• Assembly delists Celestine Omehia as ex-gov
• Slates Friday for signing the executive order
Jane Otu, ‘Seun Ibukun-Oni
The Rivers State Government has withdrawn the criminal case it filed against a former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Tonye Cole among others.
The State Government filed a criminal suit accusing them of selling government assets and diverting the proceeds running into several billions of Naira during Amaechi’s tenure as the state Governor
When the case resumed for ruling on the legality of a private lawyer to prosecute the matter, the lawyer to the State Government and the Attorney-General of the State and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zaccheus Adangor informed the court that he was withdrawing the suit.
But the lawyer to the APC, Amaechi and Cole contended that withdrawing the suit was an abuse of Court process and prayed the judge to dismiss the criminal charges if the suit must be withdrawn.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Okogbule Gbasam, after listening to a heated arguments, struck out the suit and the charges against the APC and others.
Adangor later confirmed to journalists that the matter had been withdrawn.
Assembly delists Celestine Omehia as ex-gov
Meanwhile the Rivers State House Assembly on Thursday, delisted Celestine Omehia from the list of former Governors of the state.
The decision was taken during plenary at the Assembly on Thursday.
DAILY COURIER reports that all 21 members present voted in support of the four prayers by the leader of the House, Martin Amaewmule.
Omehia who was a staunch ally of Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike fell out after the state’s People’s Democratic Party, PDP gubernatorial primaries. Reports available to DAILY COURIER reveals that Omehia had banked on the support of Wike until the last minute when it was obvious he had a younger outsider in person of Siminialayi Fubara for the plum job.
Despite the cracks, both men have tried to move on until the presidential primary of the party threw up the former vice president, Atiku Abuja to the chagrin of Wike. While Wike was still rueing his loss, Omehia shifted camp to Atiku and was not ready to heed all entreaties. This sudden change of allegiance many commentators gave for the sudden fight back using the state house of assembly.
On the floor of the assembly, Amaewmule had moved the motion to reverse an earlier resolution of the 8th Assembly on June 30, 2015, which compelled the Executive Arm, headed by Governor Nyesom Wike, to recognise Omehia as a former governor and be accorded all entitlements, privileges and benefits.
He argued that the continued recognition of Omehia in that capacity will be a bridge of the Supreme Court judgement which in 2007 removed Omehia as a governor for not being the duly elected candidate in that year’s election.
The lawmaker also submitted a copy of the Nigerian Weekly Law Report that contains the landmark judgement which removed Omehia from office and declared Rotimi Amaechi as the duly elected candidate of the PDP at the time and the right person to occupy the office of the Governor.
He said the motion is being moved now to reverse the earlier resolution because the 9th Assembly has a better knowledge and particulars on the said Supreme Court Judgement.
Amaewmule who represents Obio/Akpor Constituency one submitted four prayers to the house for endorsement.
The prayers include: “The House rescind its earlier resolution that Omehia be recognised.
“Omehia ceases to use the title “HIS EXCELLENCY”
“Omehia stops using the acronym “GSSRS”, meaning, Grand Service Star of Rivers State, which is a state honour meant for an incumbent and former Governors alone.
“Omehia refunds all monitory entitlements received from the Rivers State Government, which includes about N600m benefits he received from the State as a former governor.
All 21 members, who voted for the derecognition of Omehia as a former governor, also ordered him to return about N97m he had so far received as pension to the treasury of the State.
“Any other decisions that the house deemed necessary.
The motion was seconded by the Whip of the House, Evans Bipi.”
In a debate, all the lawmakers who made contributions, including the representative of Celestine Omehia’s constituency in Ikwerre Local Government Area, Anselm Oguguo agreed to the prayers.
Some of the lawmakers, however, requested that a specific decision be made on what action to take if Celestine Omehia fails to refund the monetary benefits.
Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, said the house was right in taking the decision because no law is absolute.
Slates Friday for signing the executive order
The River State Governor, Nyesom Wike, will on Friday sign the official de-listing of sir Celestine Omehia as a former governor of the state.
The cancellation follows Thursday’s adoption of a resolution by the Rivers State House of Assembly to de-recognize Celestine as such.
This was contained in a statement issued by Wike’s media aide, Kelvin Ebiri and made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt on Thursday evening.
The statement titled ‘Government Announcement read, “His Excellency Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, is to sign the instrument on cancellation of the recognition of Sir Celestine Omehia as a former governor of Rivers State.
“The cancellation of the recognition is sequel to the resolution of the Rivers State House of Assembly adopted on Thursday, 6th October 2022 to de-recognize Sir Celestine Omehia as a former governor of the State.
“The signing will take place in Government House, Port Harcourt on Friday, 7th October, 2022 by 12 noon.”