Osinbajo Blames Current Hardship on Corruption

  • Says Imo oil communities are not treated well by gov
  • Wike chides ruling party for misinforming him

Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt and Amby Uneze in Owerri

The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has said the hard times currently faced by Nigerians is a result of the corruption that took place in the country for so many years.

Osibanjo spoke yesterday at the Aztech Arcum Events Centre, Port Harcourt, during a ‘critical stakeholders’ meeting that was attended by leaders and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

But Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has berated the state chapter of the APC for trying to instigate conflict by holding the alternative meeting after the acting president had met with stakeholders that cut across party lines in the state.

Some leaders of the APC at the meeting were the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, and the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Obong Nsima Ekere.

Also in attendance at the meeting was the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside and former Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, the Chairman, Senate Committee on FERMA, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe and chairman of APC in the state, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya.

Osinbajo said: “The APC is a party of today and the future. It is easy for people to say times are hard. Yes, times are hard. One of the reasons for the hard times is the corruption that took place for so many years.

“We are investigating at the moment, the $15 billion of the defence contract award. If $15 billion dollars disappeared, when you have a reserve of $30 billion, there is no way there will not be hardship.

“The other thing is the destruction of pipelines and facilities. Oil prices fell by half, then we started losing one million barrels a day, 60 per cent of revenue. There is no way there will be no recession. We are sure that because of the way we are approaching the business of governance, even with the little resources, things will change for the better.

“For the first time, we have bailed out the states of the federation. When we came, 22 states were not paying salaries at all. We had to bail them out twice. Despite the lean resources, we are still able to support the states. In the next few months, as things shape up, this country will improve and the exchange rate will improve.”

He also expressed displeasure on the attitude of some Nigerians, who were involved in destructive criticisms and running down the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Also speaking, the Director General of NIMASA, Peterside, noted that last Monday’s stakeholders’ meeting at the Government House, Port Harcourt, was with a section of Rivers people, mostly members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), maintaining that Amaechi was committed to the development of the Niger Delta.

He also noted that politicisation of the Niger Delta struggle was one of the challenges the region has been facing, maintaining that when Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was President, there was no agitation for resource control, but as soon as he lost the 2015 election, his kinsmen started agitating to control their resources.

But speaking at another event in Port Harcourt yesterday, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, berated the leaders of the APC in the state for misinforming Osinbajo that they were holding an APC meeting in Port Harcourt, only for them to turn around  to pretend to hold a Niger Delta Stakeholders meeting.

The governor lauded Osinbajo for setting the records  straight  when he proclaimed the APC slogan and explained  that he was at yesterday’s event to meet his Rivers APC family.

Wike spoke at the state secretariat of the PDP, Aba Road, Port Harcourt, where he received former   Ndoni APC  members led by Chief Ofili Enebeli after their  defection  to PDP.

The governor declared that the successful official engagements of the Acting President to Rivers State  sent shivers down the spine of political mischief makers spreading  false stories  about the state, hence they resorted to their usual  desperate anti-Rivers politics.

Meanwhile, Osinbajo has regretted that the oil producing communities in Imo State have largely been neglected by the federal government and noted that the time has come for the communities concerned to receive adequate attention like their counterparts in other states.

He also directed all Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contractors handling unfinished projects in the state to return to work with immediate effect.

Osinbajo spoke in Owerri while on a one-day working visit to the state yesterday, informing that he had come at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari to consult with stakeholders in the oil producing communities of the Niger-Delta region which Imo State is one of them.

The vice-president confessed at the  palace of Imo State Chairman of Traditional Rulers Council,  Eze Samuel Ohiri, that the people of Imo State have been largely marginalised as an oil bearing state of Nigeria, however said the federal government would make amends.

He promised that Imo would henceforth receive fair treatments from the federal government.

“My visit here is in continuation of the consultation which Mr President said I should do to all the states of the Niger Delta, and I can say that the oil producing communities of Imo have been largely ignored’’, he said.

The acting president however, promised that the federal government would look at the ways to redress the injustice done the area by given more attention to the state.

On the issue of unfair appointment and allocation of projects raised by Governor Rochas Okorocha, Osinbajo said it was not correct that President  Buhari was not fair to Imo people.