Wike Blasts Minister over Comment on Airports, Flyovers in States
Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
Governor Nyesom Wike has taken a swipe at the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clement Agba, saying that he the minister lacks understanding on how governors plan projects in their various states.
Governor Wike was responding to the comment credited to the Agba, advising the governors to tackle poverty, stop building airports and flyovers in various states.The Rivers State governor spoke yesterday at the inauguration of the 13.86km long Rumuodogo 1 and 2 road in Oluua – Rumuodogo community in Emohua Local Government Area.
He said Agba was wrong when he said that governors were the causes of poverty because they focused on building flyovers, airports and other projects in the state capitals, while neglecting to invest in rural communities to directly uplift the living standard of the people.
“He said governors are the problem, they don’t do rural roads, and I ask him where and where have you been. You just sit there (Abuja), you’ve not been to anywhere to check whether rural roads are being done or not.”
Governor Wike pointed out that the development plan of his administration is holistic with critical infrastructure delivered not only in the state capital, but across the 23 Local Government Areas.
He therefore, advised the minister to take time out, leave Abuja and visit States, particularly, Rivers State, emphasising that there are quantum of projects in rural communities with the Rumuodogo road inclusive, which have improved the socioeconomic status of rural communities.
“Come to Rivers State and see whether we are doing roads that will cause agricultural produce to be brought out to the cities or not before you open your mouth. We are not doing roads in the city alone. We are doing roads in all local government area of the State.”Governor Wike also challenged some South-South States governors to stop hiding behind their attack dogs they have commissioned to insult him, but they should rather come to confront him personally.
“Some people have been sending their people to insult me. I laugh. I hear some people, they call them Akwa Ibom professionals, they were insulting me. Tell the man who sent you to come out. You are just small kids. I am waiting for the big masquerade. Some people said they are Ijaw professionals. You that is sending them come out. It is you I am looking for , I am not looking for these small fries.”
The Rivers State governor wondered why those faceless governors are picking offence with him because he thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for releasing the 13 per cent derivation arrears from 1999 to date.
Governor Wike informed that even though he is never a fan of President Buhari, it does not stop him from expressing his gratitude to the president for releasing the fund that has helped to finance several projects in Rivers State.
“If they’re not prepared for governance give up. I am prepared for governance. I was prepared, I’m still prepared, I will be prepared till I leave. How can people talk, simply because I said thank Buhari for giving us money. I am not a fan of Buhari. All of you know that, I am not one of those they like. I am not one of those who go to Abuja to see them, but the truth must be told. When somebody has done well in an aspect, you say he has done well in this aspect. You cannot change it.”
The Rivers State governor also said while some of governors could not withstand the federal might in their States, he was able to withstand the federal might that tried to undermine the 2019 election process in Rivers State.
The governor also said, when he thanked President Buhari, he did not say that the South-South governors should account for their share of the money they got.
He noted that each governor should know peculiar development needs of their various States and attend to them.
Governor Wike, however, said he was prepared for governance when he took the shot to become governor, was not handpicked, but entered the race and defeated a sitting governor.
“But let me tell those who are making noise, whether you’re a governor I don’t care. When I came to run as governor of Rivers State, there was no governor that said I want to put you in office as a governor. I came on my own. God said I want to use you. There was a sitting governor, we defeated the sitting governor.
“Some governors were brought by their godfathers, I never had any godfather that brought me as a governor. The only God father I had was God and the people of Rivers State. So when some governors are talking, they should know those they are talking to, we are not at the same level and we can’t be at the same level.”