Nigeria: Lawmakers ‘Derecognise’ Omehia As Former Governor of Rivers

The lawmakers took the controversial action after Mr Omehia parted ways with Governor Wike and began supporting Atiku.

The Rivers House of Assembly has voted unanimously to ‘derecognise’ Celestine Omehia as a former governor of the state.

Besides the ‘derecognition’, the House also withdrew the title of “His Excellency” and directed Mr Omehia to refund over N696 million monetary entitlements within a week.

The House arrived at the decision after the Leader, Martin Ameawnule, moved the motion for the derecognition and seconded by Evans Bipi during plenary on Thursday according to a report by Channels television.

All the 21 members present at the plenary reportedly voted in support of the motion.

The Speaker, Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, said the lawmakers were right in taking the decision “because no law is absolute”.

The current lawmakers – 9th Assembly – with the decision, has reversed the 30 June 2015 resolution passed by their predecessors – 8th Assembly- which mandated the State Governor, Nyesom Wike, to recognise Mr Omehia as a former governor and be accorded all entitlements, privileges and benefits.

Mr Omehia became the governor of Rivers State in May 2007 after former Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, who won the governorship primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the said election, was denied the ticket by the then leadership of the party.

The Supreme Court in October 2007 sacked Mr Omehia and directed that Mr Amaechi be sworn in as State Governor, stating that Mr Amaechi’s name was wrongly substituted with Mr Omehia.

Mr Omehia, who hails from the same Ikwere Local Government Area as Mr Amaechi, was not recognised as a former governor until June 2015 after Mr Wike, who is of the same Ikwere ethnic nationality, became the governor.

The lawmakers in their submission at the plenary on Thursday said the continued recognition of Mr Omehia was a breach of the Supreme Court judgement.

According to Channels Television, the lawmakers submitted a copy of the Nigerian Weekly Law Report that contains the landmark judgement which removed Mr Omehia from office as governor.

Messrs Wike and Omehia were political allies but fell apart when the latter decided to support Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the PDP for the 2023 elections against the wishes of Mr Wike.

Messrs Wike and Atiku have been engaged in a political battle after the PDP presidential primary which the former vice president won.

Mr Wike is leading a group of some party chieftains who are calling for the removal of the National Chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu.

Mr Omehia belongs to a faction of the party in the state, which includes a former national chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, loyal to Mr Ayu and Atiku.

PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately reach Mr Omehia for comment as of the time of filing this report.


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