BY DANIEL IDONOR
ABUJA — GOVERNOR Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State is optimistic that President Goodluck Jonathan’s radical approach to tackle the issue of power was capable of achieving at least 20,000Mw in the next four years.
Although it may not be possible to transform all sectors of the nation’s economy within the period, the governor said the stability that would be achieved in the power sector would lead to the creation of a new middle class rather than the present situation of the existence of just the poor and rich classes only.
Speaking to newsmen in Istanbul, Turkey, where he participated in an investment forum, Governor Amaechi observed that though the additional four years which President Goodluck Jonathan hoped to have in office might not be enough to move it to the development level of Turkey, it would, however, be enough to give the country a giant leap.
He stated that “it won’t be that easy but he would have made some level of improvement but it won’t be at the level that Turkey has got to because it took it 40-50 years to get here.
“What I think he would achieve at the level comparable to Turkey is power. We can get to 20, 000Mw of power if the president goes ahead with what he is doing now, if he puts his act together, we could get there.
“Once you get power, then you could get industrial development. We may not be at the level of creating the middle level manpower but, at least, we would have started developing it and that will create a three-tier economic development that will reach the middle income earners and then, the poor.”
According to Amaechi “what you have now is that you are either a rich man or a poor man in Nigeria. You are aware that they say that 70% of Nigerians are poor. I think if you are not careful, it may be more than 70% of Nigerians that are poor.
So, if we do the industrial development that comes with power, the poverty rate will begin to reduce.”
He disclosed that his visit to Turkey was to ensure that Rivers State identified Turkish contractors who could provide quality construction at cheaper cost in the state, saying “I think you can get quality construction from here but at a cheaper cost.
“I think that the cost from contractors in the western countries, especially for those of us in the Niger Delta, is a bit exorbitant. So, you may get the same quality of construction if not better at cheaper cost.
“I have seen some people who will be invited to Rivers State to come and explore what the conditions and situation are in Rivers State, so that we can do business.”
Governor Amaechi specifically said “there is road that we want to do; I’m not sure it is up to 15 kilometres and the contractor is saying N56billion. That is quite expensive may be because of the monopoly of knowledge or expertise. The more they get into Rivers State, the better for us so that we can see competition.”
The governor further stressed the need for stability in government, noting that frequent changes in administration lead to discontinuity in policies which he said was inimical to development.
“Stability is essential. Every time, it appears that people are not sure of government. When a governor finishes his tenure, the new man coming in will come with new programme, jettisons agreements; the judicial process must be such that if a government breaks an agreement, they can go to court and recover their money. If you don’t have that in place too bad,” he declared.