Frontline Rivers State governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and former Minister of State, Education, Nyesom Wike has said that Governor Rotimi Ameachi of Rivers State is at the moment regretting leaving PDP for the All Progressives Congress, APC, but he is staying back because of pride.
Wike said this in an exclusive interview with Punch newspaper.
Wike said: “The issue of best of friends is neither here nor there. We are both in different political parties. I think one day, he will realise that he has made a mistake and come back to the party that produced him. The party that made him to be speaker for eight years, the party that made him to be governor for almost eight years and the party that made him whatever he is today. I believe knowing him well, at his most quiet moment, he is regretting. Also knowing him well for his ego, he will say instead for him to do that, people will now know that he has lost his conscience, so he will remain where he is. If not that, if you ask him very well, he knows that he made a terrible mistake”.
Speaking on his chances of succeeding in governorship ambition against the background of talks that he left certainty for uncertainty, Wike said he had 80 percent certainty of winning.
“If you say I left certainty for uncertainty, you are asking whether I am sure of winning the election. What you should understand in life is that there is nothing that you partake in that does not involve risk. Every human endeavour involves taking risk. However, this type of risk, I can tell you, is the one that has a success rate of 80 per cent and a failure rate of 20 per cent. So I will say that I am not leaving certainty for uncertainty.
“The Peoples Democratic Party is the predominant party as far as Rivers State is concerned. So there is no fear for anything. The structure is on ground. What we need to do is to work with everybody to ensure that the All Progressives Congress does not go back to the Government House although we know that it was the mandate of the PDP that the governor took to the APC”.
Speaking on what new things he will bring on board as governor of the state, Wike said the primary thing that will be brought to bear is good governance, which he said is lacking in the state.
“We are bringing so many things. We will ensure good governance. Good governance is not only about constructing roads. Good governance also includes or respect for the rule of law. Look at the state House of Assembly, today, state lawmakers sit in the Government House. So they are at the beck and call of the governor. Whenever he wants them to sit and approve something for him, they sit in the Government House and do it. Thereafter, they adjourn.
“That is not democracy. We will give the legislature the required independence.
“We will also give the traditional rulers their deserved respect. We will also give attention to infrastructure. Take for instance, there are only two roads in Rivers: Ekwere Road and Aba Road. Port Harcourt roads are bad, go and check. Look at the schools too. As the Minister of State, Education, I had to apply to the Presidency to intervene in some schools. We have been able to intervene in not less than 20 schools in the state.
“So, as far as education is concerned, the state government will just build one modern primary school along the road and showcase it to every Tom, Dick and Harry that comes into Rivers State. Meanwhile, these schools are not in the rural areas. What the governor does is to build some of these schools on the road to deceive people that more schools have been given a facelift. Look at the health sector, all the general hospitals are dead. No one is functioning.
“Look at how the government has wasted millions of naira talking about the mono rail. Is that what the people need now? What traffic are they going to curtail From what point to what point? Where the mono rail is, there is no single traffic. There is no population there and it is not more than 2km. As I speak to you, the mono rail is stalled. Each day, they advertise that they are on course. As I speak to you now, when they read this interview, they will tell workers the next day to move there so that people will see them working.
“Look at the Karibi Whyte Hospital, the governor demolished the teaching hospital we used to have in Port Harcourt and said he was going to build a 1000-bed hospital. As I speak to you, nobody knows where that hospital is located. We have a lot of things to do, particularly in building our people’s confidence. Everybody has lost confidence in Amaechi’s administration. That is where we are. So, there are so many things that we are going to do and we are going to drastically pursue them. I have talked about the education sector, health sector, judiciary, etc.
“We have a stadium within the city, he abandoned that stadium and said he was going to build a new stadium where there are no people living yet. That is to just let it be that he built a stadium, meanwhile there is Liberation Stadium in the city”.
On agitations in the state over power shift from the Ikwere part of the state where he hails from, wike said it is not about Power shift but about who can win the state for the PDP and stop APC from continuing in goverment after Ameachi.
“I do not want to become governor because I am an Ikwerre man. It has to be put in perspective that I want to become governor to redeem my party, to make sure that APC which has no business to be in Rivers State is gone forever.
“I don’t want to see myself as running because I am an Ikwerre man. I want to see myself as running because I have something to offer, to make a change for Rivers State to become the state that people want it to be.
“PDP is not the ruling party as it is today in Rivers State. As an opposition party, what you are required to do is to field a candidate that has the capacity to match the ruling party for it to be able to take over the machinery of government. Opposition parties do not talk about whose turn it is. You only talk about whose turn it is when you are in government. The circumstance the PDP found itself today is such that it must go for whoever has the capacity and the confidence of the electorate to win the election. That is what the PDP needs.
“All these talks are the imagination and propaganda of the APC government in Rivers State because they know who to be afraid of. They have said bringing out Wike is a walk-over for them, so we are helping them to win. They should not bother themselves”.
The former minister also spoke about his tenure as the minister of state for education, saying he was able to bring a lot on the table during his tenure.
“When we were given the opportunity, did we make any impact? But as a human being and with the kind of support I got from my colleagues and the President, I think we did make a lot of impacts, particularly at the basic education level.
“You can see it everywhere. Take for example, when we came on board, how many people wanted to go to Unity Colleges? But now, look at the huge number that apply to go to the colleges, not less than 200,000 for only 20,000 capacity. That confidence has been brought back. There were so many changes brought to the colleges, employing new teachers, putting basic infrastructure that were hitherto not there.
“It was when we came on board that we pursued the issue of almajiri education; it was not there before. The issue of girl education was tackled. We are not saying we have achieved what we ought to achieve but we can see the progress that we have made. Look at the issue of vocational schools not only for skill acquisition but also for basic education. Fundamental changes and innovations have been put in place during our administration”.
Speaking on the genesis of his problems with governor Ameachi, Wike said it the governors attempt to cut him off from the politics of the. Rivers State that caused their troubles.
“When he saw that I was to run for Senate, he denied me that with the hope that he was going to run for Senate in 2015. Unfortunately or fortunately for him, he became the chairman of the Governors Forum. He then saw the forum as an avenue to really launch his political aspiration in the country, which is now manifesting.
“The whole essence of Amaechi was not really to make me a minister, he believed that if he sent me out of the state, my influence would be cut and I would lose the support of the people because I will not always be there. He does not understand that God does not work that way. While he pushed me away so that I would not be relevant in the state, he did not know that God had a different plan. God said you are not just pushing him away, you are making Nigerians to know him more. Before he knew it, it was too late for him.
Posted From iProdigy Group Nigeria(Dabibi Ori-ibim’s Blog).
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