Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, on Monday performed the constitutional requirement of a proclamation for the commencement of the 9th House of Assembly. The speaker, Rt. Hon Ikunyi Uwaji was thereafter returned as the speaker.
Ehie Edison was also elected the new deputy speaker to replace Marshal Uwom. Out of the 32 members of the House, only nine are new. And, the entire Assembly is made of PDP members, except two.
Wike, while performing the proclamation exercise said "as we usher in the new term of this August House, I pray and hope that your deliberations will be constructive, democratic, progressive and people-oriented.
"And that you will continue to strive hard with total commitment and sense of accountability and facilitate the implementation of our policies and programmes to enable us set new benchmarks for development and shared prosperity for our people.
"On this positive note, it is my singular honour and privilege to official proclaim the first session of the 9th Legislative Assembly of Rivers State".
Wike assured the state lawmakers that his administration will continue to promote the independence of the State Legislature.
He added: "Let me assure you all that we will continue to respect and uphold your independence as a separate arm of government as our constitution demands in the same way that we will continue to provide every support that you need to enable you discharge your constitutional responsibilities to the government and to the people of Rivers State. As I said before, ours should continue to be that of mutual respect, partnership and progress.
"I am proud to say that since inception, the Rivers State House of Assembly has been known for its high sense of decorum in the conduct of its proceedings, and I hope this August House will continue with this tradition and uphold its honour and dignity.
"You will agree with us that our plan for the next four years is comprehensive in scope and realistic in terms of deliverables. But, it is our constitutional responsibility to make collective efforts towards achieving these plans and goals for the benefit of our people.
"And so over the next four years, we will not only be working with you as partners to meet the yearnings and aspirations of our people for good governance, peace, security and improved conditions of living; but we will also require from you effective legislative measures and policy initiatives that will put the State on a new trajectory of growth and prosperity"
Wike said that the overall objective of his administration was to promote and achieve socio-economic prosperity and full employment for all through structured and targeted strategies, programmes and projects.
According to him, “we are determined more than ever to reduce and possibly eliminate poverty in Rivers State through various schemes and interventions. It is our intention to attract top investments into the key sectors of our economy and gradually reinvent our State as a major manufacturing hub and the most preferred business destination in Africa.
"It is also our plan to continue to execute key infrastructural projects in roads, schools, hospitals, electricity, environmental protection, urban development and housing to bridge the existing gap in physical infrastructure and enhance the economic development of the State. And for those lawless and criminal elements that may continue to disturb our peace and security with their criminal activities, I want to reiterate our firm resolve to tackle such activities with the full might of the State".
The governor said that with the proclamation of the state house of assembly, all arms of government have been constituted to move the state forward.
"In March 2019, our people elected a new House of Assembly with virtually all the members, except two, from the Peoples Democratic Party. The historic victory achieved by our party showed the peoples' continuing trust and faith in our leadership.
"Also, out of the 32 members of the House, only nine are new. This means that most of you have returned to the table with your wealth of experience to continue working from where you stopped. I know you may all have come here with different mindsets on what you want to achieve for yourselves, your constituencies and for the State.
"But, one thing is clear; you are here for one fundamental purpose – to make laws for the good governance of the State, to create the right conditions and drive for our collective vision for the sustainable economic, social and political development of our State", Wike noted.