* Gov Wike says its to make fed lawmakers from Rivers defend interest of the state at the NASS
By Codratus Godson
The SUVs given to 15 federal lawmakers in Rivers State by Gov Nyesom Wike seems to be one too many. There has been no applause from both sides of the political divide in the state since the gifts were announced. The governor gave 41 cars to magistrates in 2019, gave another huge number to judges in 2020, and now followed with 15 SUVs to lawmakers.
The lawmakers have thus been told to stand firm at the NASS and defend the interest of Rivers State. The lawmakers one after the other pledged to do so.
Gov Nyesom Wike who recently gave a luxury car to each judge in the state told the benefiting lawmakers to defend the state fearlessly. He also advised them to resist distraction, remain united, and consult the party (Peoples Democratic Party) regularly.
The gave the charge at a brief ceremony for the presentation of the 15 Land Cruiser Prado VX and TXL cars to members of the NASS at Government House, Port Harcourt.
The governor was represented by the Rivers State chairman of the Peoples PDP, Desmond Akawor. Gov Wike said the gesture would ease their movement and enable them to discharge their legislative duties effectively.
He urged them to keep faith with the party so they could collectively recover what was lost at the national level during the forthcoming 2023 general election.
Responding on behalf of the lawmakers, the senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District, George Thompson Sekibo expressed gratitude to the governor for the gift.
He noted that despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic on the state finances, the governor still saved funds to provide them vehicles.
The member representing Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency, Dumnamene Deekor, commended the governor’s benevolence.
He said the governor has been consistent in encouraging the federal legislators to protect the interest of Rivers people.
Also speaking, the member representing Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, Kingsley Ogundu Chinda, assured the governor of their continued support.
On her part, Boma Goodhead who represents Akuku-Toru/Asari-Toru Federal Constituency, prayed for greater triumph for the governor because he has always integrated the National Assembly members in the scheme of things.
In his reaction, Awaji-Inombek Abiante, representing Andoni/Opobo-Nkoro Federal Constituency, said they would reciprocate the gesture by representing Rivers people well in Abuja.
Also speaking, the Secretary to the State Government, Tammy Danagogo, said there is healthy synergy between the national lawmakers and the state government.
He said the synergy is made possible because Gov Wike has remained a leader who unifies all segments of leaders.
Hints however emerged that one lawmaker did not accept the car gift. Chisom Dike, member representing Oyigbo Federal Constituency is said to have protested the seeming marginalization of that part of the state by refusing the gift of the SUV. He was later quoted by a radio station that he did not see car let alone rejecting it.
His associates had earlier on Wednesday quoted him to have rejected the gift on ground of decayed road network in Oyigbo local council area of Rivers State.
The source said: “His reason was because of the dilapidated nature of the roads linking Oyigbo where he represents”.
Another reason was given as the refusal of the Rivers State government to pay the bills for students writing the National Examinations Council (NECO) examinations 2020. The source added; “While the governor is doling SUVs away, our NECO students have lost hope on the promise given by the state government to pay their fees.”
He was said to have wondered why the state government would not subsidize the fees for now.
The state government says it would at last pay for the NECO fees. The professor, Kaniye Ebeku, who has been commissioner of information since 2015, is quoted to have denied refusal to pay the fees.