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Author: Onyebuchi Ezigbo. Thisday, September 23, 2013

A former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Chibudom Nwuche, has urged the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, to desist from castigating President Goodluck Jonathan and inciting Nigerians against his administration.Nwuche, who was reacting to remarks made by Amaechi over the alleged delay in completing the ongoing East-West Road project, said it was the lack of a good road network within Rivers State that had hampered commercial and social life, and made the state unattractive to both foreign and local investors.

“Rivers State is one of the states with the highest unemployment rate in this country despite being the epicentre of the oil industry. By now the governor should have developed an understanding and close synergy with oil the companies on how to provide employment for our teeming youths who roam the streets in the state and adjoining states. This would have been a priority if he had a clear vision,” he noted.

In a statement made available to THISDAY in Abuja yesterday, Nwuche, who hails from the state, advised that instead the governor should try and address the myriad of problems facing the state which are crying out on all fronts – from lack of infrastructure and basic healthcare to unemployment and youth restiveness.

He lamented the exodus of major oil companies from Port Harcourt to better governed states like Lagos, pointing out that the irony of Port Harcourt being the hub of oil production in the country, with all the key players like Shell, Mobil, Chevron and lately Agip operating out of Lagos, should constitute a big challenge to a serious governor whose duty it is to ensure that these investments return to the state.

Nwuche also asked Amaechi to try and appreciate the clear distinction between the roles and responsibilities of the federal government as against that of the state with respect to ensuring the provision and maintenance of infrastructure which has direct bearing on the lives and economy of the people of the state.

“What stops Amaechi from repairing the state stretch of the road with the over N2.4 trillion naira he has collected as federal allocations and internally generated revenue in the past six years.

“No law bars state governments from repairing federal roads, like Anambra and Akwa Ibom States did and asked for refunds,” he further observed.

He pointed out that notwithstanding the fact that it was the responsibility of the Ministry of Niger Delta to ensure the completion of the East-West Road (and work on the road is clearly going on), to claim that Jonathan is the cause of imaginary delay of the road project is not only mischievous but also a ploy to misinform the public.

He further cautioned respected organisations and groups not to be in a hurry to honor persons, who were still serving in office so as to be able to properly assess such persons at their completion of service.

The politician also reasoned that promoters of such a venture should be more circumspect in the choice of persons whom they bestow honours on, pointing out that it would be shameful if it turns out that those they honour today would tomorrow be facing charges of corruption and embezzlement of public funds.