Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has decried the exclusion of Rivers State from the execution of projects by the Federal Government.
This is as the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinaya Abaribe stated that the proponents of change are now worse than those they changed.
They spoke on Thursday night, 5th March, 2020, at the Government House Port Harcourt during a condolence visit by the Senate Minority Caucus to the Rivers State Governor over the passage of his uncle, Late Chief Charles Wike.
Governor Wike said: “It is unfortunate that one Minister from the South-South said that Rivers State is being denied projects because of kidnapping. It is painful.
“There are killings all over the country. Killings in different states. But they are siting projects in those states. But in Rivers State, not a single Federal Project.”
Governor Wike said that the exclusion of Rivers State from the execution of projects by the Federal Government raises very critical questions.
He said: “Are we really part of this country? Is Rivers State part of this country? They have taken away majority of the prominent positions occupied by our sons and daughters in the Federal Government.
“Rivers State is part of this country. We did not commit any offence to warrant the total exclusion from Federal Projects under this dispensation. ”
He said that the politicisation of security and national development is counterproductive. He said that all Nigerians must work together to defeat insecurity.
“We need to work together to fight insecurity. It doesn’t matter the party that you belong to, let’s work together to save this country.
“If you are a human being, you cannot say that you enjoy the slaughtering of people. Where are we heading to?
“Why should anyone play politics with the lives of people ? I Don’t need to be in your party for you to protect me. We are brothers and we are all from one country”, he said.
While assuring the Senate Minority Caucus of his support, Governor Wike commended them for fighting on the side of the people.
He said: “I must commend the PDP Senate Caucus for standing firm to say what is wrong is wrong.
“At the end of the day, everybody must present his report card. Everybody has account to give account. And this account must be given individually. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated.
“Always do what is right, so that tomorrow you can meet your creator with a clear conscience that you have done what is right. Do not relent. You should continue to speak the truth. You may be in the minority, it does not matter. But you will not be in minority before God. I assure you that we of your stock will never abandon you. We will support you to do your work as you will be vindicated. ”
Speaking on his uncle, Late Chief Charles Wike, Governor Wike said he lived a good life and has gone to be with his creator.
In his remarks, Senate Minority Leader said that the present administration has failed the people of Nigeria.
He said: “Nigeria as it is needs to move in a different direction from where we are moving now. We need you to support us in our effort to make every Nigerian feel the impact of good governance.
“We understand the difficulty every Nigerian is feeling today . We understand the pains most Nigerians are going through today.
“We understand that those who came on the platform of change have ended up even being worse than those that they came to change.The disappointment, the disillusionment that most Nigerians are feeling today, is our responsibility to bring to the fore in our public debate.”
Senator Abaribe said that democracy is difficult for some people because they are autocratic in nature.
“We have been keeping up with our ideals. Democracy is difficult for some people to really fathom. I think that is why the government at the centre is finding it really difficult . You cannot have democracy without having democrats. Only democrats can give you democracy. Autocrats can never give you democracy.
“What autocrats want at every time is to say that their word is law. We believe in interaction and the contestation of ideas in the public space. That is what will lead us to a better Nigeria for everyone.
“We have been trying to steer the ship of state to the right direction when we get communications from the Presidency and it has been very difficult,” he said.
He said though the Senate Minority Caucus has continued to work to correct the anomalies in government, the entire struggle has met with resistance.
He said: ” It has been very difficult for us. We thought we would have been able to change the direction of Nigeria in 2019.
Be that as it may we also resolved that we will give a positive direction to government , considering that all of us are suppose to be working for the interest of the country.
“But as you have seen from interactions and what has come out in the media, it has been a very difficult task. Even today, we had to go into a very difficult discussion with our colleagues on the propriety of plunging Nigerians into further debts.
“What we have seen is that maybe there’s a reluctance on the part of the Federal Government to take in good advice from the citizenry represented by us. ”
He said that the widespread insecurity across the country makes development difficult.
“You cannot have development when almost all parts of the country are burning. The insecurity we contend with, we have tried to get the government to see reason and change tactics and the personnel.
“It is those who refuse to buy into new ideas that don’t want the economy to grow and they don’t want anything good to happen,” he said.
He commiserated with the Rivers State Governor over the death of his uncle, Late Chief Charles Wike. He prayed God to grant the strength to bear the irreparable loss.
Senator Abaribe was accompanied on the condolence visit by Senate Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, Senate Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda and Senate Deputy Minority Whip, Senator Sahabi Yau.