Centre-left opposition political party, All Progressives Congress (APC) in oil-rich Rivers State appears to be giving conditions for its expected participation in a new all-inclusive government being proposed by incumbent governor, Nyesom Wike, with a view to dousing the wide scale insecurity in the state, and create thousands of jobs.
Large-scale insecurity has ravaged the state in almost all of four years, but reached a crescendo during the last governorship election in the state.
APC accused the Wike-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) administration of causing the insecurity, due to huge unemployment allegedly created by its (Wike administration) abandonment of many agric-based and other projects set up by the previous Chibuike Amaechi administration.
By far, Rivers has led in the sub-national unemployment distribution. In 2017, the state led with 41.8 percent unemployment. Latest national unemployment survey by the statistics agency, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) put the oil-rich state at second highest with 36.38 percent, which is a mere two percent drop.
APC spokesman in the state, Chris Finebone claimed in a statement in Port Harcourt that Wike’s neglect or discontinuing of previous large-scale employing agric projects such as: the Buguma Fish Farm, Songhai Farms, Banana Farm and the then popular Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA) left the state in the throes of high unemployment.
Recall that Governor Wike had also terminated the sale by Amaechi administration of four gas-powered electricity plants with 541 megawatts capacity valued at over $302 million (or N108.720 billion) to NG Power HPS, an affiliate of Sahara Energy Limited owned by billionaire businessman, Tonye Cole. The four gas turbine power plants are: Omoku (150 megawatts), Trans Amadi (136 megawatts), Afam (180 megawatts) and Eleme (75 megawatts). Today the plants lay in freeze mode, bringing no revenue into the state economy.
He equally repealed the State Reserve Fund Law on claim of financial recklessness of the Amaechi administration in the state, which indiscriminately withdrew N53 billion between February 12, 2014 and May 27, 2015 from the Reserve Fund.
Wike also terminated the sale of Olympia Hotel owned by Rivers-Bayelsa and concession agreement between the state and Kild Concession Limited in respect of construction of a toll road and secondary developments in Abonema Wharf, Port Harcourt.
“We have no doubt that, if the Wike government had not abandoned, but improved upon the security architecture put on ground by the Amaechi administration including the C4i infrastructure; if the various human capital development projects and programmes such as foreign scholarships were not abandoned or discontinued, but continued, and consolidated upon by the Wike government; if the various projects such as the RSSDA, Songhai Farm, Banana Farm, Buguma Fish Farm and many others that provided employment for our people were not abandoned or destroyed by the present government; the present killings and large-scale insecurity would have been stamped out or, at least, stemmed significantly. We believe that the widespread hopelessness and despondency bedevilling our youths is, to a high degree, the cause of the present insecurity pervading our land,” said Finebone.
The party however, said the above were suggestions freely offered, and not pre-conditions to its participation in the incoming second term administration. “Our interest remains the wellbeing of the people and all residents of our dear State,” it said.
It further said it was rather the governor who gave acceptance of his olive branch as a pre-condition for taking definite, concrete and altruistic steps to ensure political harmony in the State.
“We accepted the olive branch in the belief that such political harmony will engender peace, security and development in the State. But the inaction following our acceptance and the recent twist of facts by the Governor tend to confirm the cynicism of some APC members who questioned the sincerity of the offer,” the party said.