Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared the state safe for productive economic activities for the empowerment of the people.
Wike described as unfortunate failed attempt by the former state governor, Chibuike Amaechi, to de-market the state on NTA Tuesday live, where he (Amaechi) claimed that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration could not extend railway to Rivers, due to alleged insecurity.
He spoke during the inauguration banquet at the Government House, Port Harcourt, on Wednesday.
“Amaechi claimed on NTA Tuesday live that he did not bring the railway to Rivers State because of insecurity. What about Kaduna and Daura with very high level of insecurity? Yet, they took railway there.
“Just this week, the president met with the governors of 19 northern states and they discussed how to stem the tide of insecurity in the region. Yet, they were not denied projects.
“For how long will Amaechi continue to de-market Rivers State. Was it insecurity that made him not to give the president 25 percent during the last elections? You claim Rivers State is insecure, but you came to the state to hold your birthday. Every Rivers indigene owes it a duty to protect the state,” the governor said.
He said contrary to the false propaganda about insecurity, Rivers has continued to grow its internally-generated revenue since 2015.
“When I came onboard as governor in 2015, we met an internally-generated revenue of N4.5 billion.
“But, now, it has grown to N8-9 billion. If the state is not safe, our internally-generated revenue will not be on the increase.
“Let nobody de-market Rivers State. This ugly politics will not work. We have not benefitted anything from the APC Federal Government since 2015. They are refunding money for federal projects, but they delisted Rivers State. But, I will not bow to anyone, I will only continue to respect constituted authority,” he said.
Governor Wike announced that competence and loyalty would drive the setting up of his second term cabinet. He said only persons with 100 percent loyalty will make the list.
The governor assured he would pay more attention to the people through empowerment programmes.
Former governor Peter Odili, said Governor Wike had surpassed all former governors in terms of performance in the last four years.
He called on the governor to use his second term to promote the unity of Rivers people for the development of the state.
“Every inch of the journey from now on, must be devoted to thanking God ceaselessly for what he did for our state. You have done so much. But, there is still work to be done,” he said.
Odili urged Wike to devote more resources to empowering the less-privileged during his second term.
He said the governor must find a way of reaching the poor without passing through middlemen.
He advised Wike not to be distracted by political intrigue, as the race for 2023 has already started.
United States Consul General in Nigeria, John Bray, said he is very proud of Rivers people because of the role they played during the last elections.
He said Rivers people won despite the challenges of the period.
He said: “As I come from a democratic country, I am very proud of the Rivers people. During the last difficult elections, the people won. So, I raise my glass to you the people of Rivers.”
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Uche Secondus, said Amaechi allegedly came with army generals to overrun the state, he was defeated by Rivers people.
Senator Dino Melaye commended Rivers people for voting a man of courage, who believes in the defence of the Niger Delta. He said Rivers people voted for a man, who has conquered fear.
Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, praised Wike for his outstanding performance in his first term. He conferred on Governor Wike the title of ‘Pride of Nigeria’.
Chairman of the state Council of Traditional Rulers and Amayanabo of Opobo, King Douglas Dandeson Jaja, said Governor Wike has started his second term on a strong note, through key pronouncements on street trading and taxi parks.
Founder of AIT, Raymond Dokpesi, thanked Rivers people for standing solidly behind Governor Wike during the last elections. He said Wike has become a role model in leadership across Nigeria.
“Without the outstanding performance of Governor Wike, it would have been impossible for the PDP to be alive in the country,” he said.
Former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Onueze Okocha, senator-elect Betty Apiafi and T. J. Yusuf, moved toasts for the legislature, judiciary and executive arms of government.
Basket Mouth, Gordons, Timi Dakolo, Port Harcourt Male Ensemble and the state Council of Arts and Culture thrilled the audience.