By Dipo Olowookere
Governorship aspirant under the aegis of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Soalabo West, has assured the people of Rivers State that his approach to governance will be totally different from the style of the incumbent Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike.
The aspiring Governor gave this assurance during a radio show on Nigeria Info 92.3 FM.
According to the politician, “My style of governance will surely be different from that of Governor Wike. I am a social democrat; therefore, I will be guided by the principles of equity, justice and fairness. All 23 local government areas will benefit from government projects.”
He lamented that, “It is not proper to concentrate government projects in Port Harcourt, Obio-Akpor and Ikwerre local government areas. There are 23 local government areas in the state. Each local government is as important as any other local government.”
Mr West, a lawyer just like the incumbent Governor, further stated that, “To inspire rapid industrialisation and create employment, each local government or old district headquarters will have an industrial park that will better harness its domestic potential. Locating industries in rural communities will checkmate urban migration and reduce crime and criminality.”
He stated that he was challenging Governor Wike for the governorship ticket of the PDP because for 20 years, all successive governors in Rivers State have come from the upland area of the state.
“Former Governor Peter Odili from Andoni served for eight years. Former Governors Celestine Omehia and Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi from Ikwerre jointly served for another eight years. Incumbent Governor Nyesom Wike, also from Ikwerre, has served for four years. In all, governors from the upland have collectively served for 20 unbroken years.”
Mr West bemoaned that, “Some people have asked me why don’t I wait until 2023 to pursue my governorship ambition. In 2023, the upland would have produced governors of the state for 24 successive years. I doubt if anyone born in 1999 will understand what the upland/riverine dichotomy means.”
He explained that, “Yes, I am Soalabo West from Buguma in Asari-Toru local government area. It is because I am from Buguma in Asari-Toru local government area that I am an indigene of Rivers State. Therefore, I know how far governance is from the riverine communities in Rivers State.”
“Land mass is a pervasive problem in the riverine communities. The state government needs to engage in a massive dredging and land reclamation project in the riverine communities. The state government in partnership with the federal government needs to clean up our polluted waterways; Rivers; creeks; swamps; lakes and ponds,” he added.
Mr West emphasised that, “After the clean-up, government needs to put millions of fishes into the waterways; Rivers; creeks; swamps; lakes and ponds to develop a new colony of fishes so that fishing can become a profitable venture as it was about 30 years ago. We need a government that can turn around the economic fortunes of the people of the riverine communities.”
In another event where he launched his campaign website, www.soalabowest.org, Mr West further stated that: “I have been a member of the PDP for over 10 years. I am a loyal member of the party. The PDP supports the principle of rotation. I strongly believe that we should give someone from the riverine after 20 years of power residing in the upland to govern the state with a different style; ideals; model and methodology.”
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