The following is a list of the Governors of Rivers State. This list also contains administrators etc., during the era of Nigeria military juntas. Rivers State was created in 1967 with the split of the Eastern Region of Nigeria.
1. MELFORD OBIENE OKILO (30 November 1933 – 5 July 2008) had a long and distinguished career as a politician in Nigeria from the start of independence in 1960 until shortly before his death in 2008. He was a member of parliament (1956–1964) and a Minister in the Nigerian First Republic. He was the first elected Governor of Rivers State, Nigeria (1979–1983) during the Nigerian Second Republic. Later he was Senator for Bayelsa East, in Bayelsa State (1999–2003) during the Nigerian Fourth Republic.
1ST GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE: In office October 1979 – December 1983, Deputy: Frank Eke, Preceded by Suleiman Saidu, Succeeded by Fidelis Oyakhilome
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: In office 1956–1964, Constituency: Brass
MINISTER OF COMMERCE AND TOURISM: In office December 1993 – July 1994
SENATOR FOR BAYELSA EAST: In office: May 1999 – May 2003
PERSONAL DETAILSBorn: 30 November 1933 Emakalakala, Ogbia, Bayelsa State, Nigeria Died: 5 July 2008 (aged 74), Nationality: Nigerian
EARLY CAREER: Okilo was born on 30 November 1933 at Emakalakala, Ogbia, Bayelsa State, and was of Ijaw origin. He qualified as a lawyer, but entered politics at the age of 23. Okilo was a member of Parliament between 1956 and 1959. In December 1959, he was re-elected to represent the Brass constituency on the Niger Delta Congress platform. The Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, later appointed him Parliamentary Secretary and Minister. He played a significant role in the enactment of the Niger Delta Development Board (1961), which sought to address problems of the neglected Niger Delta region.
While visiting New York in 1965, he came across a book about Walter Russell, The Man Who Tapped the Secrets of the Universe, which had a profound influence on his thought. Walter Russell’s University of Science and Philosophy later published his books, and in the late 1990s, he served as president of the university.
During the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon, Okilo served in the government in Rivers State first as Commissioner of Education, and then of Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Resources (1971–1975).
During General Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime, he was a member of the Constituent Assembly (1977–78) leading to the Nigerian Second Republic. He was Chairman of the Rivers State branch of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) (1978–1983), and was elected on the NPN platform as governor of Rivers States in 1979. As governor, Okilo established the Rivers State University of Science and Technology. He opened the Independent Power Plant at Imiringi in Ogbia local government area, now in Bayelsa State, a major gas turbine power station. He created fifty development units for the much neglected rural areas, introducing a policy where local people were given the responsibility and power to govern and develop their local communities. He undertook programs to reclaim land, control erosion, construct roads and canals, and build rural housing scheme and industrial estates.
President Shehu Shagari awarded him the honour of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1983. He was re-elected on the NPN platform in 1983, losing office when General Muhammadu Buhari took power in a military coup in December 1983. Soon after taking power, Buhari established military tribunals to try public officers from the Shagari era who had been accused of embezzling public funds. In July 1986, he was acquitted of his accusations and regained his freedom following a judicial review of the tribunals and later freed by Babangida.
In June 1989, Okilo was a speaker at a conference on World Balance: Action to Save our Planet held in Aspen, Colorado. Writing in 1992 on the question of oil revenue sharing, Okilo referred to traditional morality, saying that “when an individual kills or finds a big fish or animal, the villagers or community expresses their appreciation … by first giving him or her the best part of the animal or fish before the rest of the meat or fish is shared.” He served as Minister of Commerce and Tourism during the General Sani Abacha regime. In January 1994, he was a member of a ministerial committee that toured Ogoniland following disturbances by Ogoni protesters against Shell activities in the area. Although the committee’s report was sympathetic to the plight of minorities in the oil-producing areas, little was done.
Okilo was dropped from the government in July 1995 as the military consolidated their power. Returning to the United States, he became president of the University of Science and Philosophy, which had earlier published his philosophical writings including his 1991 book The Law Of Life.
In January 1999, shortly before the return to democracy and while running for office, Okilo was briefly detained by the outgoing military government following disturbances among the Ijaw in the Niger Delta. Okilo was elected Senator for Bayelsa East on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) platform, serving from May 1999 to May 2003, but failed to be re-elected in 2003. As senator, he served as vice-chairman of the committee on Natural Gas and chairman of the committee on Identify Card.
He remained a director of the University Of Science And Philosophy, and became a director of the board of Vision In Action, an institute formed in 2003 to share and communicate experience on issues of leadership, creativity, visionary and strategic thinking. In 2005, he read his own obituary after a mistaken story that he had died. Later he addressed a press conference, saying he was in a coma for four days and was mistaken for dead. Speaking in July 2006, in Brixton, London, Okilo called on leaders of the Ijaw to take their case over sharing oil and gas revenue to the International Court of Justice. At the same time, he asked youths of the area to give up violence, and seek peaceful means to address their grievances.
After a prolonged illness, Okilo was moved back to Bayelsa from his Abuja residence by his Administrator, Hauwa Ogbeide-Ihama. Okilo died at the age of 74 in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on 5 July 2008.
Melford Okilo (1989). Nigeria: the search for political stability. Riverside Communications. ISBN 978-30333-4-4.
Melford Okilo (1991). The law of life. University of Science and Philosophy. ISBN 1-879605-03-1.
Melford Okilo (1992). Art of government and the Okilo administration. Riverside Communications. ISBN 978-30333-5-2.
2. RUFUS ADA GEORGE was the second Governor of Rivers State, Nigeria, holding office from January 1992 until November 1993 during the Nigerian Third Republic
2ND GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE: In office January 1992 – November 1993, Deputy: Peter Odili, Preceded by Godwin Osagie Abbe, Succeeded by Dauda Musa Komo
PERSONAL DETAILS: Born 11 July 1940 (age 79), Okrika, Rivers State
SPOUSE(s): Rose A. George
Ada George was born on 11 July 1940 at George-Ama, Okrika, Rivers State. He qualified as an accountant, and became a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. He was an accountant with Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria from April 1972 to December 1979, where he left as Assistant Chief Accountant to join the Rivers State government. Under the administration of Chief Melford Okilo, he was the Secretary to the State Government and had held other positions including Director-General, Works Directorate and Director of Tribunals and Enquires. Later he was the deputy managing director of the investment company Dangil Holdings Limited (1984–1991), before being elected governor of Rivers State.
GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE
Ada George was elected on the National Republican Convention (NRC) platform as Governor of Rivers State in the preliminary elections sponsored by General Ibrahim Babangida as a step towards full democracy with the Third Republic. He took office in January 1992. His deputy governor was Peter Odili, who was himself elected governor in 1999. In 1993 the Ogoni people in Rivers State, led by the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, protested against exploitation by Shell, Ada George’s former employer. Violence resulted. The Ogoni considered that the governor was encouraging the conflict. There was a delay of two months before federal troops were deployed to restore the peace.
Ada George’s tenure ended when General Sani Abacha took power in a military coup in November 1993. Ada George retired into private life until the ban on politics was lifted by Abacha’s successor Abdulsalami Abubakar in 1998.
After the return to democracy in 1999, Ada-George became a leader of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Rivers State. Violence broke out in Okrika, Rivers State between 22 and 24 September 2001. During another outbreak of violence in Okrika in 2002, reportedly initiated by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), both his houses were burned down. In June 2008 the state Truth and Reconciliation Commission heard accusations that Ada George had sponsored the bush boys in the September 2001 outbreak in an attempt to install the All People’s Party (APP) in the area.
3. PETER OTUNUYA ODILI (born 15 August 1948) was the third Governor of Rivers State in Nigeria from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007. Odili is a member of the former ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
In office29 May 1999 – 29 May 2007, Deputy: Gabriel Toby, Preceded by Sam Ewang, Succeeded by Celestine Omehia
2ND DEPUTY GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE: IN OFFICE 1992–1993, GOVERNOR: Rufus Ada-George, Preceded by Frank Eke, Succeeded by Gabriel Toby
PERSONAL DETAILS: Born: 15 August 1948 (age 71), Nationality: Nigerian, Political party: People’s Democratic Party (PDP), SPOUSE(s): Mary Ukaego Odili, Profession Politician
Peter Odili was born on 15 August 1948 in the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State. Peter graduated from the Medical School of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and pursued post-graduate work in Tropical Medicine at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom. Dr. Peter Odili is married to Justice Mary Ukaego Odili (b. 12 May 1952).
In 1988/89, Peter Odili was elected member and leader of Rivers State Delegates to the Constituent Assembly. In 1992, he was elected as the Deputy Governor of Rivers State. After the Nigerian Third Republic ended, he was again elected to the National Constitutional Conference and became the Conference Committee Chairman on State Creation. Dr. Odili thereafter became the National Secretary of the defunct Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN).
Peter Odili was elected governor of Rivers State in April 1999, and was reelected in April 2003.
In September 2004, Amnesty International wrote an open letter to Peter Odili expressing deep concerns for protection of human rights of civilians in and around Port Harcourt, detailing an increasingly alarming security situation in Rivers State, due to fighting allegedly between rival armed groups. In December 2004, a gang of armed youths believed to be members of the Egbesu cult attacked Peter Odili’s convoy along the East-West Road in Port Harcourt.killing two people one a policeman In March 2009, the Rivers State Truth and Reconciliation Commission, headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Kayode Eso, blamed the crisis during Odili’s period of office on both the state and the Federal Governments, particularly the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo. The report outlined interwoven problems of failed governance, chieftaincy tussles, cultism, politics of acrimony and insurgency.
During his governorship Rivers State was in theory one of the wealthiest region in the country i.e. [Lagos state, Delta state and Rivers State, due to oil and other business infrastructure, but Odili instituted relatively few improvements. In January 2007, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under Nuhu Ribadu issued an interim report on the governor that pointed to severe implications of fraud, conspiracy, conversion of public funds, foreign exchange malpractice, money laundering, stealing and abuse of oath of office. At around the same time Human Rights Watch issued a report detailing pervasive patterns of corruption and mismanagement at the state and local levels under Odili’s administration. In February 2007, Odili filed a suit challenging the powers of the EFCC to probe his administration in Rivers State.
In November 2006, Peter Odili announced that he would run for president in the 2007 election under the ruling PDP. However a day before the PDP’s presidential primaries held on 16 December 2006, Odili stepped down from the contest, paving the way for another governor, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, to emerge as the party’s flag bearer.
In June 2008, Peter Odili defended his record before the Rivers State Truth and Reconciliation Commission, denying the charges that had been made against him.
As of December 2007, the office of Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa had refused to file any defense in court against Odili’s claim that the EFCC was not authorized to investigate his administration. In March 2008, a Port Harcourt court ruled that the EFCC could not investigate state finances. In September 2009, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja issued an interim injunction stopping the EFCC from arresting, detaining, prosecuting or embarrassing Peter Odili over a N189m bank debt. However, a few days later the EFCC summoned Dr Peter Odili over alleged debts owed to five banks whose Managing Directors and board had recently been removed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
In December 2009, the New York Times published an article about the kidnapping industry in Africa. The author talked to a man called Adiele Nwaeze (a professional kidnapper), who accused Odili of having paid him to help rig an election ten years ago by robbing ballot boxes. Odili denied the accusation.
In September 2010, it was reported that former military head of state Ibrahim Babangida, who planned to be a candidate for president in the 2011 election, was in discussions with Odili over being his running mate as vice-presidential candidate. The choice was said to be due in part to a close relationship between Odili and Raymond Dokpesi, the director general of Babangida’s campaign.
4. Sir CELESTINE NGOZICHIM OMEHIA (born 15 September 1959) was the fourth Governor of Rivers State from 29 May 2007 to 25 October 2007. He is a member of the former ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He is married to Mrs. Anthonia Omehia (née Itakpe) and they have three children (Keturah, Kelechi and Kechikamma).
4TH GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE: In office 29 May 2007 – 25 October 2007, Deputy: Tele Ikuru, Preceded by Peter Odili, Succeeded by Chibuike Amaechi
PERSONAL DETAILS: Born: 15 September 1959 (age 60),
Political party: People’s Democratic Party
He served as Rivers State Commissioner of Education between February 1992 and November 1993 and was later appointed an adviser to Governor Peter Odili.
Omehia was declared the winner of the Rivers State gubernatorial election of 2007, held on 14 April 2007, despite wide scale vote rigging and violence. He was sworn in as Governor of the oil producing state on 29 May 2007, taking over from Dr. Peter Odili (also a member of PDP).
In June 2007, Shell Petroleum Development Company announced a plan to relocate its headquarters from Port Harcourt to Lagos for security reasons. Omehia appealed to the people to help fight against hostage takers, who were harming the state economy. In September 2007, Celestine Omehia won approval for a supplementary state budget of N53.2 billion in addition to the approved 2007 budget of N179 billion. The supplementary budget was almost entirely earmarked for capital projects. Tell Magazine stated that Omehia may have been under pressure to settle “election liabilities”.
On 25 October 2007, the Supreme Court annulled Omehia’s election, ruling that Chibuike Amaechi, not Omehia, was the PDP’s legitimate candidate. Amaechi had won the PDP primaries, but the party had substituted Omehia at the last moment due to allegations of graft. In October 2009, Omehia asked the supreme court to review their opinion. The court denied the request.
5. CHIBUIKE ROTIMI AMAECHI (born 27 May 1965) is a Nigerian politician who served as the fifth Governor of Rivers State from 2007 to 2015 and serves currently as the Nigerian Minister for Transportation.
MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION Incumbent: Assumed office: August 21, 2019, President: Muhammadu Buhari, Preceded by Himself, In office November 11, 2015 – May 28, 2019, President: Muhammadu Buhari, Preceded by Audu Idris Umar, Succeeded by Himself
GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE: In office October 2007 – May 2015, Deputy: Tele Ikuru, Preceded by Celestine Omehia, Succeeded by Ezenwo Nyesom Wike
SPEAKER OF THE RIVERS STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY: In office 1999–2007, GOVERNOR: Peter Odili
PERSONAL DETAILS: Born: Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi 27 May 1965 (age 54) Ubima, Ikwerre, Eastern Region, Nigeria (now Ubima, Ikwerre, Rivers State, Nigeria), Nationality: Nigerian, Political party: All Progressive Congress (2014-present), Other Political Affiliations: Peoples Democratic Party (1999-2014), SPOUSE(s): Judith Amaechi
Alma mater: University of Port Harcourt
He was re-elected for a second term on 26 April 2011. Amaechi was a member of the People’s Democratic Party before defecting to the All Progressives Congress on 27 November 2013. He is now a serving Federal Minister of Transportation. He is also the director general of Buhari reelection campaign. He was nominated for ministerial appointment by president Buhari in July 2019. Amaechi was ask to take a bow and go during his screening by the Senate. He was sworn in as Minister for Transport of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Amaechi was born in Ubima, Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State to the family of late Elder Fidelis Amaechi and Mrs Mary Amaechi. His first and last names are Ikwerre meaning “God is strength or power” and “who knows tomorrow” respectively. He was raised in Diobu, a densely populated neighbourhood in Port Harcourt.
and had his early education at St Theresa’s Primary School from 1970 to 1976. He earned his West African Senior School Certificate in 1982 after attending Government Secondary School Okolobiri.
Chibuike received a Bachelor of Arts degree (Honours) in English Studies and Literature from the University of Port Harcourt in 1987, where he was the President of the National Union of Rivers State Students (NURSS).
He completed the mandatory National Youth Service Corps in 1988, and thereafter joined Pamo Clinics and Hospitals Limited owned by Peter Odili, where he worked until 1992. He also a director of several companies, including West Africa Glass Industry Limited as well as Risonpalm Nigeria Limited.
Amaechi first office in politics was as Secretary of the now defunct National Republican Convention in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State. Between 1992 and 1994, he was Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili. He was the Rivers State’s Secretary of the Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN) caretaker committee after in 1996 during the transition programme of General Sani Abacha.
Peter Odili believed in Amaechi as a young man with potential in politics, and brought him under his wing. Their relationship further increased translated into a harmonious relationship between the Executive and Legislative arms of government in Rivers State, until when Rotimi Amaechi launched a campaign against the State Government, and verbally attacked the image of the State Governor, in an effort to succeed Peter Odili as governor in 2007.
SPEAKER OF THE RIVERS STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY (1999-2007)
FURTHER INFORMATION: 4TH RIVERS STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY AND 5TH RIVERS STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
In 1999, he contested and won a seat to become a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly to represent his constituency. He was subsequently elected as the Speaker of the House of Assembly. Amaechi was elected the Chairman of Nigeria’s Conference of Speakers of State Assemblies. He was reelected into the State House of Assembly in May 2003 and was also re-elected as the Speaker. In 2003 when the National Assembly moved to hijack the legislative functions of the State house of Assembly as enshrined in the constitution, he and his colleagues took the matter to Nigeria’s supreme court and the court gave a judgment that the control and supervision of local government is the prerogative of the State House of Assembly.
Governor of Rivers State (2007-2015)
He contested and won the People’s Democratic Party primary for Rivers State Governor in 2007. His name was substituted by the party, an action which he challenged in court. The case eventually got to the Supreme Court. He became governor on October 26, 2007, after the Supreme Court ruled that he was the rightful candidate of the PDP and winner of the April 2007 Governorship election in Rivers State. He was reelected for a second term of four years in April 2011.
His administration invested in infrastructure development, construction of roads and bridges, sticking to the vision of connecting all parts of the state by road. The governor was also committed to urban renewal and modernization of transportation services. His administration began building a monorail to provide mass transportation within the city of Port Harcourt. Some power plant projects (Afam, Trans Amadi, Onne) were also built to improve power supply in the State.
MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION: Amaechi currently heads the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
PERSONAL LIFE: He is married to Judith Amaechi and they have three boys.
AWARDS: Chibuike Amaechi holds the national honour of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON). He is a Christian Catholic and a Knight of St. Johns.
6. EZENWO NYESOM WIKE CON (born 13 March 1963), also known variously as Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, Nyesom Ezebunwo Wike or Nyesom Wike is a Nigerian politician and lawyer who is the sixth and current Governor of Rivers State. He is an Ikwerre from Rumuepirikom in Obio-Akpor, Rivers State. He is a member of the People’s Democratic Party and was educated at Rivers State University of Science and Technology.
6TH GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE: Incumbent Assumed office 29 May 2015, Deputy: Ipalibo Banigo, Preceded by Rotimi Amaechi
PERSONAL DETAILS: Born: 13 March 1963 (age 57) Rumuepirikom, Obio-Akpor, Rivers State, Nigeria
POLITICAL PARTY: People’s Democratic Party (Nigeria)
SPOUSE(s): Eberechi Wike, CHILDREN: Threes (3)
ALMA MATER: Rivers State University of Science and Technology
Wike was appointed Minister of State for Education on 14 July 2011. Wike was later appointed the Acting Minister of Education, after Mrs Riqqayatu was sacked but resigned before finishing his term to campaign for Governor of Rivers State. He was replaced by Viola Onwuliri. In 2014, he won the Rivers State People’s Democratic Party primary and chose former Secretary to the State Government Ipalibo Banigo as his running mate for deputy governor.
Wike defeated Dakuku Peterside of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Tonye Princewill of the Labour Party in the April 11 gubernatorial elections to emerge as governor.
Rivers State Election Tribunal against Wike
On May 13, 2015, the Election Tribunal for Rivers State, sitting in Abuja, commenced the hearing on the election of Nyesom Wike. Dr Dakuku Peterside of the APC is seeking the tribunal to nullify the election of Nyesom Wike of the PDP who was declared winner as governor in the poll held on April 11, 2015, on the grounds that it was fraught with malpractices and non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Nyesom Wike opposed the hearing of the case in Abuja, arguing that the Tribunal should be held in Port Harcourt. But the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachawa, rejected Wike’s arguments and ordered that the tribunal be held in Abuja, for reason of security. Justice Zainab also ordered that, besides Rivers, all Election Petition Tribunals for Adamawa, Borno and Yobe beheld in Abuja.
After failing to serve Wike with court summons, presiding Justice Muazu Pindiga approved the request by Mr Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, the counsel to Dr Dakuku Peterside of the All Progressives Congress, to grant an order for substituted service on the governor-elect because Wike had been evading service of court summon and other processes in the petition challenging Wike’s elections. Akeredolu stated that the court bailiffs had on several occasions visited Wike’s residence to effect court service on him but was on all the occasions turned back at the gate by Wike’s security guards upon discovery that he was a court bailiff.
Ruling on the petitioner’s counsel’s motion, Justice Pindiga, who granted the prayers, ordered that the court processes should be pasted on the wall of Wike’s house. He said that “I have gone through the motion ex-parte and it is hereby granted; all the court processes are deem valid.” Justice Pindiga then ordered that substituted service be effected against Wike either by pasting the court process on Wike’s house or at the office of the PDP secretariat in Rivers state or in Abuja.
The River State governorship election tribunal nullified the election of Mr Nyesom Wike on October 24, 2015. The election tribunal ordered governorship election rerun in Rivers State within 90 days immediately after the day of judgment. Wike has said he will appeal the ruling of the tribunal.
DISCREPANCY IN THE ACCREDITED VOTES IN THE RIVERS ELECTIONS FOR WIKE
The Election Tribunal was informed that the Independent National Electoral Commission in Rivers awarded Mr. Wike votes almost five times higher than the actual, authentic total number of voters accredited with card readers and Permanent Voter Cards which was 292, 878, which was the total number of accredited voters for the April 11, 2015 gubernatorial election in Rivers. The result as declared by the Returning Officer for Rivers State Mr. Osasere Orumwense on April 13, 2015 stated that Mr. Wike was awarded 1,029,102 votes, thus winning the election.
However document was signed by Ibrahim Bawa, the acting director in charge of INEC Legal Unit and Abimbola Oladunjoye, head of unit, Data Management, of the Commission’s Information Communication Territory Department. According to the result declared by the Returning Officer for Rivers State, Osasere Orumwense on April 13, Mr. Wike was awarded 1,029,102 votes, representing 87.77 per cent of 1,228,614, being the conjured number of total accredited voters. But the tribunal was informed that according to INEC documents, tendered as court evidence, the total number of accredited voters in Rivers was only 292, 878. It was also common knowledge, however, that there was widespread malfunction of Card Readers on the Election Day prompting the extension of the election to the next day and granting recourse to the use of manual accreditation without the faulty card readers.
The INEC document was signed by Mr. Ibrahim Bawa, the acting director in charge of INEC Legal Unit and Abimbola Oladunjoye, head of unit, Data Management, of the INEC’s Information Communication Territory Department. The commission’s central server captured all actual validated and authenticated votes for the Rivers State elections on April 11, 2015, making fraud by manual accreditation impossible.
In that election, only those votes captured by the central servers from the PVC-SCR are deemed accredited and valid; manual accreditation is not allowed for governorship elections. The Court of Appeal has however ruled in the case of Agbaje vs Ambode that the non use of card readers is not a ground to nullify an election. The River State governorship election tribunal nullified the election of Mr Nyesom Wike on October 24, 2015. The election tribunal ordered governorship election rerun in Rivers State within 90 days immediately after the day of judgment generating uproar within the country as to alleged partisanship and corruption within the judiciary.
INEC declared Nyesom Wike winner of Rivers State governorship polls on Wednesday, 3rd April 2019, after suspending the process for some days. Wike took his oath of office on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt as he commences his second term. In his address, he promised to put Rivers state first.
In line with his plans for educational reform, Nysome Wike declared public primary and secondary education free. He disclosed this on Monday, June 24, 2019, in a meeting at the government house, Port Harcourt. This was joined with complaints and appreciation; The latter from parents and the former from Principals and headmasters in the state. However, the Government of Nyesom Wike held his ground amidst the perpetual demur till they all dissolved.
In 2019, Nyesom Wike through the State Ministry of Education announced free registration for participating locals of the state in the annual JAMB examination.
During his second term as a governor, He kicked-off the construction of three (3) major flyovers simultaneously in Port Harcourt. The location of the flyovers are at Garrison, Rumoukoro and Artillery.
LIST OF RIVERS STATE ADMINISYRATORS
1. ALFRED PAPAPREYE DIETE-SPIFF was the first Military Governor of Rivers State, Nigeria after it was created from part of the old Eastern Region, Nigeria. He held office from May 1967 until July 1975 during the military administration of General Yakubu Gowon. He was also a member of the Supreme Military Council.
NIGERIA MILITARY GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE: In office 28 May 1967 – July 1975, Preceded by Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (Eastern Region), Succeeded by Zamani Lekwot,
PERSONAL DETAILS: Born: 30 July 1942 (age 77)
Alfred Diete-Spiff is an Ijaw from Bayelsa State and the Amayanabo (King) of Twon-Brass, Bayelsa State, born on 30 July 1942. He was educated at St. Joseph’s College, Western Cameroon and Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, England. He joined the Nigerian Navy and was commissioned ships diving officer in 1964. When appointed Military Governor of Rivers State in 1967, he was a Naval Lieutenant Commander aged 25.
In 1973, a correspondent for the Nigerian Observer wrote an article about an impending teacher’s strike, which was published on Diete-Spiff’s birthday. Taking this as a deliberate insult, Diete-Spiff’s aide Ralph Iwowari had the reporter’s head publicly shaved and had him beaten with 24 lashes of a cane.
In December 2009, Diete-Spiff was National Chairman of the Nigerian Association of Auctioneers.
He was in the 2005 Confab and served in the Committee on Models and Structure of Government. He is in the category of elder statesmen
2. ZAMANI LEKWOT (born 1944) is a retired Nigerian Army major general who served as the military governor of Rivers State, Nigeria from July 1975 until July 1978 during the military administrations of Generals Murtala Muhammed and Olusegun Obasanjo. Lekwot is a Kataf, born in Kaduna State in 1944.
NIGERIA MILITARY GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE: In office July 1975 – July 1978, Preceded by Alfred Papapeye Diete-Spiff, Succeeded by Suleiman Saidu
PERSONAL DETAILSBorn: 1944
ALMA MATER: Nigerian Military School, NMTC, Indian Military Academy
Lekwot attended the prestigious Nigerian Military School for his secondary education before he entered the army on July 11, 1962, and attended the Nigerian Military Training College, Kaduna and the Indian Military Academy, gaining his commission on 14 July 1966. He was a company commander in the 6th Battalion when it took part in the battle that caused the fall of Bonny on 26/27 July 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War. He was the Commander, 33 Infantry Brigade, Maiduguri in 1975 before he assumed the Military Governorship of Rivers State. During his military career, Lekwot also served as Commandant of the Nigeria Defence Academy, General Officer Commanding 82 Composite Division, Nigerian Army and Ambassador/High Commissioner to the Republics of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and the Gambia.
The 2 Brigade Nigerian Army Barracks in Port Harcourt, Rivers State was named the Zamani Lekwot cantonment in his honor. In August 2003 it was renamed the Port Harcourt Barracks. Lekwot fell out with General Ibrahim Babangida, and was forced to retire in 1985 after Banbangida became Chief of Staff following the military coup of 31 December 1983 that brought General Muhammadu Buhari to power.
On 15 May 1992 violence erupted between the mainly Moslem Hausa and mainly Christian Kataf communities of the Zangon-Kataf Local Government Area in Kaduna State, with many deaths. A tribunal set up by the Babangida government sentenced Lekwot and 16 others to death for alleged complicity in the killings, sentences eventually reduced to a short gaol sentence. It was said that his sentence was due to his feud with Babangida. He was assisted in his prolonged battle to avoid execution by Yohanna Madaki. By December 1995, Lekwot had received a state pardon.
In June 2003 he was Chairman of Giza Ventures Nigeria and a Director of Prudent bank.
3. Suleiman Saidu is a retired Nigerian Navy Rear Admiral who served as Chief of Naval Staff from September to November 1993.
CHIEF OF NAVAL STAFF: In office September 1993 – November 1993, Preceded by Vice Adm. D.P. Omotsola, Succeeded by Rear Adm. A. Madueke
MILITARY GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE: In office July 1978 – October 1979, Preceded by Zamani Lekwot, Succeeded by Melford Obiene Okilo
Personal details: Born; 1942 Zaria
MILITARY SERVICE Allegiance: Nigeria, Branch/service: Nigerian Navy, RANK: Rear Admiral
Saidu was appointed military governor of Rivers State, Nigeria from July 1978 to October 1979 during the military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo, handing over power to the elected civilian governor Melford Obiene Okilo at the start of the Nigerian Second Republic. Rear Admiral Suleiman Saidu was confirmed by General Sani Abacha as Chief of Naval Staff in September 1993. He was later replaced by Rear Admiral Allison Madueke for the sake of ethnic balancing.
4. FIDELIS OYAKHILOME (born 13 April 1939) was military governor of Rivers State from January 1984 until August 1986 during the administrations of Generals Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Babangida.
NIGERIA MILITARY GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE: In office, January 1984 – 26 August 1986, Preceded by Melford Obiene Okilo, Succeeded by Anthony Ukpo
PERSONAL DETAILS: Born: 13 April 1939 (age 81) Ishan, Edo State, Nigeria
BIRTH AND EDUCATION
Oyakhilome was born on April 13, 1939 in Ewu, Ishan in Edo State. He joined the Nigerian Police Force in 1959. He studied Law at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife (1965–1968) and then at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos (1968–1969), being called to the Nigerian Bar on graduation.
Oyakhilome became Chief Superintendent of Police, Criminal Investigation Division of the Rivers State Police, Port Harcourt (1972–1974). He served in Grenada (1975–1977). He became military governor of Rivers State in January 1984 after the military overthrow of the Nigerian Second Republic. On 19 April 1984, Oyakhilome signed the edict establishing the Rivers State School of Basic Studies, later to become the Rivers State College of Arts and Science in Port Harcourt. As governor he successfully increased agricultural output in the state. His “School to Land” program made headline news, but was later abandoned as enthusiasm waned. He was redeployed on 26 August 1986, replaced by Colonel Anthony Ukpo.
Oyakhilome was Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) (1988–1991). He was dismissed after being accused of having a relationship with Jennifer Madike, a Lagos business woman and socialite who had been arrested for drugs-related offences. Prior to her arrest, she had a successful career with her company “Biofrika Ventures” and through real estate, and was a constant subject of the gossip columns. She was arrested on a charge of collecting US$80,000 from three men, claiming she was going to give the money to Oyakhilome to secure the release of two suspected drug dealers. The United States later unsuccessfully applied for extradition of one of the dealers on charges of heroin smuggling.
After leaving the NDLEA, Oyakhilome became head of his own private law firm. He represented retired police officers at the National Political Reform Conference in 2005. In 2009 he was Vice-Chairman of the Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria (ARPON). He was an investor in EBS Nigeria, a previously unknown firm that in June 2006 gained a major contract for supply of anti-retroviral drugs from the Federal Ministry of Health. Other directors included retired military officers Brigadier General Abu Ahmadu and Major General David Jemibewon.
In 2008, as a consultant to the National Universities Commission (NUC) he gave a list of 33 “universities” that were operating illegally in Nigeria since they had not been licensed by the Federal Government and NUC.
5. STEPHEN ANTHONY UKPO (born 16 July 1947) was Minister of Information and Culture, and then Governor of Rivers State, Nigeria from August 1986 until July 1988 during the military administration of General Ibrahim Babangida.
NIGERIA MILITARY GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE: In office 26 August 1986 – July 1988, Preceded by Fidelis Oyakhilome, Succeeded by Ernest Olawunmi Adelaye
Born: 16 July 1947 (age 72)
Okpoma, Yala LGA, Cross River State, Nigeria
Ukpo was born in Okpoma, Yala, Cross River State on 16 July 1947. Joining the army, he was appointed Company Commander (1968), Battalion Commander (1969 and 1971 – 1973), Brigade Major (1970) and Instructor, Nigeria Defence Academy, Kaduna (1973–1974).
He was a member of the inner circle of army officers who arranged the bloodless coup on 27 August 1985 when General Muhammadu Buhari was replaced by General Ibrahim Babangida. After the coup he was appointed a member of the AFRC. He was appointed deputy director, Defence Intelligence Agency (1985). On 12 September 1985 he was sworn in as Minister of Information and Culture. He was appointed military governor of Rivers State on 26 August 1986. In this post, he inaugurated the provisional council of the Rivers State Polytechnic. He reassigned to become principal staff officer to President Ibrahim Babangida in July 1988. In this role in April 1990 Ukpo told reporters that 10 officers and more than 150 soldiers from the lower ranks had been arrested in an attempted coup attempt against Babangida. He was retired as a Brigadier.
His wife, Sally Ufuoma Ukpo, was a teacher and in 2006 was running a travel and tours company. After retirement, he became a member of the board of directors of Skye Bank. When Cross River state Governor Donald Duke put up the Metropolitan Hotel for sale, Ukpo was said to have made the highest bid of N600 Million. His offer was turned down, and the hotel later sold for N200 Million. In September 2008 he presented the results of a feasibility study for a mono-rail system of transportation in Port Harcourt. Ukpo was the leader of a partnership to construct the railway. In October 2009 the Rivers State government signed an agreement with TSI Property and Investment Holdings to undertake the project at a cost of $318 million. Ukpo said that the mono-rail would be the first of its kind in Africa.
In an interview in July 2009, Ukpo protested strongly against the recent transfer of 76 oil wells from Cross River State to Akwa Ibom State, and expressed hope that a committee set up by President Umaru Yar’Adua would find a politically reasonable solution.
He has been a vocal voice in politics right from the grass root to the federal level.
6. Group Captain ERNEST OLAWUNMI ADELAYE was appointed military governor of Rivers State, Nigeria from July 1988 to August 1990 during the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. He signed the edict establishing the Rivers State Polytechnic on March 25, 1989 and performed the formal ceremony of the institution on May 19, 1990. He retired with the rank of air vice marshal.
NIGERIA MILITARY GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE: In office July 1988 – August 1990, Preceded by Anthony Ukpo, Succeeded by Godwin Osagie Abbe
7. GODWIN OSAGIE ABBE (born 10 January 1949) in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria is a retired Nigerian Army Major General and former Defence Minister of Nigeria from 2009 to 2010. He served as the Nigerian Minister of Interior from 2007 to 2009.
GOVERNOR OF AKWA IBOM STATE: In office, 31 July 1988 – 5 September 1990, Preceded by Tunde Ogbeha, Succeeded by Idongesit Nkanga
NIGERIA MILITARY GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE: In office Aug 1990 – January 1992, Preceded by Ernest Olawunmi Adelaye, Succeeded by Rufus Ada-George
NIGERIAN MINISTER OF INTERIOR: In office 26 July 2007 – 14 July 2009, Preceded by Oluyemi Adeniji, Succeeded by Shettima Mustapha
DEFENCE MINISTER OF NIGERIA: In office 14 July 2009 – 17 March 2010, Preceded by Shettima Mustapha, Succeeded by Adetokunbo Kayode
PERSONAL DETAILS: Born: 10 January 1949 Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
MILITARY SERVICE: Branch/service: Nigerian Army, Years of service: 1967–1999, Rank: Major General
Godwin Abbe joined the military in 1967 as a private, was commissioned second lieutenant in July 1968, and was promoted Colonel in 1986. He served during the Nigerian Civil War. He earned a Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife. He is also a graduate of the United States Army Infantry School Fort Benning, Georgia, Ghana Armed Forces Staff College and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic studies, Kuru.
He was military governor of Akwa Ibom State 1988-1990) and Rivers State (1990–1991). He then became General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2 Division Nigerian Army; Commander, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and Commander, National War College. He retired in 1999 with the rank of Major General.
After leaving the army, Godwin Abbe joined People’s Democratic Party in 1999, and became chairman of the party in Edo State.
MINISTER OF INTERIOR
President Umaru Yar’Adua appointed Godwin Abbe as the Nigerian Minister of Interior on 26 July 2007. At a meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government in Kampala, Uganda in November 2007, Abbe met British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and asked for assistance in restructuring the police force, which was suffering from low morale due to poor welfare, inadequate training and lack of vital work tools.
As minister of the interior, Godwin Abbe was chairman of a committee that recommended an amnesty programme for gunmen in the Niger Delta, an important step towards improving output of oil and gas. Soon after, he was appointed Minister of Defense, a key role in implementing the amnesty.
MINISTER OF DEFENSE
In September 2009, Abbe said that the Amnesty would not prevent security operatives from going after illegal oil bunkerers, whom he said would be treated as enemies of the state. In October 2009, speak of Niger Delta militants who had accepted the government amnesty, Abbe gave assurances they would be rehabilitated, re-integrated and helped in every way possible to make them self-sustaining in life.
8. Lt. COLONEL DAUDA MUSA KOMO was Administrator of Rivers State, Nigeria from December 1993 to August 1996 during the military regime of General Sani Abacha. He took office at a time of escalating violence between the Ogoni and Okrika people over crowded waterfront land, combined with Ogoni protest against Shell Oil activities and the environmental destruction of Ogoni land. He reacted aggressively, sending troops to break up demonstrations and arresting leaders of the Ogoni’s MOSOP movement.
ADMINISTRATOR OF RIVERS STATE: In office 9 December 1993 – 22 August 1996, Preceded by Rufus Ada-George, Succeeded by Musa Shehu
In January 1994 Shell and other oil companies said they had lost $200 million in 1993 due to unrest in the Delta area, and called for urgent measures. Komo formed the Rivers State Internal Security Task Force from army, navy, airforce, mobile police and state security personnel, headed by Major Paul Okutimo. The force acted brutally, destroying many Ogoni villages, killing or beating the people. A letter that Okuntimo wrote to Komo in May 1994 said “Shell operations still impossible unless ruthless military operations are undertaken”. At a press conference on 2 August 1994, Komo and Okuntimo justified the use of terror to force the Ogoni into submission.
On 21 May 1994, four prominent Ogoni leaders were brutally murdered at a meeting of the Gokana Council of Chiefs and Elders. The next day author and MOSOP leader Ken Saro-Wiwa and others were arrested on charges of involvement in the murders. Komo proclaimed in advance that Saro-Wiwa was “guilty of murder”. On 31 October 1995 a tribunal announced death sentences for Saro-Wiwa and eight other activists. All nine were executed on November 10, 1995. (In 2009, Royal Dutch Shell agreed a $15.5m out-of-court settlement in a case brought by relatives of Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni leaders who accused it of complicity in the human rights abuses at that time, although Shell denied wrongdoing).
Komo continued to detain supporters of the Ogoni people. The president of the National Union of Rivers State Students was arrested after organizing a demonstration on 10 December 1995, International Human Rights Day, to protest the execution of the Ogoni nine. Anyakwee Nsirimovu, executive director of the Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Robert Azibaola, President of the Niger Delta Human and Environmental Rescue Organisation (NDHERO) and Stanley Worgu, Director of Human Rights (NDHERO) was detained in April 1996, apparently to prevent them from talking to members of a UN mission who were inquiring into the Saro-Wiwa case.
Komo was relieved of his position in August 1996. After the restoration of democracy in May 1999, he was forced to retire from the army, as were all other former military administrators. In the run-up to the 2003 elections for Kebbi State governor, Komo was among the contenders to be nominated as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, who by agreement was to come from the Zuru Emirate.
9. Colonel MUSA SHEIKH SHEHU was Administrator of Rivers State, Nigeria from August 1996 to August 1998 during the military regime of General Sani Abacha, and then of Plateau State until the return to democracy in May 1999.
ADMINISTRATOR OF RIVERS STATE: In office 22 August 1996 – August 1998, Preceded by Dauda Musa Komo, Succeeded by Sam Ewang
ADMINISTRATOR OF PLATEAU STATE: In office August 1998 – May 1999, Preceded by Habibu Idris Shuaibu, Succeeded by Joshua Dariye
At the time of the coup of 27 August 1985, when General Ibrahim Babangida came to power, Captain Musa Shehu played a supporting role as second in command of the Recce Battalion in Jos.
While governor of Plateau state in 1999, Shehu received N200 million to clean up pollution from tin mining. The money was allegedly misappropriated.
Shehu remained politically active after retirement in 1999. In 2001, he was among former military administrators who formed the United Nigeria Development Forum, a political pressure group. In December 2009 he was among Northern leaders who opposed the transfer of power to vice-president Goodluck Jonathan during the illness of president Umaru Yar’Adua. In 2010 Shehu was Secretary General of the Arewa Consultative Forum, an influential group of Northern Nigerian leaders.
10. Group Captain SAM EWANG (born 1952) was Military Administrator of Ogun State, Nigeria from August 1996 to August 1998 during the military regime of General Sani Abacha, and then Administrator of Rivers State until May 1999 handing over power to the elected governor Peter Odili at the start of the Nigerian Fourth Republic.
Ewang ran for governor of Akwa Ibom in April 2007 on the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) platform. After the election he accused the People’s Democratic Party PDP and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of rigging the results. In November 2007, the ANPP declared that the purported suspension of Ewang, its governorship candidate for Akwa Ibom State in the 2007 general elections, was illegal.
In a June 2009 interview, Ewang held the present government of Akwa Ibom responsible for the recent spate of kidnappings, robbery and hired killings, accusing government agents of being involved. In February 2010, Chris Nyong Ekong, former commissioner for youths and sports in Akwa Ibom, was arraigned for kidnap, conspiracy and murder. There had been a series of recent kidnappings. Ewang alleged that prominent Ibibio people were being targeted.
Ewang is one of the leaders of the National Democratic Movement (NDM). In January 2010, the NDM was involved in talks with the “mega party” being planned by Mohammadu Buhari, Atiku Abubakar, Olu Falae, Bola Tinubu and Anthony Enahoro, with the purpose of defining a common platform to oppose the PDP. Ewang was appointed to an integration committee that also included Olu Falae, Balarabe Musa, Pat Utomi and Arthur Nwakwo, charged with ensuring the full coalition of all the parties and eminent stakeholders.