Tony John, Port Harcourt
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State says for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to even contemplate presenting a governorship candidate for the 2019 election in the state shows that something is fundamentally wrong with the party.
Wike spoke in an interview at the Government House, Port Harcourt, stressing that aside the plot to rig, the APC has no platform to campaign upon in the State.
“For the APC to think of bringing somebody in this state to challenge me, shows that something is fundamentally wrong with the party.
“What has the Federal Government done for the APC in Rivers State? What has Rivers APC achieved? Mention one thing. Is it in terms of the roads, the airport or seaports?” he querried. He regretted that the APC did not believe in credible polls, noting that rigging and fraud were in the DNA of the party.
“All their meetings, all their gatherings at the federal level, whether by hook or crook, they must have Rivers State. They want to use soldiers, SARs, DSS. All cries by the international community don’t matter. Just take Rivers State first,” he said.
Governor Wike said as a Minister of State for Education, his contributions to the development of Rivers State were scattered across the state.
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He wondered why the current Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, has failed the people of Rivers by refusing to attract a single project to the state.
Governor Wike said: “When I was minister and he was in APC, I brought development to the state. For example, I brought Faculty of Law to the University of Port Harcourt. I brought grant of N500 million to Ken Saro Wiwa Polytechnic and Ignatius Ajuru University of Education.
“I’m from Rivers State and must contribute to the development to the state. As at the time I was in the Federal Government, he was the governor under APC and there was no development in the state. I brought Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) intervention to Rivers State. This is my State.”
Wike said, as governor of the State, he has transformed Rivers, siting key projects across the state. He said his third year anniversary celebration underscored the fundamentals of good governance with leaders across political, traditional and social divides commissioning key projects.
The governor said in October, his administration would commence another leg of project commissioning. He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari would be invited to commission projects, even though he is unlikely to honour the invitation for political reasons.
Governor Wike said contrary to the propaganda of the APC, he is not against the federal government, adding that he is only committed to the fight against injustice.
“That’s the misconception; I don’t stand up against federal government. I stand up against injustice and marginalisation. It has nothing to do with the federal government. If this government is not in place tomorrow, and another government comes and perpetrates injustice, I will stand up against them. It has nothing to do with federal government,” Wike said.
On the alleged media propaganda by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), on the management of Rivers State finances under his leadership, Governor Wike maintained that the law had declared that the EFCC has no power to investigate the state government.
He said: “I’m not interested whether EFCC backs off or not, being a body that does not respect the rule of law. That is what the federal government is all about, impunity. You heard the president say national interest supercedes the rule of law. I’m not against the EFCC fighting corruption, if at all they are fighting corruption.
“My concern is for us to do things in accordance with law. The law says we have a federation comprising the federal government, the states and the local government areas. We go to the monthly federal allocation when money comes to the federation and all tiers take their share. The federal government is now saying the money that comes to states will be monitored.”
He noted that the EFCC could only be taken seriously, if it operates within the rule of law, by successfully appealing the 2007 judgement between the commission and the state government.
“I was not here in 2007, when the Rivers State government went to court against the EFCC; to say the commission has no constitutional power to interrogate the finances of the State government. And the matter was adequately addressed and judgement was given against EFCC. Since 2007; EFCC has been struggling to appeal the judgement. EFCC has not succeeded up till now. What they are doing now is when they feel a government is not pro-Buhari, let’s do this.