In the midst of home grown opposition, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State is one of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidates.
During his governorship campaign, Wike vowed to generate employment, empower youths, pay employees’ and retirees’ salaries and pensions, and provide scholarships and bursaries to students, among other things.
However, seven years later, the state staff and retirees have accused the Governor of failing to keep his promise.
Part of the contentious issues are irregular payment of salary, unpaid pensions and gratuities.
Not only that, the workers claim that Wike’s administration allegedly embargoed approvals for due promotions and payment of allowances to verified civil servants since 2015 to date.
Also, he is being accused of putting implementation of yearly salary and pension incremental rates due to workers and retirees on hold.
The State workforce and the pensioners say they are groaning, while Wike keeps a straight face, traversing and playing Big Brother across the country.
In different States, Wike was said to have donated an aggregate of N7.4b for various reasons.
Some of the States that benefited include Benue, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto and Kaduna.
When interviewed, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, said, “the non-payment of pension arrears, gratuities and death benefits has exposed retirees to unimaginable pains and trauma”.
Wabba, who regretted that the Governor basks in the euphoria of governing an oil-rich State, wondered why he gloats in supervising a demoralized workforce.
Insider sources said, “For seven years, Wike could not pay terminal benefits to retirees”.
It was also disclosed that the governor has allegedly refused to act on the report of a tripartite committee constituted to resolve the workers’ welfare imbroglio.
Besides the workers, Youths of the South-South region under the platform of the South South Youth Initiative (SSYI) have called Wike to back down from his 2023 exploits to the presidency.
President of the group, Comrade Imeabe Saviour Oscar said this while briefing newsmen in Port-Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
He said, “Governor Wike, forget about your presidential ambition and attend to various developmental questions plaguing the State.
“What we see are media stunts instead of delivering dividends of democracy”.
Oscar alleged that Wike had devoted more time playing politics than governance, and sacrificed the welfare of the people on the altar of partisan politics.
SSYI also accused Wike of sacking 400 lecturers duly employed by the past administration and closed down some projects like Songhai Farms, Buguma Fish Farms, Tai Plantain Plantation, among others.
Other companies shut down are the Rivers State Transport Company, RTC, Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency, RSSDA.
The youth group, however, warned that “if Wike goes ahead with his presidential ambition, we will have no option but to take over the Rivers State Government House in protest and call the attention of the world to our pains and disappointments”.
Nonetheless, Wike’s administration had blazed the trail in the area of infrastructure provision. This could be seen in the judiciary, with the building of the Emmanuel Aguma Judges Quarters, the construction of the beautiful Federal High Court Complex.
There are also other quality infrastructural developments being witnessed in the State, including roads, among others, making him no doubt one of the top contenders for the PDP sole ticket.