By Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt
A Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Chukwuemeka Eze, has faulted claims by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike that Nigerians were yearning for the return of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) because the APC had failed them.
The governor had while receiving members of his party’s State Executive Committee in Government House, Port Harcourt, said the APC promised Nigerians of solving most challenging national issues but continued to give excuses for its failure.
He said: “Nigeria is hoping for PDP, APC has failed Nigeria. This is no more time for promises. You have promised and you have failed. There is nothing to try you again.
“Nigerians have realised that it is better they stay with the PDP that has the interest of Nigeria at heart than a party that gives excuses every day.
“You know there are problems in Nigeria and you made promises, asking Nigerians to vote for you and for five years, nothing has changed.”
But Eze, a founding member of the APC in the state while replying the governor said Wike’s decision to make Port Harcourt the voice of opposition and a stamp of antagonism against the federal government could only be unfortunate and misguided.
Dismissing Wike’s claims as fictitious and mere cocktail, Eze said the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC had set the pace in infrastructural development and job creation, which he described as critical elements of sustainable economic development and good governance.
He noted that the simple fact that Buhari’s administration was bending backward to pick the bills of federal projects executed before the APC came into power to the tune of over N70bn should humble the likes of Wike and the PDP.
“These were federal projects neglected by the PDP but executed by states yet they were not paid for. The APC and President Buhari came and paid them including N78.9bn to Rivers State, but the only thank you in Wike’s mouth is insult for the APC and federal government.
“Has Wike and his failed PDP forgotten that the PDP-led FG carefully refused to pay the correct deduction to the NDDC to the tune of over one trillion only for President Buhari and the APC-led FG to order the refund.
“This amount alone coming gradually back to the Niger Delta should have shamed the PDP and the likes of Wike and would have made the people of the oil region to know who truly loved them and who does not.
“The United Nations through the UNEP carried out a detailed study of the environment of the Ogoni as stepping stone to that of the entire Niger Delta. Such an important global organ issued a report with an order to dedicate $1bn to start cleanup of Ogoni land.
“The PDP and a son of the Niger Delta killed that report and released no dime. The APC and President Buhari came and launched the difficult clean up and so far released $400m (N154Bn). It has been stated by those who know that money is no longer the problem of the cleanup but ability to do the right thing and draw down the huge funds execute projects. Many are being employed in Ogoni on these projects and more is coming.
“It is sad that those who did these evils and more are same people daily writing off the APC-led FG and President Buhari. It is sad that we now live in an era when the offender is judge and the guilty is not afraid. Yet, this is an administration that was greeted into power by a recession induced by excessive and mindless looting over the years, and is now battling with a global economic contraction caused by Covid-19”.
Eze noted that the APC government was pursuing the completion of the second Niger Bridge, which he described as the gateway to the eastern economy.
He described the railway as the backbone of any national economy and observed that the APC government was pursuing it with a single-minded determination and dedication.
He said millions of people had been lifted from the labour market and meaningfully engaged in direct and indirect jobs initiated through thoughtful and people-oriented public programmes in the quest to fight poverty and improve livelihood.
Eze reminded Wike that the federal government attracted unprecedented development to Rivers State through the Transportation Minister, Chibuike Amaechi, who he said continued to receive national and international medals for his towering achievements in modern rail development, ports expansion and improved maritime security
He said: “The eastern ports were ignored all the years of the PDP even with a Port Harcourt boy as President and a Rivers man was minister of Transportation. Now, the eastern ports are booming as confirmed by industry insiders and Onne port has been opened up to admit more goods.
“Just last Saturday, the Nigerian Ports Authority announced the successful berthing of the biggest container vessel to ever call at any Nigerian port; the Maerskline Stardelhorn vessel with Length overall of 300 metres and width of 48 metres which was received at the Federal Ocean Terminal (FOT), Onne in Rivers State.”