Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has declared that no one is in any position to tell him how to spend the N78 billion windfall expected from the Federal Government.
Wike’s declaration has come close on the heels of an ongoing debate which has crept into the public domain over how the huge sum approved for the State should be put to use at the end of the day.
The Rivers APC said Friday that the State Government should consider spending part of the money on the establishment of cottage industries which would impact positively on the State economy and create much needed jobs for the masses, particularly youths.
But Governor Wike noted while exchanging views at Government House, Port Harcourt, with the leadership of the Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria, IPAC that he would not be influenced by opinions that are being generated by stakeholders who think utmost care should be exercised in expending the fabulous sum.
The governor who expressed serious indignation over what he described as the politicization of the thank you message he sent to President said such reactions were uncalled for.
Wike hinted that part of the seventy-eight billion Naira refund from the Federal Government will be used to set up a cancer centre in Rivers State.
“They politicized the fact that I wrote Mr. President ‘a thank you’ letter. Why wouldn’t I do that? They paid other of my colleagues their own in 2018. They did not pay us.
“We have been praying and praying and praying and struggling, and we got an approval. We should be thankful for approving the fund for us (sic).
“As we speak, the money has not been released, but we at least say thank you for the approval. And if the Federal government decides to pay us the money today, we will build a Cancer Centre because this State deserves to have a cancer centre.
Although the governor did not give reasons for his decision to erect a cancer centre, there are strong indications that many more persons in Rivers State are becoming victims of the disease.
Some doctors attribute the level of illegal refinement of petroleum products which is going on in the State to the increase in the number of cancer cases.
Apparently unwilling to listen to other voices which are calling for the judicious use of the N78 billion windfall, Wike said that the ultimate decision of what to do with the money would be his to make.
“All these people that are saying when the federal government pays this money”, the State Governor remarked, “we should do this and that. I will decide which project I will do and the one I will not do but all I know is that I will do what is good for the entire state.”
“When they enter (an apparent reference to the opposition parties and members of his party who do not agree with him), let them come and do their own,” Wike noted.
The APC through its Ag. State Publicity Secretary, Chief Ogbonna Nwuke urged the State Governor on Friday not to be in a hurry to utilize the refund, saying it would be necessary to address critical needs of the people who have suffered for too long.
“I don’t see the hurry in spending the money and I am not aware that the Rivers State House of Assembly which is responsible for appropriation has passed an additional budget. So, where is the Governor going to get the money from to invest on the expansion of the Rumuola flyover which probably was not in the budget and then build another, fourth, flyover in Port Harcourt.
“It doesn’t make sense. Let him think about the people. The people are suffering. All of these road projects that the Governor is thinking about are concentrated in one area. Go to the grassroots, people are finding it difficult to go to their villages.
Nwuke urged Governor Wike to focus on the transformation of Bori and Ahoada into urban centres in order to decongest the State capital.
“How would the erection of flyovers alone solve the pressure that we are having in terms of movement within the city? Major arteries within the city are being cut off. Garrison has been cut off. If Rumuola is cut off and may be another one around GRA Junction also cut off in the name of building flyovers, how would we move around Port Harcourt?
“The issue is not how many flyovers that Port Harcourt gets. It is how many people in Rivers State are touched by the administration. And there is only one way you can touch them. It is by creating employment opportunities”

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