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Keep Late Statesmen Legacies Alive, Igali Tasks Rivers, Bayelsa Govts

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Former Nigerian Ambassador to the Scandinavian, Dr Godknows Igali, has charged the governments of Rivers and Bayelsa states to do all within their power to keep the legacies of their late statesmen alive.
He stated this while delivering a public lecture on the theme, “Okilo: The Bridge-Builder and His Role in the Political Stability of Nigeria” during the 16th anniversary memorial of the late first civilian governor of the old Rivers State, Chief (Sen) Melford Obiene Okilo, in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
Dr Igali described the late Chief Okilo as the very epitome of integrity, patriotism and selfless service to society.
The diplomat averred that late Chief Okilo was truly a bridge-builder with an  unblemished public service career that spanned from the First Republic to the present one that began in 1999, when he was elected Senator to represent the Bayelsa East Senatorial District.
He gave justification for the annual event, urging the Rivers and Bayelsa states governments to continually honour departed heroes such as Chief Dappa Biriye, Major Isaac Adaka Boro and others who made significant contributions towards the creation and development of the two states.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Government has promised to renovate the personal residence of the late ex-Rivers State Governor at his home town, Emakalakala in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.
The state governor, Senator Douye Diri, made the pledge while making his remarks at the Memorial Public Lecture.
Represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Governor Diri also promised to renovate the St Bartholomew’s Anglican Church, Emakalakala which was built by the late sage.
The Tide reports that the two-day 2024 memorial activities ended last Friday with a thanksgiving service at the St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church, Emakalaka, followed by a wreath laying ceremony at his mausoleum.
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Deputy Governor, Mr Doubara Atasi, quoted him as saying that the state government was undertaking the renovation projects as a mark of honour to late Chief Okilo’s patriotism and selfless service to Nigeria and humanity in general.
The Bayelsa Chief Executive noted that the late Chief Okilo was the first governor in the history of Nigeria to conceive and establish a state-owned university and an independent power plant in the country, in the early 1980s.
He stressed that if successive governments had built on what the late sage started in the power sector, Rivers and Bayelsa states would have been completely lighted up by now.
Governor Diri eulogized the departed parliamentary secretary to Nigeria’s first Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, in the First Republic, pointing out that late Chief Okilo lived “his yesterday for today” through a sacrificial and visionary lifestyle.
”From all that has been said, Chief Melford Okilo was a man who lived his yesterday for today. There are things we have started today which we ought to have started yesterday.
“Like the issue of power, if we had built on what Okilo did in the early 1980s, by now the whole of Rivers and Bayelsa states would have been lighted up, and we wouldn’t have had issues with NEPA or PHCN.
“He started the first independent power plant in Nigeria. He saw quality education as a weapon and tool for emancipation, and that is why he also established the first state university in the country, which is the Rivers State University.
“As a government we can’t talk about Melford Okilo sufficiently. But we will continue to honour his patriotic and selfless service to Rivers, Bayelsa, Nigeria and humanity in general.
“In that regard, I want to announce that the Bayelsa State Government is undertaking to renovate the personal residence of Chief Melford Okilo at Emakalakala in Ogbia LGA, as well as the church building where his memorial services had always been held at Emakalakala”, he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government, Prof. Nimibofa Ayawei, emphasized that late Chief Melford Okilo deserved to be celebrated for his monumental contributions to the development of the Ijaw nation.
In attendance were former President Goodluck Jonathan, represented by a former Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Edmund Allison-Oguru, former Deputy Governor of the state, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (Rtd.), serving and past House of Assembly members, commissioners, traditional rulers, amongst others.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Ex-Senate President’s Body Arrives Nigeria After 33 Months

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The body of Nigeria’s Second Republic Senate President, Dr Joseph Wayas, has arrived Nigeria 33 months after his death in the United Kingdom.
The remains of the elder statesman, which arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Wednesday morning, were received by his family members; Cross River North Senator, Jarigbe Agom; Hon. Peter Akpanke; kinsmen, and other stakeholders.
The body was thereafter deposited at the morgue of the National Hospital, Abuja, after two years and nine months at a London morgue.
Senator Jarigbe, Hon. Akpanke and the family members of the late former two-time Senate President, were full of praises for Cross River State governor, Prince Bassey Otu, for his spirited efforts in facilitating the transportation of Dr Wayas’ remains to Nigeria.
They also commended the efforts of the Convener of the Who is Who Forum of Cross River North, Papa Dorn Cklaimz Enamhe and his Co-convener, Mr Johnny Agim, SAN, in mobilising Cross Riverians and Nigerians to ensure the successful return of the remains of the former Senate President.
Recall that Senator Wayas, who hailed from Cross River State, was Nigeria’s Senate President between 1979 and 1983.
Late Wayas was born on May 21, 1941. He died on November 30, 2021 in the United Kingdom following a protracted illness. Disagreements among members of his immediate family had delayed his burial rites since then.
Two years and nine months later, his body has been flown home from Heathrow Airport in London aboard a British Airways flight 083 and arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, Wednesday at about 4:40am.
Speaking to journalists on arrival of the body of the elder statesman, the Senator representing Cross River North, Senator Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, said “We have come to receive the body of late Senate President, Joseph Wayas, who died two and half years ago, and we just succeeded in bringing the body back to the country through the efforts of the Governor of Cross River State, His Excellency, Prince Bassey Otu.
“We are going to prepare for the funeral, report back to the Governor, and the Governor is going to take it up from there because the late statesman is the responsibility of the government and he will be accorded a state burial.”
However, he said the issues that caused the delay in bringing the body of the late Senate President back home “have been sorted out finally.”
Meanwhile, the lawmaker also thanked the leadership of the Who is Who in Cross River North led by the Convener, Dr Doncklaimz Enamhe, for their collaborative effort and support as he proceeded to sign the condolence register at Dr Wayas’ Asokoro residence in Abuja.
Also speaking, the member representing Obanliku/Bekwarra/Obudu Federal Constituency, Hon. Peter Akpanke, also said, “We are here to deposit the corpse of our political father, mentor, and former Senate President, Dr Joseph Wayas. His body was flown today into Abuja from the United Kingdom, UK, and was received by the Distinguished Senator and all of us. So we came to the mortuary and the corpse has been deposited.”
On the contributions of the late Senate President to his people and national development, Hon. Akpanke noted that, “He was a two term Senate President without impeachment, impacted the lives of most of the people today, and he brought them up. Like FC Obudu, he brought that school, and built a lot of leaders today, and he was our political leader.”
Meanwhile, the Convener, Who is Who Forum of Northern Cross River, Dr Doncklaimz Enamhe, expressed gratitude to God for resolving everything that caused the delay, and appreciated the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Bassey Otu for his intervention that made everything to go well.
“The people of Northern Cross River under the aegis of Who is Who Forum of Northern Cross River realised that our father and our leader who had passed on two years and nine months back was still in a London morgue. So the first thing we did was to allay the fears of Nigerians by going to view the corpse, which we did in London, then now we have brought back our father.
“Everything has been resolved because the family is back, our leader is here, now we will bury him. Every family has issues once in a while, the good thing is that God has a way of resolving issues. When all of us met the corpse of our father we all became sober, weeping and crying, and to God be the glory our Senator, House of Rep Member, and Governor, they are all together with the Federal Government, the Senate President, and everybody is going to give Rt Hon Joseph Wayas, two term Senate President and acting President a befitting burial.”
Other stakeholders and leaders in attendance included; Senator Eteng Jonah Williams, Rt. Hon. Mike Etaba, Ntufam Fidelis Ugbo, Jonny Agim, SAN, Hon. Cletus Obun, amongst others.

 

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Urges IGP To Stop Ex-lawmakers From Disrupting Rivers Governance

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, to caution the ousted 27 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly against actions capable of disrupting the smooth running of the state by Governor Siminalayi Fubara.
Disclosing this in a press statement on Wednesday, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, reminded the lawmakers loyal to the immediate past governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, that they publicly declared their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Citing the 1999 constitution in the statement, Mr Ologunagba insisted that by their defection, they had given up their legislative seats in the Assembly and, therefore, had lost the right to meet as the state’s lawmakers, let alone issue directives to the governor.
Mr Ologunagba, in the statement, said, “The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for the umpteenth time, cautions the former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly who lost their seats upon defection from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) @OfficialAPCNg to desist from actions and utterances that are capable of disrupting peace and governance in the State.
“The Party counsels the former lawmakers to wake up to the reality that they are no longer members of the Rivers State House of Assembly by virtue of the self-executory provision of Section 109 (1) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and as such cannot gather or issue any notice to the State Governor in the capacity of members of Rivers State House of Assembly,” he explained.
According to the party’s national spokesperson, the caution followed the former lawmakers’ purported seven-day ultimatum issued from an unknown location to the governor to re-present the 2024 state’s budget already passed and signed into law.
Mr Ologunlagba said the action by the pro-Wike ex-lawmakers’ seeking to assume the powers of the state assembly “is apparently with the intension to cause crisis, undermine and disrupt the Democratic and Constitutional Order in the State in clear violation of Section 1 sub-section 2 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”
“Having irretrievably lost their seats upon their defection from the PDP, the political Party platform upon which they were elected into the Rivers State House of Assembly, they cannot enjoy the powers, rights, privileges, recognition and obligations of members of the Rivers State House of Assembly,” Mr Ologunagba insisted.

The party, therefore, charged the IG “to note the subversive action of these former lawmakers and take immediate action to protect the Institution of Democracy, peace and security in Rivers State.”

He also called on the people of the state to remain vigilant and law-abiding and continue working together for the continued stability, peace and delivery of democracy dividends in the state on the party’s platform.

 

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PDP Cautions Amaewhule, Others Over Ultimatum To Fubara

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The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has again cautioned the Martins Amaewhule-led former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly to desist from actions and utterances that are capable of disrupting peace and governance in the state.
In a statement issued on Wednesday by Debo Ologunagba, National Publicity Secretary, the party reminded them that they had lost their seats upon defection from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The party counselled the former lawmakers to “wake up to the reality that they are no longer members of the Rivers State House of Assembly by virtue of the self-executory provision of Section 109 (1) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and as such cannot gather or issue any notice to the State Governor in the capacity of members of Rivers State House of Assembly.”
The PDP said that it was constrained to sound the warning against the backdrop of a purported seven-day ultimatum issued by the former lawmakers “from an unknown location to Governor Siminialayi Fubara to re-present the 2024 Rivers State budget which has already been passed and signed into law.”
The statement added: “This action by these individuals seeking to assume the powers of the Rivers House of Assembly is apparently with the intension to cause crisis, undermine and disrupt the Democratic and Constitutional Order in the State in clear violation of Section 1 sub-section 2 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“Having irretrievably lost their seats upon their defection from the PDP, the political Party platform upon which they were elected into the Rivers State House of Assembly, they cannot enjoy the powers, rights, privileges, recognition and obligations of members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.”
The PDP charged the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to note the subversive action of these former lawmakers and take immediate action to protect the Institution of Democracy, peace and security in Rivers State.
The party enjoined the people of Rivers State to remain vigilant, law-abiding and continue to work together for the continued stability, peace and delivery of democracy dividends in Rivers State on the platform of the PDP.

 

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