Don’t spend Rivers’ money on federal projects, Ijaw activist tells Wike


By Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi

Non partisan Ijaw activist and Senior Advocate of Niger Delta, Rev Dr Sokari Soberekon has advised Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, not to spend the state’s funds on federal projects, especially roads.

Speaking with journalists in his office in Port Harcourt yesterday (Monday), Dr Soberekon, who embarked on a one-man demonstration during the recent inauguration of Governor Wike’s second term at the Yakubu Gowon Liberation Stadium, Elekahia on May 29, 2019, called on the governor not to build any flyover at Garrison or Waterlines junction.

He advised Governor Wike to establish his own security outfit like Timariv, which will help control traffic and maintain security, adding that the outfit should bear Rivers State coat of arms. He cautioned that no amount of intimidation should make the governor embark on any federal project.

He regretted that federal inland waterways in the state has only one non functional boat while Bayelsa has two and called on the federal government to buy more boats and construct a trunk A road from Calabar through Opobo, Bonny, Kalabari, Nembe, Brass, Akasa, Burutu, Forcados, up to Epe in Lagos.

“A similar sea front road can be found in France on the way to Rowan, near Paris. The Nigerian Ambassador there can confirm this,” he said.

Soberekon advised Governor Wike to reconcile all the parties in the state, including the opposition parties and carry everybody along, citing late former President Shehu Shagari whom he said once appointed one Dr Madubuike of the opposition NPP then as minister of health.

He however advised members of the opposition parties to welcome Governor Wike’s olive branch and work with him to move the state forward, adding: “It’s not winner takes all.”

He advised the state government to remove the federal coat of arms from their letterhead and replace it with that of Rivers State which he said is in the executive council meeting hall in government house and on the right wing of the Podium Block building at the secretariat, adding that the Rivers coat of arms’ motto is equality, service and justice which the first governor of old Rivers State, Diete-Spiff, demonstrated by appointing Justice Holden, an English man, as the first Chief Judge of Rivers State, as part of the implementation of the equality and justice.

He thanked former governor, Chibuike Amaechi, for embarking on agricultural projects like the banana farm, adding that banana is one of the foreign exchange earners for Tiko, Cameroon. He also commended Amaechi for improving education by building more schools in the state.

He however said that Amaechi erred in locking the courts of justice building and advised Governor Wike not to emulate that. He also warned the federal government not to privatise any petroleum products to any non oil-producing zone and restructure Nigeria into six geopolitical zones like the United Kingdom that has four zones namely England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

Sokari Soberekon said: “The federal government should construct a flyover at Garrison and Waterlines along Aba road, being a federal road. Amaechi spent multi billion naira on federal road along Port Harcourt Airport and billions again along Elele-Owerri road. I advised him to ask for refund of this money at Alfred Diete Spiff Civic Centre but he said to me: ‘don’t worry.’ That money is gone. He also built a bridge at Agip with Rivers money. Our governors must not use our money on federal projects anymore. Ada George built road and it is called Ada George road. Odili road was built by former governor Peter Odili. Amaechi road at Woji was built by Amaechi; Okilo road is in Port Harcourt and Okilo sandfield in Borrokiri. Governor Alfred Diete Spiff built secretariat complex.

Soberekon advised Governor Wike to build Imama Apakabo road from Eastern By-pass to Creek road, Borokiri, Kalio Ama and burst out to link East West road which will be called Wike road, while urging the governor to complete trans Kalabari road.

“It is better than using state money to build federal roads and flyovers. Wike should also construct at Isaac Boro Park a gallery for mourners of those that laid down their lives during the struggle for creation of Rivers State and also build a public convenience like in Okpara Square in Enugu and Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos. God bless and guide Governor Wike,” he said.