The All Progressives Congress (APC) Rivers has disagreed with Governor Nyesom Wike’s decision to begin construction of a ninth flyover at Rumuepirikom, Obio-Akpo Local Government Area of the state capital.
The Government, while approving a contract for construction of Sir Dr Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diagnostic and Treatment Centre at N25.9bn, also approved the ninth flyover project at N6.6bn.
A statement by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, said the centre, expected to be completed within 14 months, would be sited at Rumuokuta in Obio-Akpor.
The statement also quoted Commissioner for Works, Elloka Tasie-Amadi, as saying that apart from the flyover project, the government approved the dualization of the first phase of the Ahoada- Omoku Road as well as internal roads in Omerelu.
Tasie-Amadi explained the construction of the ninth flyover was necessitated by increasing vehicular activities and traffic jams at some entry points in Port Harcourt.
He said the flyover would be completed in 12 months and funded by the deduction of N400million monthly from state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Tasie-Amadi said contract for the dualisation of the first phase of Ahoada Omoku Road had been awarded to Julius Berger.
He said the project would be 15.2 metre wide, with drains and streetlights and would cost N9.5bn.
But the Commissioner explained the construction of Omerelu internal roads had been awarded to Monier Construction Company (Nigeria) Limited at 4.4bn.
“This project would also be funded by deduction of N500million monthly from the state’s Internally Generated Revenue,” he said.
But the APC particularly faulted the ninth flyover project and its location saying the Governor was embarking on lopsided development policy.
The party, in a statement by its spokesperson, Ogbonna Nwuke, said the “skewed policy” of the administration was denying many other parts of the state of sustainable growth and progress, adding that such policy was making nonsense of past efforts by government to nurture even development.
He said: “What justifies the need to build the 9th overhead bridge in Rumuprikom at this time? Can the Rivers State Government say that these overland bridges are in any way helping to place food on the table of Rivers people?
“If we may ask, what is behind the hasty payments made to Julius Berger? Could there be other reasons for the brigde – mania – policy of the government?
“The Rivers State government cannot continue to act as if the interests of other component parts which make up the state do not really matter. Their interests matter.
“Let it be known to this government, which is busy serving the interest of a select group that the great majority of people who are being neglected are Rivers people.
“These people, who do not, or have not had the opportunity of producing state governors are no slaves. They are also not conquered people.
“They are hardworking Rivers people, who deserve to benefit from properly articulated programmes of State, which ought to enhance the development strides of their ethnic nations as well as the growth of their communities.”
Nwuke called on the Wike’s administration to reconsider its decision to site projects saying that the people of the state did not elect an ethnic Governor.
He said: “Besides, the money that government is expending on projects primarily in two local government areas belongs to the Rivers people. It does not belong to an individual.
“Accordingly, we urge the administration on behalf of the Rivers people to take copious note of this fact.
“Dispersing development projects to parts of the state in a manner that encourages even development would help to arrest rural – urban migration and give the people of Rivers State a sense of belonging.
“This must explain why the idea of the Greater Port Harcourt city project was conceived. The Cardiovascular Hospital that the present Government has commendably thought of as part of a plan to boost medical tourism in the state could have been cited within the Greater Port Harcourt area.
“Such a step has the advantage of providing a major backbone for the development of a new city. Similarly, such a bold move would encourage the gradual decongestion of the State capital and its adjourning areas”.