happened when they crossed (defected), and how did they cross? Because of our God, for them to make that mistake, they crossed! They are gone, and they are gone. Now, let me tell you: when I wanted to help them, I accepted to help them because we are all one. We disagree to agree as it is said.”
Governor Fubara stated: “But, they thought they are smart. What is holding them is the declaration of their seats vacant that was done on December 13, 2023. That is what is holding them. We are not doing any budget to nullify that decision. It is what will send them to their villages.
“For me, as I am talking to you, I have started preparing my budget for 2025, which I am going to present very soon. And, in that budget, my key areas will be education, healthcare and agriculture.”
Governor Fubara explained that the three priority areas that the 2025 budget will focus on will ensure that even if more roads will be constructed, emphasis will be placed on providing quality healthcare services to keep the people healthy.
“Our children need to go to quality schools. Even if they can’t go to private schools, let them go to the public ones that have standard. We need to go to good health facilities owned by government and get standard healthcare services.
“Even if we cannot afford those private hospitals, when you go to the public ones, you can get the same services with qualified professionals. That is our thinking.
“And when we get to the issue of agriculture, it will address the issue of unemployment. When we start engaging our youths, they wouldn’t have time to be involved in crime. So, our thinking is to secure and protect our State,” he added.
Governor Fubara reiterated that his administration is not fighting anybody, and will continue to show appreciation to those who have contributed to the good fortunes that he has received in life.
The Governor, however, clarified that in being loyal, it does not mean losing one’s liberty, sense of discretion, and what is right, which is why he will not be a Governor forced on his knees to stair the affairs of the State.
He added, “I want to assure you one thing: we are not fighting anybody. We appreciate what God has used people to also do in our lives. But, we are not going to rule (govern) this State on our bent knees. We will rule standing this way I am standing.
“If it is only being on our knees to rule that is the way that they will see us as being loyal, then, I will pack my few things that I have here, and go and relax in my house comfortably because it will be a disaster, not just to me but to everyone in thd State and even my own generation.
“So, I will continue to stand tall and stand on the side of truth. So, let me thank the President General (of Ogbakor Etche) for bringing your people, the great people of Etche and Omuma together to come and pay us a solidarity visit.
“We want to assure you that we recognize all ethnic groups, and we are not here because of any particular group. We are here and standing for Rivers State. Our greatest support has come, not from my own people (Opobo), but from all of you.”
Governor Fubara urged the people of Etche Nation to sustain their support for his administration because its vision is clear and encompassing to advance the well-being of all Rivers people.
The Governor said, as stated in the national anthem, he is determined to establish a climate (State) where every man should be free of oppression, and freely pursue their aspirations.
He emphasised: “We are asking for only one thing from you: Support us because our interest is very clear and straight. We mean well for our people. We want everyone to be free. We want to lead with the fear of God. We want you to express yourselves without fear.
“So, I want to assure you that we are on the right track. With your support, we are going to get there. Don’t allow anybody deceive you. They can go to the media and dance; when they go behind, they cry. It is the truth. We don’t know how to dance but we say it the way it is, and stand tall anywhere we go.”
Governor Fubara, in responding to the requests of the people, said his administration is working with the Nigeria Police in finding lasting solutions to the hydra-headed issue of herdsmen attacks on farmlands and farmers in the area while urging them to continue to provide vital information of strange people and their operations to the relevant authorities.
The Governor also promised to address the issue of illegal dredging activities in the area, and undertake reconstruction work on priority areas, including roads, schools and health facilities, just as he announced the donation of N50million to Ogbakor Etche Worldwide for the smooth running of the organisation.
In his speech, Oyeisi Etche, His Eminence, Eze Emmanuel Opurum, said Etche and Omuma people will continue to give full support to Governor Fubara and ensure that his administration succeeds.
Eze Opurum, who also said that the political crisis in Rivers State is an ill wind that will do no good to anybody, called on governors of the 36 States of the Federation to quickly summon a meeting to collectively find a lasting solution to the crisis, which should be communicated to President Bola Tinubu and eventually enforced.
On his part, the President General of Ogbakor Etche Worldwide, Sir Charles Nwonuala, said the Etche people, who share in the travails, joy and the many victories of Governor Fubara, came to pledge their unalloyed support, confidence and faith in him and his administration.
Sir Nwonuala also presented a list of roads, schools and other development needs plaguing them as a people, while insisting that they endorse and support the good governance provided by the Governor in the State.
In his speech, Head of Rivers State Civil Service, Dr George Nwaeke, said the Oyeisi Etche, the entire leadership structure plus 70 academic professors from Etche Nation, have come together with women and youths to express solidarity to Governor Fubara to enable his administration succeed.
Dr Nwaeke emphasised that they are particularly happy to identify with the administration because they rank among first who felt liberated when the administration of Governor Fubara started giving his all-inclusive leadership approach and love for peace.

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