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I’ve Not Disappointed Rivers People -Wike

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…Says Opposition Disappointed Over Suspended NLC Protest
…As RSG, Labour Reach Agreement

The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says he has utilised the mandate given to him by Rivers people to provide basic infrastructure for them.
He has also stated that he is proud to be contributing his quota to the development of the state.
Wike stated this while speaking to journalists after inspecting the Rebisi, GRA, Rumuola and Rumuogba flyover bridges, and ongoing road construction work in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas of the state.
He stated that through passion and commitment he has judiciously utilized scarce resources for the development of the state.
“It is not the amount of resources you get that determines the kind of projects you carry out for your people.
“It is your commitment, your passion for the development of your people. If you have very good resources and you don’t have the passion and commitment, resources cannot be utilized for the good of the people.
“If you have the passion and commitment as we do, even the little resources that we have, will be judiciously used for the development of our state,” he said.
Wike expressed happiness with the speed at which the various flyover bridges are advancing, emphasizing that the Rebisi flyover would be completed by December this year while the Rumuogba and Okoro-Nu-Odo flyovers would be completed by February, 2021.
He described the Rebisi flyover as an engineering masterpiece and commended Julius Berger for delivering a quality project.
“I am indeed proud that I am able to contribute my own little quota to the development of our state.
“I have not abused the mandate given to me by Rivers people and I have also not disappointed them,” he stated.
On the outcome of the negotiation with organised labour, the governor expressed satisfaction that all contending issues were amicably resolved during the meeting.
He said that the opposition parties and those who thought the state would be plunged into crisis were disappointed.
“All the issues were mere understandings and now that they have understood our position, they said they have to suspend the protest.
“So for me, I am happy that there was nothing like conflict. At the end of the day, those of them who were thinking that Rivers State will be shut down were highly disappointed,” he added.
Also speaking, the Project Manager, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Port Harcourt, Mr. Finn Drosdowsky, thanked the state government for entrusting the projects to them, and assured that the various flyovers would be completed on schedule.
The organized labour has suspended the planned protest scheduled for September 8, 2020 in Rivers State.
This is sequel to the agreement reached between the Rivers State Government and labour leaders at a meeting held at Government House, Port Harcourt, which ended at the early hours of yesterday.
The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, who read the agreement, said both parties agreed to sign the agreement on the implementation of the new national minimum wage and consequential adjustments.
Wabba announced that the state NLC Secretariat that was sealed for the correction of structural defects, would be unsealed while government continues with correction work, if any.
He stated that the state government would immediately restore the remittance of check-off dues and pay all outstanding arrears to the respective labour unions.
According to him, government would pay the salaries withheld from health workers due to the 2017 strike action.
The NLC president also said that both parties agreed to set up a Tripartite Committee to resolve the adjustment of pensions in line with the Constitution and payment of Pension and Gratuity.
Parties, he said, agreed to take steps to discontinue all on-going litigations in relation to hitherto disputed matters.
Wabba added that the state government has agreed not to victimise any worker on account of his or her involvement in the industrial dispute.
He commended the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for his statesmanship that facilitated the resolution of the dispute, and pledged labour’s support to move the state forward.
The Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo; Head of Service, Barrister Rufus Godwins; the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim; and the Executive Assistant to the Governor, Dr. Ayebaesin Beredugo; signed on behalf of Rivers State Government.
Those who signed on behalf of the organized labour, include, General Secretary, NLC, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja; Secretary General, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Musa Lawal; Chairman, NLC, Rivers State, Comrade Beatrice Itubo; Chairman, TUC, Rivers State, Comrade Austin Jonah; Chairman, Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JPSNC), Rivers State, Comrade Chuku Emecheta; and Secretary General, TUC, Rivers State, Comrade Obi Fortune.
In separate interviews with The Tide, yesterday at NLC Secretariat in Port Harcourt, the Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Rivers State chapter, Comrade Beatrice Itubo, said the immediate intervention of the governor saved the mutual relationship between labour and the state government from collapsing.
Itubo said the labour leaders have no personal issues with the administration of Governor Nyesom Wike in the state, and dispelled insinuations that organized labour in the state was being sponsored by the detractors of the government.
According to her, “Governor Wike is doing well in terms of infrastructural development”, saying that “workers only disagree with his government in the area concerning the welfare of workers”.
She expressed optimism that the state will implement all issues discussed in the agreement.
Also speaking, the National President of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Biobelemoye Joy Josiah, commended Governor Nyesom Wike for developmental strides in Rivers State.
Josiah said that despite the lapses in the welfare of civil servants, the governor was performing very well in the state.
He used the opportunity to appeal to the state government to also transfer the pay point of primary health workers to the state government.
On his part, the Chairman, Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Comrade Anthony Nwachukwu, hailed the resolutions reached during the negotiations between the state government and the organised labour to avert the planned protest in the state.
He said that the protest would have sent a bad signal on the government, if the governor had not intervened.
The union leader said JUSUN would revoke its position on the shelved strike, if the issues of promotion arrears remain unresolved.

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Nigeria Needs Effective Leadership To Be Great -Wike

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that Nigeria needs effective leadership for the country to achieve the dreams and aspirations of its founding fathers.
He stated this during the Juma’at service in commemoration of the 62nd Independence Anniversary of Nigeria, held at the JIBWIS Directorate Headquarters, Central Mosque, Bonny Street, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor, who was represented by the Special Adviser on School Sports, Dr Okiri Mohammed, said despite the numerous challenges bedevilling the country, Nigerians must collectively resolve to make the nation great.
“Remember we have one country Nigeria, and we must make it great. For us to make it great, we must see it as our duty.”
The Rivers State governor said the task of nation building was the responsibility of every citizen of the country, and the 62nd Independence anniversary celebration should be seen as a time for stocktaking.
He emphasised that Nigerians must collectively continue to demand for probity and accountability from the leadership in order to move the country forward.
“Let us continue to ensure that there is probity and accountability in this country. We need effective leadership in this country before it will go forward.”
The governor charged Muslims to continue to preach the message of peace and join hands with other Nigerians to reduce crime and poverty in Nigeria.
”As Muslim you are charged to preach peace in your various homes. We have to make sure we collectively reduce poverty and crime. We have to make sure that this country is better.”
The governor pointed out that the country is at a critical juncture, and charged Nigerians to participate effectively in the 2023 general election.
“We don’t have another country apart from Nigeria and so, all of us collectively and individually have a duty to make this country better.”
Delivering his sermon, the Imam of Bonny Island, Yusuf Lamis, charged Nigerians to be patriotic and contribute to the development of the nation.
He said the earnest prayer of every Muslims in the country is for God’s intervention in the emergence of credible political leaders in the 2023 general election.

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Wike Intervenes In Ula-Ehuda, Julius Berger Dispute

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Hope for the speedy completion of the dualisation of Ahoada-Omoku highway has been rekindled, following the intervention of Rivers State Governor, Chief NyesomWike, in the face-off between Ula-Ehuda community and the Julius Berger, the construction company handling the project.
Wike, who visited Ula-Ehuda, yesterday, to assess the progress of the ongoing construction work and to settle the disagreement between the community and Julius Berger, advised youths in the community to learn how to channel their problem appropriately to the government.
The governor, who was accompanied by the Rivers State Commissioner of Works, Dr. Dakorinama George-Kelly; former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Chibudum Nwuche; Deputy Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ehie Ogerenye Edison; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard bearer in Rivers State, Sir Siminialayi Fubara; and others, said his administration takes exception to disruption of construction work in any part of state.
He admonished community leaders in the state, irrespective of their political leanings, never to politicise the issue of development, as this could be detrimental to the progress of their people.
“I tell people: don’t be a curse to yourself. And I’ve always told people too: don’t bring politics in the development of a place. If you bring politics, you’ll suffer it. None of you put pressure on us to say we must dualise this road.”
The governor explained that his administration took the decision to dualise the road in recognition of the fact that it would promote access to economic and social services, generate increased agricultural incomes and productive employment opportunities and reduce poverty in the state.
Wike, who urged the community to support the state government’s effort to improve infrastructure in the area, cautioned that government would, henceforth, not tolerate any disruption of the ongoing dualisation work.
“If you have problem, channel your problem appropriately. But don’t come and begin to use your young boys and young girls to stop the road construction.”
The governor assured the community that the concerns raised would be adequately addressed, adding that the government would not allow anyone or group of individuals to derail the progress of the area.
“We have come to open up your community to be like a city, and you want to send your community backwards, it will not work. Support us to do what we are doing.”
Earlier, the Chairman,Ula-Ehuda Community Development Committee, Monday Princewill Evergreen, thanked Wike for the project, and appealed for the inclusion of drainage in the Ula-Ehuda section of the Ahoada-Omoku highway.
“We are grateful that you brought this project to our community, not just our community, Ahoada East. For long, we had envisaged that this road will be dualised and constructed. It was until you came that that dream was realised, and the community and the entire people of Ekpeye are eternally grateful to you.”
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Dr. George-Kelly D. Alabo, had advised some protesting youths at the Ula-Ehuda axis of Ahoada-Omoku Dual Carriageway to shun obstructive means of demonstration at the project site, because if the project,was not completed as a result of their actions, the people of the area would be the ones to lose and not Julius Berger.
George-Kelly advised them to allow the construction giant to continue with their work while he makes an arrangement for a round-table talk between all parties involved to find an amicable solution to the contentious issue on drainage before the end of the week.
Residents of Ula-Ehuda in Ahoada East Local Government Area were addressed by the commissioner, who was accompanied by the Chairman of Ahoada East Local Government Council, Hon. Ben Eke, to inspect the Ahoada-Omoku Dual Carriageway project, last Tuesday.
“I am not here to blame anybody but to solve a problem. I am here to provide a solution that will be good for the community, the government, and the contractor. If we must tell ourselves the truth, stopping them from working will not solve the problem, it would even put you at the disadvantaged end because if this project is not completed, it is the people of this area that will lose, not Julius Berger.
“Please, do not make the mistake some youths of a particular local government area made. They stopped two projects of the state government in their area over frivolous demands, the state government made several attempts to persuade them to allow the construction of the projects to continue, like I am doing now, but they refused. Contractors left sites, and the projects were abandoned. Two years after, the contactors are yet to resume work for excuses of community disturbances. When the contractors eventually go back to sites, the projects may become more expensive for government, given the current fluctuations.
“The best thing to do now is to allow the contractor to finish the initial scope of the project first.Maybe, before the commissioning, you can make this other demand, and we will forward same to the governor. Please, realise that even in your demands, due process has to be followed.
“I am appealing to you to allow them complete this work on schedule so that it can be commissioned by or before December. By Friday this week (yesterday), I’ll be having a meeting between the ministry, the council chairman, representatives of Julius Berger, the project CLOs, and Ula-Ehuda community leaders. I will like the community to include, at least, two indigenous civil engineers in their delegation so that they can understand and interprete to you some technical details that would be discussed in the meeting,” the commissioner added.
Also, the commissioner inspected the 8.020km Akpabu-Itu-Omudioga Road project, phase 1 in Emohua Local Government Area.
Checks show that asphaltic binder course had been completed for the entire road length and 700m asphalt wearing course had been done so far.
The project is 75percent completed and in progress.

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Catholic Bishops Vow To Work For Credible Polls In 2023

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Bishops of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja have pledged to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure free, credible and transparent general elections in 2023.
The commitment is contained in a communiqué jointly signed by Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Abuja and Very Rev. Fr. Sam Tumba, after the 3rd General assembly of the Archdiocese.
In the communique issued on Saturday in Abuja, the bishops enjoined Parishes, families, Church societies and groups to dedicate special moments to pray for a hitch-free election.
“We call on Catholics and indeed all Nigerian citizens to be consciously and actively involved in the electoral processes at all levels.
“Voter registration, collection of Permanent Voters Card, casting votes on election days with a firm and clear conscience to elect credible leaders who will bring about the true dividends of democracy”, they said.
The bishops commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Electoral Act into law to enhance the sanctity of the electoral process.
“We task the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure political fairness and transparency, to consolidate the trust reposed in them by Nigerians.
“Parishes and Catholic institutions within our Archdiocese are encouraged to arrange and organize voter awareness programmes, seminars and workshops guided by the Justice, Development and Peace Commission, to better equip our people for greater political responsibility.
“We remain open and willing to collaborate with relevant government agencies, electoral bodies and security operatives to ensure peaceful and credible election processes in the coming year,” the communique added.
The bishops cautioned politicians not to regard the election as a ‘do or die’ affair, adding that they must also refrain from money politics, manipulative and divisive practices along ethnic, social and religious lines to win elections.
“Even though we decry the hard economic situations in the nation, we strongly discourage all Catholics and especially our youths from lending themselves as easy recruits for political thuggery and other criminal activities to enthrone selfish and incompetent aspirants into electoral offices.
“We discourage and condemn any form of vote buying or selling and other electoral malpractices during the elections,” the bishops said.
The bishops advised catholic politicians from all political parties within the Archdiocese to participate in Church activities, so as to be better known by the faithful.
They called on all people of goodwill to cooperate with security agencies to root out criminal elements within communities.
The bishops, however, urged security agents to remain professional in discharging their duties and resist any attempt to be used to intimidate the people by corrupt politicians.
The communique called on Catholics across the country to match work with prayer, for peaceful electioneering process.
They called for sustained prayers for the country, adding: “Nigerians should take courage and be of ardent hope, for the storms will soon be over.”

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