• Ogoni clean-up has become object of politics, laments governor
Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Ketil Karlson, has commended the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, for entrenching good governance through the provision of infrastructure to drive development.
This came as the government lamented that the issue of the clean-up of Ogoni had become an object of politics in the hands of the federal government.
Speaking at the inauguration of Chief Emmanuel Wonukwuru Aguma House (Former Produce House) in Port Harcourt yesterday, Karlson said infrastructural development is a vital part of the development of any country.
He described as astonishing the transformation of the old Produce House to an architectural masterpiece.
He said: “From the images I have seen on the board, it is astonishing to create a building of this beauty from the relic of the old one. This is a symbol of good governance. It is a sign of the good things that can be done in the country.
“Key infrastructure is necessary for the development of Nigeria. This is an important step in the right direction.”
He said at present, the European Union has 181 Projects in Rivers State out of which 99 has been concluded, 60 on-going while 22 are about to start, adding that the EU would continue to partner with the Rivers State Government to attain development goals.
“We are partnering the Rivers State Government to enhance development. What is good for the people of Europe is good for the people of Rivers State. We look forward to greater cooperation with the Rivers State governor,” he said.
In his remarks, Wike, announced the re-naming of the edifice from Produce House to Chief Emmanuel Wonukwuru Aguma House in honour of the first administrator of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area.
He said renaming the project is aimed at encouraging upcoming Rivers people to contribute to the development of the state, adding that the late Chief Emmanuel Aguma played a key role in the creation of the state.
He said two floors have been allocated to the United Nations, while the World Bank and other agencies would operate from the other floors.
Meanwhile, Wike has expressed disappointment that the Ogoni clean-up has become a political tool of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government, rather than a strategic environmental project to improve the lives of the people.
Speaking during a special appearance on SilverbirdTelevision Programme, News Hub, Wike said Ogoni clean-up is only mentioned whenever election approaches.
He said: “The issue of Ogoni clean up comes up during every election. It is a political strategy to curry political favour.
“If they are serious, they should use funds from the excess crude, the way they have done for insurgency. The environmental crisis in Ogoniland is a major challenge,” he stated.
He criticised the recent bill sent to the National Assembly by the federal government, noting that it will further divide the country and enslave the people.
He noted that such a bill is not necessary at this time when the country is suffering from challenges centred on sectional governance.
The governor said in Rivers State, people will always vote for the PDP because he has developed quality projects and programmes for them.
“In all local government areas, we have projects that have touched the lives of the people. Therefore, our projects will campaign for us.
“On the other hand, the APC Federal Government has no projects in Rivers State. There is nothing on ground for them to sell themselves to the people.
“Good governance endears you to the people. We have provided basic amenities and the people are happy with us. I am not an Abuja governor. I am a governor of the people. I am a governor of the people. I stay with my people and I know what my people want”, the governor said.
Wike said the over 300 major projects executed by his administration has created thousands of jobs for the people.
He noted that there is a digital revolution taking place in the state with the revival of the Information and Communication Technology centre where thousands of youths will be empowered through training and digital skills.
He informed that credible local government elections would be conducted in the state by June 16.
Ahead of the local government elections, he said that Rivers State PDP has made it a matter of policy to empower women with leadership positions as all 23 vice chairmanship candidates are women.
On the soot challenge, Wike noted that the state government would continue to take relevant steps to end the menace.