Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said it is now obvious that the Federal Government is not interested in revitalising the nation’s economy because its programmes on stimulating it have failed on all fronts.
The governor made the assertion at the inauguration of the Ezimgbu Road that was performed by the Adamawa State Governor, Umaru Fintiri, on Monday in Port Harcourt.
Wike stated that if the development of infrastructure was one way to stimulate the economy, then the Federal Government’s approach to the development of critical infrastructure should be apolitical.
The governor, in a statement by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, pointed to the deplorable condition of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway that he said was important to the nation’s economy and growth of interstate and regional business activities as an example.
Wike stated, “Let me say something very clearly. When the government says they want to stimulate the economy and you wonder how they are going to stimulate and make the economy grow. This morning, something came to my mind and I said what a country is this.
“Look at a road like the Lagos-Ibadan road, which is an important road in this country, and it cannot be completed by the Federal Government. They bring politics and ethnicity into everything we are doing.
“So, how do you stimulate the economy when a road like that cannot be completed until now? Look at the road leading to the (Port Harcourt) refinery and the seaport; up until now, the Federal Government cannot complete it. How do you stimulate the economy?”
He also noted that the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Federal Government, which gives loans to farmers, had not been implemented to yield the desired impact.
The governor said it was not enough to go to the media to announce how much had been expended in prosecuting those initiatives if there was no commensurate evidence.
“And then you hear trillions of naira being budgeted, you see people talk about giving N200bn to anchor borrowers, anchor leaders and to anchor this and that. We have no problem giving money to agriculture. What we are saying is, having given out this money, what is the impact?
“You’re saying that we don’t want more importation, we have no problems. We are in support of it. But having stopped importation, what is the fate of the ordinary Nigerians? Is the food there? If the food is there, is it cheap?
“So, the availability is not there; the cost is high; so, what is the whole meaning of encouraging our farmers to produce? The whole money you have given, what is the impact it has created?
“So, we should not be deceiving people. We should tell people we are able to do this and we did it. This (federal) administration is doing nothing to improve the life of the citizens.”
The governor said he had told some leaders in Rivers State, who paid him a birthday visit, that the process of consultation for the next governor of the state had begun.
Wike reiterated that no candidate would be imposed on the Peoples Democratic Party and Rivers people, even as he urged any member of cabinet nursing governorship ambition to be at liberty to resign.
The governor stated, “This morning, our leaders came to me to wish me a happy birthday. I told them thank you and that I also have a birthday gift for them. I told them, ‘You know I’m leaving, now, we have to start consultation for who takes over’.
“And I told them: ‘Let nobody go and spend his money, because after the consultation, we will all sit down and say this is the person we think that should continue where we have stopped’.
“So, the issue of who is going to take over from me, the process has started and it has started today, being my birthday. But what is important to us, like I have always said, we are not going to impose anybody on you.”
Wike also stated that it was important that the Independent National Electoral Commission continued to ensure that elections were free and fair.
Performing the inauguration, Fintiri noted that he had always known Wike as a man who had instituted a culture of inaugurating projects in Rivers State for the use of the people.