President Goodluck Jonathan has admitted the criticism by Governor Rotimi Amaechi that his government has not done anything for the people of Rivers State.
Justifying the absence of federal presence in Rivers, Jonathan said it was because he did not want to be seen as a sectional leader, hence, his resolve to ensure the equitable distribution of resources across the country.
Jonathan’s wife is from Rivers State while Bayelsa, the president’s home state, was carved out from the old Rivers State.
The president, who spoke during the presidential rally of the Peoples Democratic Party at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Igwuruta-Ali, Ikwerre Local Government of Rivers State, however, promised to develop the South-South region if elected for a second term in office.
Jonathan was reacting to the constant criticism by Amaechi, who is also the Director-General of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation, that he (Jonathan) had not done anything for Rivers and Bayelsa states to warrant re-election.
Describing Amaechi’s statement as a challenge, Jonathan admitted that though he had not allocated more development to his people, the situation was an indication that he (Jonathan) meant well for the country.
He pointed out that he accepted the governor’s challenge, but would do “something” for the South-South states when he is re-elected,
He said, “What I want to tell you and the rest of the country is that the director-general of the APC presidential campaign organisation, when he was in Yenagoa and when he was in Port Harcourt, mentioned clearly that the President had done nothing for the two states.
“Don’t worry. It is good news because people are saying that I concentrated development in the South-South. Bayelsa State was part of Rivers State. Then, if I don’t concentrate development in this state that means there has not been development in Rivers and Bayelsa states.
“The DG (Amaechi) is telling Nigerians that I have not done this. That means that I am a transparent person. I did not allocate positions to my people. The DG would have been the very first person to expose me to the rest of the world; not just Nigeria. He would have taken me to America, to South Africa, to France, to UK, but that shows clearly that we mean well for this country.
“In our development, every part of Nigeria must be carried along. You will agree with me that when we looked at the university education, and we insisted that look, the Federal Government must make sure that all Nigerian youths must have opportunity for university education.
“We did not divide North or South; we made sure that all the states that had no federal university got a federal university. I am not going to comment on development in Rivers State and Bayelsa states. I can reassure you that just work with us; vote for us on February 14, for me and Sambo and on February 28, for Wike and Ipalibo. Since we have been challenged that we have not done anything, we will do something”.
Earlier, the PDP governorship candidate in the state, Nyesom Wike, had expressed confidence that the party would record a clean sweep in presidential and governorship elections next month.
Calling on the people of the state to vote for the PDP at all levels, Wike, who was formally presented with his party’s flag, criticised Amaechi for his (Amaechi) refusal to approve the application by the state PDP for the usage of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium for the rally.
In her remarks, the wife of the president, Dame Patience, boasted that the PDP would get over 2.4 million votes in Rivers State, adding that such a feat would be an improvement on the 2 million votes won by the party in 2011.
According to the first lady, only the PDP had done a lot in the area of women empowerment, maintaining that the women had been able to manage the economy of the country.