Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has taken a swipe at the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning Mr. Clement Agba for accusing state governors of misplaced priorities in their development plans for the states.
Speaking at the inauguration of the 13.86km Rumuodogo 1 and 2 Road in Emohua Local Government Area on Thursday, the Rivers State governor said the minister lacked understanding of how governors plan development projects in their various states.
Agba had said governors were the causes of poverty in the states because they focused on building flyovers, airports, and other projects in the state capitals while neglecting to invest in rural communities to directly uplift the living standard of the people.
But tongue-lashing the Minister, Wike said: “He said governors are the problem, they don’t do rural roads, and I ask him where and where have you been. You just sit there (Abuja), you’ve not been to anywhere to go and check whether rural roads are being done or not.”
Wike pointed out that the development plan of his administration is holistic with critical infrastructure delivered not only in the State capital but across the 23 Local Government Areas.
He has, therefore, advised the minister to take time out, leave Abuja and visit States, particularly, Rivers State. Governor Wike emphasised that there are quantum of projects in rural communities with the Rumuodogo road inclusive, which have improved the socio-economic status of rural communities.
“Come to Rivers State and see whether we are doing roads that will cause agricultural produce to be brought out to the cities or not before you open your mouth. We are not doing roads in the city alone. We are doing roads in all local government areas of the State.”
Governor Wike also challenged some South-South States governors to stop hiding behind their attack dogs they have commissioned to insult him, but they should rather come to confront him personally.
“Some people have been sending their people to insult me. I laugh. I hear some people, they call them Akwa Ibom professionals, they were insulting me. Tell the man who sent you to come out. You are just small kids. I am waiting for the big masquerade. Some people said they are Ijaw professionals. You that is sending them come out. It is you I am looking for, I am not looking for these small fries.”
The Rivers State governor wondered why those faceless governors are picking offence with him because he thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for releasing the 13% derivation arrears from 1999 to date.
Governor Wike informed that even though he is never a fan of President Buhari, it does not stop him from expressing his gratitude to the president for releasing the fund that has helped to finance several projects in Rivers State.
The governor also said, when he thanked President Buhari, he did not say that the South-South governors should account for their share of the money they got.
He noted that each governor should know the peculiar development needs of their various States and attend to them.
The governor urged Rumuodogo people to vote for the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate, Siminilaye Fubara, and all other candidates in the 2023 general elections.
He further charged them to use their votes to punish the party of the former State governor, Chibuike Amaechi for refusing to construct the road for them.
“A governor then that had all the money refused to do this road. He thinks that the people of Rumuodogo will still be backward. God said no, the time has come for Rumuodogo people to be remembered. The time has come that people must know this community called Rumuodogo and today is your day. Now you have to pay them back with your PVC.”