Rivers State Commissioner of Housing, Barr Emma Okah, has said that rights activist and former President of Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Chief Olisa Agbakoba, SAN misdirected himself on facts and therefore was wrong and insensitive by describing the decision of the Rivers State Government to accord special privilege and recognition to Sir Celestine Omehia as useless, unnecessary and capable of overheating the system.
In a press statement issued Sunday in Port Harcourt, Okah said that a state government has the powers to confer an advantage on anybody without reference to any court judgment and wondered why such a reconciliatory and uniting action should annoy Chief Agbakoba.
“This is purely a political concession, far away from the courts. There must be an end to acrimony and bitterness or politics of hate. As a people, we should encourage harmony, peace and consensus building so that we can put the agony of yesterday behind us and together, move the state to greater heights,” he said, noting that in all jurisdictions, litigants can still seek peace outside the court room or even after judgement and such agreements calm frayed nerves and heal wounds better and faster.
According to Okah, a time comes when as leaders, you need to think outside the box to solve political problems and create happiness for the people. Nigeria did the same for Chief Ernest Shonekan who headed the Interim Government which the Court declared as illegal. In Ekiti State, Governor Ayo Fayose accorded similar recognition to Chief Segun Oni even though the court said he was not a governor in law. People are happy with these situations and that of Rivers State cannot be different.
Okah further said that Agbakoba has more pressing things to worry about in Nigeria like the current developments in the National Assembly where statesmen like Him are expected to sound their voice for democracy instead of dabbling into Rivers politics and it’s complex dynamics. He expressed surprise that as a respected Senior Advocate who has stood for the down-trodden over the years, Agbakoba was among those who kept mute and played no major role to reprimand Rotimi Amaechi when his administration in Rivers State locked the courts and emasculated the judiciary for over one year.
“Many thought that Chief Agbakoba would have risen to the occasion but the plight and agony of detainees, lawyers, judges, litigants and judicial stakeholders arising from the closure of courts could not move him to strongly condemn the evils that Amaechi inflicted on the judiciary. Even the emasculation of the legislative arm of government by the same Amaechi administration who moved their sittings to the banquet hall of Government House, Port Harcourt was not enough to catch the attention of our respected Agbakoba at a time when many well meaning Nigerians saw it as an aberration and embarrassment to democracy, Okah added.
Okah further said that Agbakoba can redeem his lost voice in Rivers State by condemning the financial recklessness and outright fraud which the Amaechi government visited on the State; refusal to cooperate with the present government on handover notes, looting and desecration of the Rivers State Government House in Port Harcourt and the carting away of vehicles, TV sets, mattresses, air conditioners etc as if the State was facing liquidation.
Perhaps Agbakoba needs to know that Governor Wike has nothing personal against Amaechi but the issue of accountability, due process and outright stealing of public funds especially in the last weeks of the Amaechi’s government require explanation and the public has the right to know.
Besides, the people are happy that Governor Wike is squarely facing the task of development in Rivers State despite the landmines of the Amaechi administration. Two major contractors – Julius Berger and CCECC have been contracted to rebuild all the roads in Port Harcourt City. So far the Rivers State Government has opened the courts and judges, magistrates, lawyers, judiciary workers and the public are happy.
Members of the State House of Assembly are now sitting in the Assembly complex. The eight months’ salary arrears of management and players of Dolphin Football Club, Sharks FC and Rivers Angels FC have been paid. The refuse disposal contractors who were owed for four months are now receiving payments in arrears. Efforts are being made to begin the payment of arrears of salaries and pensions which the Amaechi government passed on to the present government. In all, the people of Rivers State are happy, Okah concluded.