Hold Public Office Holders Accountable, Nsirim Tasks Journalists
The 2021 Correspondents’ Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State Council’s week kicked off, last Monday, with a charge by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, to journalists to continue to hold public office holders accountable in all their actions.
He admitted that journalists were facing challenges from hoodlums, thugs, and even security agents.
Represented by the Director, Public Enlightenment, Ministry of Information, Mr Celestine Ogolo, Nsirim said the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has granted unhindered access to information in the state.
He described the theme of the event as apt and revealing.
While declaring the event open, the commissioner emphasized that the governor has done well in providing infrastructural facilities for the people, pointing out that Rivers State in the near future will become a model to other states in the country.
In his opening speech, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Ogbonna Nwuke, said journalism would continue to determine the future of the society as Fourth Estate of the Realm.
Nwuke, who was a former member of House of Representatives, commended the Correspondents’ Chapel for organising the press week despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that the event was an avenue for journalists to rob minds on the way forward.
He specifically lauded the Correspondents’ Chapel’s Chairman, Mr Amaechi Okonkwo, for doubling as Caretaker Committee (CTC) chairman of the State Council of NUJ, urged him to sustain the tempo while ensuring that the State Council of NUJ returns to normal.
Also speaking, the Director, Corporate Communications of Indorama Petrochemicals and Fertiliser Company, Dr Jossy Nkwocha, said gone were the days when journalists aspired to end up as veterans.
He challenged journalists to instead leverage on their positions to become lecturers, political leaders, business tycoons, and urged them to start the journey by registering business names to compete in the corporate world.
Nkwocha equally said that there was nothing wrong with journalists transforming from reporters to become authors and earn good money, and urged them to research on topics around their areas of coverage and do books out of them.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman of Correspondents’ Chapel, Mr Amaechi Okonkwo, had said that the event was “a period of self-examination, review, and relaxation with friends of the Correspondents’ Chapel in Rivers State and beyond.”
According to him, it is ironical or pathetic that journalists who preoccupy themselves with fighting and defending others are kept captive by many issues in their operational environment.
He cited the lockdown era, occasioned by COVID-19, where he said journalists went all out to defend the society as frontline workers, but ended up being neglected when frontline workers were being listed and compensated.
Okonkwo also said that it is regrettable that media practitioners as members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm globally, have not been allowed to occupy that position in Nigeria by deliberate hostile policies of government for reasons best known to them.
“That rating or consideration is only true in other climes and not in the case of Nigeria,” he said.
The Correspondents’ Chapel chairman stressed that evidence has shown that the first to third estates have taken up all the spaces in the realm leaving no one for the media.
He said this year’s chapel’s week is to assert the space of the Fourth Estate.
He further pinpointed poor remuneration of Journalists, lack of insurance policy for media practitioners, among others, as deficiencies that have left the media and journalists at the mercy of harsh economic realities.
He said this has made it impossible for them to operate at full capacity.
The theme of the week is, ‘Survival of Journalists in Security and Economic Uncertainties in Nigeria; Focus on Strategic Reporting of the Maritime Sector’.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
I Won’t Interfere In Fubara’s Govt -Wike
The outgoing governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, has assured that he will not interfere in the administration of his successor,, Sir Siminialayi Fubara.
The governor, has however, urged Fubara to be wary of those who will be hellbent on creating rift between him and elders of the State, who are supposed to guide him as he steers the affairs of the State.
Wike made this remark at the thanksgiving service to mark the end of his administration and the inauguration of the governor-elect at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Diobu, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
He assured that after eight years of meritorious service to the State, he would not interfere in the administration of Fubara as long as the administration engenders peace, unity and development of the State.
“We will not disturb you from running your administration, but we will not allow you to make us cry. We want you to succeed more than us, so that when we are passing on the road, we will raise our shoulders and say we told you that he will do better than us”, the governor said.
Wike charged the governor-elect to be firm and decisive in his decision making, particularly, if it is in the overall interest of the generality of the State.
According to him, “You have to be firm and take decision. Decisions you will take may not be palatable, and it shouldn’t be palatable to everybody. No one decision you will take and everybody will be happy. People will criticise you.”
He also advised Fubara to be wary of those who for their own selfishness may want to instigate him to shun elder statesmen and other stakeholders in the State whose counsel will help him steer the affairs of the State.
“You see the way I related with our elders, you see the way we have respected Sir Dr. Peter Odili. The day you run away from them, enemies will catch you. And it is the work of enemies to make sure you don’t succeed.
“You have not been inaugurated, see what they are posting that the governor-elect is quarrelling with the outgoing governor. That is to show you where they are coming from and where they are heading. But I know they will fail. You have been in the system”, he said.
The governor commended the Rivers State Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Simeon Amadi and the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, for the pleasant relationship that existed between the three arms of government throughout his eight-year reign.
He stated that if the judiciary and the legislature were antagonists, his administration would not have been able to achieve the remarkable developmental strides recorded in the last eight years.
“The essence of government is for us to touch and impact on the lives of our people. That is what it is. Among the Chief Judge and Speaker, we have had a robust relationship. It has never been antagonistic. If I had a hostile Assembly, we would not been where we are today.
“If I had a hostile Chief Judge, the same thing. But God has blessed us in such a way that we have always complimented each other, and work collectively and that is the result we are seeing today. And I also appeal that whoever is going to be the Speaker, be careful”, he warned.
Wike admonished the governor-elect to cultivate healthy relationship with both the State Assembly and Judiciary.
According to him, the judiciary and the legislature must never be denied all their statutory entitlements in order to avoid unwarranted friction that will not augur well with the State.
Wike said he would not run away from the State, as he is not afraid of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“I am not running to anywhere. I will be here, of course. I know EFCC will not come. If they come, they have so much to go around and see. And they will say they are tired.
They are watching everything we are doing. I am not afraid”, he stated.
The governor used the occasion to redeem the Rivers State Government’s pledge to gift the Bishops of Ogoni, Okrika and Niger Delta dioceses vehicles.
He also directed the bishops to go to the Ministry of Land today and sign for Certificate of Occupancy for their private residence.
Earlier in his sermon, the Archbishop, Niger Delta Ecclesiastical Province/ Bishop, Diocese of Ikwerre, Most Rev Blessing C. Enyindah, had commended Wike for successfully governing and transforming the State in the last eight years.
He advised Fubara to run an inclusive administration, ask for God’s wisdom in decision making and to stand firm for what is in the best interest of the State.
65 World Leaders To Attend Tinubu’s Inauguration, Today
No fewer than 65 world leaders, including Heads of State, are expected to grace the inauguration of the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as the 16th President of Nigeria, today.
Sources at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed to The Tide that several African leaders had indicated interest in attending the inauguration ceremony which would take place at Eagle Square, Abuja.
According to sources, 65 world leaders from Africa, Europe, and America are expected at the swearing-in ceremony.
These include past presidents, diplomats, heads of international organisations and prominent Nigerians, and representatives of foreign governments and agencies.
Representatives of Nigeria’s traditional allies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, China, Germany, Finland, Jamaica, Japan, Israel, Turkey, and several others are also expected at the high-profile event.
“We have 54 countries in Africa and most of them have been invited to the inauguration; so, we don’t expect less than 65 world leaders from Africa, Europe, and America at the event.’, the source said.
Already, the United States of America delegation for Tinubu’s inauguration has arrived the country.
Recall that President Joe Biden had announced that a US delegation led by Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Marcia L. Fudge will attend the inauguration ceremony of Tinubu billed for today.
The US Mission in Nigeria, yesterday, announced their arrival ahead of the transition ceremony.
Announcing the arrival of the nine-member team, @UsinNigeria wrote, “Welcome to Nigeria! We are excited to receive the delegation from @POTUS Biden, led by @SecFudge from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as they join us in Abuja for the inauguration of President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
Tinubu will be sworn in as the 16th President of Nigeria today at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
Wike Dissolves Cabinet, Attributes RSG’s Success To Members’ Sacrifices
Governor Nyesom Wike has dissolved the Rivers State Executive Council, and expressed profound gratitude to the cabinet members for their service to the government and the state.
The governor announced the dissolution after the State Executive Council’s special valedictory session, held in Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Wike directed the commissioners to hand over government property in their custody to the Permanent Secretary or most senior director in their respective ministries.
He commended members of the cabinet for their immense sacrifices, commitment and dedication to service, which was responsible for the tremendous transformation the state had undergone in the past eight years.
“Everybody is saying today that we have done well, no one person did well, everybody did well. The governor alone cannot, on his own, be in charge of everywhere. The governor needs people who will work for him. All he does is, from time to time, find out whether things are moving on well or not.
“So, that I have done well, for me, is not about me. Those that are responsible for our state shining today, are all of you who are seated here, who have worked from morning till night. I want to sincerely thank you for the support.”
Wike said all those who served as cabinet members can confidently return home with their shoulders high, having successfully changed the narrative of governance in the country.
“Be happy to say, yes, I participated when they said Rivers State became one of the leading states in this country; when they said there was infrastructure revolution in the state, when they said we stood our ground and challenged the authorities. We stood our ground and fought the Federal Government, when we know they have violated the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The Rivers State governor recalled that at the inception of the administration in 2015, it was faced with series of challenges because of the hostility of the Federal Government, culminating in the nullification of the governorship, state and National Assembly elections.
“In 2015, when elections were nullified from State Assembly to National Assembly, to governorship, we remained undaunted. There were re-runs and re-runs, but God was on our side. We survived it, and we have never chickened out to speak the truth. We have never chickened out to say what we believe in, and we give God the glory. I want to sincerely thank all of you for your contributions.”
Wike described the immediate past administration as callous and vicious for looting state assets, and not formally handing over to his government.
He, however, thanked God for the privilege that he would be successfully handing over to the incoming Sir Siminialayi Fubara-led government on May 29.
The governor implored the cabinet members to conscientiously pray for the success of the incoming administration.
According to him, “All we need is to pray for the incoming government, support them. Where he finds you necessary to be part of his cabinet, do not disappoint us by saying no.”
In her valedictory remarks, the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, thanked the governor for availing her the privilege to be the first female deputy governor since the creation of the state in 1967.
She said history will remember Wike for his gender-sensitive policy, which has paved way for another woman, Prof. Ngozi Ordu, to be her successor.
In his remarks, the former Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, said he was proud to be part of the Wike-led transformational government that changed the landscape of the state with impactful infrastructure projects.
Similarly, the Head of Service, Barrister Rufus Godwins, said when Wike assumed office in 2015, the state purportedly had 54,472 civil servants on her payroll, but following the introduction of biometric system, the number has reduced to 39,451.
On his part, the former Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Engr Emeka Woke, thanked Wike for giving him the opportunity to serve the state under his administration.
Former Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, SAN, said by virtue of his appointment, he had learnt how to apply law for public good.
Adangor commended Wike for recovering Rivers State oil wells from other states through the ministry.
The former Commissioner for Works, Dr Dakorinama Alabo George-Kelly, disclosed that over 920-kilometre roads and 600 kilometres of drains were constructed by the Wike-led administration since 2015.
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