In a new spirit of bipartisan exchange of ideas among State governors, Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi has described his Rivers State counterpart and Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as an icon based on his giant developmental strides in Rivers State. Senator Ajimobi was elected under the platform of the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN), while Governor Amaechi is a prominent member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).
Ajimobi spoke to journalists at the end of his two-day official visit to Rivers State with his wife, Chief (Mrs.) Florence Ajimobi, Tuesday night. He was also accompanied by some members of his cabinet.
He said he was in the state to do peer review and comparative analysis between his State and Rivers State.
“I came here(Rivers) to meet a brother and the chairman of our governors’ forum as a friend and a brother. Secondly, I’m doing what you call peer review, comparative analysis, see what is happening in Port Harcourt and Rivers State vis a vis Oyo state. Having been here now, I’ve seen a lot and I think without sounding patronizing, I think the governor here, Governor Amaechi is a blessing to Port Harcourt, to Rivers State in terms of his achievements, in terms of his commitment, in terms of his patriotism. I think he’s an icon from what I have seen. I’ve gone round to see your farming, the agriculture, a lot has been achieved and it has a multiplier effect on the economy of the area in terms of employment, income generation and reducing poverty, reducing thuggery, vandalism and all the associated nuances of low economy”.
He commended Governor Amaechi for his achievements in the power, health, education and other sectors.
“I’ve been to where you are producing electricity and with what I’ve seen there, Port Harcourt is quite lucky with about a requirement of about 500 megawatts of power. At least to date they(the power plants) are producing almost 540 or something megawatts and compared to our(Oyo) own where we require about 480 megawatts. We are not producing (power) and hardly do we get up to 200 megawatts from the national grid. So in terms of energy, in terms of agriculture and of course to cap it all is the infrastructural development. I was here couple of years ago but what I see now is a completely new state to me”.
According to him, the model secondary schools in Rivers state are as good as universities, noting that the schools would not be found anywhere else in the country.
“I saw the primary schools, the new model secondary schools would easily pass for a university. I don’t know of any secondary school that looks like this in Nigeria. In terms of sciences, ICT and in terms of the ambience of the environment, the school is very conducive for learning and children produced here will definitely do well. I’ve also been to the health facilities and Amaechi is really doing a lot, in fact it’s free health care services and you can see that the people are happy. It’s something that everybody should try to emulate. All in all, I think it’s a lot that’s been done here in Rivers State, it’s a lot and I’m glad I came”.
He revealed he would replicate the projects which he said are complementary.
“I think the first one I would love to take back is the health projects. But you can’t separate all the projects and developmental efforts of Governor Amaechi, you can take them as being complementary to each other. Health sector very nice, education very nice, agric wonderful, infrastructure fantastic, so I wouldn’t want to take anyone back except to take all of them back”, he said.
While in the state, Governor Ajimobi was taken round by his Rivers State counterpart to see several projects including the world-class Kelsey Harrison hospital, the ultra modern Dental and Maxillofacial hospital, model primary and secondary schools, Songhai farm, health centres, the 22,000-hectare banana plantation, the Port Harcourt monorail, road projects, the new stadium, Greater Port Harcourt city and the Afam Power plant.