Rivers Govt Recalls Students On Overseas Scholarship

The Rivers government has informed parents and guardians of students currently benefiting from the state government funded scholarship program in various universities across the world, that resources are no longer available to continue with the sponsorship abroad. As a result, the Rivers government will no longer pay the tuition and allowances of the scholars and has consequently advised all of them to return home.

In a February 6th, 2016, letter obtained exclusively by The ScoopNG, the executive director/CEO of the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA), Lawrence Pepple, said that the only exceptions to the directive are those students in their final year ending 2016.

“All others will need to return to Nigeria to continue their studies; the government will continue to fully sponsor them. This way all the students will still achieve the desired objective of successful graduation in your chosen field of study,” the letter read.

The Overseas scholarship program which is administered by the RSSDA has been running since the 2008/2009 academic session and had a target of sending 300 students overseas annually. The state government foots the entire bill of the scholars including the airfare, tuition (school fees, laboratory, books), accommodation, feeding and monthly upkeep. However a shortage of funds in the last three years saw a situation where the students were abandoned and left to fend for themselves as the former Gov. Rotimi Amaechi led administration owed them for several months at a time.

When Gov. Nyesom Wike was sworn in last May, he vowed that despite the shortage of funds, he will ensure that those already abroad get to successfully complete their studies even though new scholarships won’t be awarded. The governor has however failed to keep to his word, as he now says continual funding for the Overseas Scholarship Program is ”no longer tenable.”

In the letter, Lawrence Pepple disclosed that returning students will be offered admission in the state owned University of Science and Technology or the FG owned University of Port Harcourt, unless “your course of study is not available in either of these institutions, then admission will be sought in any government owned institution in Nigeria that offers your course.”

The students will however be transferred to the same level in Nigeria as they currently are abroad. At the moment, there are students on RSSDA scholarships in Canada, the UK, Ireland, India, Singapore and Malaysia.

The ScoopNG

Why Wike Is Rightfully Elected Governor Of Rivers – Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Friday gave reasons while Nyesom Wike was affirmed as the validly elected governor of Rivers.

Justice Mohammad Mahmud, who presided, held that the Governorship Electoral Petition Tribunal that handled the case swayed INEC guideline on the use of card readers for the election.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) also held that the tribunal also denied Wike fair hearing.

The Justice said: “While the court commends the introduction of card readers, the innovation, however, cannot supersede the voters register.

“The extant laws of the Federation provides for the use of voters register but the card reader irrespective of its importance does not have a place in any extant law of the land.

“Hence it said that the tribunal was wrong to base it judgment on non-compliance with the use of card readers,” Mahmud held.

On the issue of allegation of violence and irregularities during the election, Mahmud held that Dakuku Peterside, candidate of the APC in that election, failed to prove the allegations.

“The APC and its candidate, Mr Dakuku Peterside, were not able to prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubt because they failed to bring witnesses from all the polling units to substantiate the claims.

“For Peterside to prove non-accreditation, he ought to have tendered the voters register and then demonstrate it before the open court.

“We have aligned ourselves with the provision of the law that recognizes the voters register as key element to conduct any elections,” he said.

Mahmud, therefore, said the voter register could not be jettisoned for the card reader because it had a place in law while the card reader did not.

According to him, the tribunal and the lower court were unduly swayed by INEC’s directive on card reader usage during the election.

While noting that INEC had empower to make subsidiary regulations regarding conduct of election, Mahmud held that the regulations must not go contrary to constitutional provisions.

On the evidence of INEC staff who described the election as a sham and a mockery of democracy, the court held that his evidence could not take the place of testimonies of voters.

“We however discovered that under cross examination witness did not state whether he personally witnessed any violence at any polling unit, thereby making his evidence hearsay.

“The laws do not give room for arbitrary nullification of an election. A petitioner has to prove that there was substantial non-compliance in all polling units, this we did not see,” he said.

Mahmud further said that APC and Peterside failed to bring the issue within this parameter.

The CJN, however, commended the introduction of the card reader but urged the electoral body to approach the National Assembly to give its usage the status of law.

On that of Ogun state, the Court held that Amusu Ibikunle’s return as governor hinged on similar reasons adduced in the Rivers appeal.

NAN reports that Ibikunle contested the election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Mahmud held that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Gbeyeoga Isiaka, failed to prove allegations of violence, irregularities and other related malpractices during the election.

Wike Had Foreknowledge Of Supreme Court Judgement – Dakuku

The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the 2015 governorship election in Rivers State, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, yesterday raised doubts about the fairness of the Supreme Court judgment that affirmed the election of Governor Nyesom Wike.

He said Wike had a foreknowledge of the judgment —going by his actions and utterances.

Dr. Peterside told a news conference in Port Harcourt that Wike’s threat to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was “unbecoming”.

He also criticised Wike as lacking the moral right to speak in uncomplimentary terms about President Muhammadu Buhari and the military.

Wike denied it all, saying the APC was trying to cause confusion.

Peterside arrived at the party secretariat by 11:30 am with his running mate, Asita Honourable Asita, and some supporters.

The Supreme Court gave its decision on the Rivers governorship election on July 27, promising to make the reasons known later.

Peterside said that some of Wike’s actions and statements before and after the judgment are indicative of his foreknowledge of the judgment.

He said: “Credible information confirmed that Nyesom Wike had earlier confessed to some persons of having met one of the Justices of the Supreme Court in Mbaise during an important burial, another at Owerri in a hotel and yet others in Dubai and Saudi Arabia respectively . These Justices were in the panel that decided the matter in Wike’s favour.

“However, the most striking revelation by Nyesom Wike is contained in his account at the thanksgiving service last Sunday. He obviously stunned his audience and the watching world when he confessed that when it came to the Judges, Dr. Peter Odili and the wife Justice Mary Odili (a Justice of the Supreme Court) were his advisers.

“This simply confirmed his earlier statements that he had contact with the Justices after several attempts to reach the Chief Justice of the country failed.It is therefore obvious that the decision of the Supreme Court on the Rivers State Election was not a product of justice but rather a product of compromise and orchestrated contrivance to legalise electoral violence and rigging and, in turn, reward injustice. This calls for serious introspection by our Judiciary and judicial officers.

“For the records, in his speech at the church service, Governor Nyesom Wike probably forgot that he was on live telecast when he stated: ‘Let me thank our former governor, Dr. Peter Odili (husband of Supreme Court Justice Mary Odili). He will call me midnight to tell me what to do….he will say ‘go to so so place.’ I took all his advice, and here we are today’.

“This shocking confession needs no further explanation, except for you and other decent Nigerians to further make your fair conclusions.”

Peterside added that also at the thanksgiving service, Wike said as a result of the the judgment , “the apex court helped in preventing bloodshed in Rivers State.”

”Blood would have flowed if the election was going to hold again….So, I called some people, including the Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus, that I was not going to run again. They said why and I explained that if I did, many people would die.”

He added that “these voluntary confessions made by Governor Nyesom Wike confirm beyond doubt that he was obviously behind the orgy of violence during the last elections”.

Speaking on Wike’s alleged violence threat, Peterside quoted the governor as saying: Anyone who plans to rig an election is an armed robber and should be treated as such. If you are coming to rig an election in the state, first prepare your will before embarking on the journey. Inform your wife or husband and go ahead to say your last prayer.

”We are not afraid of any re-run at all. But we have always said if they said there should be a re-run, let it be a re-run and not to write the result. Let them bring anybody as INEC official from anywhere that wants to be funny, I wish the person must have written his Will before he comes.”

Peterside said: ”Wike promotes violence and believes so much in jungle justice but he forgets that such outlook does not have any place in a civilised society.”

The Nation

Still On The Supreme Court Verdict In Rivers State

By Joe Onwukeme

What a close shave? Gov. Nyesom Wike has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Wike’s victory has given us reason why we should begin to look for other alternatives in settling electoral disputes because the apex court has proven electoral disputes are quite intractable and courts are never witnesses to elections.

The local and international observers who slammed the Rivers election as a sham can as well as go to blazes.

Those who died trying to exercise their franchise died in vain, even with the over whelming evidence, the court concluded the case and declared the mandate beneficiary a saint.

Wike’s victory at the Supreme Court is like punishing a child and taking away his only right of psychological relief which is to cry and express his pains. The credits belong to Rivers State electorates who even in the face of intimidation strived fearlessly and pursued the April 11th charade called election constitutionally to the apex court before it was proven otherwise.

Many people are asking what influenced the judgment? Could it be that the judges were avoiding an impending disaster? If the judges had ordered for a rerun, I bet you, Rivers State would have recorded more deaths from electoral violence than the previous one in the State because those who fraudulently got into office using wide spread rigging and violence will “Somalize” and reduce Rivers State to a theatre of internecine war with every Arsenal at their disposal. To them, violence is the only guaranteed way to victory. “If python could swallow its egg, what will it not do with the egg of a fowl”?

The lesson is simple, electoral disputes should be settled as political differences on the field and our judges should be left out of electoral disputes.
Simply put, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and politicians should conclude elections on the day of election and not prepare for fault findings so they can run to court and retrieve “lost mandates”. Generals are not known to be negotiating armistice or truce in a war they are coasting to victory.

Meanwhile congratulations to Gov. Nyesome Wike and I hope all parties sheath their swords so the people of Rivers won’t suffer the more.

Now is the time we will know if he truly came to power to serve Rivers State or for personal and vindictive purposes.

Joe Onwukeme:


[email protected]

Supreme Court Upholds Nyesom Wike’s Election

By Evelyn Okakwu

The Supreme has upheld the election of Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party as governor of the oil-rich Rivers State.

The court gave the ruling Wednesday but did not provide reasons for its judgment.

It said detailed reasons for the verdict would be provided on February 12.

The Court of Appeal had on December 16  affirmed the judgment of the Rivers Governorship Election Tribunal.

The appeal court had  ruled that Mr. Wike was not validly elected.

The Rivers Tribunal had earlier on October 24 nullified Mr. Wike’s election.

The tribunal, which delivered its ruling in Abuja, also ordered that a fresh governorship election be conducted in the state.

After the tribunal’s ruling, the governor headed to the Court of Appeal, saying the judgment was untenable.

The petition challenging the election of Mr. Wike as Rivers State Governor was filed by Dakuku Peterside, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, in the election.

The Rivers governorship election, which was criticised by local and international observers, witnessed the largest amount of violence both in its build-up and after the elections.