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Observers Laud Opposition ….As Sekibo Declares PDP A Prison

“The political scene in Rivers State is changing and it is changing for the better”.
That was the comment of an observer on Friday, December 16, 2011, at Ernest Ikoli, GRA, where the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, hosted hundreds of party faithfuls for an end of year party.
The mammoth crowd was overwhelming considering the fact that it was about eight has elapsed since the governorship elections of April 2011, when the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, declared the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, winner, leaving the ACN trailing far behind.
The question on the lips of many encountered was, if the ACN performed so dismally according to the announced election results and if the ruling party is performing wonderfully as orchestrated, how come opposition parties still gather such magnitude of faithfuls?
According to an observer who pleaded anonymity, it was strange that in spite of the withdrawal of the petition by the ACN from the election tribunal, such a crowd still honoured the party’s occasion.
He said prior to the emergence of Dr. Abiye Sekibo as leader of the ACN, particularly when Tonye Princewill was the governorship candidate of the party, the opposition fizzles out and merges with the winning party.
The drastic turn around, the observer noted, was the charisma and leadership quality of Dr. Sekibo.
Speaking at the event on the state of the State, Dr, Sekibo, the leader of the ACN, said, “A few of us who have left the prison called PDP have found the freedom that enables us to speak out. I call the PDP a prison because I have been in it and as we build up to 2015 the PDP will become a maximum security prison”.
Dr. Sekibo advised all who have the interest of Rivers State to get out of the PDP before they completely lose their freedom of speech.
He said an aura of fear has been established in Rivers state and that out of fear everyone within the PDP has turned praise singers for Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, making the state to go adrift.
Dr. Sekibo said there has been a great capital flight from the state as the governor has made Lagos the hub of the economy of the south-south region, instead of Port Harcourt where it is supposed to be.
The governor, he said, could not tackle the issue of unemployment despite availability of resources and heavy allocations.
He condemned the lack of infrastructural development in the state and deplored the increasing spate of armed robberies and kidnappings.
“Our state faces challenges. You are all living witnesses to the increased spate of robberies and kidnappings in the state. This time, who are they going to blame? We have a government that has continued to play politics with security. In this state, the state government plays politics with human security. Security of lives and properly for them is politics. Rather than face the issue, you look for who you will blame to score cheap political points”, he stated. (See full text of the speech).
In an interactive session with newsmen, he questioned the rationale behind the locking up of the primary schools that the government said it has finished building.
Sekibo said the governor built a lot of health centres in the state but questioned how many are in use, just like the Dental centre at Garrison lying fallow.
He said the government has lost its bearing and that despite the claim of the government that they have paid in full for the Unity Road project initiated by Dr. Peter Odili, nothing has been done on it.
“The level of work that you see in the various areas, does it agree with the quantum sum of money that we put in?” Dr. Sekibo queried, while speaking on the relocation of the University of Science and Technology, UST and the greater Port Harcourt city project.
“Monorail is supposed to be a PPP, how much has the private partners brought in? Is it a secret? Who are the people partnering with the Rivers State government on the monorail? How much have they brought into the project and how much has Rivers State brought into the project?” Dr. Sekibo asked.
He said if the Rivers State government puts in less than 3m dollars into Risonpalm, it would become alive and so would employ several youths.
Risonpalm, he said, should be made functional before handing over to the private sector so it would not have the fate of Volkswagen that has become a vegetable oil warehouse.
“The truth of the matter is that when government is set about reactivating an industry, it must put money into it. That’s the truth. Where you want the private sector to take you seriously, give them a functioning entity and challenge them to take it to the next level. You don’t kill something completely and then tell the person to now come and start from the beginning”, he asserted.
He said if Risonpalm and Delta rubber is reactivated, it would generate employment for the state.
On security, he said the government is to blame for insecurity.
When the government goes out to destroy, it worsens the situation, he said.
“In this state, part of the problem is government itself the- insecurity. When a government goes all out to destroy People’s property, that is insecurity, that is a cause for insecurity. It worsens the situation. When a government sees that there is a lot of cultism going on, there is a lot of armed robbery going on, and rather than address it, begins to look for which of its citizens it doesn’t agree with or shares different political views and blames it on them, it aids insecurity. It emboldens those who are doing it”, he said.
On the re-run election for Rivers East senatorial district, he said the party, ACN, will do better, although the same evil forces that robbed them would do the same.
ACN as opposition party, he said would stand on the side of the people and would constantly talk on issues concerning the state, and that the party is re-energized.
Rivers state, he said, would be made the economic hub of the nation, if he were elected as governor, citing nearness to the Atlantic Ocean and the airport as examples, adding that if the monorail had linked Risonpalm to Onne Port, it would pay off the cost of the rail line, as vegetable oil is more expensive than crude oil.
He said the statutory allocation would have been used to invest in education, if he were the governor and that what is needed for recurrent expenditure would be generated internally.
“Rivers State can easily generate more than N20 billion a month, within. But I hear these days they declare N2 billion or thereabout, from Lagos. They collect here and it is declared in Lagos.” Dr. Sekibo concluded. ###

Kenneth Amabipi

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