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GOVERNOR ROTIMI CHIBUIKE AMAECHI MEETS WITH FORUM OF ORGANISED OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTIES (FOOPP) IN RIVERS STATE – HONOURS REQUEST FOR THE REAPPOINTMENT OF CHIEF (DR) DAVIES IBIAMU IKANYA INTO EXCO

By Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze

A Delegation from the Forum of organized opposition political parties in Rivers state, led by its leader and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Prince Tonye Princewill paid a courtesy call on Rt Hon.Rotimi Amaechi at the Government House in Port Harcourt on 11th July, 2009 at the State Exco Chambers. This visit marked the first formal meeting of the Governor with the Exco Members of the forum since its inauguration on the 25th of June 2009. The Forum of the Organised Opposition Political Parties (FOOPP) comprising of 43 political parties in Rivers State, resolved to join Amaechi's Unity Government in order to foster peace among the political class in Rivers State in the hope of enshrining a vibrant, egalitarian and progressive Political culture in the State.

Prince Tonye Princewill was accompanied by the Chairman of the Forum, Chief Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, Barr Osima Ginah the Urban Development Commissioner, Chief Williams Igweh the SA to the Governor on inter-party Affairs, Chief Eric Aso the ANPP Guber Candidate, Rev. Odota Ndubisi the Guber Candidate of ARP in the 2007 general election, Chief Tamuno Roberts the Chairman of RS CNPP and Secretary of BOT, Chief Harry Alaye the Vice Chairman, Comrade Garshon Benson of DPP, Secretary; the 43 Chairmen of participating political parties and Officials of the Forum.

COMMENDATION OF THE GOVERNOR BY THE FORUM

Speaking on behalf of the FOOPP, the Secretary of the Forum, Comrade Garshon Benson, Barr Iyke Echie of AC and Hon. Finebone Chris of NMDP commended the Governor for his giant strides in governance since assuming office on the 26th October, 2007. He reassured the Governor of the FOOPP's commitment to providing sound, objective and result-oriented political opposition in the state. They informed the governor that the formation of the Forum had become expedient in the light of the Governor's passionate commitment in tackling the difficulties of the Rivers people whilst contending with the challenges bedevilling development in the state and oppositions acknowledgement in this regard. They also asserted that the government would stand to benefit from most of the Forum's activities which will revolve majorly around goal-driven collaboration between the government and the organized opposition.

Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi was further commended for instituting a truly unity government which in itself has created an enabling environment for Opposition to thrive. He appreciated Amaechi's purposeful commitment to the unity government evident in the appointments of Chief (Dr.)Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, ersthwhile commissioner for Special Duties , Barrister Osima Ginah, commissioner for Urban Development, Chief Williams Igweh, Special Adviser on Inter Party Matters and Mr Suage Badey, Member Governing Council, Rivers State University of Science and Technology respectively.

The following excerpts from their speech best conveys the Forums thoughts on the Governor, “Your Excellency, beyond the walls of excellent inter-party relations under your amiable leadership, Rivers State has recorded great strides of progress with landmarks in urban development and renewal, infrastructural development, health, education, peace and security, human capital development, and the conscious effort to enlarge the political space and citizen participation through elimination of the so-called upland/riverine dichotomy in Rivers politics. We salute your courage and conviction and hope that posterity will number your term in office with an unambiguous verdict of success.”

THE WAY FORWARD

Whilst acknowledging the governors giants strides thus far, the Forum three spoekspersons outlined its suggestions for moving the state forward thus.

1. Government should support independent project monitoring teams drawn from the opposition. The team(s), we believe, will promptly deliver to the governor's table at mutually agreed times, the true and exact position of activities on project sites. We have a moral responsibility and the personnel in place to provide an objective assessment.

2. Government policy and programme for urban development and renewal, including the demolition of inner city illegal structures and the waterfronts, though commendable, should of necessity, include wider consultations with Rivers people

3. Government should liaise with the Federal Government to site key industries in Rivers state and as a matter of urgency re-vitalize economic activities at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) PH and the Federal Ocean Terminal, Onne to create jobs for our teeming youths.

4. Government should reactivate the moribund state owned companies such as the Delta Rubber Company Ltd at Etche, RisonPalm Ltd. etc. Agriculture should be placed on the front burner as a means of providing food and jobs for our people. Particularly, RISONPALM which should as a matter of urgency be turned around and returned to its glorious past when the State earned income from its produce.

5. Government should consider it expedient to tackle the issues of Public amenities such as Power, Portable Water and Traffic congestion in Port Harcourt metropolis and its environs. On traffic congestion, Government should engage additional traffic marshals, equip them with communication gadgets, special motorcycles and vehicles; open link roads between Silver Valley Estate ,Trans Amadi and Aba Road, Bori

Camp and Rumuigbo by MCC, after due consultation with the Nigerian Army. Same should also apply for Oginigba-Elekahia-Waja (beside the Rail line); expansion of the Waja bridge/Trans Amadi-Elikahia Road. We also suggest that Government should commence a modern intra city water transport scheme with terminals at Abonenema Wharf axis, Iwofe and Choba bridge (Emohua end). A modern motor park at the Emohua end of the bridge will cater for travelers to Emohua, Kalabari , Ahoada, Bayelsa and beyond. For most commuters, the long hours wasted between Isaac Boro Park and Choba Bridge will be saved and on the other hand, the number of commercial vehicles presently plying the Ikwerre- Mgbuoba and Rumuokoro-Choba Roads and beyond will reduce drastically.

6. Government should, as a matter of urgency, commence the implementation of the White Paper on the ESO TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION REPORT

REQUESTS BY THE FORUM AND RESPONSE BY THE GOVERNOR

In addition to the suggestions made to the Governor, the Forum solicited for the re-appointment of Chief (Dr.) Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, its amiable chairman into the Rivers State Exco and in the same vein appealed for at least, three (3) more slots in the Exco to be filled by members from the Opposition.

In his response, the Governor Conveyed his sincere appreciation for the hand of support and Partnership extended to him by Prince Tonye Princewill since assuming office in 2007. He commended Prince Tonye for this initiative that will hopefully promote a formidable political partnership and joint collaboration between the government and the organized opposition in Rivers State. The governor expressed satisfaction for the valuable assistance by way of the suggestions extended to his government by the FOOPP.

Regarding most of the issues raised, he reaffirmed government's continued commitment to resolving every conceivable challenge in all areas listed.

Governor Amaechi reiterated governments zero tolerance for all forms of criminality and his administration's commitment to reinstating sanity. Promising to work with the opposition, he rounded up his response thus, “I will give the opposition every support to monitor the Government's projects as it is truly tiring for me to monitor most of the projects in the State. On Funding of opposition parties, I will in the next stakeholders meeting of PDP move the motion for adequate funding of the opposition if we are to move forward democratically, socially and developmentally.” The icing on the cake followed shortly “Finally, if your request is for me to reappoint Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, your wish is my command” at which point the hall erupted with the sound of thunderous applause. The meeting came to a close on this great note of the recalling of Dr. Ikanya back to the State Exco.

Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,
Media Consultant, FOOPP, Rivers State