24th September, 2010
Sequel to the threat by the two oil workers’ unions in Rivers State, South South Nigeria,Â to embark on strike if the state government starts implementing the controversial SocialÂ Services Contributory Law 2010, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has appealed to tradeÂ unions and professional bodies in the state to accept the law as a way of contributingÂ towards alleviating the plight of the less privileged in society.
Governor Amaechi made the appeal when he attended the Joint Zonal Council meeting of theÂ National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and NaturalÂ Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) in Port Harcourt on the invitation ofÂ the leadership of the unions to further dialogue on the law.
Governor Amaechi, who lamented the level of poverty among the people, said what was ofÂ paramount concern to government was the sustainability of the projects after his tenureÂ of office, emphasizing that the focus was to distance the management of the schools fromÂ government control.
The governor therefore requested that members of PENGASSAN and NUPENG should look forÂ credible members of their unions to be appointed into the Board that would manage theÂ funds, stressing that what government wants was free education and free healthcareÂ delivery for all.
Governor Amaechi, who later took members of the unions round the new model Primary SchoolÂ and new Health Centre at Elekahia, and the new model Secondary School at Ebubu in ElemeÂ Local Government Area, said 350 out of the proposed 750 model primary schools were beingÂ built in the first phase, while the model secondary school is being built in all the 23Â local government areas of the state.
Respondents who spoke on the side of NUPENG/PENGASSAN during the inspection said theyÂ were proud of the present administration for its vision and high level of commitmentÂ towards the development of infrastructure in the state.
Meanwhile, the seat of the state government has been â€˜rattledâ€™as Governor Amaechi triesÂ to position his loyalists in key elective positions for next year’s election.
This follows the resignation of Mr. Magnus Abe, Secretary to the State Government (SSG)Â to contest the Rivers South-East Senatorial seat to slug it out with Lee Maeba, whoÂ gunning for the fourth term. Another top official of Governor Chibuike Amaechiâ€™sÂ government is the Chief of Staff, Nyesom Wike gunning for the Rivers East SenatorialÂ District. He is squaring it up with the incumbent, Senator George Sekibo.
The Attorney-General of the State and Commissioner of Justice, Ken Chikere, an Ikwerre,Â is taking a shot at the House of Representatives.
The Works Commissioner, Dakuku Peterside, a member of Amaechiâ€™s kitchen cabinet fromÂ Opobo/ Nkoro is also set to turn in his resignation to contest for the House ofÂ Representatives.
His Environment Commissioner, Kingsley Chinda is for House of Representatives, EmmanuelÂ Chinda Commissioner for Agriculture and the Health Commissioner, Dr Sampson Parker, areÂ for State House of Assembly, While Marshal Uwon, Commissioner for Housing will be gunningÂ for House of Representatives.
Dr. Dawari Peterside, Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, one of the youngestÂ Commissioners in Amaechiâ€™s cabinet, is also gunning for House of Reprentatives. He isÂ from Buguma, headquarters of Asari Toru Local Government Area.
From the Tai, Eleme, Oyigbo Federal Constituency, Marcus Nle-eji, Commissioner forÂ Culture is also gunning for the constituency ticket.
Barry Mpigi, Chairman of Tai local Government,will slug it out with Olaka Wogu who hasÂ represented the constituency for the third time, while Victor Giadom Chairman of GokanaÂ Local Government Council is set to slug it out with Emmanuel Deeyah, representative ofÂ Gokona/Khana Federal Constituency for a third term.
Tonye Harry, the Speaker who has been Deputy Speaker and Speaker for the third time isÂ also going back to the state House of Assembly to represent the Degema constituency.
P.M.NEWS learnt that since the extension of time for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,Â Primaries some of the commissioners are withholding their resignation.
It was also learnt that Governor Amaechi is positioning himself strong to have a fullÂ grip of the political structure in the state to edge out the Abuja politicians who haveÂ been opposing his government.
â€”Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt