*Says those attacking Amaechi are scared of his profile
Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke is the member representing Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency in Rivers State at the House of Representatives. He was the Director of Press to Governor Chibuike Amaechi and later appointed Commissioner for Information. He was reappointed Commissioner but sent to the Commerce and Industry Ministry. He was the publisher of a provincial paper, the Port Harcourt Telegraph.
In this interview, Nwuke speaks on burning political issues in Rivers State.
By Jimitota Onoyume
Comments on political developments in Rivers State.
I am worried by what has become an attempt by some to create instability and I think that, for those who have followed developments here from 2007, what is happening is a great disservice. We came from a background where value placed on human lives was near zero. People felt insecure. From that point when Amaechi stepped into Port Harcourt, we have had relative peace. And so, from the people who were known to raise their hands when they saw security operatives, we have learnt to work with confidence; in fact speak our minds. Above all, we have had years of political stability, economic growth and development and proper social interaction.
As a lawmaker, I am worried that there are people who are attempting to send us back to the dark era, the years before 2007. I know that Rivers people are resolute, they understand the issues, they are undaunted.
The arrowhead of those opposed to the governor in the state was in the same cabinet with you some few years back…
Let me say men are born, some are ambitious, some over ambitious, some without conscience.
Now I don’t know where to place my friend and brother in the state cabinet then. I think it is regrettable that he is joining forces with those who do not wish Rivers people well, who do nothing but promote division.
He has his agenda, he may have his grouse but he was part of the building of this house. It is regrettable that shortly after he became Minister also on the basis of his relationship with Governor Amaechi, he has decided to act this way. Well! I think Rivers people will not be bothered by him.
Do you see any face behind the actions of the Minister?
Remember he said he was always at the forefront of many things. I think a man who says he was Commander-in-Chief; Field Marshall won’t be contented with playing the second fiddle. I think perhaps Nyesom wants to be remembered for much more.
Those in opposition have labelled the governor in some of their public statements as an arrogant person. You are close to the governor; you served him as a commissioner before you became a member of the House of Representatives. What is your response to this allegation?
I think we are getting it all wrong. Governor Amaechi is not an arrogant person. Is being blunt, saying things the way you see them arrogance? I have very strong reservations as to the application of the term arrogance on Amaechi. I know he is a man who tells you the way he feels on issues. He speaks his mind on issues and he is accountable for his opinion, that is not arrogance.
There are people who see themselves as king makers. And kingmakers take the backseat after a king is made. Note that after an election, politics stops. A governor is elected to take decisions. I know that the governor consults with the people. He holds town hall meetings regularly to know what the people want in their environment.
I don’t know where the arrogance allegation is coming from. You see him running a government that is accountable to the people. I don’t know how this has become a case of arrogance. Perhaps those accusing him of arrogance aren’t coming out clearly to tell us what they have in mind. People are united in the state that development is taking place. Jobs are being created, hospitals are being built, capacity building projects are ongoing. Scholarships are being awarded.
On the suspension of the governor by his party, Peoples Democratic Party
I think that there are people who are afraid of Governor Amaechi’s profile nationwide. I think the decision was rash, I think the wrong person in law was approached on the issue.
The state House of Assembly has oversight function. I believe that the decision to suspend Amaechi was not properly thought out. It came after the Nigeria Governors’ Forum election. Amaechi had been accused of having a presidential ambition and he denied. I don’t know how else he can say this. The NGF is a pressure group, it seeks to find the best for its members.
Some have said the person who wants to control the about N400 billion annual budget of the state after Governor Amaechi is behind the Rivers State crisis.
Those who worry about this forgets that power belongs to God. Men will aspire, it is their right. I think the whole strategy in place is to weaken the political base of His Excellency.
You talk about God, how religious are you?
I do have strong faith in God.
How have you affected your constituents?
I think we have tried to focus on providing basic needs. We have given boreholes, a total of seventeen in three communities. So that those within neighbouring communities can also benefit.
I also attracted the Igbodo Akwaogo Road that is being handled by the NDDC. It is on record that I ensured the Igwuruta Okpagha Road being handled by the Niger Delta Ministry and is running because I opposed the move to remove funds on it.
I have awarded twenty scholarships. Each of the students gets one hundred thousand Naira each. They were selected through a very rigorous process.
I gave in every ward in my area one motor bike. I also bought motor bikes to support the party structure in the area. In every ward, the party chairman and secretary got a bike. I gave some out as empowerment to youths.