27th November, 2013
Rivers State Governor and Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has said that he joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) with the overall interest to protect Rivers people.
Amaechi also said that Rivers State has suffered neglect under the Jonathan administration
He also said part of the decision to join the APC was because the issues raised by G7 governors were not resolved by President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP.
Amaechi spoke with journalists at the Port Harcourt International Airport shortly on arrival from Abuja, Tuesday
He said: “Yes, we have joined APC after the meeting we had with Buhari, Tinubu and the interim Chairman of APC.”
“The governors met on Monday and decided that we must meet with the APC leadership and when we met with the APC leadership, it was important we took a position and the position we took is for the good of our democracy and ensure that Nigeria moves forward. We can’t continue the way we are, where we are.
“The picture painted by the PDP was as if we were begging to come back to PDP and issues were not being looked into, issues were not being resolved and it’s important that we resolve it one way or the other”.
“I think that what has happened is that what was then new PDP decided that it’s important that we move into APC and position ourselves for the next election”.
“Rivers State must know that for me to have taken that decision, I had looked at the general interests of Rivers people. I was not elected to lead Nigeria, I was elected to lead Rivers State and I had looked at the interests of Rivers people and have seen that these interests were not protected in PDP. I have seen the fact that we are losing our oil wells in Etche, in the Kalabari areas and that the more they continue to pilfer these oil wells, the more we will continue to lose our wealth”, he said.
Despite his defection to the APC, Amaechi said he still holds President Jonathan in high esteem and has no personal quarrel with him.
“The President and I have no personal quarrel, it’s important we put that in perspective. All the issues were issues that affect Rivers people, were issues that affect Nigerians and I am a Nigerian, I have to address those issues…he is my President and I respect him. I respect his office, respect him as a person, respect the fact that he’s older but then as elected governor of Rivers State, I have the responsibility to lead Rivers State”.
‘If you look at what is going on, the federal government is not able to fund the states anymore. They say oil theft but oil theft is not enough reason for which we cannot fund ourselves.”
He drew the attention to the Port Harcourt International Airport, which the Federal Government has long abandoned because of its inability to fund the project.
“As per development in Rivers State, we are about to commission about 300 primary schools, we are about to commission another 70 health centres to add to the 60 we commissioned before. We are about to commission the Kelsey Harrison hospital at Emenike Street, there is a new one inside Rivers State University of Science and Technology Campus, there is a partnership between us and NDDC for which we have paid NDDC about N960 million for the mother and child hospital and NDDC is expected to bring about N900 million to make it N1.8 billion for the hospital. The stadium is about to be completed, so development is actually going on. We are working”.
—Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt