A Public Sector Turnaround Expert, Dr Dakuku Peterside, has urged Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers to urgently reactivate the drainage master plan put in place by the immediate past administration.
Peterside made the call in a statement on Wednesday, in Port Harcourt, in reaction to the flooding being experienced in several parts of the state.
He expressed dismay that Rivers people had suffered untold hardship as a result of the flooding, which had long ago been predicted by the Nigeria Metrological Agency (NIMET), with the state featuring prominently.
“Former Gov. Chibuike Amaechi’s administration had put in place a drainage master plan for the city of Port Harcourt.
“It was already being executed before he left office in 2015 but was, however, abandoned by Wike for political reasons,” he alleged.
Peterside, a former Commissioner of Works in Rivers, blamed the Wike-led administration for not paying attention to early warning signals from NIMET.
“But rather, it chose to put the blame on Rivers people who are already suffering from lack of jobs and economic empowerment.
“Our people are traumatised, a lot of persons are displaced, we have lost several goods and property estimated at over N3 billion; social and economic life has been disrupted.
“This is because the state government slept off, and people are suffering,” he added.
According to Peterside, Gov. Wike awards projects from his office without going through due process and the very important Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which led to pain and agony by Rivers people.
“It is even more shocking that the state government is yet to respond, even if half-heartedly to the cries of the people but chose to blame everybody other than itself.
“A responsive government should by now be engaging and looking for ways out of the crisis,” he added.
Peterside, who was the 2015, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers, stated that Port Harcourt had never had it this bad.
“And it can only mean that the state’s relevant ministries, departments, and agencies are either incompetent in carrying out their duties or have been starved of necessary funds to function optimally,” he stated.
The former Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), called on the government to immediately mobilise resources of the state to ameliorate the sufferings of the people.
“With heavy rains expected in coming weeks as predicted by NIMET, it will only be natural that the Rivers government immediately activates the moribund emergency management agency.
“It can react swiftly to serious situations and arrest whatever difficulty the people may be facing.
“This is the time for the state government to show compassion rather than grandstanding and looking for who to blame for its own ineptitude and maladministration.
“Rivers people deserve better than this and it is the responsibility of the government to provide solutions,” he concluded.
The News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that the Rivers government had earlier assured residents that it would begin the process of checking flooding in the state.
Its Information Commissioner, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, through his media aide Amieyeofori Ibim, gave the assurance in a statement.
He said that the state was working with relevant agencies to roll out the process that would check perennial flooding in the state.
The Commissioner expresses disgust at the attitude of residents who turned drains into refuse bins and urged them to desist.
He further advised the residents and business people to play their parts in assisting the administration to address the flooding problems in the state. (NAN)