Text of a press briefing by the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate for the April 11 election in Rivers State, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside.
I have watched with keen interest the Government of Rivers State led by Chief Nyesom Ezebunwon Wike for sometime, acknowledging that they were imposed on our people by the sheer pleasure of a lady, mindless impunity and brute force.
I had hoped that the government would chart the path of peace, unity and progress with the aim of earning the much-needed credibility but fellow Rivers men and women have been disappointed.
Unfortunately, they have taken the silence and peaceful disposition of our people as a sign of weakness and licence to behave irresponsibly.
The average politician will expect me to keep quiet and focus on the legal process of addressing the wrong done to the moral of the democratic fibre of Rivers people. I have given deep thought to this and have chosen to discard the path of comfort and to speak up whenever the need arises.
To ignore what is going on will be a great disservice to Rivers people whom I have volunteered to serve and who gave their all despite the fact that they were, with associated violence, denied the basic right of casting their votes.
If I choose the path of comfort and self-preservation, history will not be kind to me. Posterity will judge my actions and inactions. No government has contaminated our political and moral environment like the Wike-led government has done, starting from the campaign era to the present. Nor has any government been characterized by dishonesty, self-inflicted credibility problems, violence and vendetta, like this one.
No Government that chooses this path can earn the trust of the people. This is the reason why no responsible elder or founding father of the state wants to be associated with this government.
Some of my immediate concerns, which have necessitated this press conference, are:
1.Too much dishonesty on the path of the government to hoodwink Rivers people. For instance, allegations of empty coffers is spurious tale as even Mr. Wike, by his own admission, has been announcing various funds that he located in different government accounts. His false claim of using Julius Berger for the refilling of pot holes when he has been using local contractors and paying them peanuts. His use of the Berger name was simply a red herring to enable him to loot public funds.
2.Six weeks after assuming office, the government has not made one single policy statement, rather it appointed the Nimi Walson Jack committee to design a blueprint for the running of government after it had taken off. A move that suggests we have the case of a rudderless state manned by persons whose only bond to the state is to siphon away our resources.
3.The mindless pursuit of vendetta against individuals, chasing of shadows and brazen impunity against the long-term interest of the state.
4.Obvious lack of commitment to the development of Rivers State. A case in point is the security situation, which has continued to deteriorate with criminality promoted at the expense of the safety of our people. Kidnapping and armed robbery are now rooted and government is doing nothing.
5.Poor understanding of public finance and questionable management of public funds as is evidenced in the borrowing of N30 billion (Thirty billion Naira in 30 days)
6.Elevation of impunity to a new level and crass manipulation of institutions as exemplified by the needless local government council crises being orchestrated by the government.
7.Illegal dissolution of state institutions created by the constitution with tenured security. Ready examples include the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission, Local Government Service Commission, Civil Service Commission and the Rivers State House of Assembly Commission.
8.Proliferation of arms. Too many guns and small arms in the state with Government looking on and doing nothing, giving criminals a free rein.
I had hoped that this government would take a cue from the Buhari administration but it is becoming obvious by the day that the Wike government does not intend to tow the path of honour and statesmanship and, therefore, does not deserve the trust of Rivers people.
On our path, we are duty-bound to protect our state and the interest of all our people and those who reside here. It is that call of duty and with the highest sense of responsibility that has compelled me to speak up.
Let us with continuing, unwavering faith in the True God and confidence in our judicial institutions, trust that we shall soon see the end of this era of impunity, directionlessness and crass disregard for the rights of our people and the constitution of our nation. Regardless of the darkness that has enveloped our state, we know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and we vow to leave no stone unturned until our people have reached their well-deserved Eldorado.
*Dr. Dakuku Adol-Peterside
APC Governorship Candidate, 2015 Elections