Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike yesterday defended his statement that those coming to the state for the rerun election should “write their will.”
Speaking in an interview with Channels Television monitored in Port Harcourt, he told his interviewers that he made the statement which some of his critics believe is an evidence of his support for violence, that he said in reference to those who might have sinister intention.
Fielding questions on a wide range of issues, he said it
will be difficult for another party to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
The governor noted that the state was in the firm grip of the PDP, besides his administration’s modest achievements in its short period in office.
Wike spoke yesterday as a guest on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, broadcast live from the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The governor said Rivers residents were determined to vote for the PDP because of his achievements in the last few months in office.
He noted that despite the poor federal allocation to the state, his administration was able to complete projects.
Wike said no distractions could make him abandon his campaign promises to the people.
The governor said the state’s internally generated revenue (IGR) had increased from N4 billion to between N9 and N10 billion.
According to him, if there was a high rate of insecurity in the state, as reported in some sections of the media, the IGR would not have increased because investors would have run away.
Wike said: “It is difficult for anybody to defeat us in Rivers State because of the projects I have done in my short stay in office, and the fact that Rivers is a PDP state.
“The civil servants are happy with us. Nobody would be happy when, at the end of the month, they cannot take their wages home.
“We have done much to fulfil our campaign promises. If you go to Borokiri, where the former governor was living at Okaki Street, everybody was afraid to go there because of bad roads. But today, we have fixed the road and the people are happy.
“In Diobu axis, we had many bad roads before now. But today, we have fixed them. The general hospitals were dead; some health centres were not functioning. What we are trying to do, as a matter of policy, is to pick one hospital in each of the three senatorial districts and equip it.
“We are also going to train and retrain our doctors. For now, we are focusing on health and education. We don’t want to carry all at the same time.
“We received N4 billion as (federal) allocation when our salary wage is N5.5 billion. How do we make up to pay salaries? When we took over, I had an IGR of N4 billion to N5 billion, but as I speak to you, we have improved our IGR to between N9 and N10 billion.
“This means nobody is running away from the state, because if people were leaving the state, our IGR would not have increased. And if the insecurity is much as is being claimed, why is our IGR increasing? Yet, if you read the newspapers, people would say the state is Rivers of blood.”
The governor, who pledged not to complete the monorail project started by his predecessor, said Rivers residents and other stakeholders told him to forget about the project and focus on another, which would have direct meaning on the people.
He said the monorail project consumed over N45 billion, adding that he did not want to have a headache over a ‘white elephant’ project.
Wike accused his former boss and Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, of allegedly attempting to destabilise the state because of his “desperation” to capture the state.
The governor said it was clear the All Progressives Congress (APC) could not defeat the PDP in the state.
He noted that if President Muhammadu Buhari supported him, he would achieve peace and stability in the state.
But Wike regretted that the frequent change of his security chiefs would jeopardise his plan to tackle the security challenges in the state.
He said: “The continued removal of the commissioners of police, director of State Security Service and other security chiefs in the state is to frustrate our effort. Of course, the minister is behind this, and people are saying we should reconcile. In what way?
“That means if I reconcile with him, they would not be removing my security chiefs. That was why I said we are personalising this, it shouldn’t be. If there is need that we should come together to talk, we should not be desperate to take over the state. As far as I am concerned, I don’t want to assert that kind of responsibility.
“But the issue of security is not political. We are fighting to stop this situation and there is a system trying to destabilise the state by removing the commissioners of police all the time. This is a man who has served as governor for eight years and Speaker for eight years. What has the state not done for him?
“As far as I am concerned, the Federal Government should support me by leaving the security chiefs to plan for the security problem in the state. The only problem we have with the election is for the umpire to say we must be fair to all. Security people should not be used to manipulate the process.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should stop employing those who, one way or the other, have interest in a political party. That is the way we can maintain peace…”