By Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt
Rivers Government and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have traded words following the government’s allegation the opposition party is planning to launch a campaign of calumny against Governor Nyesom Wike.
The government, in a statement by Commissioner of Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, said the party was angry at the performance of Wike in infrastructure, healthcare, education, agriculture, rural transformation, housing development, administration of justice, social welfare and sports development.
Nsirim said: “This orchestrated campaign spearheaded by a defeated and dumped governorship aspirant of the APC, Dr. Dakuku Peterside is designed to portray the government of Governor Wike as one that is not meeting the developmental aspirations of Rivers people.
“However, the uncommon transformation of the 23 Local Government Areas as witnessed during the last six years of projects commissioning and flag off shows clearly that Governor Wike is actually meeting the yearnings of the people.
“The fact that Rivers people that turn out en mass at the various projects sites to heartily welcome their beloved Governor and his guests drawn from all political divides is a clear indication that Rivers people can no longer be swayed by cheap politically induced blackmail”.
Nsirim said the APC had been humbled by Wike’s revolution in governance after boasting the Governor would not see money to pay workers’ salaries and execute projects.
He said instead of people like Peterside and his acolytes to eat the humble pie, they were busy looking for cheap popularity through sponsored appearances in the media.
He said no matter how hard the detractors pushed their propaganda, Wike would never be distracted in executing his social contract with the people of Rivers.
But the APC, in a statement by its spokesperson, Chief Ogbonna Nwuke, said the government was deceiving members of the public adding it had not concocted any plan to sponsor any media campaign.
Nwuke said Rivers people were aware that Wike was running a government to punish and impoverish them for the benefit and sustenance of a few party lords, who fed fat on their commonwealth.
The statement said: “The truth of the matter is that Dr Dakuku Peterside, a leading light in Rivers State, celebrated columnist and a major stakeholder in APC have been invited by different media organizations in Rivers State to X-ray state and national development issues in line with his regular weekly column that commands wide followership.
“Dr Peterside, a well- known national figure who has earned his place in national discourse was invited as an individual and not as representative or spokesman of the APC.
“The question agitating the minds of Rivers people is why is Governor Wike jittery? It is obvious Governor wike and the government he leads hates to be asked to account for their financial transactions.
“To fully understand Wike’s fear is to appreciate that no government in the history of Rivers State has dished out so much lies as the present government has done, with a clear intent to deceive all and sundry.
“Wike has embarked on building bridges that have no impact on the local economy or the welfare of the people. While Wike and a tiny clique of party lords are getting rich from the common purse, majority of Rivers people, including PDP members are being impoverished.
“The APC will respond at the appropriate time but for now let the government wait for the seasoned and reasoned comments of the cerebral minded Progressive, Dr Dakuku Peterside.
“While the APC which is gathering statistics on the expenditure pattern of Governor remains committed to its historic mission, our take, there is absolutely no need for the Government to be consumed by imaginary illusions that are obviously making it jittery at this time”.