From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Dr. Tammy Danagogo is the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Rivers State. In this interview, he speaks on siting of projects in the state, calls for secession by some people, insecurity in the country among others.
Some persons are commending the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, for his developmental strides. Others are of the opinion that the flyovers are concentrated in Port Harcourt, almost all within the Port Harcourt/Aba road. Why is this so?
The roads, flyovers and inter-changes construction is to show that, Governor Nyesom Wike, has a vision to accomplish an infrastructural developed Rivers State. The governor is looking at where Rivers State should be in the next 10 years and beyond. The dream of the governor is to make Rivers State and Port Harcourt a befitting oil and gas capital of Nigeria like Texas and Houston are to the United States. If you want Rivers State to be the capital of the oil and gas sector, then, you must understand that more inter-changes and infrastructural development for the state is needed to the extent that anyone who drives into the state or to its critical facilities will see that, in deed, Rivers State is a 21st century city that can compete with any city.
The International Oil and Gas Conferences, which should hold in Port Harcourt, are always held in Abuja, and they claim that there is too much traffic congestion and security challenges in Port Harcourt. The governor is here to create a state that can truly be the oil and gas capital of Nigeria. I have no doubt that when the flyovers and interchanges are completed and most of the interconnections between the capital city and our inter-cities are completed, people will appreciate him for what he is doing. Most of us are still praising and enjoying the development the first Military Governor of Rivers State, Alfred Diette-Spiff, brought into Rivers State. Those complaining about the flyovers, what kind of Port Harcourt City do they want? Do they want a city that will remain the same way as it was in the 80s and 90s? Let me ask you about the one-lane Rumuola and CFC flyovers being reconstructed now, did you feel happy when you used those flyovers? We have all had stressful experiences enduring traffic because of vehicle breakdown on those flyovers. My joy is that right thinking people are grateful for what the governor is doing for the state; because they have a bird’s-eye view of the vision he is pursuing. He has a great vision to make Rivers State the 21st century city of Nigeria.
Governor Wike is transforming Port Harcourt and also the rural areas. In the riverine communities, the governor is doing massive sand filling to provide more land space. The Trans-Kalabari Road, Saakpenwa-Bori-Kono Phase 2 Road, Omoku-Ahoada Roads constructions are all part of the rural-urban development. The massive construction is on because he is the governor of Rivers State.
What is your take on the recent outburst of Asari Dokubo claiming that Rivers State is part of Biafra? As a son of Kalabari, what is you comment?
Ordinarily, I should not respond when ex-militants, miscreants or people who call themselves war lords begin to make statements. Every discerning member of the public should know that these parochial and attention-seeking declarations are not serious talks that government of Rivers State should respond to. The people you are talking about are not speaking on behalf of any ethnic nationality or Rivers State. Alhaji Asari, Egberipapa and their likes do not have the capacity to speak about where Rivers State belongs. They are merely seeking attention. The media should be able to tell them they are wrong, just as we expect that if someone commits crime, the law enforcement agencies should be able to arrest and prosecute such a person.
These parochial, selfish and attention-seeking declarations are not serious talks that the government of Rivers State should lose sleep about. Kalabari people have traditional rulers, very prominent elites, business tycoons, academicians, etc., who can properly speak for us. Certainly, ex-militants can’t be the representatives of our ethnic nationality. The governor has stated repeatedly that Rivers State is not part of any secessionist agenda and the Kalabari people firmly stand by the governor.
The impact of the governor’s security outfit such as Operation Sting, has considerably helped the security situation in the state. But, the governor keeps referring to himself as the Chief Logistics Officer, rather than Chief Security Officer. Why is it so?
The governor is doing excellently as regards security. As soon as he returned to office in his second tenure, he launched Operation Sting to curtail security challenges within the state. We were to begin our security summit before the outbreak of the global pandemic, COVID-19. The Chief of Army Staff, recently in Port Harcourt, commended the governor for his logistics support despite being in an opposition government.
The governor does not waver in his support for the security agencies. As long as it is to enhance the security of the state, he will never waver. If the political atmosphere allowed him to truly be the Chief Security Officer as he should be, Rivers State should have been an Eldorado in terms of peace. He keeps referring to himself as the Chief Logistics Officer because of the particular way this government runs. When you are an opposition government in this particular government, the Army, Police don’t take directive from you as the Chief Security Officer. Rather, they are taking directives from the leadership of the ruling party of the country. The lack of cooperation we receive from the security agencies is unprecedented. You saw how the military was used to carry ballot boxes during the 2019 general elections. This is why the governor looked at the situation and said he is a Chief Logistics Officer. In spite of the political challenges, you can testify that the security situation has tremendously improved in the state. By the grace of God, no matter the obstacle, he is very courageous and strategic to achieve his result in the areas of security.
There have been recent fire outbreaks in the city. People complain of lack of fire equipment. What is your reaction?
If anyone says there are no fire trucks or gadgets, I don’t think that is true. The governor has provided the fire trucks and necessary logistics. The fire men are being paid to render service. Sometimes, it is lack of zeal and patriotism that is our problem. In such departments, we need men with zeal and patriotism to achieve result. That is why I always call on those in civil service; you are not working for the governor. Always know that you are working for God and for humanity, your people.