… Accuses Wike of killing businesses
By Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi
The sealing of the popular EUI Events Centre in GRA Phase 3, Port Harcourt, by the Rivers State Government, has provoked the anger of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
The state commissioner for information and communications, Chris Finebone, had, after the executive council meeting in Government House on Wednesday, explained that the centre was sealed off because of the traffic gridlock it was causing within the area.
However, the Rivers APC, in a statement issued on Thursday by the spokesman of its campaign council, Sogbeye Eli, faulted the state government’s action, describing it as one business sacrilege too many. Headlined ‘Operation Save Rivers State: Enough Is Enough’, the statement notes with regret that the sealing of EUI Events Centre was coming two weeks after the controversial sealing of SPAR Supermarket, also in Port Harcourt.
“The Rivers APC 2023 Campaign Council notes with absolute shock and regret yet another decision by the insensitive and rudderless administration of Governor Nyesom Wike to seal the EUI Events Centre, off Abacha Road in GRA, Port Harcourt.
“Conveying the poisoned chalice through the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Chris Finebone, the Government gave incoherent reasons for decreeing the event centre sealed.
“However, Rivers people are aware that the EUI Events Centre was shut down because it inadvertently incurred the wrath of Governor Nyesom Wike yesterday with his convoy held-up for about 10 minutes as a result of heavy vehicular traffic from guests attending the service of songs in honour of Late Mrs. Tamunomiete Tombomieye, the mother of an illustrious son of the State and Executive Vice President (Upstream) of NNPC Limited, Engr. Adokiye Tombomieye,” the statement reads.
Recalling other businesses that have gone down the drain under the Wike administration, the APC queried the rationale behind chasing away investments that could provide job opportunities for Rivers youths.
“Coming on the heels of the sealing of Spar Mall only two weeks ago via an Order of a Magistrate’s Court, suffice to say that this action by a government that killed the State’s huge investments in agribusinesses at the Songhai Farms in Tai LGA, the Fish Farms at Buguma and Ogbakiri in Asari Toru and Emohua LGAs respectively, is one economic sacrilege too many. We cannot be driving away investments that should create jobs for the teeming population of unemployed Rivers youths and residents of the State and pretend that we are offering leadership.
“A State Government that has failed in nearly eight years to employ Rivers people or create opportunities for gainful employment outside converting the potentials of our young people to Taskforces and casual workers at construction sites should never be seen swooping down on the few that provide jobs, thereby taking crime off our Streets.
“As a Campaign Council, we decry this further manifestation of Wike’s full-blown dictatorship. We condemn in no uncertain terms the naked abuse of power by a desperate regime that is quick to serve her personal interests alone,” the party said.
It warned of the dire effects of the action on the economy of Rivers State, especially in this Christmas period, adding that Governor Wike has also held programmes at the EUI Events Centre in the past.
The APC said the 2023 general elections should provide Rivers people the opportunity to effect change in the way their state is being run.
The party noted: “Thankfully, an opportunity to correct the 2015 tragic flaw approaches with next year’s general elections. We therefore charge Rivers youths to take their destinies in their hands. Our vibrant youths must put their money where their mouths are by running a referendum on the State’s employment index in the era before May 2015 and thereafter.
“Wike’s repressive government has emasculated private businesses enough and must not be allowed to continue via any proxy. We have suffered enough from one man’s poor decision-making. Indeed, enough is enough.
“Come March 11, 2023, we must end Wike’s brutal tactics by voting en masse for the All Progressives Congress gubernatorial candidate, Tonye Cole. With the globally tested, proven and certified business mogul as Governor, it is guaranteed that not only would existing businesses be given incentives to flourish, many more local and foreign investments will troop into the State to provide Rivers youths with the opportunities they have missed in the last horrendous seven years.”