Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has praised Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, for his sterling performance, saying the State was making significant strides in all areas of development.
The erstwhile President particularly commended the governor for consolidating the legacies of his predecessor, Senator Seriake Dickson, which he said has contributed to the peace, security and political stability under Diri’s leadership.
A statement from the Chief Press Secretary to the State Governor, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted the former President as having stated this during the 12th Bayelsa State annual ‘Thanksgiving Day’ ceremony at the Ecumenical Centre in Igbogene, Yenagoa the state capital.
Alabrah added that the 86-year-old former president said: “What I saw is more than what I expected. What you have here in Bayelsa that you have to cherish is peace. Comparatively, you have greater peace than other parts of the country.
“You have security. Peace without security is no peace. Security without peace is no security. Here you have security, you have peace and you have stability.
“If what is happening here is replicated in all other states in Nigeria, then, we will say we have a good country.”
In his remarks, Governor Douye Diri expressed appreciation to Obasanjo for honouring and identifying with the people and government of the State.
The Governor attributed his achievements largely to the support and cooperation of Bayelsans and to divine grace, noting that the State needs peace and development.
The Tide which was present at the occasion reports that Governor Diri also said his predecessor, former Governor Dickson laid the foundation upon which his administration was building on.
“Everybody who comes to the State acknowledges the peace and security. So, we cannot go back to the era of violence, impunity and brigandage. The essence of government is to bring peace, development and progress.
“Today, we have added value to the development of Bayelsa. We are embarking on meaningful projects and programmes and we thank God for His grace to do these things”, Governor Diri said.
The Bayelsa Chief Executive also appreciated leaders of the State, including former President Goodluck Jonathan, noting that he would have attended the event if he had not travelled out of the country.
Meanwhile, the Senator representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District and immediate past Governor of the State, Senator Seriake Dickson has appreciated Governor Diri for sustaining the legacies of his administration, particularly the road projects, the annual thanksgiving, morning devotion in Government House and the monthly praise night.
Dickson said he was a fulfilled man because he successfully handed over power without rancour and the State is peaceful and on the path of development.
The guest preacher, Pastor Lazarus Muoka of The Lord’s Chosen, Charismatic Revival Movement, delivered a sermon with the theme: “Blessed Are You.”
Pastor Muoka described the state as a blessed land where God had bestowed mineral resources that were the economic live-wire of the country.
This was even as he lauded the government and the people for setting aside a special thanksgiving day to appreciate God for His blessings upon the state.
Meanwhile , Chief Obasanjo inaugurated the second phase of the ongoing Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie senatorial road from Igeibiri to Angiama in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.
The former president applauded the developmental efforts of Dr. Jonathan, who started the project as well as Senator Dickson for continuing it.
According to him, that is the importance of continuity and if you have a horse that is winning in a race, there is no need to change it in reference to Governor Diri’s second term bid.
Obasanjo described the construction of the senatorial road as a symbol of one of the positives of state creation to address development challenges.
Dignitaries present at the thanksgiving included wife of the governor, Dr. Gloria Diri; Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo and his wife, Beatrice Ewhrudjakpo; Head of Service, Rivers State, Dr George Nwaeke, who represented Governor Siminalayi Fubara; Senator Dickson’s wife, Dr. Rachael Dickson; former Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (rtd), national and state lawmakers and their spouses.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Kogi Gov’ship Election Petitions Stolen By Gunmen – Police
The Kogi State Police Command has confirmed that gunmen attacked the secretary of the state governorship election tribunal, Mr David Umar Mike on Monday in Lokoja and made away with sensitive petition documents on the just concluded gubernatorial election in the state.
The state police command’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP William Aya, disclosed this in Lokoja on Wednesday.
The police authorities said the attackers of the state governorship tribunal secretary carted away all the petition documents filed by five political parties at gunpoint.
According to the police authorities, the documents carted away from Mike include, petitions filed by four (4) Parties: Action Alliance (AA), Action People’s Party (APP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) as well as two (2) Record Books/a Bag containing his personal item.
The police added that the incident happened just before the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) office at about 13:20hrs on Monday, while victims were on their way to the tribunal venue at the state High Court complex, Lokoja.
Police said, “On Monday, 04/12/2023 at about 1820hrs, one Mr David Umar Mike ‘m’ Secretary to Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal along with Labode Apreala (f) Confidential Secretary and Hassimu Adamu Assistant Secretary, came to State Criminal Investigation Department, Kogi State Police Headquarters and reported that on the said date, three of them left their Hotel rooms in Lokoja about 1300hrs, heading to their Office at the High Court Complex driving in his (David’s) Peugeot 406 Car.
“That just before the CBN at about 1320hrs, one SUV vehicle which had earlier overtaken him blocked his car with two other SUVs following behind.
“All of them surrounded and blocked him as he attempted to reverse. That he saw about seven hooded men all heavily armed and dressed in black attire who shot severally into the air and dragged him and his two other colleagues out of their car, ransacked the car and made away with all the petition documents.”
SP Aya added that the state Commissioner of Police, CP Onuoha Benthrand, had ordered for a thorough and diligent investigation into the incident.
Meanwhile, the police command has advised the general public to avoid statements that may prejudice ongoing investigation into the matter even as the command appealed to anyone with useful information on the incident to provide same to the command.
SDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC) had traded words over the attack on Monday with both sides pointing an accusing finger at each other.
While the SDP alleged that the attack was perpetrated by hired political thugs, the APC said it was staged.
Benue LGs Dissolution Lawless – Senate Minority Leader
The Senate Minority Leader and Senator representing Benue South, Abba Moro, has condemned the recent dissolution of local government chairmen in the state by Governor Hyacinth Alia, describing it as “lawlessness”.
In an interview on live television, Wednesday, Senator Moro expressed his disapproval of the Governor’s action, stating that it was a violation of the Nigerian Constitution.
He maintained that the governor did not have the power to unilaterally dissolve elected officials, and such actions could only be taken through due process and legal means.
He said, “Let me say clearly from the beginning, the constitution doesn’t provide for caretaker. Two years plus ago, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Ekiti State that sacked council chairmen that the governors do not have power to sack local government council and constitute caretaker committees.
“And even went further to say that the state houses of assembly do not have power to dissolve councils and that the state governors do not hide under laws made by the state assembly to dissolve elected councils.
“How can you now say you are investigating 23 local governments, 276 council wards and all of them have been found corrupt? If you find somebody, prosecute him.
“The issue now is that the action that the State House of Assembly has taken which they said he followed is wrong. What is wrong is wrong.
“This is the lawlessness that is taking place in Benue State. Is that correct? We must rise up against this thing.”
Third Republic Lawmakers Demand Unpaid Salaries, Allowances
Former lawmakers elected in the Third Republic, on Wednesday, demanded the immediate payment of their unpaid salaries and allowances to make ends meet.
The lawmakers made the plea while leading a delegation of the Third Republic Forum to present an award of selfless service to an alumnus of the Third House of Assembly and current member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency, Bayelsa State, Frederick Agbedi.
A member of the group, Basil Okafor, said President Bola Tinubu, who was elected Senator on the platform of the Social Democratic Party belonged to the set now battling to have their entitlements paid to them
“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, an octopus in battle, has fought from 1992 till date to make input and he is today the President. We have a lot of problems that we now think that having a President who is one of us, having members of the House of Representatives and multiple Senators, that some of these problems can be addressed. We have problems with our claims and salaries that were not paid at that time. We have problems that we are seeking the face of this government to see how they can help us resolve.
“And we know that having Agbedi here, he can help us coordinate his fellow members to champion this cause and the press should also help us in any way to highlight some of these problems that are facing us because we are the old boys of this current government,” he said.
He noted that the rules governing the activities of the 10th House were put in place by the Third Republic lawmakers, adding that the current lawmakers now only amend the rules to meet current realities.
Also speaking, the National Organising Secretary of the group, Hajiya Amina lauded Agbedi for his contribution to the development of the Nigerian society.
“We are here this afternoon to honour our own, the man called Fred Agbedi. He is a man who represents the interest of his people, who even represents the interest of women and fought for the creation of the Ministry of Women Affairs. He is women-friendly,” she said.
Stressing the difficulty the Third Republic lawmakers are facing owing to unpaid entitlements, she said, “Many of us have died. When we came here, we were 593, but over 250 have gone. Most of the women are dead.
“Yesterday (Tuesday) was 31 years since we were sworn in as members of this parliament. Our grandchildren can now vote and be voted for but we still have problems.
“If Moshood Abiola and Babagana Kingibe have been honoured and recognized, we were the foot soldiers. We were the delegates that voted them into power. What about us? Why can’t we be honoured and our standing salaries paid?
“Some of us are half dead. I am also half dead because my engine is knocked. I am just trying to make life easy for myself. We are calling on the government and the President to help us.”
While thanking his guests for the honour done to him, Agbedi called on the Federal Government to quickly pay up the salaries and allowances owed to the ex-lawmakers saying, “All their entitlements should be given to them. Even the President, Bola Tinubu will benefit from this.”
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