In a new year broadcast yesterday to the people of Rivers State, Governor Rotimi Amaechi, said that he has no personal quarrel with with President Goodluck Jonathan, but with the federal government.
Amaechi said; “There is no personal quarrel between the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, an illustrious son of the Niger Delta and myself. But the government of Rivers State, which we have been privileged to lead, has some misgivings against certain actions of the federal government towards the people of Rivers State. As your elected leader, we will be failing in our duties to our people if we do not draw attention to such actions.
“First, we have expended huge resources in executing approved federal projects in the state such as the Port Harcourt Owerri Road without any refunds. Secondly, there is hardly any reasonable federal project ongoing in the state. Work on the Port Harcourt International Airport, a major gateway into the Eastern parts of the country, has been largely abandoned while airports whose rehabilitation was embarked on at the same time have since been commissioned.
“Thirdly, the federal government has embarked on a reduction of our natural resource endowments. A number of oil wells and gas fields located in the state have been carved out and ceded to neighbouring states while resources due from these have also been paid to those states.
“Fourthly, major industrial and strategic security projects that were originally slated for location in Rivers State have been moved to neighbouring states without even the courtesy of an explanation. Fifthly, there is evidence of discrimination against Rivers State indigenes in key federal appointments. Of all the councils and boards of federal universities and tertiary institutions recently announced, there is hardly any Rivers indigene considered fit to head any of them.
“Sixthly, and most importantly, the federal government has actively encouraged the destabilization of the security of the state through tacit encouragement of the return of militants onto the streets of Port Harcourt and by encouraging the police to play a partisan role in the political affairs of the state.”
Emphasizing that efforts aimed at finding a lasting solution to the squabble yielded no meaningful fruits, the governor however said there were still room for talks between the state government and the federal government to find ways of settling the face-off between the two-tiers of government constitutionally and amicably.
Amaechi said; “Efforts to reach a peaceful resolution of our differences on these issues have not quite yielded results. None of these negative actions has been reversed despite repeated appeals and countless negotiations. Our doors remain open to a negotiated settlement of these issues within the context of the constitutional relationship between Rivers State and the Federal Government.
“This is the background to recent developments in the political history of the state. There is nothing in this catalogue of grievances that has anything to do with my interests as an individual. We have responded to these challenges by rising to the defense of Rivers State and its people.
“We took an oath of office to protect and defend the interests of the state and its peoples. We are convinced that we have taken no action to date that is not in strict compliance with this fundamental requirement of elective democracy. To have done otherwise would have been to place self above the people.”