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Wike signs instrument de-recognising Omehia as Rivers’ ex-governor

By Ann Godwin and Obinna Nwaoku (Port Harcourt)
08 October 2022   |   4:21 am
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has signed a legislative instrument into law to de-recognise Sir Celestine Omehia as a former governor of the state following the resolution of the State House of Assembly.

Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike

• Apologise To Rivers People, APC Tells Governor, Lawmakers

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has signed a legislative instrument into law to de-recognise Sir Celestine Omehia as a former governor of the state following the resolution of the State House of Assembly.

With his assent, the recognition that accorded Omehia the status of a former governor of the state with accruable rights and benefits has been cancelled.

However, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State has asked the state governor and leadership of the State Assembly to tender unreserved apologies to Rivers people for disregarding the Supreme Court judgment concerning the status of Omehia, who governed the state for six months.

Wike signed the instrument at the Executive Council Chambers of the Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, when it was presented to him by the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor.

The governor disclosed thathe had always respected resolutions from the State Assembly and never had any reason to disagree with them.
He said: “Yesterday, I received a resolution from the Assembly de-recognising Sir Celestine Omehia, who had enjoyed the privileges of a former governor of the state.

“But you will recollect that some time in 2007/2008, my predecessor, His Excellency, Chibuike Amaechi did not recongnise Sir Celestine Omehia as a former governor of the state.

“When we came on board, there were issues and the Assembly felt that having served as governor, he should enjoy the status of a former governor. I have always respected the resolutions of the Assembly. I have never one day disagreed with anything the Assembly has sent to me.”

Wike pointed to the reason adduced by the leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly that the strength of the information they now have has convinced them to reverse what they did in 2015.

The governor noted that the hallmark of leadership was being able to acknowledge that there was an error in the course of administration and having the courage to correct such error.

“The Leader of the House said they have better facts and what are the facts? The facts are the Supreme Court judgment categorically stated that Sir Celestine Omehia was never a governor because he never stood for any election and that it will be inappropriate for their (Assembly) legacy that they didn’t respect the judgment of the Supreme Court.

“In this part of our country, people will praise you when it suits them, but when you do the uncommon thing, people will not praise you,” he added.

Wike said people should keep politics away from what had been done. He further urged the people to get a copy of the Supreme Court judgment and understand it, stressing that the right thing was to de-recognise Omehia.

“I had to call the Attorney General for him to give me his legal opinion as regards the resolution of the Assembly, and rightly the Attorney General said they (Assembly) are right; that in the first instance, the recognition was extra-judicial, that the Assembly has no power to change the judgment of any court, not to talk about the Supreme Court. So, people should understand and not to begin to play politics.”

Nevertheless, the APC has blamed both Wike and the legislators for going against the Supreme Court judgment, adding that they were just realising that they erred after dolling out state money to Omehia.
 
The State Publicity Secretary of APC, Darlington Nwauju, in a statement yesterday, said: “It is one example of legislative brigandage in Rivers State, wherein the State House of Assembly brazenly committed an affront on the 25th of October 2007 judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, which declared that in the eyes of the law, Sir Celestine Omehia was never a governor of Rivers State. Back then in 2015, it was politically correct to recognise Omehia but with the political realities of today, it’s no longer expedient!

“A State Assembly maliciously disregarded the letters and spirit of the October 25, 2007, judgment only to turn around to shamelessly demand that the privileges Omehia enjoyed as a result of its infantile rascality in 2015 be refunded within seven days. Should the Rivers State House of Assembly not be apologising to Rivers people by now for poor representation?”

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