National News

Rivers: I don’t hate Fubara- Okocha clarifies

…Sponsors quiz competition for schools

By: Felix Ikpotor

Chairman Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State, Chief Tony Okocha has clarified that contrary to opinions, that he does not hate the governor of the state, Sir Siminialayi Fubara.

He said that being the leader of the opposition party and always talking to warn the governor against making costly mistakes doesn’t make him an enemy of the governor.

Okocha who stated this in his address during a quiz and essay competition he sponsored for schools and students of tertiary institutions in the state said he desires the best for Rivers State that is why he can’t keep quite while things go wrong in the state.

He said: “People call us troublemakers because we are talking. If something is not good, it’s not good.

“People misconstrue us to be enemies of the state. Some say we hate the governor. I do not hate the governor. We are his best friends. The man who tells you when you are wrong that Sir, why not you do it this way instead of this way and seeing what the  implication of this would be, and then juxtapose with the other side, that’s your  friend.

“But the person whose business is when he sees you even when you are wrong, he hails you and do not have the courage to tell you let’s see how we can change it  because he doesn’t want to line his pocket, he agrees with you and tells you it’s good and at the end of the day, it leads you to a bottomless pit. So who is your friend?”

Speaking on the competition, Okocha who is also the Rivers State representative on the Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, said education remains the best tool to fight criminality in the society.

“It is right to say education is a very potent tool to fight criminality in our society. This is what we expect. It’s better that we fight criminality through education as education assembles the minds of the individual not to go into social vices. So I’m very grateful that I’m part of what is happening here today. 

“This event is an opportunity to reach out to the society and again it affords us the opportunity to show ourselves as not only people who are causing problems but people who can give to the society,” he stated.

He also disclosed that as part of his educational support, he had previously bought 200 JAMB forms for indigent students in the state.

He assured that the competition would be expanded and improved upon in subsequent editions.

Earlier in his keynote address, a university don, Professor Edward Adiele while speaking on the theme of the competition, “Local Government Autonomy, Bedrock For Rural Community Development,” emphasized on the need for local governments to be granted full autonomy to galvanize development at the grassroots.

He averred that fear and intimidation from the state governors are part of the reasons why local government chairmen cannot effectively exercise some of their responsibilities of developing their council areas.

On his part, facilitator of the competition, Comrade Endwell Otonnah described the sponsor as a lover of the students community in Rivers State, urging other political leaders to emulate him by impacting on the younger generation.

Our correspondent reports that at the end of the competition,

Praise Okirie from University of Port Harcourt emerged winner in the essay writing and went home with a prize money of Two Hundred Thousand Naira and a laptop while Blessed Children Academy won in the quiz category and also got Two Hundred Thousand Naira and a laptop.

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