*** SAYS URBAN RENEWAL PROJECTS NOT TARGETED AT ANY TRIBE – Wike
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has charged the Presidential Candidate of Labour Party and former Anambra State Governor Mr. Peter Obi, not to be deterred by recent comments against his presidential ambition by a well known kinsman, even as he emphasized that his projects in Port Harcourt are purely for the purpose of returning the state capital to the garden city it was known for and not to drive any ethnic group away from Rivers State.
The Governor stated that some people accused him of targeting Igbos who are doing business at Ikoku when the state government wanted to construct the Nkpolu-Oroworukwo Flyover. He said they laced ethnic card to his genuine desire to transform the state and make it a better place for all Nigerians, but he is glad that even those who opposed the move are happy now that the project is completed.
Governor Wike made the clarification at the commissioning ceremony of the 9th flyover constructed by his administration. The event was held in Port Harcourt on Thursday 17 November, 2022.
“When we started this flyover, there were lots of blackmail and campaigns of calumny against me; they said I was targeting Igbo traders in Ikoku, they said I want to chase Igbos away from Rivers State.
“There is nothing they did not say about me, it was very bad. This axis of Olu Obasanjo Road was horrible. The traffic was terrible, you would see people doing business on the road.
“I said look, business can only thrive in a very good environment. Today I am glad that all those who criticised me that time now appreciate why we have to do this project. They are all happy now.
“My only intention was to transform this state and return Port Harcourt to its Garden City status and not to target any tribe doing business here. If I drive away those doing business in Rivers State, how are we going to increase our IGR?
“When we built the staff quarters of the law school opposite Hotel Presidential, I noticed that foreign currency exchange people were always there, I asked that they should be removed because criminal elements could capitalise on that and stage crime there, some people started saying I am going after Hausa people in Rivers State.
“My projects and policies have nothing to do with any ethnic group, they are purely for the improvement of standard of living and economic activities in the state. We welcome people from every part of Nigeria in this state,” the Governor said.
Addressing Mr. Peter Obi, the special guest of Honour, the Presidential Candidate of Labour Party and former Anambra State, Governor Wike said:
“I invited you here because I know you worked in Anambra.
“They envy you in your state because of where you are now. Don’t mind them. It is ‘bad belle’. A man’s enemy are his own people. Now they have the opportunity to perform, let them perform.
“If you are a professor, professor well. If you are a doctor, doctor well. If you are a lawyer, lawyer well.
“Any day you want to launch your campaign in the state, let me know. We will give you all the logistic supports you need.
“They say they will sack me from the party. Let them sack me na. If they sack me, Peter Obi will see me every day in Anambra.”
Governor Wike also described Peter Obi as a man who likes good things, despite his well known comments on frugality and constant admonition against extravagance, even as he recalled a particular incident when he and some friends visited Obi at his home in Anambra and were thrilled and feted with lavish sumptuous food and exotic expensive wine in a luxurious atmosphere that exhibited magnificent opulence, which left Wike astonished with awe and had him whispering to a member of his delegation that he hardly expected this Peter Obi who was a complete contrast from his public persona and preachments.
The Special Guest of Honour, Mr. Peter Obi who commissioned the project said nobody in Nigeria can doubt Governor Wike’s superlative performance.
“Nobody in this country can doubt your performance, anybody who does so does not want to admit what is good. You have worked for your people, you have worked for Nigeria.
“You have done anything anyone could achieve. Most importantly, you have remained consistently consistent in the positions you have taken.
“The things lacking in our country today are character, competence, and capacity, you have shown all of these as Governor of Rivers State, I am sure these qualities will be seen in the next governor of the state.
“What you are doing here is to bring back Port Harcourt to what it used to be known for. Your commissioner for works came out and spoke about the importance of infrastructure, which is what you are doing in Rivers State, you have shown competence and that is what we want in Nigeria,” Mr. Obi added.
Giving the project description, the Honourable Commissioner for Works, Dr. George-Kelly D. Alabo, FNIQS said the project was designed and constructed to last for a lifetime.
“This project has 100 metres extention coming from the Olu Obasanjo axis, before we get to the approach on this axis we have a pavement, and the width of the pavement is 7.5m.
“Substructurally, we have soil replacement of approximately 1.2m. We also have 200mm thickness of soil cement stabilisation, 200mm thickness of stone base, and 100mm thickness of asphaltic wearing course.
“We have a total of 234 elastomeric bearings because we 117 beams. We have 188 piles, the size of each of these piles is is 780 millimetres diameter.
“The project has a modern roundabout designed for high volume traffic. This overpass has been designed to last for a lifetime, generations to come will use it. This flyover will further reduce traffic congestion in the city and contribute immensely to ease of doing business which will translate to direct increment in our internally generated revenue,” the Commissioner stated.