*Calls for dredging of River Benue, River Niger to end sufferings of Nigerians
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has again urged the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to do the right thing, if the party must win the presidential election in 2023.
The right thing, Governor Wike insisted, is the resignation of Senator Iyorchia Ayu as PDP national chairman, in order for a southerner to occupy the seat within the principle of equity, fairness and justice.
Governor Wike restated his position during a live interactive media chat in Port Harcourt on Friday.
He emphasised that any leader of a group who causes crisis within the group that he leads, truly lacks the requisite skills to navigate affairs of such group.
“This is the time to show leadership skill on the part of those who are leaders of the party. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is the presidential candidate. He is the one who feels the pain.”
Governor Wike made reference to the party’s constitution that spells it out in Section 7 (3) (c) that that all political and elective positions must be zoned.
He wondered why it is now so difficult for Senator Ayu to respect the constitution or even keep to his promise and quit the office if a northern is elected as PDP standard bearer.
“We have not held the presidential primary before the national chairman of the party said if the presidential candidate emerges from his area, he will quit.”
Governor Wike also accused Senator Ayu of collecting one hundred million Naira, first from a certain governor to renovate the party’s democratic institution, and later went to PDP National Working Committee (NWC) to collect exact amount for the same purpose. Governor Wike dares Senator Ayu to deny it.
“In fact, let me also tell you, Ayu collected N100million naira from a governor that he was going to renovate our democratic institution and then he went back to the PDP NWC and took the same N100million naira for doing the same work.”
He further added, “What kind of system is that? I am telling you all these are facts. Let him (Ayu) say no first and I will tell you (those he collected money from).”
The Rivers State governor pointed to the importance of the mission of rescuing Nigeria expected of the PDP by Nigerians. But the mission, he said required a leader with proven integrity to lead the party.
“For God’s sake, knowing that you are in a party that wants to take over the reign of governance in the country, we know Nigerians know the problems confronting the country.
“If a leader does not have integrity, forget it. We need a man who will tell his people this; a man who will be firm, a man who will be courageous to do those things that even people find it difficult to do.
“You are presenting a man who is the head of the party, the chairman of the party, who has no integrity to lead the campaign to take over the reigns of governance.”
Governor Wike explained that the chairmanship position of the party should go to the south before the elections. According, if Alhaji Atiku Abubakar wins in February presidential election, the hawks around him won’t wait until May to take major decisions.
“Who is there to decide for the South? Why will you tell me until when you finish election that’s when a southerner will emerge as chairman.”
Governor Wike described as untrue the report in the media that some former PDP governors, including Dr Peter Odili, were sent to him to resolve the crisis in the party.
Speaking further, Governor Wike decried the perennial flooding experienced in parts of the country as a result of lack of initiative on the part of the federal government to dredge the River Benue and River Niger respectively.
Governor Wike asserted that one way of solving the ravaging yearly flooding situation, is to pay attention to the sources of water flow and end the suffering of Nigerians who become impacted every year.
“I asked what is this problem that we can’t dredge River Benue and River Niger? Each time I fly over Benue, the sight makes me cry. We won’t have had so much problem to this extent if we dredge them
“But the politics, I do not know. Who is interested for River Benue, River Niger not to be dredged, and that has caused so much hardship for our people.
“How can government from time refused to dredge the rivers and I heard, sometime, that they awarded the Calabar River. What happened, where is the money?”
Governor Wike imagined why the federal government will award an all important contract like the dredging of Calabar River and will not demand its execution, even when communities continue to suffer from such negligence.
Governor Wike also informed that the taskforce on flood set up in the State is directly supervised by him to ensure that the impacted victims directly benefits from the relief materials that they would eventually require.
The governor dismissed insinuation that Sir Celestine Omehia was derecognised as ex-State Governor of Rivers State by the State lawmakers because he is supporting Atiku. According to him, the lawmakers took their decision based on Supreme Court judgment that sacked him.
Governor Wike dismissed claim by the management of Africa Independent Television (AIT) that the company acquired the land from the State government.
According to him, when the State Assembly started deliberation on the land, AIT until date failed to provide any letter of allocation to claim ownership of the land that was supposed to house its regional office in Port Harcourt.
Governor Wike also mentioned that he desired to construct a ring road that is estimated to cost N70B. The road, he said is planned to start from Okrika Town axis through Eleme to the Port Harcourt International Airport and terminate at Choba town.
He stated that since the tenure of his administration will end in May 2023, he will recommend to the incoming administration to execute the project because of its importance.
The Rivers State governor said the appointment of fifty thousand Special Assistants by him has provided job opportunities for the affected persons.