Rivers: Amaechi’s good legacy is my inspiration — Peterside

His emergence as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC from a field that comprised equally strong contenders underscored his own strong potentials. Among the competitors were Senator Magnus Abe and the outgoing deputy governor of the state, Mr. Tele Ikuru.

In the end, the party favoured Dakuku Peterside largely on account of some factors that were brought to play, including the agitation of the riverine population that the governorship ticket be zoned to them. The last two governors, Peter Odili and Rotimi Amaechi came from the Upland.

The fact that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP picked its candidate, Nyesom Wike from Ikwere land in the Upland has also helped to galvanise momentum for Dakuku from those in favour of power shift.

Remarkably, Peterside is, however, not surrendering the Ikwere vote to his challenger as he has in recent days moved deep into the heart of Ikwere land including the traditional institution to canvass support for his governorship aspiration.

Responding to questions from Vanguard at the end of a campaign tour of the state, he maintained that his campaign in Rivers state is about restoration of hope.

“This campaign is about creating employment and lifting the livelihood of our people. We cannot do all these unless we attract investment into our state and there is a relationship between investment and job creation. For you to attract investment, you must deal first with the issue of security and you must deal with the issue of infrastructure. If you don’t deal with the issue of infrastructure and security, investment will not flow to your state. Those are some of our priorities”.

He went further, “Beyond the issue of infrastructure and security, the issue of human capital is very key to our development. If you don’t have skilled persons, when you create the opportunities, your people will not be part of it. They will be excluded from it because they cannot take part in the economic boom we envisage. For them to take part, they must have the right set of skills and they must be educated. What kind of education are we giving to our people? Are we factoring in vocational, technical and entrepreneurial education to what our people are doing?”.

Speaking on his community services which he said prepared him for the task, he stressed that his involvement with community organisation will influence his government as Governor of Rivers state.

“I have been involved in community organising all my life and what it simply means is that we are coming with rare skills at governance. If you notice, one skill that is lacking in our governance institutions is the fact that people who have interest in leadership are never given the opportunity. But here we are; somebody who has interest in leadership, somebody who has lived and practised leadership, somebody who has been involved in organising the community, now being given an opportunity to do what he has been professing and teaching all along. What it means is what could be termed preparation meets opportunity”.

Asked why Governor Rotimi Amaechi has not been regularly seen during his campaign rallies, Peterside said “I will not deny the fact that part of the platform on which I am running is the performance of Governor Rotimi Amaechi. It is a good legacy, nobody can deny that, it’s a fact. We are running on a good legacy that will project the vision which will take Rivers state to its glorious future”.

On the allegation that the PDP governorship candidate in the state copied his roadmap which he had earlier presented to the masses in Rivers state, he said “I have said that my opponent in the PDP clearly copied my roadmap and while they were in the process, my people raised the alarm. It was in the media that these guys were about to clone our roadmap. We dismissed it as one of those things. What he called his manifesto was a surprise to us.

“There is consternation among us that they could have the temerity to copy, word for word, most of what was in our programme. But you see, if it is not original, it is not original and anybody holding the two copies can clearly distinguish between the original and the photocopy”.

On his roadmap to prosperity for Rivers people, he said the plan has four cardinal programmes which includes; Public sector accountability and security of lives, physical and institutional infrastructure development and food security, social and human development and empowerment, employment, generation and wealth creation.

Peterside’s prospects were said to have been brightened after his aspiration was endorsed by the council of traditional rulers from the four local government areas making up Ikwere land.

The council members were said to have endorsed Peterside to allow the riverine area produce the next governor. By their action, they said no other governorship candidate would receive the council’s endorsement. To this end, they’ve asked all Ikwerre persons to support Peterside.

In approaching the council for support, Peterside said: “Ikwere as an ethnic nationality has a very critical role to play at this point in time in the life of Rivers State. As custodians of Ikwere culture, Ikwerre values, at a time of national morale crisis, we expect the custodians of our culture and value system as traditional rulers and fathers to lend their voices of reason so that the people can take the right path.”

The council it was learned reciprocated his early entreaty by endorsing him even ahead of their son, Wike.

The Vice Chairman of the council and traditional ruler of Akpor kingdom, Eze Orlu Oriebe, who represented Eze Iriebe of Nye Weli Akpor kingdom in acknowledging Peterside’s wisdom in reaching out to the council, said:

“You are the only person (governorship candidate) who saw the need to visit the Traditional Council, and that you cannot go out there to tell our people anything without paying homage.”

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