A resolution of the Rivers State House of Assembly (RSHA) has withdrawn the rights and privileges accorded Sir. Celestine Omehia when it recognised him as a former governor of Rivers State.
The resolution was taken at plenary during the House’s 53rd legislative day of sitting in October on Thursday in Port Harcourt, which was presided over by the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani.
All 21 members present at plenary voted in favour of the four prayers of the motion that sought a rescind of such recognition that was accorded Sir Omehia.
The speaker who read out the result of the vote, when he divided the house, thereafter urged the clerk of the house to forward their resolution in a letter to the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for an immediate implementation.
Arriving at the resolution was sequel to debate by members who borne their minds and positions of their constituents on the “motion to rescind the Rivers State House of Assembly resolution on the recognition of Sir.Celestine Omehia as former governor of Rivers State and the restoration of all benefit and entitlements due to him.”
Leader of the House, Hon. Martin Amaewhule had moved the motion to kick-start the debate, which was seconded by the Chief Whip of the House, Evans Bipi.
“Further confirmed that in line with that resolution, the Rivers State Government vide an instrument punished in the official Gazette of Rivers State of Nigeria ,No. 5, Vol. 52 of March 2016 under the hand of His Excellency, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike CON. GSSRS, Governor of Rivers State of Nigeria, recognised Sir Celestine Omehia as a former Governor and restored all the privileges and entitlements accruing at all governors of Rivers State.”
In his new motion Hon. Amaewhule, made five prayers listed as follows; “Rescind the resolution of the Rivers House of Assembly of 30th June 2015, which called on the Rivers State Government to recognise Sir Celestine Omehia as former governor of Rivers State and restoration of his privileges and fringe benefits.
“Call on the Executive governor of Rivers State to derecognise Sir Celestine Omehia as former governor of Rivers State and also terminate all privileges, benefits and entitlement accruing to all former governors of Rivers State that are currently being extended to him.
“Direct Sir Celestine Omehia to cease forthwith from using the title “His Excellency” and suffix “Grand Service Star of Rivers State (GSSRS)” which appertain to only governor or former Governors of Rivers State.
“Direct that Sir Celestine Omehia refunds all monies paid to him by the Rivers State Government as benefits and entitlements, particularly, the sum of N600,000.00 (six hundred million naira) only being benefits and N96, 520,359.40( Ninety six million, five hundred and twenty thousand, three hundred and fifty nine naira forty Kobo) only being monthly pensions to the treasury of the Rivers State Government within seven(7) days from the date of this House resolution.”
Hon. Amaewhule presented the fifth prayer as any other order that the house may deem necessary in the circumstance.
The leader clarified that when the motion of the 30th day of June 2015 was moved, seconded, debated and resolution passed to recognize sir Celestine Omehia as former governor of Rivers State, the house had limited information on which it relied.
But with better particulars at the disposal of the house, Hon. Amaewhule said, it had become imperative to review of the 2015 resolution.
He stressed that the resolve is predicated on the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, as captured in the Weekly Law Report that he cited.
“Now better informed that the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case of Amaechi V. INEC and 2 Ors (2008) 5 NWLR (Part 1080) 227 had declared that the appellant (Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi) was the actual or valid governorship candidate of the people Democratic Party in Rivers State for the 2007 General Election as it held that “…it was in fact, Amaechi and not Omehia who contested the election. Omehia remained no more than a pretender to the office. Per Oguntade, JSC at pages 318-319 Paras D.
“Further informed that the Supreme Court also held that “in the eyes of the law, Omehia was never a candidate in the election mush less s winner”, Per Oguntade, JSC at Paras 321-323 Paras 5 E-D.”
Continuing, Hon. Amaewhule noted that there was no need any more for Sir Omehia to be recognised and accorded the status of former governor since it was not in tandem with the pronouncement of the Supreme Court and the provision of the 1999 constitution.
“Mindful that the above presents the position of the law as pronounced by the Supreme Court on the subject matter of whether or not Sir Celestine Omehia was elected Governor of Rivers State in 2007, that this decision is still extant and that section 287(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) provides that “the decisions of the Supreme Court shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons and by courts shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons and by courts and subordinate jurisdiction to that of the supreme courts.”
Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani explained that every law that is promulgated emanates from the prevailing circumstances in the society.
Since no law is absolute, Rt. Hon. Ibani pointed to the fact that no law is absolute because it could be subject to review inadvertently either by the legislature of the judiciary.
According to him, the earlier resolution of the house that was now being reviewed will eventually place the house on the part of history and justice as doing what is right.