Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, on Tuesday said the political value of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has been decimated since he left the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Wike spoke at the inauguration of the Special Protection Unit Base 6, of the Nigeria Police Force at Omagwa in Ikwerre local Government Area of Rivers State by the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari. The project was built by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and donated to the Nigeria Police Force.
Akpabio had set the tone for the confrontation when in his address he urged Wike to leave the PDP for the APC where he would be better appreciated.
But Wike took the tone higher when he took the rostrum. The Rivers State Governor said he was surprised to be confronted with politics at the event when he had actually come for the inauguration of a project.
He said Akpabio was an uncommon governor when he was in PDP. But that rare quality disappeared since he became a minister in an APC government.
The Rivers State governor, who said he was attending an NDDC function for the first time since he became governor in 2015, lamented the high rate of project abandonment by NDDC in the Niger Delta.
He said NDDC was converted to a cash cow for the funding of political aspirations and that was why there was a stiff competition for the top NDDC positions like the managing director and the executive directors.
He said the problem of NDDC was not the people of the Niger Delta but the people in Abuja, who corruptly build in fake projects into NDDC budgets from where they reap slush funds.
He bemoaned lack of synergy between NDDC and state governments in the Niger Delta and demanded that NDDC should be confirming from state governments what projects they wanted rather than jump into state territories to execute projects without permission from the states.
He said NDDC had never met with its obligations in projects it jointly went into with the state government, citing the Mother and Child Hospital and the NDDC access road projects in Port Harcourt. The governor said if NDDC fails to pay up its counterpart funding of the N5billion access road to the new NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, he would bar the commission from using that road.
He however commended the Sole Administrator of the NDDC for completing projects that he met and the Inspector General of Police for sending a commissioner that was apolitical to Rivers State.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo promised to settle the controversy between Wike and Akpabio in an “uncommon way”.
He said the SPUB6, whose contract was awarded in 2012 will improve security in Rivers State and neighbouring states. He said the Federal Government would presently embark on police reforms which will not only motivate the police force but will also create room for more recruitment.
“I prefer where there is malaria to going to where there is cancer,” Wike said in apparent reference to PDP and APC.
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