Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State has said he has no plans of returning to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) contrary to claims by his political opponents.
Ameachi was reacting to claims by the PDP that he and his supporters were making efforts to return to the party through the back door.
Speaking to journalists yesterday at the sideline of the on-going ceremonies of the inauguration of Port Harcourt as UNESCO World Book Capital 2014, Amaechi explained that he has irreconcilable ideological differences with the PDP and could not think of returning to the party he dumped for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“No, I am not returning to the PDP. I have finished with the PDP; I have told them”, he declared.
He admitted that he made a promise to return to the PDP if the Federal Government returned the oil wells it ceded from the state but said that was yet to happen.
He said, “I made a promise that if they return the Kalabari oil wells; we will see how it goes, but until that happens. Beyond the oil wells, I have told them; they have approached me, if they want, I will call the names of those that approached me, but that is not an issue.
“There are issues that are fundamentally different between me and the PDP. If I am progressive, It must be seen, the type of life I live; in what I do and how I relate with people; the type of governance. We introduced popular free education, gave laptops to children to take home. There are so many things we are doing that are contrary to the ideologies of the PDP, but they are wonderful men and women.”
He said, contrary to statements credited to the Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, that he (Amaechi) was attempting to return to the PDP through the window, the PDP would be glad to have him back.
“Are you sure that if I tell PDP that I am coming back in 10 days, they will not send a dance party here? One problem with leadership in Nigeria that when you are a President, a governor, or a minister; what you say must be factual; you can’t be part of gossip. So, that young man who claims to be Minister of State for Education, who doesn’t know what it means to be a minister, is saying I am begging to come back to the PDP. What is PDP? I beg you, please, don’t ever ask me any question about that young man, because I will not answer you,” he said.
On allegations that he was busy piling up debts for in-coming administrations in the state, Amaechi said, “Why have you not seen the name of Rivers State among the states that owe banks in the country. I was talking to one of my friends who works in a bank and I said, please, I need you people to approve our N100 billion bond because we have borrowed a total of N280 billion and we have repaid down to N80 billion and will finish the payment by June this year. Then, we will be free from debts, but I still need a N100 billion bond to complete our on-going projects.
“Are you not surprised that if you borrow N200 or N300 billion, you should be on the list of indebted states. The reason why we are not is because once the money comes, we say take the one we owe you and put the rest on projects.
“If we are so indebted, why are banks chasing us around? We want to give you money despite all the noise the opposition is making; it is because, they see the way we pay. We receive about N8 billion from IGR. We pay all to the banks. The reason why we receive N8 billion is because we blocked all the holes where people receive money and share amongst themselves in government.
“In fact, if we had met government the way it was before the militancy, we should be making at least N11 billion. The reason why it is ordinary N8 billion is because so many investors had left. If they had come back, we should be doing N11 to N13 billion. No money for the governor, don’t give money to any big man, let’s use it to work. Even if we take the N100 billion and decide to use our IGR, in one year, we have paid you the N100 billion, because, in one year, N8 billion will give you N96 billion, so, you are left with N4 billion. So, when they say I will leave the state heavily indebted, it means, somebody is not observing what is going on. They should call for our books.”
Amaechi stated that his administration has socialist programmes that would serve the interest of the people and not politicians.