Sampson Ngerebara is the president of Free Rivers Development Initiative; a political pressure group with the objective of advocating for good governance. In this interview with EDITH CHUKU, he described the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike's three years in office as colossal waste to Rivers State; advising him (Wike) to suspend the June 16th LG election till Supreme Court rules.
Governor Wike is three years old in office as your governor, multiple projects are being commissioned everywhere. How excited are you about what is going on?
Excited? How can I be excited? How can I be excited? Sometimes ignorance is good, if you don't know what Nyesom Wike has done with your money then you can clap your hands, but if you know what he has done with your money then you go home and cry, weep bitterly. As far as am concerned this three years is a colossal waste, what you are seeing here is just photo tricks, let me digress a little bit, you hear they call somebody Mr. project, now, because of the different level of understanding of people in the state I will advocate that we use comparism as the basis of analysis, now, if you pick Amaechi's three years in office put it side by side with Nyesom Wike's three years you will discover that Nyesom Wike's three years will just disappear into thin air. With three years of Amaechi in this state, we saw a lot of things, we saw hospitals virtually in all the LGAs, we saw schools virtually in all the LGAs, we saw roads, we saw what we call modern roads being constructed. Is it flyover? Can you say that today? You can't. And unfortunately, if you recall, Nyesom Wike has sacked three commissioners of works in three years. One of them is my friend, very brilliant person, in Akpor Grammar school. In those days, we used to call him A1.
What were his reasons for sacking those commissioners, especially your friend?
Why did he sack them? Why he sacked him was because the man was trying to tell him my friend, this is the best way to do this, I cannot as an engineer, do what you want me to do. That was why he sacked him, nothing more.
So you are implying that those who are hailing him are wrong?
Praising him for what? What has he done?
There are projects everywhere, roads etc
(cuts in) Which roads? A wasted three years, what do you mean by roads? What do you call roads? Roads are measured in meters and kilometers, if you tell me that the governor of Rivers State for the past three years has constructed let's say 500 kilometers of road, then it makes sense to me, not when a governor will go and award a contract that has no beginning to Julius Berger to begin to patch roads, endless contracts, I call those ones conduit pipes. They are conduit pipes for draining of money. Don't forget that am an engineer who has handled constructions. Mention what Wike has done. Which flyover? Roads, double lane, schools? oh! Are you looking at the Port Harcourt pleasure park, how many poor men's children do you see there? Is it wise to risk people's life like that, building such a thing on an express way? The day they did a night with the governor didn't you see that there was complete shut down on that road and he was saying men don't bring your girlfriends here; do you know that Ameachi did not own a house here in Rivers State? Now can you say same about Wike who turned his house into an equivalent to Government House, people are dying of hunger, he is budgeting billions in the name of neighbourhood watch to protect lives, which lives? Can you protect hungry people? Give them food and there will be no need for crisis, violence, you starve them, owe them and waste money on nothing. Are you asking them to die in their houses of hunger?
You promised to talk about facts and figures of Wike's projects but up till now, you have said nothing to that effect. Did you change your mind or there is nothing to say?
No, that is not it, I can't change my mind and there is a lot to say on that, yes.
So, what are you waiting for?
(laughs) I am coming, I don't want to lose it now, don't drag it, don't pull me out so early, am coming, this state will be stunned when I come out with the fact, they will be stunned, even the governor and all the commissioners in that Government House, they will be tongue-tight when the time comes.
I believe that if those facts and figures are real, it will be useful now to guide Rivers people in taking a decision ahead of 2019 election?
Not now, there is time. Let's get into the primaries, after the primaries, the campaign will start. Is it not true? Those facts will come, why is the governor afraid? Why is he afraid? Have you heard Rivers state governor jumping from pillar to post? Oh, somebody wants to assassinate me, oh, somebody wants to freeze government's account. A clear conscience fears no accusation. This is the same governor who was junior minister and he had the audacity of shutting down a governor. He had the audacity of even blocking Ameachi from having access to Rivers State, to the roads he built, now he is crying wolf, this is a governor who went to church without fear of God, stood on the pulpit and said oh, the money found in Ikoyi is Rivers state government's money. He was going to sue. Has he sued
APC in Rivers State is now a divided house with two captains; Amaechi and Abe. Who blinks first?
There is no division in APC, there is no division. Again, I don't blame you reporters, neither do I blame the general public, when you are depending on the distance you stand to watch an event you will be able to describe the event accurately depending on how close you are. Those of you who are outside, what you are seeing that is happening in APC is called politicking, it's not division. You play politics for two reasons; one, to support, two, to also express or achieve your own ambition for the betterment of the society. So in APC, Magnus has the right to run for any office and that is what he is trying to do and the main people to support him are also part and parcel of the APC. If he has a chunk of them supporting him, there is nothing wrong, that does not constitute division at all. APC is one united family.
What do you think is the implication as Supreme Court failed to rule on the case of sacked LG Chairmen knowing that RIVSIEC is holding LG elections on June 16th?
APC, we are a law abiding party. We follow the rule of law, there is no other way to seek redress than to go to court, and when a matter is a subject of adjudication in court, you are not expected to do anything against it. Nyesom Wike is a lawyer. I expect him to know better, I am an engineer and the Supreme Court has simply adjourned ruling on one aspect of the case to sometime in December this year and I feel that a governor who is also a lawyer should abide by the law and put whatever he holds in suspense until the Supreme Court makes its decision known to the public. That is my advice, if he goes contrary to that, you know it's a nullity from the beginning, that is my advice and that is the way I see it.
What if the election holds, will your party, the APC be involved?
It's a waste, it's going to be another drain pipe for those who want to make money, but as for the validity of the election, it is null and void.
As a chieftain in Rivers state, don't you think the fight between Amaechi and Wike should come to a halt; Rivers State ought to be benefitting from both federal and state government through them?
I cannot speak for any of them, I can't hold brief for Amaechi, I cannot also hold brief for Nyesom Wike but to the best of my knowledge, it is only Nyesom Wike that is fighting Amaechi, Amaechi is not fighting him, you cannot point one instance that Amaechi has come out to say Nyesom Wike don't become governor, I want to stop you from becoming governor, no. But Nyesom Wike made frantic efforts to ensure that Amaechi did not become minister. You saw one man he went and hired and paid and they fabricated all kinds of nonsense, took it to the senate and eventually bribed virtually everyone in the senate but unfortunately again, Amaechi is God's son and God has been favouring him. As an Ikwerre woman, you should be able to understand the meaning of his name Chibuike Amaechi, every attempt made by Nyesom Wike against Amaechi has always been a failure and they will continue to fail.
Do you have any message for Rivers people?
We made a mistake in 2015 and voted a child into the Government House of Rivers State. We have an opportunity now in 2019 to remove him from office and bring in people who know the job of leadership, of governance, that is my appeal and the only way we can do that is for every Rivers man and woman who is up-to the age of 18 and above to make sure they get their PVC and prepare for election.