Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike has fired back at Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, who on Wednesday blamed state governors for fuelling poverty in Nigeria.
Wike accused the minister of being blind to how governors tackle development in their respective states.
At the inauguration of Rumuodogo 1 and 2 roads in Oluua Rumuodogo, Emohua LGA of the state, Wike faulted Agba for saying that governors were the cause of poverty because they focused on building flyovers, airports and other projects in state capitals instead of investing in rural areas to directly improve living standards of the people.
Wike said: “He (Agba) said governors are the problem, they don’t do rural roads. I ask him, where and where have you been.
“You just sit there (Abuja), you’ve not been to anywhere to check whether rural roads are being done or not.
“Come to Rivers and see whether we are doing roads that will cause agricultural produce to be brought out to the cities or not before you open your mouth. We are not doing roads in the city alone. We are doing roads in all local government areas of the state.”
On fellow South-South states governors allegedly hiding to insult him, Wike said: “Some people have been sending their people to insult me. I laugh. I hear some people, they call them Akwa Ibom professionals, they were insulting me.
“Tell the man who sent you to come out. You are just small kids. I am waiting for the big masquerade. Some people said they are Ijaw professionals. You that is sending them, come out. It is you I am looking for, I am not looking for these small fries.”
While wondering why fellow South South governors felt offended by his gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari over release of withheld 13 percent derivation, Wike said: “If they’re not prepared for governance, give up. I am prepared for governance. I was prepared, I’m still prepared, I will be prepared till I leave.
“How can people talk, simply because I said thank Buhari for giving us money. I am not a fan of Buhari. All of you know that, I am not one of those they like. I am not one of those who go to Abuja to see them, but the truth must be told.
“When somebody has done well in an aspect, you say he has done well in this aspect. You cannot change it.
“Let me tell those making noise, whether you’re a governor I don’t care. When I came to run as governor of Rivers State, there was no governor that said I want to put you in office as a governor. I came on my own. God said I want to use you. There was a sitting governor, we defeated the sitting governor.
“Some governors were brought by their godfathers, I never had any godfather that brought me as a governor. The only god father I had was God and the people of Rivers State.
“So, when some governors are talking, they should know those they are talking to, we are not at the same level and we can’t be at the same level.”
He added that Rivers State spent over N5 billion to recover the Yenagoa, Bayelsa campus of the Nigerian law School, while the Dr. Nabo Graham Douglas Campus in Port Harcourt was completed within 10 months.
In a similar development, Edo State government said it was not part of the states Agba was referring to as promoting poverty in the country by embarking on projects not favourable to the people.
Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, however said: “Edo State is certainly not one of the states the minister was referring to.
“Our governor priroritizes human capital development, poverty reduction through skills acquisition and financial empowerment.
“Edo State pays its workers on the 26th of every month and has surpassed the nationally recommended minimum wage of N30,000, it pays N40,000.
“EDSG has continued to increase its workforce by recruiting young talents into the state civil service.
“We also have Edo State Skills Development Agency, EdoJobs, that is constantly executing diverse and laudable skills acquisition and empowerment programmes across the state.
“In Edo, we don’t believe in the razzmatazz of fancy projects but the impact of sustainable developmental programmes.”