APPROVAL OF $1.5 BILLION FOR REHABILITATION OF PORT HARCOURT REFINERY SMACKS OF POLITICS – Gov Wike

Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, says the approval of $1.5 billion for rehabilitation of Port Harcourt refinery smacks of politics.

The governor said there is really nothing to jubilate about the approval because similar promises had been made in the past, particularly during election transition period that never materialised.

Governor Wike , who stated this during an interview on Channels Television, pointed out that people ought to bear in mind that there is a different between mere approval and actual release of the $1.5 billon for the rehabilitation.

“I am not going to jubilate because the Federal Government said they have approved $1.5billion for the rehabilitation of Port Harcourt refinery. Thank God they said so, but let us wait and see the outcome of it at the end of the day.”

The governor described as unacceptable a situation where all the refineries in the Niger Delta region, which is the hub of the oil and gas industry are not functioning.

“We have had these promises and nothing has happened. And so, I don’t want to start to sing hallelujah. Let us wait and see based on the approval and the statement made by the Minister of State for petroleum. We will hold him accountable to it.”

Governor Wike said before the APC led government assumed office in 2015, the APC had promised to fix the refineries. He wondered how the government which now has barely two years to the end of its tenure can fix the refineries it neglected since 2015.

“they said, Nigerians if you give us (APC) the opportunity to remove this (PDP) government that told you it (refinery)will work, we are going to make it (refinery) work. And since 2015 it has not worked. Now we are going to the next transition, you are now coming to tell Nigerians you have made this approval. The same thing in Ogoni clean up. It has always come up when we are going for election.”

The governor stressed that ahead of 2023 politics, so many promises and approvals will be made by the APC led government to hoodwink gullible Nigerians that the country is being taken to Eldorado.

“If PDP was in government and it (refinery) never worked and you came and told Nigerians we are going to make it work. Since 2015 till now has it worked? Why will it be that as you are going to the next transition now that you think it will work.”

On the issue utilisation of the 13 percent derivation fund, the governor said no former South-South governor, particularly those that served between 2007 and 2015 can equal the achievements recorded by the State government under his watch.

“I challenge any governor from 2007 to 2015 in the South South to challenge the government of Rivers State that when I was Governor in my state I did this , you are not able to equal what we did or I did. Tell me who from 2007 to 2015, could come up to say I did eight flyovers.”

Governor Wike stressed that governors have been given a responsibility to govern their respective states and should be allowed to do so. He argued that a lot of politicians in the ruling party that are questioning the utilisation of State resources are just trying to conceal their own deficiencies .

He maintained that no citizen of Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Edo states has any right to question how the resources of Rivers State is expended. According to him, only Rivers State citizens who elected the Government have moral justification to demand for accountability from his administration which has implemented several infrastructural projects in all the 23 local government areas of the State.

On the recent declaration by Asari Dokubo that he is now the leader of Biafra, the governor said anyone who knows the antecedent of the former Ijaw Youth Council leader ,will not take him serious.

He urged the Nigerian media to stop giving credence to the activities of the likes of Dokubo and focus on more pressing challenges facing the nation.

Speaking on the issue of insecurity around the country, the governor reiterated that if the federal government had taken decisive action to tackle kidnapping when the Rivers State Government appealed for assistance, the menace may not have spread to all parts of the country.

“I have consistently told the government of today, in as much as you politicize the issue of security you cannot get it right. Until we take the issue of security serious, not by coming on television to say we killed 200 bandits , which nobody saw. We killed 200 Boko Haram which nobody saw.”

The governor recalled that when Rivers State was faced with security crisis, most of the APC governors in the North, claimed he was playing politics. He wondered if they could make similar assertion now that they are grappling with same challenge.

KELVIN EBIRI
Special Assistant (Media) Rivers State Governor

March 18, 2021

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