Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Amaechi, Orubebe Mend Fences…As Jonathan Approves Council on the Niger Delta

Orubebe and Amaechi

By Chinedu Uchegbu

The perceived rift between the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godsday Orubebe and Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi may have ended.
Orubebe has sought Amechi’s cooperation in the development of Niger Delta, through what he called the ‘Niger Delta Action Plan.’

The minister spoke last week when he visited the governor at the Government House, Port Harcourt. He said over 80% of the nation’s resources income is from the Niger Delta, and that there is need to fast track development to improve the standard of living.
“We were in Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Imo states before coming to Rivers. And as I go round, I understand the feelings of the governors and their people.

So, our visit today is to hand over the Niger Delta Action Plan to you and to appeal that you work together with us as a team to do those things that should be done for our people.
You have been in government for some time, and so you have gotten some experience to add value to our thoughts and processes, so that collectively we can move forward,” Orubebe said.
He also said, “The Niger Delta Action Plan will take care of abandoned projects so there is continuity. And I share a lot of this thought with our governors and stakeholders, and so if we collectively agree on the pathway: it will also tackle duplication of projects and save funds for us to do the things we need to do,” he added.

On the East West road, the minister said the project was awarded at N234 billion in 2006 by former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, but expressed regrets that there was set backs due to lack of proper designs and drawings.
He assured that the road would be completed by December 2014. Orubebe told Amaechi that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved the setting up of a council on the Niger Delta to allow stakeholders meet yearly to discuss about the region.

He said a conference had been fixed for April 21-26, where President Goodluck Jonathan is expected to declare the council open on April 25.

“So that, even if it is two or three projects that we have, we can collaborate together and ensure that these projects are done, but it cannot be done by one individual alone.
We believe that, if we are on the right path, we will e able to transform the Niger Delta,” he said.
The governor opined that the Niger Delta Master plan would be a signature project that will promote speedy development and progress in the region.

“Any development that is not planned will be chaotic and will not achieve its objectives.
You talked about the 50-year development plan you got from Denmark; we, in Rivers, also have a similar thing- the Greater Port Harcourt 50-year master plan.

I must say that, you and I are from the Niger Delta; this is the best chance that we have.
We can never have this kind of opportunity again, even though nobody knows the future, it is our chance.
We have been complaining that we are oppressed, exploited and underdeveloped; Nigerians now said take power and develop yourselves; we can’t complain and we can’t afford to fail. So I think you right on the Action plan.

Whenever we meet at the stakeholders meeting, I will support the plan, because time is not on our side. We shall also use the opportunity to discuss our feelings,” Amaechi said.
It would be recalled that the former leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force(NDPVF), Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, while reacting to the media war between Amaechi and Orubebe had said that there was no difference between the two.
“Amaechi and Orubebe are Siamese twins; there is no difference between them,” he had said.
Apparently peeved by and earlier post by an unnamed person comparing him with Rivers State governor, Dokubo Asari said in one of his posts on one of the popular social networks, Facebook wall, that it would be insane for anyone to compare him with Amaechi who, according to him should submit himself to legal scrutiny.
“How on earth can any sane person compare me to Amaechi who is running from legal scrutiny, while I subjected myself to a very brutal treason trial for 22 months up to the Supreme Court without conviction? Let Amaechi and Orubebe subject themselves to the same level of legal scrutiny,” he wrote.
Unimpressed with Amaechi’s touted achievements as governor, Dokubo insisted that it was an insult on the sensibility of residents of Rivers State to trumpet Amaechi’s modest achievements, given the monumental financial resources at his disposal.

“This Nigeria is indeed paradox. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi with $3 billion yearly budget, which is the combined budget of three sovereign countries of Benin, Togo and Ghana, with an excess of over $100 million ‘is working’. What an insult on the sensibility of the people of Rivers State! Amaechi and Orubebe are Siamese twins; there is no difference between them,” he wrote again.

Yet in another post, Dokubo Asari wrote what looked like a flaunt of his immense wealth: “The rented apartment I live in at Kings Avenue, Tombia extension in Prt Harcourt, is a public place and anybody can walk in. you can walk in and see the grandeur; ditto for my rented apartment in Abuja.”

“Also please visit my hut in Buguma, which is attached to my grandmother’s house in King Abbi Polo. You can also take time to visit my unending construction in my mother’s town, Obuama.
Furthermore, you should visit my home in Warri which was bought by my wife, Mama Aluta, on my behalf when I was in detention and see the exquisite grandeur.

You can come to my adopted home in Cotonou to see the beauty of my houses which are integral part of my school, the King Amachree Arts Academy. When you come to Cotonou, you will appreciate the freedom and dignity I fought for myself, my children, my families and those who believe in me and still believe in me,” Dokubo wrote.

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