• APC vows to boycott poll
Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has flagged off execution of the state government, European Union and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Water and sanitation projects in two local government areas in continuation of the state-wide roll out of projects.
Wike, while performing the flag-off, yesterday, at Nkoro town school in Opobo-Nkoro Local Government Area, said his administration is committed to the provision of potable water for rural dwellers.
Represented by the Commissioner for Water Resources, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku, Wike said the water and sanitation projects would be implemented in benefitting communities.
He said: “The people of this local government area must take full ownership of these projects. That is why we are performing the flag off with the active participation of the people.
“The state government is a multi-sector developer. This administration is active in the health sector, education sector, road infrastructure and special projects. The commitment is to improve the lives of the people.”
The governor urged the benefitting communities to support and cooperate with the implementers of the projects for early delivery.
He said the projects would be delivered in nine months across the two benefitting councils.
In his remarks, Team Leader of the European Union Partners, Albert Achelen, urged benefitting communities to play key role in the maintenance of the projects when completed.
He said the design of the scheme is demand-driven, with communities playing active role by making suggestions.
Caretaker Committee Chairman of Opobo-Nkoro council, Boma Brown, said the water projects would help improve the health of the people.
He lauded the governor for the sustained roll-out of projects since last December.
National Authorising Officer, Opalebi Olarenwaju, said the European Development Fund is committed to carrying out its oversight function to ensure the realisation of the projects.
National Authorising Officer urged the contractors to work in line with approved specifications to deliver the projects.
Meanwhile, All Progressives Congress (APC) has declared that it will not take part in the forthcoming local government election in the state.
State Chairman of the party, Davies Ikanya, stated this yesterday, when he briefed newsmen at the party’s secretariat in Port Harcourt, on the heels of the announcement of the council poll scheduled for June 16.
Ikanya described Tuesday’s announcement by the Chairman and Chief Electoral Commissioner of the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC), Justice Chukwuneye Uriri, as shocking and noted that there is no vacuum in the local government leadership, since they have a pending court case.
“It is shocking for Uriri to express worries that for some time now, there has not been a local government election in the state, adding that the law abhors vacuum.
“For the records, there is no vacuum in the leadership of our local government Areas since the term of office of the elected council chairman and councillors, has not expired and the matter is a subject of litigation before the courts in Nigeria,” he said.
He said the RSIEC chairman, who served as a judge of the High Court of Rivers State, should have known better that there is no vacuum and accordingly advise his appointer, to stop putting Rivers state on the news for the bad reasons.
“The issue about the leadership of the councils is a matter before the courts of the land and for a retired judge to claim that there is vacuum, is not only unprofessional, but smacks of bias and this calls to question his independence to head such a hallowed institution as RISIEC.
“For the records, Uriri and RSIEC should note the case of the leadership of the councils is a subject of litigation before the Federal High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court in Suit No: PHC/PH/CS/84/2015, Appeal No: CA/PH/338/2016 and Appeal No: SC/536/2016 respectively, and that until the cases are decided by the courts, any action by RSIEC and the Rivers State Government on the subject matter, is an affront to the rule of law and that the APC will not partake in this illegality.
“You can all recall that RSIEC issued a notice in accordance with the RSIEC Law to the public and called on political parties wishing to sponsor candidates to present their candidates and the council election held in Rivers State on May 23, 2015,” Ikanya said.