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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Thursday, formally recognised Celestine Omehia as a former governor of the state.
It will be recalled that Omehia, who was inaugurated as the governor of the state on May 29, 2007, was replaced by Mr. Rotimi Amaechi on October 25, 2007 through a verdict of the Supreme Court.
Omehia was not recognised as a former governor of the state by the immediate past administration.
Wike, in recognising Omehia as a former governor of the state, also personally returned Omehia’s official portrait to where the photographs of other past chief executives of the state were placed at the Government House in Port Harcourt.
The Rivers governor also said he had formally restored the benefits and the entitlements of Omehia as a former governor.
Speaking on the development, Wike explained that the decision was taken because Omehia worked as governor of the state between May 29, 2007 and October 25, 2007, adding that he took the decisions on behalf of the state.
Wike said, “I hereby put back his official portrait among those of former governors. He is now entitled to the benefits of all former governors.”
The governor maintained that the era of politics of bitterness in Rivers State was over and added that it was not right to personalise governance as was allegedly done by the immediate past administration.
Responding, a thrilled Omehia described the day as the most historic day of his political career.
Omehia described the restoration of his rights as a former governor of the state as an indication that his political dark days were over.
The Secretary to the State Government, Chief Kenneth Kobani, Rivers State Housing Commissioner, Mr. Emma Okah, and the state’s Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Chinwe Aguma, were among top government officials that witnessed the event.
Speaking on the restoration of Omehia’s status as an ex-governor, a former Commissioner for Information during the Omehia administration, Mr. Emma Okah, described the action of the governor as a welcome development.
Okah stated that the recognition of Omehia as a former chief executive of the state was politically expedient and a display of the spirit of politics without bitterness by Wike.
“Morally speaking, it would have been difficult to explain the vacuum in governance without a reference to Sir Celestine Omehia as the governor of Rivers State from May 29, 2007 to October 25, 2007.
“The state is in a mood of reconciliation. The truth is that before the election in 2007, the people saw Omehia, loved him and voted for him.
“We commend the state governor for taking a bold step to reinstate Omehia’s status as a former governor of the state. The implication is that Sir Omehia will be given the special privilege, including benefits accorded other former governors,” Okah added.