Mr Nyesom Wike has been sworn in as the Governor of Rivers State.
The swearing-in ceremony held on Friday was conducted by the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, Justice Kate Abiri, at the Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Mr Wike and his Deputy, Ipalibo Banigo, were sworn in at about 10:47am, in a ceremony that seemed to have laid to rest the controversy that preceded the swearing.
The new Governor, who was a former Minister of State for Education, told thousands of people at the stadium that the days of maladministration were over.
He further said he would ensure security of lives and property in the state, which witnessed series of attacks at political gathering and the death of some persons in the build up to the governorship election.
Mr Wike won the Governorship election of April 11, defeating Mr Dakuku Peterside, with a total of 1,029,102 votes. Mr Peterside polled 124,896 votes.
After Mr Wike won the election, there were controversies over who would conduct the swearing-in ceremony.
To end the controversy, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, on May 19 directed the Chief Justice of Bayelsa State to swear-in Mr Wike on May 29.
The directive was as a result of the existing vacuum in the office of the Chief Judge of Rivers State and the President of the Customary Court of Appeal in Rivers State.
A federal lawmaker, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has won the governorship ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party in Delta State, south-south Nigeria.
Senator Okowa got 406 votes in the primary election of the party held on Monday.
He defeated over 15 other aspirants in the election.
In the results read out by the election returning Officer, Hon Karim Sunday Steve, from the House of Representatives, David Edevbie got 299 votes, the former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr Victor Ochie got 185 votes, Mr Ndudi Elumelu got 50 votes and Godwill Obielum 22 votes.
Dr Festus Okobor got 5 votes, Professor Sylvester Monye garnered 10 votes, Ngozi Elejeme got 10 votes and Sir Tony Obuh 5 votes.
With Senator Okowa’s victory, it is the first time that a candidate from the Igbo speaking region of the state, popularly called Anioma, is winning the governorship ticket of the state.
The Governor of Osun State and the winner of Saturday’s governorship election, Rauf Aregbesola, has described his victory for a second term in office, as a reward for hard work, focus and determination.
In his victory speech, Governor Aregbesola, however, bemoaned the huge presence of military in the state during the election, saying it created an unnecessarily tense, tortuous and even traumatic process.
“I am humbled and honoured by your trust and abiding faith in me and my party. I pledge that your confidence in us shall never be betrayed or taken for granted.
“Ordinarily, this should be a moment of joy and celebration consequent upon the hard earned triumph of the people’s will. However, this election shows that democracy is still gravely endangered in Nigeria.
“We witnessed gross abuse of power and of due process before, during and even after the actual voting process.
“It is so sad and unfortunate that what should be a normal, routine process was maliciously allowed to snowball into a needless virtual war by the Federal Government and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“Osun state was unduly militarised in an unprecedented manner through criminal intimidation and psychological assault on our people. This election witnessed an abuse of our security agencies and amounted to a corruption of their professional ethics and integrity.
“Our victory is due to the steadfastness and resolute determination of our people to assert and defend their rights,” he said, in a speech that hugely criticised the presence of military personnel in the state.
The re-elected governor accused the PDP of trying “all it could in a most desperate manner to steal the people’s mandate”.
According to him, a critical analysis of the elections showed a trend of general low voter turnout largely because of the atmosphere of deliberate tyranny and fear caused by the excessive militarisation of the state.
He further stressed that the outcome of the election showed the unswerving determination of the people to ensure that democracy triumphs in Nigeria. “We have sent a strong signal to all and sundry that no might is powerful enough to thwart the will of the people.
“This should always strengthen our resolve to ensure that as from now on, every vote must not only be counted but must count in this country.
“Nobody or party must ever exercise power unreasonably at any level except in accordance with the will of the people to whom sovereignty belongs,” he said, apparently referring to the PDP.
Governor Aregbesola assured the indigenes of the state that his administration was committed to working with all well meaning people of the State and the generality of Nigerians in an effort “to transform Osun into a land of progress, prosperity and peace for all with renewed fervour”.
The Secretary to the Akwa Ibom Government (SSG), Udom Emmanuel, on Friday said indigenes of the State can attest to the credible work of Governor Godswill Akpabio.
“There is no average Akwa Ibom (indigene), both in Nigeria and outside Nigeria that would not attest to the fact that the present government had done creditably well” he said, on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.
Mr Emmauel, who also spoke about Nigeria’s democracy and her challenges, said: “If there were no challenges at this initial stage, I would have been a little bit surprised”.
On Nigeria’s 15th year of uninterrupted democratic rule, Emmanuel said “a child of 15 years cannot still stand alone. In most of the developed nation, it’s from 18 years.
He said challenges were expected at this stage of the nation’s existence but that the issue was not about how the challenges were being handled.
On criticisms of the Akwa Ibom administration, Emmanuel stressed that those outside government circles see things differently.
“Once you are in the private sector, and then you just look at government with a totally different eye. You use a different binocular to actually assess what the act of governance is, but once you come in and then try to contribute your quota, you will discover that it’s a little bit more than what you actually perceived.”
He also stressed that “everything revolves around leadership”, noting that Governor Godswill Akpabio’s style of leadership “has actually created a lot of enabling environment for us to excel; and actually take decisions”.
He added that “we must, at least in the nearest future, starting from even now, ensure that an average Akwa Ibom person is actually standing tall, anywhere in the world”.
Asked what changes he had made to his office to make it serve the people better, he stated that he met a very structured pattern of governance. “Once you come from a structured private sector and you meet a structured pattern of governance in the public sector, all you need to do is to flow in and make sure that you run with the machinery of the structured governance.
On managing the State’s projects despite limited resources available, the SSG highlighted the ‘uncommon transformation’ agenda of the government, stating that the “governor had gone on a very selfless service.
He stressed that the Governor’s selfless service and passion for the progress of the people have set him apart.
The leadership of the National Assembly in Nigeria has cautioned members against heating up the polity with provocative utterances.
At the resumption of plenary in January 2014, the Nigerian Senate President, David Mark, expressed worries over persuasive political tension rising from fostering political disputes.
He said that the political class had been blinded by naked ambition.
Senator Mark said: “The political class has so painfully forgotten the lessons of our national history and has once again allowed the collision of certain personal ambitions to overheat the polity and undermine governance, coming at a time when our nation is still transiting amid tremendous trends and enormous social and economic challenges”.
He laid emphasis on what he called primordial politics at the expense of governance, saying that it is irresponsible and even dangerous.
“I have said this several times and even at the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me once again caution against provocative utterances.
“Here in the Senate, how we ride the challenge and not let it deflect our focus from our constitutional responsibilities and our duties to the nation would be a measure of our maturity as elder statesmen and women as democrats and as patriots,” Senator Mark cautioned.
Matter Of Serious Concern
The Speaker of the House of Representative, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, reminded the members of the House that the Legislature cannot afford to lose time as the House had a loaded schedule ahead.
He said that the reminder had become urgent given that the entire political space was already saturated with politics and politicking.
“However, as we have always maintained, now, more than ever before, is the time to remain focused on our legislative functions.
“I am aware that the time to spice our routine functions with politicking may indeed not be too far away, until then, however, let us remain totally committed to the execution of our mandate as the people representatives,” he also emphasised.
Honourable Tambuwal maintained that recent developments in some parts of the country, concerning civil liberties and the safety of lives and property of citizens had become a matter of serious concern.
He stated that the three incidences in Rivers State bore all the trappings of impunity which must be eschewed at all cost if Nigeria must continue to deepen its democracy.
The lawmakers had called for the redeployment of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, who they said was contributing to the crisis in the state.
Two Rallies of the Save Rivers Movement had been disrupted by the Nigerian Police Force and hoodlums at different occasions, one of which resulted in the hospitalisation of Senator Magus Abeh, who claimed he was shot by the police with a rubber bullet.
The crisis had heightened after the defection of the Rivers State governor to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Thirty-six lawmakers of the PDP, in the National Assembly, had also defected to the APC, a situation that has led to dispute over who the majority leader of the house will be.
The increasing number of defections in the National Assembly led to the call for caution by the leadership.