TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center


By NBF News
Listen to article

Dr Itekina Abel-Tariah is gunning for the 2011 governorship seat in Rivers State on the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Among other issues, he spoke to journalists recently of his intention to rule Rivers State. Excerpts…

What informed your aspiration to rule Rivers State?

It is a divine injunction. It is true that governments have come and gone. It is true that many have ruled the state and left. But the underdevelopment of the state still remains with us. We have sat on the fence all these while, criticizing and complaining about the way things were done.

Now, I think it's time for those of us who have always sat on the fence to come and help develop the state and ensure that the proper things are done. We owe it as a duty to the Rivers people to ensure that they are liberated from bad governance.

You are running on the platform of the ACN; do you think you have what it takes to oust the incumbent governor?

The party is only but a platform. The personality of the candidate is far more important and critical. People are tired of this one-party system that has pervaded the state and the country. Any alternative will do as long as the personality has integrity and sincerity of purpose to deliver.

On your other question, a sitting governor, who has no platform to contest an election is going nowhere. A sitting governor who has the credentials of Governor Rotimi Amaechi cannot compete with someone like me. We are neither of the same level nor category. He may be the governor now, but outside Government House, he is no match for me in any aspect of life.

There is this rumour that Asari Dokkubo is sponsoring you; how true is it?

Asari Dokkubo cannot sponsor me. He doesn't have that kind of money. That he is sponsoring me is a blatant lie. He may come from the same place with me; he may have some sympathy for me, but that doesn't mean he can sponsor me. After all, he has more sympathy for Sekibo than me and he said it on air, as well as in the print media that he is sponsoring no one.

Let's talk about the Amaechi-led administration in Rivers State; how would you rate him?

To be candid, Rotimi Amaechi meant well for the state. He wanted to write his name in gold. People fell in love with him for a very long time. But I tell you - his policies, even when well articulated are badly executed. His mode of policy implementation is flawed. Therefore, his projects do not deliver on targets as they are meant to. His projects are most time white elephant and are abandoned due to bad policies. It is only the school building that has some quality. Besides that, I don't see anything else he has been able to achieve.

So how do you score him?
I cannot score him because I am not his examiner. But for the period he has been there and the amount of money he has spent, obviously he has performed very poorly.

That is to say you are among those saying that the administration of Governor Amaechi has taken Rivers back to primordial times, when ethnic sentiments played a major role?

Amaechi has obviously done better than Odili. But the point is: is there relativity between what he has received and his output? And what did Odili receive and what is his output? If you compare that, Amaechi would be said to have excelled. Unfortunately for him, he brought sentiments in and that has masked many of his projects, leaving them the way they are. In three years, he would have commissioned lots of projects. But they have been abandoned because of his approach. The approach is the same and it has to do with output and finishing.

What the people want to see is not just projects; they want their lives to be impacted upon. The question is: what you are doing, how does it impact on the lives of the people? There are some critical projects he ought to have embarked upon to impact on the lives of the people. But these are not the things the government is doing. You can build a million kilometers of road that has no impact on the people.

So every government needs to synergize with the people before embarking on any project. That way you would be touching their very lives. When we come in, we intend to impact on the lives of the people and not embarking on irrelevant projects. We want to change the lives of the Rivers people. We want to make a difference in the standard of living of the people. We want to make them lively again and improve the condition of living of the people.

How do you hope to go about this?
Simple. Governance, first of all has to come out of Government House. Governance is not supposed to be in Government House. Government House is not the Secretariat.