Information commissioner in Rivers State, Emma Okah came out smoking on Saturday with an absolute declaration that the Muhammadu Buhari campaign director-general and minister of transport will experience a second disgrace in the state during the 2019 election.
Okah said in an exclusive interview with TNN that it will even be very difficult for Amaechi to campaign in the state because the part had nothing to show for its three years in power.
The commissioner also spoke on the on-going drive against street trading in the state, saying the government would not go back on it, because the traders were doing a lot more harm than good to the environment and economy of the state.
He said the PDP was not worried by Amaechi's return as Buhari's campaign director, saying “perhaps it will give the APC the opportunity to hear how the man who is at teh centre of it will campaign in Rivers State.
“They will need to show-case what they have done. We will need to proof what we have done, if there are still people who are finding it difficult to see the magnitude of what the governor has done. But the APC will find it a herculean task to campaign in Rivers State, whether Amaechi is the campaign DG or not.
“Instead of working of working for them, it will work against them in Rivers State because there is nothing on ground to show that they love the state.” Okah said the only thing the APC could boast of in the state is that individuals got appointments and helped themselves, while the state was left barren.
“Amaechi will find it difficult to campaign in his own state because he has not attracted anything major to the state. The East -West Road is there unattended to. Teh Port Harcourt is there in its parlous state. The refineries are not working. The seaports are in comatose.
“When we talk of security, they are not interested. Amaechi is not interested in promoting security in Rivers State. So, what will he use to campaign in Rivers State as opposed to the PDP that has done so much for the people of Rivers State?
“There is so much to ride on to drive the campaign of the PDP as opposed to the APC. PDP will win the APC in Rivers State any day.” According to him, the party was ready to face and disgrace Amaechi, even if he relied on the use of force.
He said “on the basis of a free and fair election, one on one, Rivers State is for PDP and never for the APC. We are always ready. There is never a time we are not ready. The best way to be ready is to show formidable achievement as a government. Even his enemies have acknowledged that he is one of the best, if not the best in the country.
“Amaechi's APC will not win PDP in Rivers State. It is a matter taken for granted.” He said from his interface with the people, he was sure that the people hated the APC because they had failed the people.
He spoke on the controversies that have trailed the chasing away of traders from the streets of Port Harcourt. “Street trading is one thing that has become a sore point for us in Rivers State. The government is determined to rid the streets of illegal traders.
“Apart from the fact that they constitute security risk, they mess up the environment and they pay no tax and contribute nothing towards clearing the mess that they generate. Clearly, it will be wrong for anybody to go and rob because he is hungry. You will discover that some of the places where the markets are, they leave the market and come to the road to trade.
“I do not understand sympathy of the economy of a few persons to mean the encouragement of a state of disorder and anarchy. We can as well open the roads and turn them into markets, because people want to trade.
“The most important thing is that we are providing opportunities and facilities for people to trade. Rumuokoro is there. From time to time, neighbourhood markets come up in local governments. But the traders won't agree to enter the market and sell. They believe that there are some people who are on the road driving, who will not want to enter the market and buy, so they will need to reach out to those classes of people, for them to be able to maximise their sales.
“Secondly, refusal to take a shop inside the market makes you a wondering trader. So, you have no fixed address, you wander about and pay no tax to anybody. The negativity associated with street trading far outweighs the advantages of letting it be.”