Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on Thursday restored the benefits and entitlements of Mr. Celestine Omehia as a former governor of the state.
Omehia’s restoration came on a day the governor, during the opening of South African Visa Application Centre in Port Harcourt, assured investors that Rivers State was a safe place for investment.
Wike, who performed the ceremony at Government House, Port Harcourt, said though Omehia lost his seat to immediate-past governor Rotimi Amaechi, he held sway as a governor between May 29, 2007 and October 25 of the same year.
The governor further ordered that the official portrait of Omehia be mounted among other former governors of the state at Government House.
He said: “I, hereby, put back his official portrait among those of former governors. He is now entitled to the benefits of all former governors.”
Wike said the era of bitter politics was over in the state, wondering why Omehia, who discharged the functions of a governor for about four months, would be denied his benefits as a former governor.
An elated Omehia described the day as his happiest day, thanking the governor for restoring his rights as a former governor of the state.
Omehia was sacked from office as governor of the state by a Supreme Court verdict which installed Amaechi as the governor of the state.
The court had said in its ruling that Amaechi was the rightful candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the eye of the law that brought in Omehia as governor.
The event was witnessed by the Secretary to the State Government Kenneth Kobani, Rivers State Housing Commissioner Emma Okah and the State Attorney-General Chinwe Aguma.
Meanwhile, Wike, who spoke before formally opening a South Africa Visa Application centre operated by VFS in Port Harcourt, enjoined investors to come to the state, assuring that it was peaceful for business.
He lauded the South African government for its moves in the state, saying that it would send the right message to other investors that Rivers State was a safe business haven.
He said: “I wish to commend the South African government for letting the world know that Rivers State is safe for local and international business.
“We will continue to work with the South African government and other investors to ensure that the business environment is improved. We will continue to improve on the security of the state to attract more investors.”
Promising to collaborate with the Federal Government to further develop the Port Harcourt International Airport, the governor said investors from other countries are free to come and invest in the state.