ALGON Rejects Nullification Of Rivers LG Election

RiversThe Rivers State Chapter of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria have kicked against the judgement of the Federal High Court, nullifying the May 23 local government elections held in the state.

Addressing the media in Abuja, the Chairman of the body, Mr Sogbeye Eli argued that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) never sought the nullification of the election, which effectively sacked the 23 local government chairmen and their councillors.

Mr Eli said that the association stands by an earlier interim order by the National Industrial Court, restraining the state government from interfering in the activities of the chairmen.

The association has appealed the judgement, while asking for a stay of execution.

A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt had dissolved the 22 Local Government Councils in Rivers State, Nigeria’s south-south region.

The presiding judge, Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Federal High Court 1, gave the verdict in his ruling on Thursday.

The judge said that the decision of the administration of former Governor Chibuike Amaechi to go ahead with the conduct of the council election on May 23, in spite of a court order asking all parties to maintain status quo, was a flagrant abuse of court process and disregard for rule of law.

Court Dissolves 22 Local Government Councils In Rivers

Court Dissolves 22 Local Government Councils in RiversA Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has dissolved the 22 Local Government Councils in Rivers State, Nigeria’s south-south region.

The presiding judge, Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Federal High Court 1, gave the verdict in his ruling on Thursday.

The judge said that the decision of the administration of former Governor Chibuike Amaechi to go ahead with the conduct of the council election on May 23, in spite of a court order asking all parties to maintain status quo, was a flagrant abuse of court process and disregard for rule of law.

The Rivers State Command of the Nigeria Police has also revealed that it had obstructed an attempt by arsonists to raze the Federal High Court.

Youths Protest Against Amaechi’s Comment On Presidency

AmaechiMen and women under the aegis of Wakirike in Port Harcourt have staged a protest and threatened to make Rivers State ungovernable if Governor Chibuike Amaechi continues to make what they called insulting statements about the Presidency.

The group also accused the Governor of wasting a whooping sum of 19 billion naira to organise an APC rally.

A PDP lawmaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly told journalists on behalf of the protesters that they would no longer tolerate unguarded statements by the Governor.

However, the Chief of Staff and Political Adviser to the Rivers State Governor, Tony Okocha, has called on security agencies to investigate the threat of making the state ungovernable by the persons.

“All these allegations by these group of persons are borne out of political desperation and have no truth in them.  The office of the President is a public office and is subject to criticisms by the Governor on behalf of Rivers people and that is not tantamount to insulting the President.

“Governor Amaechi remains a disciplined man and will never be involved in the release of prisoners,” he said.

As the political tension in the State increases ahead of the 2015 elections, politicians have been advised to avoid making statements capable of jeopardizing the democratic process.

Amaechi Takes A Swipe At CP Mbu As New CP Resumes In Rivers

AmaechiGovernor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State did not mince words when the new Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, Dan Bature, visited him in Government House, Port Harcourt.

Officers of the Rivers State Police Command led by the outgoing Commissioner of Police, AIG Tunde Ogunsakin and members of the Executive Council came together at the State Government House, in an official meeting between the new Rivers Police Commissioner and the Governor.

Governor Amaechi expressed his political concerns leaving no one in doubt that his government would resist any partisan activity by the Police.

Amaechi referred to a former Commissioner of Police in the state, Joseph Mbu, as a card carrying member of the PDP who was out to ground the economy of Rivers State.

He advised the new CP to be on the side of the people.

APC To Challenge Infractions On Rights Of Members During Ekiti Election

Lai MohammedThe All Progressives Congress has announced plans to challenge the infractions on the rights of members of the party during the just concluded governorship election in Ekiti state.

Rising from the inaugural National Working Committee Meeting of the party, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mister Lai Mohammed said the party is heading to the law court in order to ensure that these unconstitutional acts are not repeated in subsequent elections, especially that of Osun in august and next year’s general elections.

The party said it believes that the events leading to the election in Ekiti negates the principle of a free, fair and credible election as the federal authorities tilted the election in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Mr Mohammed had earlier on Channels Televison’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, listed various offences for which the party was going to seek redress for in Court, including the detainment of Governor Chibuike Amaechi and other APC governors on the day of Fayemi’s last rally.

He also mentioned the arrest of some APC leaders the night before the election, as one of the issues for which they seek redress, noting that they had no problems with the outcome of the election, but with the process.

“Two weeks before the election, a peaceful rally by the APC was forcibly dispersed which led to the death of an individual,” he said, adding that there was no investigation into the matter.

He also mentioned that “a vehicle was intercepted containing 200 boxes of electoral material which INEC discredited as waste material” and there was yet to be an explanation for a reported aircraft carrying suspicious material, which landed in Ekiti.

Mohammed explained that “what happens before, during elections determines if the nation’s democracy is being deepened.”

However, the APC spokesman said that the Party had no intention to contest the result of the election and it was standing by Fayemi’s decision, unless there was compelling evidence to necessitate such a move.

“We have gone beyond the issue of who lost or who won the election”, he said, but insisted that the over-militarisation of the process created fear in the electorate which may have caused many APC loyalists to stay clear of the election.

“We have absolutely no problem or issue with law enforcement agencies in keeping peace” he said, but noted that it was a “selective keeping of peace” which was against the opposition. He claimed that members of the APC, as well as some accredited journalists had been “deported” and “forcefully removed” on the day of the election.

Experts Identify Security, Good Governance As Pillars Of Democracy

vlcsnap-2014-05-28-20h54m42s170The rule of law, peace, security and an independent judiciary have been identified as pillars upon which democracy and good governance can only thrive. 

At the 2nd International Democracy and Good Governance Conference in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Tekena Tamuno and France’s former Minister of Foreign and European affairs, Dr Bernard Kouchner, stressed the need for the government to be more committed to securing lives and property.

Governor Chibuike Amaechi observed that the leadership of the nation must make conscious efforts in ensuring that these elements were put in place, as it would bring a stable and prosperous nation.

Prof. Tekena argued that “in some countries, there is a recognition that people will talk of ‘one man, one vote’ and stop there; that is not good enough” insisting that “it should be one man, one vote , one value” and noted that “in Nigeria, that is not true. We only have the same value for the rich and the poor in our country”.

He said: “I do know that Boko Haram are not democrats but they are a serious challenge to democracy as we know it and as we practice. I wonder if Nigerians have forgotten that before Boko Haram, there were militants in Nigeria. Still there is MASSOB, OPC and MEND,” he said.

The former vice chancellor asked if Nigerians were ready to redress the balance come 2015 so that the poor would not just be poor but relatively poor people with political power and their votes would count just like those of the wealthy people.

He further noted that the “prospects are not glorious and promising,” insisting that “making everybody subjective to the law in our country has become the rule of men and so you have the impotence of the judiciary in its confrontations with the executives”.

Dr Kouchner, in his remark, noted that “peace and security are number common good because it is the precondition of living in any habitat”.

“Millionaires can hire private security but ultimately, security is the number one function of the state and the government must be empowered and take responsibility to create and maintain peace and security,” Dr Kouchner said.

He noted that “one cannot deny that much has been made of democracy and democratic governance as prescribed by the concept of good governance”maintaining that some African states have adopted mechanisms that enable the political leaders achieve security and peace in the society.

“However many African nations have failed to make the full conditions as the working priority of leadership and government,” he said.

Group Accuses Police Of Causing Political Imbalance In Rivers State

The Coordinator of the Save Rivers Movement, Igo Aguwa, has accused the Rivers State Police Command of causing political imbalance in the state and allowing itself to be used as an instrument of impunity against the Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s administration.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Mr Aguwa traced the history of such situations to 1965, “when the Akintola led Action Group refused that the NCNC campaign in western Nigeria. In 1966 thereafter, there was a coup. You remember also in 1982, we had Adewusi as the Inspector General of Police, where the mobile police was used which led to the acronym, Kill And Go.”

He alleged that the Police Command led by Joseph Mbu, disrupted the inauguration of the NGO and also refused to provide security when hoodlums raided the rally in Khana local government because they were loyal to the opponents of the State Governor, who had staged rallies to promote the leader’s weaknesses in office.

“We believe that everybody should have a level playing field where people can sell their programme, their ideas and let the electorate decide.”

“We are only sensitising on the programmes, the positives and even receiving criticisms to act better,” he said.

CP Mbu had accused the group of campaigning without permission from the electoral umpire, INEC, but according to the former House of Reps member, campaigning as defined in the Electoral Act “talks about people campaigning for elective positions.

“That does not mean that the parties will be docile until anytime there’s an election.”

He continued by saying: “It’s getting to the election period, let’s face it. That is why the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI) has been going around in Rivers State, selling the negative ideas of the government and highlighting the weak points” adding that “nobody is perfect.”

“In that same way, Save Rivers Movement is going around highlighting the positive parts of the government so that you don’t have only the negative perceptions out there in the market.”

Aguwa expressed fears that “what is happening in Rivers state is capable of undermining democracy in Nigeria.”

He admitted that the SRM was on a campaign to neutralize the perceptions being spread by Governors Amaechi’s opposition. “The SRM believes that the government has done well and our ideal is on promoting good governance,” he said.

Asked why the group is carrying out political activities using the NGO as cover, Mr Aguwa said “the truth of the matter is, an NGO could be politically inclined, could be health inclined. It could have any inclination but the important thing is we are not sponsored by government.”

He added that “it is within our rights within the constitution to have that NGO.”

He advocated that the group be given a level playing field as the State Police Command led by Joseph Mbu, had given protection to the opposition group, GDI, the same day the SRM rally was disrupted.

“The field is not level. What is titling the field right now is the impunity of the police,” he said.

He countered arguments that political gatherings are banned until INEC gives permission, adding that only campaigns for political offices are not allowed.

He stated that the bad blood between the Police Command and the group was a recent development as he had met with the Police Commissioner, as a friend, before the Obiakpor rally which was disrupted. “There was no indication that that would happen,” he added.





Anti-Amaechi Group Protests In Port-Harcourt

Protesters in Port-Harcourt, the Rivers State capital held a public demonstration on Tuesday, causing a massive traffic gridlock along the busy Aba Road.

The demonstrators who referred to themselves as the Ikwerre People’s Assembly carried placards and chanted slogans accusing Governor Chibuike Amaechi of high handedness and deliberate provocation of law enforcement officers.

Some of the protest leaders said that the Ikwerres had lost confidence in the Governor’s leadership and accused him of mismanagement of funds.

In a swift reaction, the Rivers State Government described the demonstration as an assembly masterminded by opponents of Governor Rotimi Amaechi.

In an interview with Channels Television, Chief of Staff to Rivers State Governor, Mr. Tony Okocha, explained that the group, Ikwerre People’s Assembly does not exist and was merely an expression coined to give the gathering an identity.

He said that the attacks against the Governor were unjustified and that calling Governor Amaechi a despot because he was firm about doing the right thing was a misunderstanding of the whole issue.

Bamanga Tukur’s Troubles Originated In Adamawa – State Government

The Director of Press in the Adamawa State House, Ahmad Sajoh, on Wednesday told Channels Television that the outcry against the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Bamanga Tukur as well as the call for his removal originated from a poorly conducted party election in the northern state.

Speaking as a guest on the station’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Sajoh said acts of impunity by the leadership of the PDP at the national level led to the on-going crisis which has threatened to engulf the nation.

“Beyond what we are seeing in Rivers, I can see dangers in the whole country” as issues of National Development seem to have taken the back burner while issues of ethnicity, personalities and religions have dominated discourses in the public domain.

He noted that “politicians are becoming too self-centered. They are thinking of their self too much, much more than they are thinking of the nation or the people.”

“If the situation in Adamawa was managed properly, maybe the National Chairman (of the PDP) would not have gotten to where he is because that is the genesis of the entire crisis.”

“The whole agitations against him, the level of impunity that people are talking about today came from Adamawa,” he said.

He continued by saying that: “There was an election of the party leadership in Adamawa. That election was conducted by a panel sent by the National Secretariat. No Adamawa indigene was involved, no Adamawa person was involved.

“The panel called for nominations, screened the candidates, declared them fit to contest, conducted the elections and those that won the elections. They (panel) wrote a report (I have a copy of the report) to the National Secretariat that the election in Adamawa state was free, fair and in accordance with the constitution of the PDP. An appeal panel came and said Adamawa people have appeared to understand the meaning of working together so they passed the process.

“Shortly after that, a letter came from the National Secretariat dissolving the EXCO on the grounds that something violated the PDP constitution in the constitution of the EXCO.

“At that point, if after there was this strict argument based on the law and the documents available and if superior argument had won and the national leadership accepted that they were wrong in doing this or right in doing this and an amicable settlement was done, then this crisis would not have escalated to other states being affected, other people affected and now it’s trying to engulf the entire country,” Sajoh said.

He berated the attitude of Nigerian politicians for being unrelenting in their quest for position, adding that “most of us in politics in Nigeria are too self-centered. It’s about self and now we have also extended that same thing to the larger society by insisting that all discussions should be about individuals, about where they come from.”

According to him, the same scenario is playing out in Rivers State where the issue revolves around persons including Governor Chibuike Amaechi who had defected to the opposition party, the First Lady of the nation, Dame Patience Jonathan and others.

He described the situation in the oil-rich state ominous for the entire nation and that dishonesty on the part of the Police Commissioner, Joseph Mbu on the use of rubber bullets is a recipe for more troubles for the nation. “When people do things and don’t own up to them, it is a recipe for serious crisis in the country,” he said.

He cited the crisis which has torn apart the Central African Republic, adding that the crisis of leadership in Nigeria could create more repercussions than expected if left to degenerate.

Sajoh however expressed confidence in the power of dialogue adding that “political differences could be discussed no matter what they are without resorting to the use of violence.”

Travel Guide: Colour, Music, Dance And Fun At Grand Finale Of CARNIRIV 2013

On this edition of Travel Guide, we feature footage of the grand finale of the Rivers State Carnival, CARNIRIV (2013).

10 bands compete against each other in costumes and dance performances.

Sunrise Daily Highlights Memories of 2013

Sunrise Daily Host, Chamberlain Usoh on Wednesday morning gave a review of the major highlights, issues and episodes of the programme in 2013, including the Nigeria Governor’s Forum crisis in which two chairmen, Jonah Jang and Chibuike Amaechi, emerged following a controversial election which was held in May 2013.

According to a statement by Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji, the purported election that returned Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) was a ruse.

Other issues highlighted were the return of Taraba state governor, Danbaba Suntai, who was deemed unfit to continue to hold office as a result of his health, alleged fabrications by the Abia state government on its various achievements which an investigative journalist challenged on the programme.

Finally, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) employment scam which led to an interview with the then Lagos State commandant, Obafaiye Shem. The interview with the officer, who was unable to state the official website of the agency, went viral online and produced the popular phrase, ‘Oga At The Top.”

NGF Crisis: Reconciliation Moves Begin As Senate Delegation Visits Amaechi

Worried by the current challenges plaguing the country and the crisis in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Senators’ Forum of Nigeria paid the Rivers state governor and Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, a visit as part of its effort to resolve the crisis.

The Acting Chairman of the Senators’ Forum of Nigeria, Senator John .K. Brambaifa who led the delegation on a visit to the  Government house in Port Harcourt said they were “very concerned about the current political developments that is threatening the national polity and peaceful co-existence”.

According to him, the Forum in the discharge of its mandate resolved to consult major stakeholders in the country with a view to strengthening and consolidating the nation’s democracy.

On the NGF crisis, Senator Brambaifa recalled that the Senators’ Forum had already met with Plateau state Governor, Jonah Jang for peaceful resolution of the crisis.

While thanking the senators, Governor Chibuike Amaechi described them as patriots and spoke on the need to uphold democracy in the country where aspirants should simply accept victory or concede defeat, adding that he clearly won the NGF election.

Members of the delegation included Senators Nnamdi Ereobuna, Haruna Zigwaziz, M. T. Ombu (Jnr.), Abubakar Muadi, Ibrahim Mohammed, Ifeanyi Ararume, Sylvanus Ingele and Dogwa Jibril.