Former Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has accused those opposed to the zoning of the senate presidency to the South-South region of deliberately laying a stumbling block for President Ahmed Bola Tinubu in the National Assembly.
Wike asserted that anybody who loves , believes in the unity of the country, and wants the President Tinubu-led government to succeed, will not hesitate to ensure that the next Senate President should be from the South-South as already determined by the President and the ruling All Progressives Congress leadership.
The immediate past Rivers State governor stated this during a media chat in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
“There is something going in the country now about the Senate presidency and the House leadership, and everybody knows my position. My position is that the (Senate) presidency should come to the South-South. We are not talking about the presidency of the country now, we are done with that.
“If you agree that (Senate) presidency should go to the south, tell me the truth, where should it go? It can’t be in the South-West. It can’t be in the South-East. South-South has only produced one Senate president, far back in 1979, Joseph Wayas. South-East has produced over seven.”
He stressed that those who were adverse to President Tinubu presidential ambition are still hellbent on laying stumbling block for him at the National Assembly, through their opposition to his preferred choice of former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio as the next Senate President.
“The party (All Progressives Congress) and the President appear to have a soft spot for Akpabio. I would have thought that people will say, look allow this administration to start on a very good foundation, so nobody gives us excuses that why this administration could not start on good footing is because of the rancour between the executive and the legislature.”
The former Rivers State governor maintained that if there is no cordial relationship between the leadership of the National Assembly and the presidency, the country will be distracted by the unnecessary power conflict between the executive and the legislative branches of government.
“If Mr President doesn’t have a smooth administration, at the end of the day, who suffers? Is it not Nigerians? Let us believe that we are all one, let us give everyone a sense of belonging.”
Wike disclosed that President Tinubu and the APC national leadership preference for Akpabio, who is a Christian, is part of a deliberate strategy aimed at dispersing the misconception generated by the choice former Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, a Muslim, as the president’s running mate.
According to him, by backing Akpabio and appointing the former Benue State governor, George Akume as Secretary to the Federation, President Tinubu has demonstrated his sincerity to balance the faith question raised by the APC Muslim-Muslim ticket in the last presidential election.
“Muslim-Muslim ticket was a problem, coupled with the abysmal performance of the last government, it was a double jeopardy. PDP campaigned against it that this country can’t have a President as Muslim and Vice President a Muslim. Somehow, by the president’s own luck, God being by his side, and his doggedness, he was able to make it.
“Mind you, a lot of booty trap were set for Mr. President not to emerge as President. A lot of booty traps were set even by people in his own party. It is correct. There is no government in this world which is a ruling party that can bring up policy that will make your party to be unpopular during election period.#
”Within that period of election, you brought the issue of Naira redesign and brought the issue of there was no fuel. Two things that affected the masses. You will know it was a booty trap set against Asiwaju not to emerge. Nobody can deceive me that that policy was not targeted at him.”
The former governor dismissed insinuation that his recent visit to the Presidential Villa is in connection to speculation that he was being offered ministerial position. According to him, President Tinubu has never during any of their meetings made such offer to him as is being speculated in the media.
“Every week, you see people reeling out different list. What is my business? Mr President has not called me one day to say look this is what I want you to do, for me to say yes or no. But, you see people churning out list. I’m sure this week another list will come out.”
Wike commended President Tinubu for his courage to end fuel subsidy regime in the country. He argued that the decision clearly distinguishes the President as a man determined and prepared for leadership.
“What President did was to tell Nigerians, I am prepared for this job, and that is why some of us we say give him a chance.”
He also described the appointment of the Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as the Chief of Staff to the President as most appropriate
Wike, has however, faulted the north retention position of chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum.
Fubara Set To Create New Cities In Rivers
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has disclosed that arrangements are at advanced stages to achieve the development of new cities in the state that would help to decongest Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas.
Fubara said that the new cities would end the one city status of Rivers State and attract more investors into the state.
The governor stated this when he inspected the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority’s (GPHCDA) office and project sites in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
Fubara said: “I can assure you that in our time, we might not achieve the dream of that big city in four years, but we will add a few things that would also help us in getting at that target.
“This is because, we are thinking of decongesting the present one city state that we have, which is Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor. We are thinking of developing other parts of the state and our coming here is to see what the agency has been doing, what you have done already and what we can also do to make us achieve more new cities in our state.”
Fubara noted that despite the challenges the agency has been facing, there would be remarkable difference in what it would achieve within his tenure if the agency’s development ideals are aligned with those of the state government.
He, however, charged the agency to be self-sustaining by attracting investors as outlined by its establishment law.
Also speaking, the Sole Administrator of GPHCDA, Amb Desmond Akawor, said that since its establishment in 2009 by the Greater Port Harcourt Law, the agency has been slowed down in creating more cities because of its operational structure and the nature of the Public-Private Partnership it adopted.
Akawor, who is the Rivers State chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), explained that a new legal framework has been fine-tuned by the last GPHDA board, which the current management would present to the governor.
He said: “I am sure that with your directives, we will be able to reschedule some of the projects so that we can move forward with all of our partners, especially in the area of reforming or strengthening the public private partnership arrangements.”
Majority Leader Seeks Immortalisation Of Slain DPO
The Majority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Edison Ehie, has appealed to the Police High Command to consider the immortalisation of the murdered Divisional Police Officer(DPO) in charge of Ahoada East Divisional Headquarters, SP Bako Angbashim, and commiserated with the State Commissioner of Police, CP Emeka Nwonyi; officers and men of the Police Force; and the family of the deceased over the brutal murder of the DPO.
Ehie, who made the appeal in a statement said the slain DPO deserves to be immortalised as he was a gallant, fearless and courageous police officer who distinguished himself in the fight against criminals and bandits in the State, adding that the calamitous killing and decapitation of the DPO by Mr Gift David Okpara Okpolowu, alias 2 Baba and his criminal gang is “an unprecedented low which shocked me beyond words and threw my constituents into an endless mourning circle”.
As the Honourable member representing Constituency 2 at the Rivers State House of Assembly and the incumbent Leader of the House, Ehie said he is using this medium to unreservedly condemn the senseless killing and decapitation of the DPO, and also to reiterate the call for the immediate apprehension and prosecution of his killers and everyone associated with the condemnable act.
Describing SP Angbashim as a gallant, fearless and courageous police officer who distinguished himself in the fight against criminals and bandits in the State, the lawmaker said the slain DPO was the one who single-handedly restored peace and order in Ogoniland.
“Even within the few months he spent in Ahoada East Local Government Area, the results of his gallantry were visible for all to see and appreciate.This is why his killing is not only calamitous and lamentable, but an affront to the government of the day in the State”, he said, adding that no government worths its salt will fold it’s arms and allow criminals and bandits to freely prey on its citizenry in order to make the State ungovernable.
On this score, therefore, Ehie thanked the Governor of the State, Sir SiminalayiFubara for prompt response to the situation which he said has already started yielding wonderful fruits, with some of the criminals associated with the killing of the DPO now under police detention and interrogation.
He also thanked and commend the officers and men of the Police Force as well as operatives of other sister security agencies in the State for their uniquely stellar efforts in fishing out the killers of the DPO.
The Majority Leader, however, called on all Ekpeye people, traditional rulers, chiefs, political elites and the general public to gratuitously assist and work with the police and other security agencies in ensuring that the killers of SP Angbashim are fished out, apprehended and made to face the full weight of the law, saying, “May our State never again witness this type of murderous orgy and life wastage”.
Ehie also appealed to the Police High Command in the State to consider the immortalisation of the slain DPO, while also appealing for meaningful and deserving support to his family and dependants.
While conveying his heart-felt condolences to the Nigerian Police, especially the officers and men of the Rivers State Police Command, the lawmaker prayed the Almighty God to grant them the fortitude to bear the monumental loss. He equally extended his deepest condolences to the family of the DPO, and prayed God to console them and heal their wounds.
Ehie further noted that “the biggest debt we collectively owe SP Bako Angbashim is to redress his killing by arresting his killers and subjecting them to justice.”
Appeal Court Upholds Banigo’s Senatorial Election Victory
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, yesterday, upheld the judgment of the Rivers State National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal that declared Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the Rivers West Senatorial District Election held on February 25, 2023.
The Appellant Court, in her judgment, dismissed the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senatorial Candidate, Hon. Asita O. Asita as “lacking in merit”.
In her reaction shortly after the verdict at the court premises, the Banigo hailed the judgment, describing it as an “incontrovertible victory of irreversible Senate seat”.
She expressed gratitude to the Almighty God, the leaders/stakeholders of the PDP and the entire members of the Rivers West Senatorial District for their unflinching support.
Banigo assured them of her loyalty and total commitment towards realising the tenets of her Kingdom Mandate.
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