(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) -The proposal of Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to spend N510 billion Naira in the 2018 financial year has received the blessing of the Rivers State House of Assembly after days of scrutinising the estimates as defended by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the state government between Monday, January 22, 2018, and Wednesday, 24th January, 2018.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State House of Assembly has passed the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission Law 2018 with specific provisions forbidding independent candidates, while demanding that a report from an approved medical doctor shall be required if a candidate dies before election.

In a related development, the state Assembly has voted in support of the removal of six members of the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC), as requested by Governor Wike, who, in his letter had indicated unfavourable security report on the appointees.

In the letter to the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, the governor said his administration had accepted the security reports against the affected members of the commission and was, thereby, requesting their removal by the house in the interest of the public and in accordance with the provisions of Section 201(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

The appointees removed included Dr Chimaroke Mgba, Engr. Kombo Johnson, Dr Robinson Olu, Chief K. M. Ogudibo and Dr (Mrs) Juliet Berewari.
Their replacements have since been announced by Governor Wike.

With 23 lawmakers voting in support of the resolution and none against, the governor secured the required two third majority necessary to remove and replace the appointees.

Speaking at the occasion, Rt. Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani: “For an electoral body to conduct elections, you must be seen to be above board. If any member of such commission is found wanting on any matter, such one is not fit to oversee the electoral process…..

“You know what it means to have good governance at the local government level. You know what it means for leadership to be said and seen to be fair to all. You know what it means to serve on a board or commission like the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission.

“When security report can, in one way or the other, indicate that a member of the commission is being partisan, it goes by implication that such one cannot continue because in this assembly, we have sworn that we will be fair and just to all”, he summed.

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