The recent return of former Transport
Commissioner in Rivers State and ex-Chief of Staff, Government House, Chief Emeh Glory Emeh, to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, has triggered a gale of decampment from the embattled All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
This development has turned the GRA, Port Harcourt, residence of the consummate politician into a Mecca of some sorts for scores of disillusioned’ APC faithful from across the state’s 23 local government areas.
In this encounter with The Tide Political Editor, Victor Tew and Chief Correspondent, Ike Wigodo, Emeh speaks on the development and the Governor Nyesom Wike administration, declaring the APC as dead and buried.
You have been in the news recently about your return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). How did it happen?
First of all, I left PDP to APC owing to the attitude of some of the people in the party as at that time. But all that is in the past now. A combination of what I found is that the APC is not organised; there is no structure, no leadership and nobody is directing. The second one is that a lot of pressures from my political leaders and mentors. I could not resist them. Barrister Celestine Omehia, Prince Uche Secondus, former Governor Peter Odili, Governor Wike himself, Austin Opara. When you put them together, it was too much for me to resist. I have to return.
Where these the only reasons you left APC?
The APC lack leadership and the party knows that. APC knows that it has no focus and plan. They used my house for six months to do their meetings. Until I brought Sampson Ngeregbara and Chibudom Nwuche to the party, they do not have any qualitative contributions, except people like Lolo Ibienenye. But generally speaking, you can finish an APC meeting without anything to go home with. If they ask you: ‘What did you discuss in the meeting?’ You may not have anything to say.
Do you think that the PDP will comfortably accommodate you, having worked against it in 2015?
I have never worked against PDP, I was not part of the election. I just left the party because one person in the party did not show me love, but when greater persons in the party showed me love, I came back.
Do you think your coming back to PDP will increase its fortune?
There is no doubt about that. I am not supposed to sing my praises. They are doing a write up on my capability, capacity and ability. Those who have worked with me know that I contribute my small quota and my small quota is always adding up. I have the latitude to do what I can do to assist the party. The Governor has said to me to deploy my wealth of experience and assist the party where I can and I will try my best to do so. I believe that my contribution will assist the party one way or the other.
How would you assess the present administration in the state?
For the short period I have followed Wike, you can see commitment in governance, I am not a novice. I had worked with Odili and Omehia; I have been in the corridors of power for a long time. We know when a governor is performing. I visited several project sites, both completed and ongoing. Few days ago, we went to the Ecumenical Centre, a project for all the Christian denomination’s in the state, and you see what he is doing. For the first time in Africa we are seeing an Amusement park that is of a world class. Then the schools, the hospitals, the renovations. Everything Wike has been doing in this town was also noticed by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo when he visited, such that he has to christen Wike Mr Project. Indeed Wike has turned Rivers State to a project site. So, I think, hate him, love him, you can see a man that is desirous to help the people. You can see a man that is working towards redefining the infrastructural development of the state. I am proud that I came at the time I came to embrace him. I hear that by what transpired in the meeting APC held penultimate Thursday, the party has been finally buried in the state. I count myself lucky to have left APC when I did. I am planning to do a thanksgiving that I left the time I did.
Do you think the Pleasure Park project will boost the economy of the state?
It is better to go there to see things for yourself. There is one particular area of the park that will bring people even from Brazil because it replicates what they have there, where water changes to seven colours. So when you go, you see the water changing from blue to red and other colours. It is a site to behold. You will ask: ‘How did Wike come about this’ and the answer is that he is proactive. The government is presently making ways to increase what it has and what it inherited from zero to something bigger. Wike is determined to improve the revenue base of the state.
Given the dwindling allocation to the state, do you think some of the projects will be sustained?
It is only when you take projects like Monorail and Gas turbine without plan that you will talk about shortage of funds. Wike thinks before he leaps and for few times I sat with him, I see him computing-this is what I have and this is how I want to distribute it. This, in financial management is known as financial analysis. You have to look at the cost effectiveness of every project and when you begin to implement them, you would not have any problems. For me, I think he is doing well in managing the little funds his having and by so doing, the like hood that he will complete each project he has ventured on. It is not debatable.
What can you say about Wike’s approach to the development of the state?
Managing the poor situation is more difficult than managing the boom. But Wike has shown that the ability to perform should be the pre condition for putting anybody in power or office. He has promoted fresh commitment to efficient performance and because of the problem of economy and recession, he prescribes solutions to problems within a frame work of more ideological perspectives such that he has to weight the options. His major consideration is what the economists call the cost benefit analysis. So, it is cost effectiveness analysis. No project is taken just because the project is elsewhere. He looks at the cost, the benefits and the interest of our people before embarking on any project.
How can the government and the people of the state consolidate on the peace and level of progress already attained?
The peace of the state is already cemented. The bond of fraternal co existence is being cemented and the barrier of separatism is being fine-tuned by group known as Rivers Elders Consultative Forum and we are happy with what they are doing. I believe by the end of this year they would have put all the warring groups together and we can have a lasting peace in the state.
Since your return to PDP your residence has become Mecca of some sort to many politicians especially from the APC. What is responsible for this?
First, everybody is disillusioned about the poor and lackluster leader of APC. I cannot say they are coming because of me; they are coming because they have also seen in Governor Nyesom Wike a man they can trust; a man that cares for the people. Is not just Emohua, the entire state. I have received people from Khana, Tai, Oyigbo, Omuma, Ahoada West, Ahoada East and Abua/Odua. I have also received APC people from Ogba Egbema/Ndoni, Degema and Asari Toru. I read in the papers that about 220 councilors of APC who are in court against PDP have signed up a paper to debrief their lawyers to withdraw the case from the court. I was told that their reasons is because nobody cares about the case in court. They did not know their counsels and they continue to tell them about the case every day. Meanwhile somebody is telling them unrealizable stories. So, I told them that Wike is not arrogant. He has a listening ear and ready to receive them when they are ready.
What is your message to Rivers people?
To continue to be peaceful and law abiding and appreciate that in Governor Wike there is a leader that they can trust and those of us who did not support him from the beginning regret it. But we thank God. Let’s work together as one state, one destiny. We will not have difficult if we trust Wike to manage us. He has done well so far.
The recent return of former Transport