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Wike Did Not Lie Over Abandoned Rivers Aircraft -Nsirim

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The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, has come out strongly in defence of Governor Nyesom Wike’s comment that the Legacy 600 Aircraft belonging to the state was secretly abandoned by the previous administration led by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi in far away Germany since 2012, insisting that the governor did not lie over the matter.
Nsirim, who stoutly defended the Governor’s position on the issue in a strong worded reaction, particularly punctured a write up by former Commissioner for Transport in the previous administration, Hon George Tolofari titled, ‘Governor Wike Lied Against Amaechi’.
According to him, the state government is truly amazed at the sheer desperation with which Mr Tolofari and indeed several key figures of the previous administration, have been attempting with obvious futility, to deny the truth about the Rivers Aircraft in Germany.
With the benefit of hindsight, the Information and Communications Commissioner said it is quite typical of the opposition to deploy its now tired diversionary tactic, by dwelling on the personality of Governor Nyesom Wike and attempting to obfuscate the facts when ever contentious issues of their management of Rivers funds and maladministration of the state are brought up.
“In this case, however, and as in several other glaring verifiable instances including their failed monorail project, amongst others, they have once again, fallen woefully short of upholding their sincerity and integrity”, he said, contending that “everyone residing in Rivers State in 2015, is aware that the pervious administration never intended and indeed had no intention whatsoever of handing over to the administration of Governor Wike, when it became incontrovertibly clear that he had won the 2015 governorship election.
To further buttress his points, Nsirim asserted that actors in that administration fought Governor Wike furiously, throwing everything they had at him, and continued to fight him even after February 2016 when the Supreme Court sealed his election victory, until the very last days of his first term, when a Federal High Court dismissed an age falsification suit literally hours before the March 9 governorship elections.
“The Supreme Court was to rest the matter once and for all in July 2019 and then, the same Apex Court put the final stamp on Governor Wike’s second term victory in August 2019″, he said.
He further contended that George Tolofari in his watery defence, had gone to great heights, especially since he was the Commissioner for Transport in the previous administration, to insist stubbornly, but with scant corroboration, that the issue of the secretly abandoned Aircraft was properly articulated in the handover notes passed down from the previous administration.
To puncture Tolofari’s assertion, Nsirim said, “We all know what manner of handover notes would be prepared by a roundly and comprehensively defeated outgoing administration, that never intended to hand over and did not even hand over at all in accordance with the recognised and accepted modus operandi of the process.”
He further stressed that “Indeed, Governor Wike summed it up aptly during his meeting with Markus Froetschi, Manager, Business Development, General Aerotec, when he said, “Then, why was there no documentation to let the incoming government to know that we have this facility and we sent it to RUAG for inspection?
“Again, I do know from experience that inspection of such facility does not take more than six months. So, if it was bought in 2012, expectantly at least, by early 2013, the plane ought to have come back for use”
In response to this, Nsirim said, “Indeed, Governor Wike has confirmed everything they have said about the Aircraft, from its purchase by the Dr Peter Odili administration, up until the point where the previous administration surreptitiously sneaked it into Germany on some very spurious reasons and then apparently forgot it was there for the next three years.”
“It is therefore better left to the imagination to conjecture what the intention of the previous administration, which never intended to handover in the first place, would have been, when they decided to ‘abandon’ the aircraft in Germany for three years and as the saying goes, you will have to use your tongue to count your teeth to get the answer to this matter,” he said.
According to him, Rivers State remains the only state in the world history where a previous government refused to hand over in a democracy.
Nsirim, therefore, asserted that “George Tolofari who was part of this odium should bury his head in shame as he continues to defend his master’s profligacy.”
The Information and Communications Commissioner, conclusively said, “Rivers people will surely be grateful and satisfied that Governor Wike has succeeded in recovering this most valuable secretly abandoned huge asset for Rivers people. This is the true quality of a patriotic leader who is sincerely determined to give his people quality and result oriented leadership.”

By: Donatus Ebi

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Publish Details Of Parties’ Financial Transactions, SERAP Tasks INEC

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, to publish the reports of parties’ accounts and balance sheets.
The body also wants details of the guidelines and steps being taken to prevent vote buying in the forthcoming elections and to prosecute vote buyers and other electoral offenders.
In a letter, yesterday, SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, noted that citizens have the right to know about the accounts and financial transactions of parties.
He said transparency and accountability would curb the influence of money in politics, promote a level playing field, and remove the risks to the independence of political actors and would-be public office holders.
The organisation insisted it is both immoral and illegal to pay citizens to vote for a particular political party or standard-bearer.
“Unpunished cases of vote buying would continue to undermine good governance, the rule of law, moral values, as well as hinder citizens’ participation in elections”, it said.
SERAP told INEC that when candidates buy votes, there are possibilities that they will disregard for democratic rules.
“Vote buying and related electoral offences encourage poor governance and weaken citizens’ capacity to hold their elected officials accountable for their actions.”
SERAP charged the electoral umpire to collaborate with anti-corruption agencies to ensure the effective prosecution of any outstanding cases of vote buying and related electoral offences.
The letter urged INEC to act within 14 days or face legal actions that would compel it to comply with the request.

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RSG Recommits To Engaging Youth Positively

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The Rivers State Government has said it was committed to engaging youths positively and empowering them.
The State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike, stated this during the opening ceremony of the Uplifting African Youth Through Basketball Programme in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Wike said the issues of youths and young adults were very important to his administration, while expressing delight that youths were being built up with critical life skills in sports, communication, and entrepreneurial leadership skills needed for Rivers State, Nigeria, and Africa.
“This administration is very interested in youth engagements, we want to make sure that our youths are very inclusive, participate, play their roles, and be well mentored and well-motivated to be able to fulfill all of their potentials in life, educationally, in sports, morally and so we are here to support”, the governor stressed.
The governor expressed gratitude to the leader of the Organised Basketball Network (OBN) and his team, for their efforts and the support of the US Consulate, while urging them to visit the Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt, to appreciate the efforts of the state government in the area of youth engagement.
The youth friendly governor, said “I want to encourage our youths that as you walk together in the next two days, you would learn how to be tolerant with one another and to know that gender based violence is totally not acceptable and that it is inhumane, I know it is just two days, but a lot can be achieved that can be life time impactful”.
In her remarks, the United States Consulate’s Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Jennifer Foltz said the United States and Nigeria have very special and close relationship, adding that the Consulate feels this was the right time to do a sports programme.
“Sports diplomacy is part of what we do, it is part of some ways we build stronger relationships between our two countries, sports brings people together, and even if you do not speak the same language you can still play sports together”, Foltz stressed.
Earlier, the leader of the Organised Basketball Network, Obinna Ekezie said OBN was a platform founded for the development of grassroots basketball in Nigeria and Africa with a mission to develop the next generation of world-class African student athletes and consistently create opportunities to help them advance their careers overseas, through basketball scholarship.
He said the project uplifting African youths was a project to provide inclusion and opportunities for under privileged talented African youths to learn important life skills through basketball.

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PDP Assembly, Reps Candidates Emerge In Rivers

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Candidates for the House of Representatives and House of Assembly have emerged following the conduct of primaries by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, yesterday.
According to the official results, Solomon Bob emerged the party’s candidate for Abua/Odual/Ahoada East Federal Constituency while Victor Obuzor emerged the candidate for Ahoada West/Ogba/Egbema Federal Constituency.
Also, Awaji Inombek Abiante won the ticket for Andoni/Opobo Federal Constituency, just as Boma Goodhead returned elected for the Asari-Toru/Akuku-Toru Federal Constituency while Cyril Godwin Hart won Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency ticket.
The results further show that Felix Nwaeke emerged the candidate of the PDP for Eleme/Tai/Oyigbo Federal Constituency, with Boniface Emerengwa emerging winner for Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency.
In the same vein, Kelechi Nwogu cruised to victory as the candidate for Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency while Dumnamene Dekor won Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency ticket.
Similarly, Kingsley Ogundu Chinda emerged the House of Representatives candidate for Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, while Alabo Victor Tamunomiekaye won Okrika/Ogu/Bolo Federal Constituency ticket.
Chima Boms won Port Harcourt Federal Constituency 2 while Barrister Blessing Amadi is the winner of the primary election for Port HarcourtFederal Constituency 1.
For the Rivers State House of Assembly primary, Hon Dominic Iderima picked the ticket for Abua/Odual, Mrs Queen Williams picked the ticket for Ahoada East 1,Rt Hon Ehe Edison emerged the candidate for Ahoada East 2, while Hon Sokari Goodboy Sokari cruised to victory for Ahoada West.
Hon Major Jack won the ticket for Akuku-Toru 1, Hon Opuende Lolo Isaiah is the candidate for Akuku-Toru 2, Hon Ofiks Kabangs Christopher grabbed the ticket to represent Andoni, whileHon Tekena Wellington Granville got the ticket for Asari-Toru 1.
Also, a serving member, Enemi Alabo George easily won the ticket for Asari-Toru 2, just as Hon Victor Oko Jumbo got the nod to represent Bonny, while Hon Abbey Peter emerged the candidate for Degema.
Hon Igwe Obey Aforji emerged the PDP candidate for Eleme, Emohua will be represented by Mrs Justina Emeji, Hon Onwuka Ignatiuswon the ticket to represent Etche 1, while Hon Chimezie Nwankwor is the candidate for Etche 2.
The present member representing Gokana, Hon Dumle Maol, will retain his ticket for the seat, Prince Lemchi Nyeche emerged the candidate for Ikwerre 1, Mrs Barile Nwakoh won the ticket for Khana1, while Barrister Dinebari Loolo got the ticket for Khana 2.
In Obio/Akpor1, Hon Amaewhule Martin Chike was returned, just as Mrs Emilia Lucky Amadi emerged the candidate for Obio/Akpor 2, and Frankline Nwabochi will fly PDP flag for Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni1.
In the same token, Mrs Nkemuika Ezekwe will fight for Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni2 seat on the platform of the PDP, Davids Arnold Okobiriari won the ticket for Ogu/Bolo, a serving member, Somiari Steward Linda will return in Okrika, while Nwankwo Sylvanus emerged for Omuma seat.
Orubienimigha Adolphus grabbed the ticket for Opobo/Nkoro,Hon Gerald Oforji emerged for Oyigbo, Solomon Wami won the ticket for Port Harcourt1,Hon Tonye Smart Adoki will return for Port Harcourt2, Hon Azeru Opara emerged for Port Harcourt3, and Ngbar Bernard Baridamue won the ticket for Tai.

By: Nelson Chukwudi & Reward Akwu

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