By Kalada Jumbo
**Rivers spends N1.8 Billion to pay pensioners monthly
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has explained why the next President of the country will spend his tenure fixing the ethnic, religious and socio-economic problems created by the All Progressives Congress (APC) government.
The governor noted that since the APC administration assumed office in 2015, religious intolerance and ethnic division have deepened. And worst still, is the politicisation of security.
He stated during the official presentation of letter of nomination to him for the “ 2020 Extra Ordinary Personality of the Year Award” by the management of Silverbird Group at the Government House, Port Harcourt, on Wednesday.
Governor Wike said despite the glaring insecurity, religious and ethnic division in the country, the officials of the federal government have continue to live denial that Nigeria is now more united and secure than ever.
The Rivers State governor maintained that whoever becomes President in 2023 will spend his entire reign trying to resolve the various socio-economic crisis caused by the present administration.
Governor Wike expressed his appreciation on behalf of the government and people of the State to the management of Silverbird for the recognition. But, said it was disturbing that the Nigerian Media has failed in its responsibility to hold the present administration accountable for failure to provide much desired good governance.
“The problem in Nigeria which I have always said is that the press, the media is part of our headache. The media have lost their voice. I remember when Goodluck Jonathan was the President, it was as if the media want to pull down the whole of Nigeria.”
Speaking on the issue of insecurity, the governor attributed the seeming inability of the military to end insurgency in the North East and other part of the country to the involvement of sacked Service Chiefs, particularly former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Yusuf Buratai in politics.
“You were witnesses to how under Buratai, the army was exposed to politics, which have never happened in the history of this country. Army began to carry ballot boxes. I have never seen that. Before we used to talk about police, now it’s no longer the police.
“Professionalism is no longer there and that is why it is difficult to fight insecurity. Instead of then to concentrate and map out strategy, what they are interested is Rivers State. Who will we send there to make sure the election is rigged. The former Chief of Army Staff will even call INEC to cancel Rivers State election because of his interest. I have never seen this kind of thing in my life.”
The governor said it was regrettable the former Chief of Army Staff failed to condemn his personnel who invaded INEC office in Port Harcourt a day after the Rivers State governorship election in 2019 in an attempt to subvert the wishes of the people, instead, he chose to shield them from prosecution.
“If there is a country that really means well for its citizens, the former GOC in Rivers State would have been dismissed from the Army, but because he was sent by his so called leaders, they have to protect him. That is the country that we are in, and that is why we think the media should come up and tell the world some of these stories.”
The governor noted that the inability of the media to scrutinise those in authority is partly responsible for lack of accountable by those in office. For instance, he stated that the President had promised to fight corruption and bring to book who he accused of killing the economy. But, ironically who he accused of killing the economy are now members of his political party and free from prosecution.
Governor Wike thanked the management of Silverbird for the honour bestowed on him and the people of Rivers State. He stated that his administration will continue to deliver developmental projects and improve the wellbeing of Rivers State people, particularly, pensioners, till the very last day of his tenure.
“Our State pays not less than 1.8Billion Naira every month for pensioners. People told me that there are news that the government do not pay pensioners. I cannot spend 1.8Billion Naira every month to pay pensioners and you will say I don’t pay pensioners, is not true.”
He further continued: “from 10th of February, we are trying to do the second round of commissioning. It’s not just flagging off, come and see if we have done the projects. I have just approved the 8th flyover as at yesterday.”
Silverbird Creative Development General Manager, Jacob Akinyemi Johnson, said the award is to let the governor know that he is doing a fantastic job for the people of Rivers State and it has not gone unnoticed.
He explained that Governor Wike was nominated as the Silverbird Extra Ordinary Personality of the Year 2020 because of the projects he has embarked upon and his fearlessness.
“Your boldness made you the first prominent Nigerian to raise the alarm over the atrocities of the now disbanded SARS. And you also spoke against the politicisation of security. Now your forthrightness in telling the truth to power including the presidency when you think things are going wrong, is worthy of emulation. You did not hesitate to commend when necessary also. And on political issues, you are not afraid to tell even your own party, the PDP the whole truth when necessary. “
“There are very few Governors like you who work the work and talk the talk and there are very few Governors like you who have the passion and not sentimental. You say thing the way they are and you also say the things that you believed in. So we sat back and we said the person we can think of this year is your Excellency Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. Also in the area of projects, the last time I was here, you were referred to as Mr. Projects. Now you been elevated to Mr. Quality Projects.
“You promised on the day you were sworn in for second term that you will work for Rivers State people to the very last day and you are living up to that task. Seven bridges in a record period of time and all these are embarked upon in 2020 when the country and indeed the entire world were greatly impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic, but you still delivered despite all these things.”
Special Assistant (Media) Rivers State Governor
February 03, 2021.