From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has vowed to exploit the gains of comparative advantage that each State of the federation has to revive the nation’s economy.
Governor Wike stated that such approach was also capable of creating jobs for the growing youth population on a sustained basis.
The governor gave the hint when he met with leaders and delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kaduna State on Monday, to solicit their votes and give him the presidential ticket during the party’s primary on May 28 and 29, 2022.
“We are importing everything in this country. We are not also exploiting our comparative advantage. What can Kaduna State do in terms of agriculture, really produce? What can Kano really produce? What can Gombe really produce?
“We need to ask to know in what areas do they really have advantage. Such consideration is very important.”
Governor Wike lamented that Kaduna and Kano States used to place the manufacturing industry thrived, but all of those economic activities are gone.
The governor said his presidency will take steps to stem the tide of the free fall that the Naira continues to suffer.
“For example, if Kaduna can only produce rice, what we will do will be to tell the governor of Kaduna State, and with the federal government agreeing, that we want it to be the hub of rice production in Nigeria.
“In that sense, it is not only to feed Nigerians but also to package for exports. Therefore, we can say we need 40 hectares of land from the State government.
“The Federal government will bring N40 billion. It will be a special purpose fund. Government will not run it. So that the venture doesn’t collapse.
“For example, if Rivers State can produce palm oil, we will say, give us 10 thousand hectares of land where we will be planting palm oil seedlings. Federal government will bring the money. It will not be given to the State, but it will be put in a special purpose fund. We will engage experts to operate it as a business venture. That is also to create a lot of jobs.”
Governor Wike stated that the Anchor Borrower Scheme of the federal government steered by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is a total failure.
According to him, despite the N800 billion that CBN claimed to have spent, foodstuffs remain very expensive.
The Rivers State governor who reiterated his stance on the establishment of State police said it was the best measure to adopt to solve the intractable insecurity across the country.
Governor Wike said it was disheartening that President Muhammed Buhari has not done anything tangible about it or visited the scene of the bomb blast in Kaduna.
“Look at it, the bomb blast that happened, up until now I have not seen any serious thing that government at the federal level has done. President has not even made a statement, not to talk of visiting the scene of the incident.
“I want to say that one way to end this insecurity is to have state police. Don’t go politically saying it’s about the governors. I am a governor today and I will soon leave office.
“Those who operate a federal system government have a national police, state police and local police. It will engage people who are within the environment because they know it better to be able to give us intelligence.”
Speaking further, governor assured that if PDP delegates voted for him during the party’s presidential primary, he was confident to committing his first six months in office to solve the problem of insecurity.
He opined that protection of life and property is one basic thing that anybody in office should do first after taking oath of office. According to him, any government that cannot protect life and property has no business in government.
The governor announced the donation of N200 million to support the victims of violence in Kaduna State.
Former Kaduna State governor , Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, expressed profound appreciation to Governor Wike for providing succour to victims of violence in Kaduna State.
Sen. Makarfi, who was a former acting national chairman of the PDP, also commended Governor Wike for ensuring that agents of the All Progressives Congress, APC did not hijack and destroy the PDP.
He acknowledged the zest with which Governor Wike has been pursuing his presidential aspiration by canvassing for the support of delegates. He assured him that delegates are not oblivious of those who have steadfastly sustained the party.
“You are vigorously working for it. Of all the investment you have made, you are not sitting back at all to say because I did, A, B, C,D this should come to me. Day and night, you are working , that shows commitment, that shows genuine desire.”