The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Managament and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, has drawn the ire of the Rivers State government who says the man would lose again. Dr Peterside contested against the present governor, Nwesom Wike, in 2015 and lost under the All ProgressivesCongress (APC), but the state government says it was because he did not complete the road that goes to his area, the Andoni-Opobo Road.
Dr Peterside is believed to be positioning to recontest in 2019 and has been making scathing statements about the economy of Rivers State under Gov Wike. He has particularly said the state made a ‘wrong’ choice and must do something about it.
Now, the Commissioner of Information, Barr Emma Okah, has hit back, saying Dr Peterside would lose again in his area because of that old failure and for the fact that Gov Wike has done what he did not do when he was commissioner for works under Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as governor.
Reacting to a press statement credited to Peterside, the commisioner said it is a political tragedy that Peterside has not learnt any lesson from his failure in the 2015 Governorship election in his Ward and Opobo/Nkoro Local Government, saying the same fate would await him in the future if he does not apologize to the people of Andoni and Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Areas for failing to complete the road at least up to Opobo town.
“I don’t take my friend Dakuku Peterside serious on many political issues because his arguments and claims are usually self-destructive. He claimed that he drove to Kalaibiama during the 2015 electioneering campaigns. He was possibly using a flying car” Okah said
According to Okah, the previous administration had substantially built Bridge 8 before abandoning it. At that stage, ramps which slope the bridge level to the road level had not been built to enable vehicles pass the bridge level in descent to the road level. “So how did Peterside’s vehicle drive across the bridge without ramps and he did not summersault? Before the Wike administration did the work, the people of Kalaibiama were using planks as ramps to cross the bridge and maneuver their motorbikes.”
Besides, he went on, the distance from Bridge 8 to Kalaibiama town is about 2 Kilometers of extremely swampy and challenging terrain which he said was the reason why the previous government abandoned it. “To the glory of God, Governor Wike has battled and successfully constructed the ramp and road from the bridge to Kalaibiama. This is a feat that Dakuku Peterside seeks to appropriate.”
He went on, “What Dakuku Peterside did not inform Rivers People is that after abandoning Bridge 8, the previous administration initiated the process of secretly cancelling the Andoni – Opobo Road contract and to demonstrate this, they refused to fund the contractor any more. Is this the action of a man who loves the Opobo people?
“The Nyesom Wike administration came on board and discontinued the cancellation of the contract but went ahead to revalidate it and has funded the contractor to the tune of 50 per cent of the revalidated contract price”.
Okah noted that this is the reason why work progressed to the point of vehicles driving into Opobo/Nkoro LGA and will get to Opobo Town in due course.
The commissioner said; “Governor Wike has been sincere in executing the Unity Road project and has matched words with action. Dakuku Peterside should be ashamed that the administration he served as Commissioner for Works was receiving an average of N21Bn every month from federal allocation but only N25Bn was committed to the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo (Road) for the eight years of that government.
“On the contrary, the Governor Nyesom Wike administration has since committed the sum of N7Bn in less than three years towards the completion of the project and the results are positive. So between that administration and the present one, who loves the people of Andoni and Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Areas more?
“It is high time Peterside consulted well with his master before jumping into the public domain to make unfounded assertions and abuse others on matters he has scanty knowledge because those who live in glass houses do not throw stones.”