Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Deputy Governor Mrs Ipalibo Harry has debunked allegations that she is being sidelined by Governor Nyesom Wike from COVID-19 programmes.
Mrs Harry’s denial was contained in a statement by her Head of Media, Owupele Benebo, reacting to a press statement entitle ‘COVID-19: Stop Sidelining Your Deputy, She’s A Public Health Professional’, by a concerned group.
The deputy governor, the statement maintains, has enjoyed a cordial relationship with the governor since the start of his administration in 2015.
The statement cautioned the public to disregard the false report which, according to the deputy governor’s media aide, is intended to mislead unsuspecting Rivers residents.
The press statement partly reads:
‘It is important to set the record straight so that right-thinking members of society would not be misled into believing this falsehood.
‘We would like to state categorically that there is no iota of truth about Governor Wike’s alleged sidelining of his deputy, Dr Mrs Ipalibo Harry Banigo, as regards COVID-19 or indeed any programme or policy of the State Government.
‘She has continued to enjoy a cordial and robust relationship with the amiable and gender-friendly Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, the Pride of Rivers State, from the inception of this administration in May 2015, to date. So the purported sidelining of his deputy is a mere figment of the imagination of the group.’
The group, according to the deputy governor’s statement, is not comfortable with the fact that Governor Wike and members of his team were committed and working towards the actualisation of a new vision for Rivers.
‘COVID-19 is real and it has claimed lots of lives across the globe. Governor Wike has continued to demonstrate leadership in the country in the fight against COVID-19, which has been emulated by other states of the federation and the Federal Government. Of course, he is the first governor in Nigeria to close his borders, which blazed the trail for others to follow,’ the statement read.