Pastor Paulinus Nsirim is the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications. In this interview, he dismissed insinuations that Governor Nyesom Wike is playing politics with infrastructural development of the state by siting major projects in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpo local government areas where he comes from.
What is the policy direction of the Rivers State government in 2020?
His Excellency the governor of Rivers State, in driving governance into the new Rivers vision which encompasses all sectors of the economy, is set to ensure that no part of the state is left out in the good things he is bringing to bear in the state. Our duty here at the Ministry of Information is to ensure that all the areas of this new vision blueprint are given adequate publicity and coverage.
With the ongoing construction across the state, there will be creation of employment opportunities for Rivers people. Secondly, when these projects are completed, they will ease the flow of traffic in the state and reduce the loss of man hours. It will equally enhance urban renewal and beautification of the entire landscape of the state. This is something that is multifaceted.
The loss of man hours we have suffered in this state and now with the kind of massive road construction the governor is embarking on now, will definitely make what we suffered before to become a thing of the past. This massive construction will help a great deal in this direction, going forward.
Governor Wike has virtually completed every project started by his predecessor having issued an olive branch to all politicians irrespective of party affiliation, why is the monorail not completed though the minister of transportation is from the state?
I have no comment on the monorail. But I will want to talk about the other aspect that has to do with the issuance of an olive branch to Rivers State politicians by His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State. It is important for us to understand that the governor has exhibited the spirit of statesmanship. After the elections, he said, look, elections are over, we are now facing governance, every person who is a Rivers son or daughter should come together for us to build a new Rivers State. I think that this is something that should be welcomed by every right thinking Rivers person.
We are believe that even in this new year, those who are yet to key into the olive branch offer will do so for the sake of unity and our dear state. The governor is not somebody who is known to speak from both sides of the mouth. He is very forthright. He means everything he says. That is why, before now we have been driving a campaign tagged #Our-state Our-responsibility#. This is primarily designed to mean that irrespective of your tribe or party line or state of origin, or your religion, as far as you live and do business in Rivers State, you should understand that you also have some responsibility to protect the state.
Why is the governor concentrating most of the projects in Port Harcourt city and Obio/Akpo local government areas where he comes from?
It is erroneous for anybody to make that kind of comment. The Unity Road currently undergoing construction is not in Obio/Akpo. That road is linking three local government areas. That road has gone to a point where people from Andoni Local Government Area can drive to their homes. It has never happened before. The same road links the ancient city of Opobo where no car has ever accessed before. Last year, the Amanyanabo and his people drove to Opobo by road for the first time. There are other projects like land reclamation, sand filling, hospital projects that are going on in the riverine communities that are not situated in Port Harcourt or Obio/Akpo.
People just want to score cheap political points by making such assertion. But you and I are living and doing business here in Rivers State and you know that that is not true. The Sankpanwa-Bori road is not in Obio/Akpo or Port Harcourt. That road project was supposed to stop at Bori but the governor in his magnanimity has extended it to Kono water side. If you are conversant with the geography of Ogoni, you will know that the distance between Bori and Kono water side is quite a distance.
When you talk about Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpo, you know also that a good number of people live and do business here at the city centre. The governor is a detribalised man. He is not the kind of a man that will concentrate development in one spot. You have seen the way he has spread development across the entire 23 local government areas of the state and even in appointments.
In his first tenure, Governor Wike set up a committee to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the black soot in the state, what further effort is on ground to eradicate this problem which is mainly caused by artisanal refining of crude?
What the state can do is what the governor has done so far. He first of all set up a technical committee to look into the cause of the soot in the state. When the report of the technical committee was presented, he set up another committee for the implementation which is ongoing as we speak. I will prefer that we wait and see what will be the outcome of that implementation before we make further comment on it.
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