From Tony John, Port Harcourt

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has challenged the All Progressives Congress (APC) to showcase development projects the party has delivered to the people in the states they dominate to prove that they mean well for the people.

Governor Wike gave the challenge at the inauguration of Tombia Road, Ndoni Street and Amaji Street in New GRA Phase 2, which was performed by the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.

The governor said it was only People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governors that were developing and delivering infrastructural projects in the states they dominate.

According to him, these projects have continued to improve the well-being of the people to affirm that development is happening only in PDP-controlled states.

‘Some few weeks ago, I was invited by the governor of Benue State to come and commission some projects. I went and I commissioned not less than three road projects,’ the governor said.

‘They received us very well and I did say to him that the people of Rivers State will also like him to come and also commission projects in the state. So that Nigerians will know that the party in opposition is the party that means well for the development of this country.

‘We challenge the ruling party to tell their states to roll out projects and invite people to come and commission them,’ Wike stated.

Governor Wike described his Benue State counterpart as a man committed to the development, defence and well-being of the people of Benue.

Governor Wike said his relationship with Governor Ortom was designed to make Rivers and Benue states and the PDP to move forward.

‘One of the reasons I invited the Governor of Benue State here is to let people know that there are people who are committed to the growth and development of this country. There are people who will never be intimidated because of their views. There are people who stand against injustice in this country.

‘Governor Ortom is one of those governors that will stand firm in whatever he believes in. He does not care whether you’ll deny the people of Benue State what is due to them. He will still say the truth as it is. You all know what has happened in Benue State; what he has passed through, how they have tried to intimidate him but he has stood firm and said no.

‘That’s the same thing we are doing here. No matter all the intimidation and what they are trying to do to us, we have stood firm to defend the interest of our state. And so for me, I will like to associate with people like this and that will make our state, our party and will make our country to move forward,’ he declared.

Speaking, Governor Ortom said that God has destined him and Governor Wike to work together in speaking up for the voiceless and marginalised people in the country.

According to him, Nigeria has since 2015 ceased to be a country where equity, justice and fairness are promoted.

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He asserted that until those virtues are embraced nationally, citizens would never be free.

He decried the security situation in the country and the poor shape of the economy, attributing the latter to the depreciation the naira has suffered under the leadership of the APC.

He further lamented growing unemployment that triggered the youth restiveness witnessed in the #EndSARS protests.

‘Today, there is no more employment for our youths. That gave rise to the youth restiveness agitation called #EndSARS protests. I think any right-thinking man should not be thinking about leaving PDP for any other party or even the ruling party,’ Governor Ortom stated.

‘We cannot be a one-party state. The PDP in 2015 did not suppress the opposition party to turn Nigeria to be a one-party state. Then that is not a democracy anymore and so we want to appreciate Governor Wike for standing as the beckons of the PDP.

‘Wike is a very strong voice not just in Rivers State but in the whole country. He is a courageous and fearless leader, who is out for equity, fairness and justice. And that is what we need in our country today.

‘As at today, the ruling party has not given us equity, fairness and justice. That is why we are having problems in this country.’

Governor Ortom said that when PDP was the ruling party, it never suppressed other parties, but that the APC is driving the country along a one-party line, as he urged Nigerians to resist it.

The Benue State governor said associating with Governor Wike has been rewarding because, aside from facilitating his return to PDP and his reelection, he received a morale boost and financial assistance for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) when Benue State was under attacks from violent herdsmen.

‘There came a time when I was an outcast and my people in Benue State were outcasts. Nobody cared to visit for fear of persecution. We were like the lepers in the Bible.

‘Yet, Wike stood up and came all the way to Benue State to see how we were faring. We had over 500,000 IDPs in camps then. It was not easy to fend for these people. Wike came with very distinguished leaders from Rivers State.

‘He gave us to support that we never expected, more than any other support, including what others did. We appreciate it and pray that such [disasters] should not come to Rivers State,’ he declared.

Also speaking, the Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Elloka Tasie-Amadi, said the Wike administration is building new roads which are long term investments necessary to promote commerce and enhance social economic activities in the state.

‘The Tombia Streets has been reconstructed from a single carriageway of 8 metres to dual carriageway of 14.6 metres with streetlights required to support and promote its business and commercial district. Ndoni Street and Amaji Street both are expanded from 6.5 metres to 11 metres and 6.8 metres to 12 metres respectively,’ Tasie-Amadi explained.