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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Why PDP can’t retain Rivers in 2015, by Amaechi

Why PDP can’t retain Rivers in 2015, by Amaechi
Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi spoke with reporters in Port-Harcourt, the state capital, on the visit of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) crises, the future of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the 2015 elections. Excerpts:
Why did you request former President Olusegun Obasanjo to commission your projects?
He was a foremost Head of State and Government that we have had in the country. So, what is wrong in asking him to commission the projects. It was important that he came to have a look at what we have done. Like I told him in the public, we same a common friend and anytime and anytime common friends say what about these things, is Amaechi working, that can be assessed. It was important to bring him so that he can assess things for himself so that next time that question is put forward, he will give them an answer.
Don’t you think that the President will be annoyed that Obasanjo has taken the shine off him by not being invited to commission the projects as the President and Commander-In-Chief?
Today, some governors commission for themselves. Would you take offence when they commission their projects by themselves? I saw Fashola recently as he was commissioning projects. I saw Akpabio as he was commissioning a General Hospital. Why will the President take offence about that? It depends on the choice that the governor makes. I can ask the President or governor to commission projects. My colleagues have invited me to commission projects before in Jigawa. I had an invitation from Yobe. Adamawa has invited me. I don’t think that the President will take offence with that.
Will the commissioning by Obasanjo enhance your profile?
Well, looking at Obasanjo’s status, you will certainly get some benefits by identifying with him. He is a man with this national clout. I was surprised by the kind of reception he got among the people that came out to receive him. There were those that were brought by the organisers. There were those that came on their own hailing him, shouting baba, calling him all sorts of name, baba iyabo, baba this, Olusegun. Some calling him without respect by calling the former President by such name. I can share this with you. He told us how he acquired the name, Mathew. He said that his parents said that he should have a Christian name and when he got to the secondary school, they looked at how long his names were and one has to be dropped and that he decided to drop Mathew and the reason he dropped Mathew was that Mathew was a tax collector. I think you can’t ignore the fact that identifying with such an important character will rub off on you, and I think positively.
Does the likelihood exist that you will return to the PDP, which is the predominant party in Rivers?
You should be careful with your choice of words. How do you know that the PDP is the predominant party? Why can you wait and see whether it is true? You have to be careful. What you assume to be the predominance of the PDP may be the predominance of the manipulation of the elite. It is now that we will source the votes from the down-trodden and then, you can say whether it is a predominantly PDP state or not. I think we should be careful in the choice of such words.
What is likely to be the fate of the APC in Rivers in 2015?
I am not God. Don’t give me such powers.
How about your succession plan?
I leave that to God. Don’t forget the way I was anointed as the governor. Even, the greatest of all Christians never thought that it will happen. There were occasions where I had sat down in Ghana and asked: how did it happen? I started thinking about these prophets who prophesised that you will be governor and I asked, how will it happen? We don’t know. We just wash and see how God does His things. You must take that into consideration. So, there is God’s elements. Then, you do your human planning. But, I am not focusing on human planning. I am focusing on building a party called the APC because there was none some few months ago. That is why we say, if the PDP says that they are the biggest party , the largest party in Africa, I will say APC is the fastest growing party in Africa. No party has grown at the rapid rate the APC is growing. Some few months ago, there was no opposition party in Sokoto. But, the PDP is now struggling to retain its status as the opposition party in Sokoto. It is the same in Kano. It is the same in Kaduna where the Vice President comes from. And the APC is rearing its head in Bayelsa. So, you can see we are the fastest growing party.
Are you saying there is tension in the PDP?
Honestly, the tension in the PDP over the sharing of the loot in Nigeria is enough to put it into crisis. But, look at here now, all of us are at peace with one another.
What is your comment on the NNPC 20 billion dollar controversy?
You heard Asiwaju saying that the NNPC is the ATM of Jonathan. We are not involved. We are not talking about it. We will allow the country to decide.
What does the revelation about the missing oil money portends?
Nigerians should react. The Governors’ Forum has taken a position that he dwindling revenue at he state level is not because of the oil theft, but because of financial diversion.
Would all these your projects be completed before you leave or they would be abandoned, especially the mono-rail?
Where you there when I was interviewing the contractor? Everything about that mono-rail is inside the city of Port-Harcourt. They say they will complete the terminus in October. We will start the power project very soon so that the train will have power to use. The train is built in such a way that, if there is no power, automatically, it will use diesel. You can see the cost. You have power and diesel.


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