It is quite instructive that I am making this response to an article written by the immediate past Commissioner of Information, Rivers State, Mr Austin Tam-George on the strength of an in-box message by the General Overseer of Who U Epp Ministries international. I say this because it will form the core of my response.
This piece will not only dwell on Tam-George, but also on his new political party, APC and the aspirant that Tam-George sought to sell.
To begin with, the development of Rivers State is no longer within the grip of godfathers like Rotimi Amaechi, whom the Former Information Commissioner derided before he was hired to sell an aspirant whose only credentials are that he is a billionaire and hails from a riverine ethnic group like Tam-George.
The question remains: what has Tonye Cole that Tam-George praised to high heavens added to Rivers State? How has the business acumen of Tonye Cole helped Rivers State?
Without fear of contradiction, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike was elected for his first term in 2015 because of the economic disaster that Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and Tonye Cole unleashed on Rivers State through the criminal sale of state assets and the diversion of the proceeds.
On this issue, a Court-approved Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice Omereji indicted Former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and Sahara Energy, Tonye Cole’s company for the economic tragedy that they visited on Rivers State.
More than anyone else, Tam-George witnessed first hand the quantum of work that Governor Wike did to revive Rivers State and set it on the path of growth after Amaechi and his business partner, Tonye Cole wrecked her finances to sponsor APC at the National Level.
On several occasions, Tam-George led journalists on state-wide project tours and thereafter granted interviews to capture the essence of Wike’s revival programmes.
Some of his outstanding quotes are captured in this report published by Daily Post after a project tour.
Permit me to quote Tam-George:
The Former Information Commissioner said: “Governor Wike has brought Rivers State back on its feet again. There is an impressive momentum of development everywhere you turn. The government is re-vitalising the State through the provision of critical infrastructure. Roads that were abandoned for decades and were impassable in many places have been completely re-constructed. Over 180 km of roads across the State have been completed in one of the most challenging terrains for constructions.The Governor is implementing a massive urban renewal plan, and the construction of roads and bridges form the centrepiece of this plan. ”
What Austin Tam-George described in August 2016 in that interview is a tip of the iceberg of the developmental efforts of Governor Wike. At that time, the economy was just coming to life, after Tam-George’s new political party robbed Rivers State for eight years .
This is what Tam-George wrote about Rotimi Amaechi’s financial destruction of Rivers State, for which he admitted that Governor Wike has addressed. http://www.informationng.com/2016/11/count-amaechis-judicial-scandal-wike.html
“As governor of Rivers State, Mr. Amaechi left a shameful record of waste and dysfunction. His thoughtless policies and mismanagement of public funds literally broke the economic spine of Rivers State.Amaechi has of course always protected his innocence. But even chieftains of his party, the APC, including serving governors, have publicly praised Mr. Amaechi for bankrolling the party’s presidential campaigns in the 2015 general elections, and for sponsoring candidates in that election”
It is illogical for Tam-George to imagine that a man like Amaechi who destroyed Rivers State for eight years will turn around to work for the good of the people through his proxy.
Through sound economic policies and commitment to the ideals of good governance, Governor Wike has placed Rivers State on a pedestal of growth. The economy is now robust, despite the efforts by the APC Federal Government in connivance with the business partner of Tonye Cole.
If there are slight impediments enroute the economic growth of Rivers State and the South-South, the blame is on the doorsteps of the APC Federal Government and her agencies. Early in his administration, Governor Wike worked hard to revive the ports in the state by reconstructing the roads to Onne and Rivers Ports, but his efforts were sabotaged by the Ministry of Transportation. The ports are not functional.
Today, there is no single Federal Project in Rivers State where Amaechi hails from. Governor Wike executes both Federal and State Projects. The Federal High Court Complex and the Court of Appeal are living examples. The State Government single-handedly funds the security architecture, which has made Rivers State one of the safest places to do business.
Contrary to Tam-George’s claim that businesses are leaving Rivers State, businesses are actually springing up on a regular basis. The State’s Internally Generated Revenue is on the rise.
The following high profile investments are doing well since Governor Wike took over leadership.
The GreenGas LNG Facility constructed by Grenville Oil and Gas Limited in Rumuji community of Emohua Local Government Area in Rivers State is the new N140billion project that has added value to the economy of the country.
In Rumuewhor community in Emohua Local Government Area, Chang B2B Company Limited, a South Korean Investor is cultivating rice on 10,000 hectares of land provided by the host communities and the Rivers State Government.This investment is providing 2000 direct jobs and over 10000 indirect jobs.
Rivers State Government is partnering with Siat Nigeria Limited (operators to Former Risonpalm) to revive Delta Rubber. Already, Former Risonpalm has been revived. Elele Old Estate has been replanted. Ubima and Elele Plantations have been cleaned up and first class maintenance operations and practices constantly applied
As we discuss, Next Mega Shopping Mall has opened business in Port Harcourt, employing hundreds of person. Several small and medium sized businesses are taking root across the state. These are verifiable data.
I was shocked to read in Tam-George’s article that he pretended not to know the origin of recent electoral violence in Rivers State. Before his defection to the failed APC, Tam-George witnessed the rerun elections and the violence visited on Rivers people by 57000 security personnel detailed by the APC Federal Government to rig.
Tam-George issued a statement after that violence orchestrated by Amaechi and IGP Idris:
He wrote: “The statement is patently false, politically motivated and cooked by the Nigerian Police to justify the violence they visited on the people of Rivers State during the rerun, it said.The Inspector General of Police and his team are neck deep in crime. This statement credited to the Police High Command is aimed at diverting attention from its loss of credibility , after its attempt to assassinate Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike”
Few weeks ago, the Bye Election for the Port Harcourt State Constituency Three was conducted by INEC. It was cancelled because the Police and APC armed thugs led by Ojukaye Flag Amachree of Tam-George’s new political family unleashed violence on the constituency. Gunmen captured on video were let loose to the extent that baffled the international community.
I say it in very clear terms. It is only the APC that has reasons to arm youths and resort to violence with the active connivance of the security agencies as acknowledged by Tam-George before his newest appointment.
Is Tam-George aware of #testingthemicrophone launched by the Minister of Transportation after the Port Harcourt State Constituency Three Election violence? This hashtag was launched to promote violence, guns and electoral theft in 2019.
What is required today in Rivers State is consolidation. That is what Rivers people have decided. They will not be drawn into the fraudulent game of two business partners who are even afraid of direct primaries within their political party. Because they are unpopular.
It is on this premise that across Rivers State, all the ethnic nationalities have endorsed Governor Wike to continue with the transformation of Rivers State.
If Amaechi could not impose Dakuku Peterside on the state in 2015, he will not succeed in imposing the trader through whom he bought the assets of the state in 2019.
Tonye Cole and Amaechi are still plotting crimes against Rivers people because they enjoy amnesty from the Federal Government for using Rivers resources to fund APC National Campaign. Otherwise, they would have been prosecuted and perhaps convicted if the security agencies had acted on the court-approved indictment of Amaechi and Sahara Energy on the illegality they perpetrated against Rivers State.
A word for Tam-George. Our country suffers from the lowest form of intellectual prostitution. Men and women who pretend to be intellectuals, but in reality, are hustlers who live by selling their skill to the highest bidder. It is disappointing that Tam-George would speak from all sides of his mouth simply because he is motivated by selfish and ethnic interests.
I close with this point. Rivers State is PDP. No microphone will be tested here and no businessman who defrauds his people will take over the state. This state is not for the highest bidder. The State is on the path of growth and there is no room for crooks like the bargaining business partners .
After all, who dem epp? A man who steals from the commonwealth of his people cannot be a good man. No matter the level of intellectual rationalisation, Thief na thief. Sahara Energy and Amaechi should first engage in restitution before they are considered for anything in the New Rivers State.
Written by Simeon Nwakaudu.