From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said Nigerians should not attach ethnic and religious coloration to government decisions and policies, especially when it has to do with development.
He also insisted that he would remain in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to fight those he called vampires, hyaenas and scavengers.
“I will not leave. I will stay there, I will fight the vampires, I will fight hyaenas, I will fight the scavengers. I will not leave this house. I will never allow armed robbers to takeover my house. I am going to stay to chase away the armed robbers.”
He offered to provide logistic support to Mr. Peter Obi, Labour Party (LP) candidate, whenever he visits for his presidential campaign and urged him to ignore envious persons from his home state hellbent to distract him in his pursuit for the presidency.
Governor Wike, who spoke during the inauguration of the Nkpolu-Oroworukwo flyover (former popular Ikokwu motor spare parts), performed by Mr. Obi, in Port Harcourt, said the essence of development is to grow the economy.
“When I started the project, there was a lot of blackmail, campaign that I am chasing the Ibos away. I’m sure you (referring to Obi) must have heard of it. Most of them that are singing here today, there was nothing they did not say. This Olu-Obasanjo road was as bad as anything.
“But, I said look, this business can only thrive in a very good environment. Today, all of them now appreciate why we had to do this road. Before, it would be traffic all the way. People don’t like good things. Before, traders would take over the road. But, I think everybody is now happy. This road construction has nothing to do with any ethnic group. It has to enhance and improve economic activities. Nigerians should stop to bring in ethnicity, religion when somebody wants to do something.”
He recalled that when he wanted to build the residential quarters of Nigeria Law School, where the lecturers would stay, around the Presidential Hotel, he was blackmailed and accused of chasing Hausa people from the state.
“Every decision you take to improve in your environment, to improve economic activities, when it affects one or two persons from so, so area, they say you are chasing us away. When I chase you away, what will be the economy of this place, that is my interest, is that people will do business here; economic activities will boom, internally generated revenue would come up, and we use the money to develop our state.
“So, people should always understand that in terms of government’s decisions and policies, it may not favour you. But, what we are talking about is the overall interest of the state, and not as individuals or group of people.”
The governor observed that there were many people who had left office for years and had gathered around a political actor in their desperation to force themselves back to power.
“All they want to do, let us get the opportunity to come back to power. Nigerians, we must open our eyes. You (politicians) must sell yourself; this is me. You must not sell yourself because you belong to a major ethnic group. Every vote in this country will count.
“Time is over when anybody thinks that you can win election because you’re from so and so place. Nigeria has past that stage. We want a Nigeria that all of us believe in that we are from here. We want a Nigeria that I have hope that I can become anything tomorrow, not because I came from a small place.”
Governor Wike also spoke, making reference to assurances some political actors made during a town hall meeting where they agreed to implement the restructuring of the country. The political actors, governor Wike, noted also condemned the situation where all the service chiefs were people from one section of the country.
He wondered why they waited for over seven year, until this political season, to begin to speak out against such sessional appointments of service chiefs.
Governor Wike mocked persons in the PDP, who were calling for his dismissal from the party. According to him, those clamouring for his dismissal ironically left the party, frustrated its electoral chances and made it to lose the 2015 election.
“Those who are threatening me are those who destroyed PDP and made us lose election in 2015. I stood firm in this party when this party was to die. Peter Obi, you were there in the party then.
“I was the one with my friends who supported this party. Those who left the party are the ones coming to tell me that I want to scatter the party when you (they) had scattered the party and made us lose election in 2015. Now we are in opposition. Who put us in opposition?”
Performing the inauguration, Mr Obi expressed gratitude to governor Wike for his large heart to extend invitation to him to open the Nkpolu-Oroworukwo flyover for use by the public.
“Nobody in this country can doubt your performance. Anybody who does so, does not admit what is good. You have worked for your people, you have worked for Nigeria and you have done everything anybody could achieve. Most importantly, you have remained consistently consistent in positions you have taken.
“What is lacking in our country today is character, competence and capacity. In all these you have shown it as a State governor.”
Obi pointed out that 18 presidential candidates were gearing up to contest the 2023 election but Nigerians were looking for men of character, competence and capacity including those who have used previous opportunities to offer service profitably.
“I assure you of our commitment to build a better Nigeria. our past will not be our future. Those people are our past. I and Datti (Baba-Ahmed) represent the future of Nigeria. And I have told Nigerians, hold me responsible. I know what it takes to turn around this country. I will not give excuse. I will change Nigeria.”
Providing the description of the project, Commissioner for Works, Dr. George-Kelly Dakorinima Alabo said the Nkpolu-Oroworukwo flyover is 993 meters long, with a pavement width on both sides as 7.5 meters each.