Security, Economy Top Rivers Governorship Debate
Improving the security situation in Rivers State and diversification of the economy occupied front-burner at the Rivers Governorship debate organized by the Rivers Entrepreneurs and Investors Forum (REIF) in Port Harcourt.
Precious Elekima of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) said he would tackle insecurity and youth restiveness by creating employment through ports reforms and improvement in Agriculture.
He contended that if Rivers ports, particularly Abonnema Wharf were revived, they would create jobs and improve the revenue base of the State.
As a way to further stem insecurity, the SDP candidate said his government would not associate with criminals, stressing that the present insecurity was a drama orchestrated by government.
“We must divorce government from criminals. As a governor, I will not have any business with criminals,” he said.
The SDP candidate also promised to invest in technology and industrialize the state for massive jobs creation.
For Isaac Wonwu of the Labour Party (LP), agriculture is the way to go, saying he would mechanize agriculture and indulge in large scale rice production to feed the citizens and increase revenue for the state. He also said he would set up micro finance agencies to raise loans for small scale farmers to complement government efforts.
He also said his government would mass produce cassava, stressing that mechanized agriculture would create jobs and divert youth attention from crimes. Wonwu said his government would invest in human capital development; synergize with security agencies and place much emphasis on patrol of waterways.
Victor Fingesi, African Democratic Party (ADP) candidate said he would grant tax exemptions to enable business flourish, pointing out that multiple/over taxation had discouraged investors from investing in the state.
He said his government would encourage establishment of modular refineries to stem the tide of indiscriminate refining of petroleum, which he said, has constituted environmental hazard in the state.
The ADP flag-bearer lamented what he called high level of insecurity in the state and promised to tackle it within 6 months of his coming to office. “Investors will not invest their money in a state where there is insecurity,” he told the gathering.
Ibifiri Bobmanuel, REIF President and Chairman, Rivers Debate Group said the debate was put together to assess the programmes of the candidates and expressed satisfaction over the large turnout of people.
PDP and Accord Parties candidates were conspicuously absent at the event.