The dreaded state of roads in most local governments in the riverine areas of Rivers State has triggered reactions from some stakeholders who believe that the state governor has not been fair to them in areas of development.
Bright Abali, a peace advocate who spoke with EDITH CHUKU in this interview, appealed to Governor Nyesom Wike to consider development projects in the riverine parts of the state
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The State Executive Council approved the award of a contract for the constructing of the Sixth flyover along the Oro-Abali, Kaduna street intersection of Aba road to Julius Berger Nigeria Limited. Also, there is a newly proposed 7th flyover to traverse Ikokwu to Azikiwe street, what do you make of this?
What I heard from the commissioner of works, the reason that all the other flyovers have double lane, something like that and when it comes to that point of the sixth flyover, the Kaduna street junction by the Corpus Christi Church, it will cause a bottle neck if they don’t make it to be like the other flyovers to have a free flow of double-double lane bridges. So that one is a good idea but our concern is, it’s just like as we are complaining about the federal system, the Federal structure how things are lopsided, how things are going one way, it is also happening in Rivers State, I find it so difficult to drive to my house in an oil producing are. Then I see in Port Harcourt where the government is scraping roads; all the roads in old GRA have been scraped four-four inches. It’s not bad, they will scrap it off to resurface it, and people are just looking for 10 per cent of the monies invested in one of those flyovers to make road passable to their houses, in an oil producing area. It’s madness. But when the man explained that the sixth flyover will not have easy flow if they don’t expand it to be double lane, we understand because if the rush from the whole five, six of them comes into one point and there is no flow again there will be bottle neck. But the challenge is, who asked them to build one, two, three, four, five flyovers, the seventh flyover will also have need to be expanded and this thing is happening in one ethnic group, in a state that has 18 ethnic groups, 23 local governments and all these activities going on in one side.
We are the people that bring the bulk of the money that the nations share back to us as state allocation, as state allocation and I tell you, my house at Kreigani road, you can’t drive through and this thing is a state project.
Probably, he is just devoting these five years to these Local governments. Are you not optimistic that the other local government areas who may feel marginalized will feel the presence of government in the remaining three years?
If five years is given to one local government and three years is given to 22 other local government, what is the proportion of that mathematics? It’s a very wrong arithmetic. If he has given five years to Obio/Akpor and PHALGA, okay let’s take it, Ikwerre speaking areas. So that means 19 other areas of Rivers State you will spend three years to develop them which we are not sure, it’s a bad kind of precedent, it is not good, these are the reason why when some people come to government they will guide the government jealously. If a Kalabari man comes to government, do you think he will leave without filling the whole bridges? The whole sea in Buguma will be filled and other sides will be abandoned to decay, even the flyover he has done will be abandoned to decay because the time he was there he never looked to the riverine area, he never looked at the Orashi area, he is just busy scraping Whimpy. I’m not talking because I’m from here, let the Kalabari ring road be executed in his time, and when this thing is executed, the Kalabari people will have a sense of belonging that they are part of this state. Let the Opopo road be passable like he promised this December, let it be motorable by December, from there we can now say he has taken 80 per cent to himself and given all the Rivers people 20 per cent.
What about your representatives, what are they doing?
There is no normalcy in the state, everything that is going is like other people say that our governor is so powerful, he has made everybody to bow, even if you are a representative, if you don’t make your presentation well, it will affect you, you will be denied of many things. So as a good representative, they are supposed to come together and begin to pursue what is due them. I have two house of assembly members here, nobody is talking. Everything about those state projects, they are just concerned about just taking their allocation so that they will not have problem with the chief executive officer of the state, the governor. We are worried, our place that have contributed so much and we are not supposed to be in this condition, we are not, we are not supposed to be in this condition.
Imagine you are sitting face to face with governor Wike right now, what will you say to him?
We are appealing to him that what is good for the goose is good for the gander; he should give to us, little particle of what he has remained from Obio/Akpor and PHALGA. at least, let us have a passage to our house.