The All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Saturday, knocked the Peoples Democratic Party for failing to develop Delta State despite the huge federal allocation to the state.
Tinubu also warned that Delta was not an Automated Teller Machine for migratory politicians from the state.
A statement issued by his media officer, Tunde Rahman, said the APC candidate said this during a campaign rally at the Warri Township Stadium.
Addressing the rally, Tinubu accused the opposition party of abandoning infrastructural development in the state and leaving Delta to rot away.
He said, “Delta is among Nigeria’s largest oil and gas producing states. Revenue from oil and gas has historically been the backbone of government revenue and foreign exchange earnings.
“As such, your state and other oil producers have made a one-of-a-kind financial contribution to the building of modern Nigeria. The nation is thankful to you.
“Delta has all it takes to be great and help lead the nation forward. Yet, for the past 23 years, those governing your state have taken you for a hard and long ride by selling you short. They have not done the things they should have and could have done for you.
“The infrastructure in the state was better 30 years ago than it is now. The state has recorded historic debts run up by the incumbent, yet the infrastructure and other things still remain lacking because of under investment and neglect.
“The money is much, but it does not have legs. Where did it go? Not to your welfare. Perhaps, it has found a home with a certain presidential candidate, who loves Dubai more than Nigeria.
“But Delta State is not an ATM for migratory politicians. It is a place where good and hardworking people reside and work to create decent and peaceful lives for themselves and their families.”
On his plans for the state, the former Lagos governor promised to re-activate the gas revolution industrial park, while also seeing to clean up the entire Niger Delta region to ensure that the host communities would not suffer for building the nation’s economy through their oil.
Tinubu added, “Our government will further re-activate the multi-billion dollar gas revolution industrial park project. President Buhari’s administration has made great strides in revisiting this project. We will complete it.
“Gas will become a national priority. I envision fertiliser and petrochemical plants, aluminium smelters and methanol plants, all creating jobs for the unemployed, while producing goods that bolster farming, construction and other industries.
“We will step up and clean up the operations of the Niger Delta Development Commission and the Ministry of the Niger Delta.
“The NDDC will be improved. Greater cooperation with communities, which have suffered environmental degradation, will be my policy.
“I am saddened by the environmental cost, which the oil and gas industry has exacted. Our moral and economic duty calls us to clean the Niger Delta and to create new opportunities for young Deltans to build better lives for themselves.”
On Delta’s infrastructure development, which he affirmed had been in a sorry state, Tinubu said, “We will help develop the infrastructure of your state. The deep seaport project and the Omadino-Escravos Road project will be revisited. We will rehabilitate Warri, Koko, Sapele and Burutu ports, creating yet more jobs in the state.
“My government will deploy new technologies to protect the safety and security of law-abiding Deltans as well as the critical national infrastructure situated in this state. We will also introduce greater funding and reform policies to bring the Nigerian police closer to the communities they serve.”
In attendance were Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; APC Deputy National Chairman, South, Emma Enekwu, who represented National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu; Tinubu’s running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, and his wife, Nana; and Senator Oluremi Tinubu, wife of the presidential candidate and daughter of Itsekiriland.
Also present at the rally were Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinnma; Governor of Plateau State and Director-General of the campaign council, Simon Lalong; Deputy Senate President and Delta State governorship candidate of the party, Ovie Omo-Agege; Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase; members of the APC National Working Committee; Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare; spokesman for the PCC, Festus Keyamo; and former governor of Edo State and Edo North Senatorial candidate, Adams Oshiomhole.
When Oluremi Tinubu addressed her people in her native Itsekiri dialect, there was a standing ovation in the stadium.
She urged the people of Delta to vote for the APC to have one of their kiths and kins in the corridors of power.
Okowa also came under criticism from Oshiomhole, who accused him of under-developing, the state.
In his response to Tinubu’s comment, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, said the people of Delta State appreciated the state’s infrastructural development and that Delta was “not like Lagos that Bola Tinubu put in his pocket.”
Aniagwu, who is also a spokesperson for the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, told Sunday PUNCH in an interview, “We don’t have time to respond to somebody whose identity is still unknown. Let him first of all go and clear himself; when and where he was born, the schools he attended and other records about him so we can know who we are talking to.
“Somebody whose records are still in doubt cannot be the one talking. Our state cannot be in his pocket the way he did Lagos. Delta is not Lagos and our people cannot be deceived by such a person.
“With the kind of wonderful defeat and disgrace he, the APC and Adams Oshiomhole suffered in the last Edo State governorship election, we thought he would have learnt some lessons. That 2020 defeat in Edo will be a child’s play compared to what they will suffer in Delta State in 2023.
“Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has been prudent in managing the state economy. We have a lot of infrastructure on ground for all the money that accrued to the state, ranging from roads to bridges, schools and human capital development. Their (APC) governorship candidate did not tell him that the road from the airport to the stadium is a federal road the APC-led Federal Government failed to fix.”
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