Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has described as unfortunate the unguarded public comments credited to respectable party members against him after the conduct of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primaries on May 29 and 30, 2022.
Wike maintained that the right thing such persons should have done, particularly the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar or the PDP National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, would have been to reach out to him, but they have not.
The Rivers State governor made the accusation while speaking with journalists at the international wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in Ikwerre Local Government Area, shortly after his arrival from Spain, last Friday.
Wike pointed to how Alhaji Atiku Abubakar used the occasion of the unveiling of PDP vice presidential candidate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, and his appearance on a national television to lie against him.
“But there comes a time that people will understand and know the true facts. So, obviously, whether I will speak is not in doubt, to let Nigerians know the actual truth. Having known the truth, whatever they decide to do with it is left for Nigerians.
“Because, you can imagine, the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, when he unveiled his vice presidential candidate, no right thinking lover of this party would say that the speech he made on that day was fair. Forget about the favour seekers. Forget about the scavengers. But I never reacted to it. That is because this party belongs to all of us.
“Thereafter, he appeared on Arise Television, see the statement he made. So many lies were told, and you said I should not react to some of those issues. That would not be fair.”
Wike explained that after the PDP primaries, he returned to Rivers State to focus on fulfilling the remaining promises that he made to Rivers people.
He said, already, a number of completed projects have been outlined for inauguration, and when that was done, he would respond to all the lies peddled against him.
“Assuming today, I’m not alive, obviously, what they have said would be accepted as the truth. Look at his (Atiku) attack dogs: Sule Lamido, Babangida Aliyu, Maina Waziri. Look at the statements they issued. Look at the abuses they rained on me, but I never reacted.
“And Nigerians will ask, you mean these things happened? So, it is important that as a person, and for my own future, and for those who rally around me to say, look, this is not fair. So, I will make sure that I will react to them, line-by-line of the statements made by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar himself and his attack dogs.”
Wike asserted that he contested the presidential primary squarely and emerged in the second position, so, he will not tolerate being disparaged.
He emphasised on speaking to lovers of the party by putting the record straight so that they will know who was being truthful.
“Look at it, a presidential candidate who believes that he wants to win election, and somebody who contested fiercely with him that has never raised any issue. I just kept quiet, just minded my business, to see how my state can move forward.
“But every day, his people come up to attack me, to say one thing or the other. That’s quite unfair, and so, I should let Nigerians know at the appropriate time, that will be after the commissioning of projects that we have lined up.
“We will say: look, this is not correct, so that posterity, history will be on our side that we have been able to keep the record straight. So, nobody should be in doubt whether I am going to speak on the issue of PDP, issues of the primaries and other related matters.
“Nigerians will know what happened, Nigerians will know those who love this country, Nigerians will know what went behind. And that is to assure you I am going to speak on that.”
Wike clarified that Senator Bukola Saraki met with him in Spain, but confirmed that he was not sent by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
“So, nobody should think in such direction”.
In any case, Wike wondered why Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who visited him at his residence to solicit his support, does not know the way to the house he once visited.
Wike also said that he was not aware of any committee that has been set up by PDP or the party’s presidential candidate to reach out to him.
“I want to tell members of the public, as far as I am concerned, I love this party. I have remained committed, and I have been able to play my part. I’m not talking of leaving this party.
“I am not one of those who are running around the presidential candidate to say I want to be this. I am not one of those favour seekers, scavengers looking for how they will survive.
“After the commissioning of projects that we have lined up, we will be able to speak to Nigerians, and tell them what happened. It doesn’t matter who is involved.
“I am not a slave, and I will not be a slave. I am a free born of this country. I must be able to say how things are. Whether it suits you or it does not suit you, is immaterial.
“So, members of the public should please bear with us, that we must put the records straight. If we don’t put the records straight, history will not be happy with us.”
We’re Determined To Achieve Rivers Of Our Dreams -Fubara …Tasks Rivers People On Peaceful, Harmonious Relationship
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, says his administration is determined to enthrone an enviable Rivers that satisfies the dreams and aspirations of all residents.
To achieve the feat, Fubara charged all residents to embrace peace, exhibit mutual harmony among themselves and meaningfully contribute their quota to achieve designated developmental activities that will eventually benefit the State.
The governor stated this at the funeral service in honour of late King Theophilus J.T. Princewill, Amachree XI, the Amanyanabo and Natural Ruler of the Kalabari Kingdom, which was held at the King Amachree Square in Buguma Town, Asari Toru Local Government Area, yesterday.
A statement by the governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Media, Boniface Onyedi, quoted Fubara as saying, ”We are in a difficult period but just be peaceful. We cannot achieve progress in an environment of violence. We cannot grow our State to the level of our aspirations when there is trouble.”
“We can only advance to our dream State in a peaceful environment. I urge every one of you to be peaceful. Peace is the only instrument that can bring development,”
The governor applauded the level of cooperation seen between the bereaved family and the entire Kalabari people through the various stages of preparations leading to the eventual burial of their late king to the disappointment of those who had predicted crisis.
He urged the Kalabari people to continue to live in peace even after the burial of their late king, adding that nobody in the State should lose hope because his administration is committed not to disappoint, regarding all their expectations.
In his sermon, the intercontinental Youth Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Belemina Obunge, who represented the General Overseer of the Church, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, preached on the topic: “Don’t wait until you’re late”, harped on the need for people to seek God fervently, serve him truthfully while also living peaceably with neighbours in their various community.
Senate Leader Faults N9.9trn Recurrent Expenditure In 2024 Budget Proposal
Senate Leader, Bamidele Opeyemi, says the N9.9 trillion recurrent expenditure in the N27.5 trillion 2024 budget proposal is too high, as it constitutes 43 per cent of the budget.
Opeyemi said this at the opening of debate on general principles of the budget at plenary in Abuja, yesterday.
He said that the total fiscal operations of the Federal Government would result in N9.8 trillion deficit, representing 3.88 per cent of estimated GDP, saying that this was above the three per cent threshold set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.
Opeyemi listed highlights of the budget to include oil price benchmark of 77.96 dollars per barrel and daily oil production estimate of 1.78 million barrels of condensates of 300,000 to 400,000 barrels per day and exchange rate of N750 to dollar.
He said based on the fiscal assumptions and parameters, total federally-collectible revenue was N16.87 trillion in the budget, while total federally distributable revenue was N11.09 trillion
Opeyemi said total revenue available to fund the 2024 budget was N9.73 trillion, which included revenues from 63 government-owned enterprises, while oil revenue was projected at N1.92 trillion, with non-oil taxes at N2.43 trillion among others.
He said to finance the deficit would result in new borrowings totaling N7.83 trillion in addition to N294.49 billion expected from privatisation.
He said the deficit would also be financed from N1.06 trillion drawn from bilateral, multilateral loans secured for specific development projects programmes.
He, however, said there was a growing concern over continued borrowing, but the administration resorted to it to finance fiscal gaps.
“But let me state here that the debt level of the federal government is still within sustainable limits.
“Very importantly, these loans are used to finance critical development projects and programmes aimed at improving our economic environment and ensuring effective delivery of public services to our people,” he said.
Contributing, Sen.Osita Ngwu (PDP-Enugu)said President Bola Tinubu had fulfilled his promises by capturing food security, poverty allivation in the budget.
He said there was need to ensure a review of Petroleum Industry Act(PIA) to ensure the continuous ramp up of oil production to fund the deficit in the budget.
Senators, who contributed to the debate, commended the President for the budget, saying it was a budget of renewed hope.
NDDC Laments Unpaid N2trn Allocation
The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Sam Ogbuku, on Wednesday, said the interventionist agency is being owed remittances totalling over N2trillion by the Federal Government.
Ogbuku disclosed this when he appeared before the House of Representatives’ Committee on NDDC, chaired by Ibori-Suenu Erhiatake.
According to him, the amount is the accumulation of 15 per cent of the allocation of the nine states that make up the region, due to the commission since 2000.
He noted that in spite of the passage of the agency’s annual budget in 2021, 2022 and 2023; the funds were yet to be remitted.
“I want to raise an important issue. When we talk about funding, the NDDC Act says the monthly allocation from the Federal Government is 15 per cent of the allocation of nine states of the Niger Delta. But I can assure you that since the inception of the NDDC, it has not got that.
“The Federal Government only budgets what it wants to give to the NDDC for that year and they give it that year. If you look at the 15 per cent, we are not getting it. Even with the removal of fuel subsidy and with the increment of state allocation, the NDDC is still where it is. So, these are issues we want you to help us resolve and we have done our calculation that from 2000 to date we can say we are being owed over N2trn from what is supposed to be due NDDC.
“We also came in at a point when the NDDC never had a budget for 2021, 2022 and 2023. These budgets were before the National Assembly and we had to fast-track the passage of those budgets and those budgets were eventually passed in April this year. However, since the budget was passed, it has not been handed over to us up till now. We pray and plead with you to ensure that as fast as possible, you also facilitate the process for us to have the budget because the budget year is already coming to an end,” he said.
In his own contribution, the Chairman of the NDDC Board, Chiedu Ebie, said the board would work together to reposition the commission in the interest of the oil-producing states and Nigeria at large.
Responding, Erhiatake said issues raised by the agency would be addressed in no distant time.
“It is very important we create a platform for synergy in the implementation of these policies and programmes for the general benefit of Nigerians and especially the people of the Niger Delta. I assure you that this committee is willing and ready to partner with you to make sure that the dividends of democracy are brought to the region and the narratives that had been set by the previous board are changed for the better.”
Meanwhile, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has advised officials of the NDDC to be abreast of anti-graft laws so as not to step out of line.
The ICPC Zonal Commissioner for Rivers and Bayelsa states, Mrs. Ekere Usiere, gave the advice during a sensitisation programme organised by the NDDC at its headquarters in Port Harcourt.
A statement on Wednesday by the Director, Corporate Affairs of the NDDC, Pius Ughakpoteni, said Usiere spoke on the topic: “Understanding the Offences and Penalties Under the ICPC Act 2000.”
It also quoted the Head, Legal Department of ICPC in Rivers State, Dr Agada Akogwu, as saying, “Every public servant should take the ICPC Act as a Bible and internalise all its tenets. That is why the NDDC deserves commendation for organising a sensitization programme for its staff.”
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