*Says media must critically oversight public officers
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike says politicians are exerting pressure on the National Assembly to hurriedly pass the N500B Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) 2023 budget ahead of the general elections.
Bearing this in mind, governor Wike has expressed doubt over the capability of the 2023 NDDC budget before the National Assembly to address development issues in the region.
Governor Wike made the remarks when the Senior Vice Chairman/Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Azu Ishiekwene led a delegation of the management of Leadership Newspaper Group Limited to the Government House, Port Harcourt on Monday to present a nomination letter of award to him as the “Politician of the Year 2022.”
Also, the delegation of Sun Newspaper Publishing Limited was led by the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Onuohia Ukah, presented a letter of nomination of award of “Courage in Leadership 2022”
Governor Wike revealed that within the total estimate of N500 billion, N70 billion is expected from the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG), N4 billion earmarked for distilling of public drains, and N60 billion earmarked as support to security agency.
The Rivers State governor said a critical look at the details of the various estimate reveals that it is fraudulent budget.
Governor Wike said it laughable to see a development agency like NDDC earmarking N4 billion to clean public drains when it is supposed to attend to strategic development issues in the region.
He queried why the NDDC will earmark N60 billion to security agency and not devote it to doing an enduring project and see the derivable impact.
Governor Wike claimed politicians are already mounting pressure on the National Assembly members to speedily pass the NDDC budget so that it can be shared in lieu of the 2023 general election that is approaching.
Speaking further, governor Wike lamented that it is becoming almost difficult to see people standing on the side truth whether it benefits them or not.
Governor Wike remarked issues of payment of staff and sundry matters created some problems within the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP after the party lost the 2015 general elections.
He explained that while those who didn’t wish PDP were vehement on their agenda to collapse the party, he and a few others stood up for the party, ensured that it was not killed and were described as the pillar of the PDP.
Now, governor Wike noted that there are hired boys who have been commissioned to attack him and label him as a destroyer of the party because he is speaking up for fairness, justice and equity.
Governor Wike insisted that he cannot be destroying a party that he has contributed so much to build.
The governor also stated however, that he cannot be in a house he has built and allow armed robbers to take it over.
Governor Wike recalled that PDP presidential primary was fraudulently organised.
He said the organisers allowed an aspirant to return to the podium to do campaign when voting process had started. According to him, if the aspirant was allowed to make announcement that he was stepping down, there won’t have been problem, but rather instructed delegates who to vote.
These were the same people, he stressed, that frustrated the recommendation for zoning of PDP presidential ticket.
He said no amount of blackmail can deter him from standing for the truth, based on equity, fairness and justice, that the national chairmanship of the PDP should be filled by a southerner.
Governor Wike challenged anybody to point to any benefit, in terms of projects, that Rivers State has got for its support to the PDP since 1999.
According to Governor Wike, let those who say they have capability to effect a national change when elected, first demonstrate such ability within the party.
The governor explained how he is not those politicians who run around party candidates to get relevance, because it is ones contribution in the state and not Abuja that gives such relevance.
Governor Wike said he has between 2019 and now built 12 flyovers, spent over N17 billion Naira to build the Dr. Nabo Graham Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School, completed within 10 months and those who opposed it are scrabbling to get space for their wards to be admitted.
The Rivers State governor urged the Nigeria media to be forthright, oversight public officers and criticise them so that society can become better.
Governor Wike said the award they have given to him, which he dedicated to God and Rivers people, will spur his administration to do more.
He informed that the major problem in Nigeria is not availability of money, but leadership that can stand on truth to promote it and be empathetic towards building a virile society that offer good life to the citizenry.
Speaking for the management of Leadership Newspaper Group Limited,
Senior Vice Chairman/Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Azu Ishiekwene said governor Wike was nominated as the “Politician of the Year 2022”, because his activities have consequential impact on Nigerians.
Mr. Ishiekwene noted that Governor Wike restored the Garden City status of Port Harcourt, made it a city of bridges, empowered women with the law that makes them inherit husband property and stood for justice.
On his part, the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of Sun Newspaper Publishing Limited Mr. Onuohia Ukah said governor Wike is awarded “Courage in Leadership 2022” because despite economy recession, he has delivered soul lifting projects for Rivers State.
Special Assistant on Media to the Rivers State governor.
January 9, 2023.