The appearance of serial defector, Tonye Princewill on Rhythm FM in Port Harcourt on Saturday, August 5, 2017 highlighted the numerous achievements of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike as Nigeria’s Best Performing Governor.
The public relations job that the defeated Labour Party candidate did for Governor Wike cannot be achieved through months of sustained advertorials.
As an opposition figure who is aggrieved, Tonye Princewill admitted severally that Governor Wike is executing numerous projects across the state. The regular defector even listed some of the projects.
He, however, stated that the people of Rivers State are no longer interested in the numerous projects of Governor Wike.
Hear Princewill: “We don’t need Mr Project in Rivers State. Rivers State has been having many projects since the time or tenure of Amaechi,what Rivers people needs are jobs for the youth and the people. Rivers people needs Mr Jobs and not Mr project.”
That is where Tonye Princewill got it wrong because projects and jobs creation are intertwined. His mind is fixated on the traditional jobs generation technique of direct employment into the civil service. Even the traditional jobs generation is being revolutionised to accomodate Rivers people in all the LGAs.
Governor Wike’s focus on state-wide infrastructural development has been premised on employment generation and community empowerment.
Two major examples will suffice. The Rivers State Government is reconstructing and furnishing 175 Primary and Junior Secondary Schools in all the 23 Local Government Areas. In each of the local government areas, local contractors were engaged to execute these projects. These local contractors have in turn engaged different cadres of skilled and unskilled labour. Rural economies are also positively impacted.
There is also the total rehabilitation and equpping of 13 General and Zonal Hospitals across the state. Add this to the upgrade and reconstruction of five major secondary schools in the three senatorial districts. These projects have been distributed to create jobs in different communities.
The countless roads constructed by the Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Wike have opened up agricultural centres for the empowerment of the people. The roads to the agricultural centres of Etche abandoned by the Amaechi administration readily come to mind.
Across the world, infrastructure development is a known route towards quick job creation and economic generation. The infrastructure being developed are also meeting the basic social needs of the people.
For the traditional job creation I mentioned earlier, Governor Wike is set to roll out about 50,000 jobs for Rivers people living in all the 4442 polling units in the state. Each polling unit will get 10 jobs. The governor will be speaking on this unprecedented job creation programme in due time.
Security of lives and property is one area that Rivers APC has continued to play the ostrich. They forget that all the security agencies are directly under the control of the APC. Failures are directly attributable to the APC Federal Government.
As a responsible government, the Wike administration has made the greatest investment in security. It has funded security operations, logistics and supported the setting up of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army. With close to 200 patrol vans and over 20 gunboats donated to the security agencies , the state government has continued to develop the state’s security infrastructure to meet emerging challenges. The state amnesty programme has been quite successful.
Instead of the Rivers APC to support the Rivers State Government, they have resorted to demarketing the state. They fund negative propaganda in the media to create the false perception about the state. The reality is that Rivers State is safe for business.
The worst security infractions take place in Lagos, Kaduna, Kogi and parts of the North East. No politician from Lagos has taken up paid advertorials to de-market Lagos over the ongoing Badoo cult war and kidnappings that are ravaging the state.
Despite the millions spent by Amaechi and his associates to sponsor negative propaganda , thousands continue to troop to Rivers State for conferences and meetings. From Monday 6th August to 10th August 2017, distinguished lawyers from all over Africa will be in Port Harcourt for the 2017 African Bar Association (AFBA Conference ). Several other conferences have been held here in the last one year. While they lie, other people troop to the state to enjoy the peace and development of Rivers State.
Princewill’s Negotiation With Governor Wike
Princewill confessed during the interview that Governor Wike refused to give him a role in his government. That’s why he defected to APC where Amaechi promised him a role.
It is public knowledge that Governor Wike places the welfare of Rivers people above the interest of politicians who seek roles to make money. This administration is about the people. All the efforts of the governor are geared towards improving the living standard of majority of Rivers people.
Governor Wike has thrown up a challenge to the APC National Secretariat to compare development activities in Rivers State to any of their states. This challenge for a transparent peer review is yet to be accepted.
The interviewer also placed this challenge before Tonye Princewill. After stammering for several seconds, Princewill was only able to mention Lagos State. By implication, he admitted that the other APC states have been easily outdone by the Wike administration.
Even under the current dispensation, Rivers State is far ahead of Lagos State. This is the centre of projects and sustained development. Governor Wike is establishing a framework that will lift the economy of Rivers State.
Lack Of Federal Presence In Rivers State
Even Princewill, the new APC convert, agreed that the Buhari administration has nothing on ground in Rivers State. Since 2015, work has stopped on all projects initiated by the Jonathan administration in the state .
The first phase of the Port Harcourt International Airport was completed by the Jonathan administration. Since then, nothing has happened to the facility. The East-West Road which reached an advanced stage has since been abandoned. There is no meaningful federal project going on in Rivers State. Princewill only said Buhari “will”, Buhari “shall”. Yet, over 80 percent of APC campaigns were funded with Rivers resources through Amaechi. He claimed that Rivers people hate APC because of Wike’s propaganda. That is not true. APC, as a political party, is founded on lies and deceit. Rivers people prefer Governor Wike and PDP for their commitment to development and truth. Where in Nigeria has the APC demonstrated commitment to development?
On Novotel Hotel
As I conclude, I want to mention Novotel , since Princewill talked about it. He struggled to justify the use of that facility for electoral fraud and malpractice. According to him, the governor has no reason to intervene because it would send wrong signals to investors.
Minutes after he left the studio, an APC group issued and sent a press release to the same radio station, calling for the sack of the Rivers APC chairman for relocating the party’s secretariat to Novotel. The electoral crimes being committed at Novotel pose a threat to the security of Rivers State. Governor Wike has a responsibility to maintain law and order in the state.
Princewill’s appearance on a live radio programme, last Saturday, confirmed his personality. He is looking for food and relevance. Therefore, it will not be surprising if Princewill defects yet again. His politics is centred on “wetin man go chop”.
From DRR to DCP to AC to ACN to PDP to LP and now APC. Certainly Princewill will defect to another party once they promise him a role. At least, Amaechi has contracted him to launder his image after looting the state blind.
Hired hands like Princewill who do their master’s bidding cannot stop the progress of Rivers State. Governor Wike is providing the right leadership for the state despite inheriting a battered state due to Amaechi’s unconscionable looting and sale of valued state assets. They think that after two years, Rivers people would have forgotten their horrible crimes.
As for the political issues raised by Princewill, I am sure he knows that Rivers people are solidly behind Governor Wike. They will back him all the way to right political destination.
Nwakaudu is Special Assistant to Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media.