• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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Not a govt dime in thanksgiving services for Fubara, says Semenitari

The Rivers State government is not the one funding the thanksgiving services taking place in all the local council areas of the state, Ibim Semenitari, one of the strong supporters of the new governor, has said.

Ibim, as she is more known, made the declaration in Ibaka town in Okrika Local Council Area of Rivers State, her marital LGA, where another leg of the thanksgiving series took place.

Speaking on the sideline of the Okrika thanksgiving leg, Semenitari thus challenged those insisting it was being funded by the state government to show proof.

The Rivers State Caretaker Committee (CTC) chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tony Okocha, has consistently accused the state governor of spending a minimum of N150m in each of the 319 wards and 23 LGAs of the state for what he called thanksgiving jamborees.

Okocha said as a former chief of staff in government house, he knew exactly how such transactions were carried out and that all put together, the state would be frittering away over N5bn.

The CTC boss said he was not against thanksgiving service but said holding it in 319 wards and 23 LGAs was a reckless spend. He said the event was used more for insults on the godfather of the state. He also said the Supreme court victory being celebrated had no threatening claims by the defeated candidate (APC’s Tonye Cole) and that it was legal team assembled by the vilified godfather, Nyesom Wike, that won the case for the erstwhile godson.

Reacting in the interview, Semenitari, the information commissioner during Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi era and acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) thereafter, said people came together in every LGA and contributed the funds.

She stated: “Each person brought bits and pieces to fund it. I challenge him to show any proof that funding came from the government.”

On the rationale for serial thanksgiving, Semenitari said one of things nobody can quarrel with is friendship.

The seasoned journalist, editor, publisher, and communications expert said: “You can’t quarrel with what does not cause a fight. The governor has consistently pursued friendship, peace, and development.

“We as a people say we are grateful to God for the gift of such a governor, a man of peace that also drives development. The support is spontaneous and organic. People feel liberated and freed, and they want to dance in the sun and thank their God. What is wrong in that?”

She went on; “It is also to say, we are tired.” She supported the declaration of Gov Fubara as the leader of Rivers State by former governor, Peter Odili, a day before. She said Odili carried big pedigree and was a man of carefully chosen words.

Speaking to the large crowd, a federal lawmaker, Awaji-Inombek Abiante, who stood in for the governor, said elites of the state were shocked to hear that 90 per cent of schools in Rivers State had decayed, and that 75 percent did not have more than two teachers to groom the next generation of Rivers people.

He said this was not the problem of few months back but of years of rot in the system during long period of neglect.

He went on: “Education is the grantee of our freedom. They didn’t build schools but prisons; not physical prisons but the prisons of our minds. That is why we can praise people who are oppressing us and we cannot question a man who is oppressing us.

“This administration has come to liberate us. Now, schools are to be rebuilt. All demands shall be attended to without conditionalities. This is our own government. All we owe is unflinching support.”

He made a presentation of red biro to Governor Fubara to represent authority given to the governor to rule with justice and correct what is wrong.

Various men of God prayed for peace in Rivers State, for Fubara, for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and for development of the state. The entire Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Okrika chapter, attended the event. The bishop, Tubman Fiabema, prayed for Tinubu; Samuel Boko prayed for Gov Fubara; while the Anglican bishop of Okrika, Enoch Atuboyedia, delivered the sermon saying it was proper to give endless thanksgiving to God.

He noted that some persons who were made by God have turned round to claim there was no God, and faced other gods and went into occult life.

The clerics prayed against those wishing to throw Rivers State into turmoil.