Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State has said recently that he wonders where the money that is pumped into the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) goes to, year in year out. He said this on December 6, 2011, when the NDDC board visited him at the Government House, Port Harcourt. While the commission could probably have its defense, which is not the intention of this article, Amaechi’s utterance reminds one of the money of the 27 States in Nigeria that also went oblivion, according to a detailed periscope, which Rivers State was among.
Before the April elections, many Nigerians feared that the way Amaechi was going about the business of governance in Rivers State, he would in earnest be a one-term Governor, because of all that gra-gra he came with and exhibited. One of them was his unedited use of statements and the promise that he would not share the “compulsory N1 billion” he boasted that he was saving for the state. We cannot say whether he used the Rivers money to buy votes and commission who control the votes during the elections that resulted to the coffers of the state being in dire situation, and it is now gasping for external help.
Those on his payroll would say that we can see all that ‘change’ in the state, as where the fled money went to. And if there is any development as we have heard, but have not seen in the state, it could be only in Port Harcourt, which is the capital of the state. What is the effort that Amaechi is putting in making sure that development is visited in the whole State? Not even his hometown is feeling the dividends, because we have had series of reports from his kinsmen and the neighbouring villages that they are still calculating to understand if they have made a mistake by voting him. Whatever Amaechi saw in concentrating his energy in the Northern Port-Harcourt, he might tell us after.
If we have seen the Greater Port Harcourt City, we would have been consoled to say that he is touching every part of the state. Imagine where the phantom Greater Port Harcourt touched these Local Government Areas: Obio/Akpor, Ogubolo, Okirika, Oyigbo, Emoha, Ikwerre, Eleme… every part of the state would have been affected in good light. We think the Peninsular City that was planned for Kalabariland near Bakana, has become a tall dream. These and many more we heard the governor boasted that he would achieve, but they are just as a mirage.
The governor always tells his close associates that pressure is on him. And we ask, is the pressure on him to be muddled with vision and focus or what? Somebody should start consulting Virgin Mary to help our governor, since he is a Catholic. We would have suggested he goes to Okija shrine, because this is where the then Governor Chris Ngige went to, that broke the wings of his godfather Chris Uba, which led to the liberation of Anambra State today from the grip of PRESSURE.
We are not even sure of the strategy being used in this government and its pace. They will tell us that why Rivers State is sitting like an eagle that was trained among the chicks that refused to fly away, is because the state is a riverine state. The rain is gone this period and the government has relaxed again to embark on constructing and re-constructing the many damaged roads in the state it promised us of putting in place, with the view that reprieve has come, because of the dry season. We would say categorically that in as much as this government approves contracts every day, even when it has made it public that it would stop issuing new contracts till the ones that are out are through, this government will face a fate no government in Rivers State has faced.
No government survives when it does not complete one project before going to another. This is why we have many roads that are opened up and none is being completed. We have suffered the bad roads when it was rainy season. Now it is dry season, we are suffering untold dust. Some of us are asking the difference between a town and a village if there is yet to be a difference in the Rivers towns and villages. Amaechi has today deviated into power. He would say that Rivers State has a turbine gas with the capacity of about 138megawatt, why can’t he fix it.
What is happening in Rivers State in terms of development is wonderful, when you go round some of the work sites, what you see is like the hand of Satan is at work. The mega-secondary school project in each of the 23 LGA was/is news. The threat we got was that Amaechi wanted to merge all the secondary schools in any LGA into one, each council. Hey! They boasted that the project was so massive. He warned that he would close private schools that won’t meet up to the standard of the new schools. Yet, such shoddy private schools still glare us in the face around Rivers State. Is something not wrong somewhere?
He may have been told that the private schools already on ground are good, against the few he single-handedly saw that even a white man’s dog can’t be trained in some of them. We were told that the mega-schools are going to be mini-universities. They say, we hear, but have not seen.
Before Amaechi talks about the money that are projected or injected in the NDDC, he should first remove the speck in his own eyes. Let him retrospect and refuse to see the politics of the country as where people become rich before they mount the saddle. He should make sure that he is carrying out projects that are well thought out and that are seen impacting on the masses and that are maintenance friendly. We are yet to agree that for all the ‘good works’ Amaechi is doing, he is not enriching himself in anyway. Amaechi should help us with thoughts that will violet any mindset that is after the state’s treasury. Let there be no phony projects.
Amaechi should help us in making sure that the state is not polluted with financial trappings in the offices, labeled and seen as a byproduct, just as we have bylaws in the country or states. Public office holders’ intelligence in the state should be far from making opulence. Let the matter be different. Let there be no unnecessarily idealistic agendas. Today, we heard nurses in the state threatening strike over monetary issues. This goes a long way to show that it is easy to say fine hospital are built (and not only to equip them), but how to empower the medical practitioners that handle them and others in different professions before Amaechi will be bold enough to criticize the Niger Delta Development Commission or others.