By Amaka Agbu
The Rivers State governor-elect, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, his deputy, Dr. Ngozi Odu, and the 32 members who cleared all the seats in the State House of Assembly were on Wednesday presented with their certificates of return.
The presentation was made by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) National Commissioner supervising Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, and Rivers State, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, at the Commission’s office in Port Harcourt.
Governor Wike, alongside former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Chibudum Nwuche; former Deputy National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Dr Sam Sam Jaja; the PDP Chairman in Rivers State, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, among others, witnessed the presentation of the certificates of return at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Port Harcourt.
Speaking after receiving his certificate of return, Sir Siminialayi Fubara urged the opposition to join his incoming administration to build a better and progressive Rivers State.
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Sir Fubara said: “For the opposition, our doors are open, including our windows. If you don’t want to pass the door you can enter through the window because we really need everyone on board for a better and progressive Rivers State.”
Fubara commended INEC for the successful conduct of the governorship election, which he described as one of the best in recent history of the State.
The governor-elect attributed the success recorded by INEC in the governorship and House of Assembly elections to the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
“I want to commend you for this innovation. Although we had a little hitches here and there, I believe going forward, INEC should ensure that ad hoc staff, including their staff are given proper training early enough so that the hitches experienced, most especially during the presidential election will not be experienced in future election,” he advised.
Fubara commended Rivers electorate for voting massively for him, his deputy, and other Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates in the election.
According to him, his emergence as the governor-elect was a resounding reaffirmation of Rivers’ people support for continuity and consolidation of the New Rivers vision of the governor Wike’s administration.
He said: “We will ensure that, though the bar had been raised before us, we will also raise the bar for whoever is going to takeover from us.”
Fubara thanked governor Wike, whose sterling performance in office spurred the electorate in the State to vote for him and the 32 House of Assembly members- elect.
In her remarks, the INEC National Commissioner supervising Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers State, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, told the governor-elect and the lawmakers-elect to realise that being successfully elected into an office was a call to service.
She said: “Beyond the excitement of your new position and office you must commit to good leadership and you must ensure the trust and vote of the electorate were reciprocated with good governance, security of life, positive human and infrastructural development in Rivers state and Nigeria by extension.”
May Agbamuche-Mbu appealed to security agencies and political parties to cooperate with INEC to ensure hitch-free conduct of supplementary election in two federal constituencies, namely PHALGA 2 and Khana/Gokana in the State this weekend.
On his part, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the State, Dr. Johnson Alalibo Sinikiem, urged the governor-elect and others not to see their successes in the poll as a personal victory, but a triumph for the democratic process and a call for national duty.
“You must be magnanimous in victory and ensure you run an inclusive government at all levels. Let me remind you that the office you have been elected into is essentially rendering service to God and humanity.
“There are expectations not only from those who voted you into office but also from all Nigerians within and outside Rivers State. I pray that God will give you the wisdom and courage to make the right decisions that will better the lives of our people and by extension our nation Nigeria.”
Sinikiem further advised the governor-elect and others who won their elections and would be part of governance from May 29, 2023, to use their good offices to deepen democratic ethos in Nigeria by ensuring that they did their bit to better the country’s electoral process.
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