Elele—The February 25 presidential election will be used to prove strategic importance of Rivers State in Nigeria’s politics, Governor Nyesom Wike said yesterday.
TheNation reports that he said there was nothing to show for the state’s support for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since 1999, stating that Rivers would no long be dumping ground.
Wike spoke at Elele Civic Centre, where he kicked-off the construction of Elele Internal Roads in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
He reminded the people that Rivers stood strong in the scheme of national affairs, adding that anybody supported by the state should reciprocate the gesture.
The governor described as unfortunate that instead of appreciating the reality, some people have been busy issuing political threats against the state.
He warned those dishing out threats to have a rethink to avoid problems.
According to him, Rivers had remained the bedrock of the PDP since 1999, provided the party with bulk of votes and logistics than any PDP state in the country.
The governor boasted that there would have been no PDP without Rivers State.
He said: “Despite the state’s contributions, there is nothing of note, in terms of project that can be reckoned as benefit to justify the support,” the governor said.
Wike recalled that Rivers refused to enter into negotiation with the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government as done by other states and did not give President Muhammadu Buhari 25 per cent votes in the 2019 election despite the heavy military presence in the state.
He explained that Rivers ranked above other states and therefore must be treated with respect.
Ahead of the elections, the governor disclosed that some politicians were mounting pressure on the National Assembly to speedily pass the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) N500 billion budget.
He said: “Since the NDDC was established, look at the money that has gone into the commission, what can we show for it? The NDDC has become a cash cow for politicians. The President has just inaugurated the new board of the NDDC.
“You know what is going on now? There is N500 billion budget for NDDC. Election is coming from February 25, Now, what the politicians have done is to put pressure on the National Assembly so that they will pass the N500bb budget for NDDC.”
He explained that some politicians with vested interest in the 2023 general elections had already determined how the NDDC budget would be siphoned at the detriment of the election.
Wike described as regrettable that those overseeing the affairs of the NDDC have been sons and daughters of the oil-producing states, yet, the commission had never deemed it appropriate to seek the input of the state in its budget preparation.
He said the Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice had been mandated to challenge some perceived fraudulent provisions of the budget, such as the allocation of N60 billion for building a spurious safe haven for a particular security agency and N4 billion for cleaning of gutters, in court.
The governor lamented that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs had been rendered redundant, as supervision of the NDDC had become the sole responsibility of the minister.
Speaking on the project, Wike told the people of Elele that the entire roads network in the town would be reconstructed to serve as part of appreciation for their support to his administration since 2015.
He explained that all the indigenous contractors being used by his administration have shown capacity and assured that no project would be abandoned.
Urging them to support his quest for consolidation by voting Siminialayi Fubara as his successor and Prof Ngozi Ordu as his running mate, Wike assured that the duo will build on the foundation laid by his administration.
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Dr. George-Kelly Dakorinima Alabo, said the Elele Internal Roads was awarded to the contractor, Oki & Sons Ltd on the 28th October 2022.
According to him, the nine-kilometre will have six-kilometre drains with three-month completion date.