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RIVERS STATE 2023: Governorship Candidate Of The NRM, Amb. Sobomabo Jachrick Condemns Nyesom Wike’s Interim Injunction Against Black Friday Sales, Shutdown Of Spar In Port-Harcourt Mall.

Sobomabo Jackrich.

The interim order of injunction obtained from a Magistrates Court by the Rivers State Government that restrained the management of Spar in Port Harcourt Mall from conducting its earlier proposed Black Friday Sales that was slated for between the 18th to 27th of November, 2022 is regrettably another sad narrative of the insensitivity of the State Government to the welfare of Rivers people.

The state government didn't just end there, but went ahead to shutdown the facility leaving other businesses operating within the Port Harcourt Mall out of business, and hundreds of Rivers Youths thrown again into the already saturated labour market, leaving one to ask, to what end is this level of pettiness by a state government which has failed to create an enabling environment for investments and businesses to thrive in the state?

This ill motivated move first began with the state government warning that the management of Spar Port Harcourt Mall must show the environmental and safety measures put in place before carrying out the scheduled Black Friday Sales.

The State Commissioner for Environment, Barr Emenike Geoffrey Eke gave the warning when he led his team of directors for assessment tour of the facility a few last week, saying the inspection of the facility became necessary to avert a repeat of an incident that led to loss of live and properties in the last edition of the Black Friday Sales at the Mall.

Carried, if the move was intended purely for that purpose; but of course, from antecedents, we can say confidently that the Rivers State Government under the Governor Wike led administration does not embark on such move without an underhanded vested interest, hence the need for us to lend our voices to condemn this move in its entirety.

We are very much aware that the aim of organising Black Friday Sales activities is usually for purpose of offering clearance sales full of special shopping deals and big discounts on variety of wares in order to ease the economic pressure on customers and citizens.

Black Friday traditionally refers to the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving Holiday. It is typically a day full of mouthwatering shopping deals and big discounts for all varieties of wares including groceries, electronics, fashion et al.

The sales made on Black Friday are often thought of as a litmus test for the overall economic condition of the country and to measure the confidence of an average citizen when it comes to discretionary spending.

Hence, a government that claims it concerns itself with the safety and welfare of citizens of the state, should begin by demonstrating it in ensuring that street lights in Port Harcourt and its environs are kept on at night to guarantee the safety of citizens and to reduce crime and criminality in the state.

The issue of multiple taxation and excesses of members of the state tax force on street trading, illegal motor parks and others who go about muscling up small and medium scale businesses in the state, should be addressed without further delay.

A legal framework should be put in place to regulate and curb the incessant increments of residential and business accommodation facilities in the state.

These and much more are some of the ways to guarantee the safety and well-being of citizens, instead of embarking on the ill intended move to frustrate and cripple one of the most viable public private partnership facility, the Port Harcourt Mall, a legacy of Governor Wike's predecessor, former Governor Rotimi Amaechi administration.

From our findings, this move to frustrate Spar Port Harcourt Mall out of business may not be unconnected with the emergence of the Hypercity Shopping Mall of which it is an open secret that top officials of the state government have vested interests.

And more evident is the fact that part of why the government obtained the restraining order and subsequent shutdown of Spar Port Harcourt Mall, may not be unconnected with the Black Friday Sales offer by Hypercity Shopping Mall which also kickstarted from the 18th to 30th November, 2022, whereas, Spar Port Harcourt Mall had proposed its Black Friday Sales for 18th to 27th November, 2022.

Thus, this style of politicking with the lives and economic wellbeing of Rivers people at every instance is totally unacceptable.

Considering the hash economic realities and the yuletide season, the Black Friday Sales offer by Spar Port Harcourt Mall would have provided some kind of succor to thousands of families of citizens and residents of the state, but no thanks to a government that glories in inflicting hardship and pain on its citizens.

I therefore call on the Rivers State Government to retrace its steps without further delay.

I also call on civil society groups and all well-meaning citizens of the state to rise up and resist this impunity and wicked move aimed at further impoverishing the people of Rivers State.

In another frame, Governor Nyesom Wike’s recent signing of executive order 22 banning the use of premises, buildings and sundry structures in residential areas as campaign offices by political parties in the state, without government approval, is to say the least regrettable.

Also according to the Executive Order 22, the new condition for political campaigns, which also prohibits posting of bills, posters or related materials in unauthorised places, was done in the guise of backing enforcement of Rivers State Outdoor Signage and Advertisement Law, whereas its main ill intended motif speaks for itself.

Of course, we are not unaware of the antics of the governor which is intended to silence all opposition political parties in the state.

It is however worrisome that despite having all apparatus to his advantage as the number one citizen of the state, the governor still feels insecure and for fear of suffering imminent defeat at the 2023 polls, has decided to weaponise the law in order to cow and witch-hunt political opponents.

The National Rescue Movement in our previous press conferences, had stated that these draconian laws contravene relevant sections of the electoral act and the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, and thus, are dead of arrival.

I, however, wish to appeal to the conscience of Governor Wike who has been at the forefront on the call for equity and for the right things to be done in his party the PDP at the national level, with his constitution of what has now been known as G5 Governors; to allow for a level playing field in the state, and stop forthwith from this draconian and anti-people style of politicking.

Ultimately, power belongs to God, and no matter what the governor does to foist his stooge against the will of the people of the state as his successor, the will of God will surely be done in the 2023 elections.

I, therefore, urge all Rivers people to remain resolute and insist on voting in a people oriented government for the overall benefit of all in the state.

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