19 November 2014, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has decried personal attacks of nepotism and partisanship levelled on President Goodluck Jonathan on the issue of the Industrial Gas Park project, located at Ogidigben, Delta State.
President Jonathan had earlier, in a statement by his spokesman, Reuben Abati, expressed dismay over the unseemly resort to the abusive denigration of his personal integrity and the whipping up of divisive ethnic sentiments by parties to the totally needless communal disagreement that resulted in the decision to reschedule the ground-breaking event.
Uduaghan also strongly condemned the recent kidnap of 14 journalists in some parts of Delta State, stating that the President was worried as a result of the incident and has charged security operatives to unravel what happened.
Uduaghan, who was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Press Week of the Delta State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Asaba, stressed that the President means well for all Nigerians, and Deltans in particular, by locating the massive project in the state.
He emphasised that the Industrial Gas Park Project was sited in Delta State despite several interests by other states because of the love President Jonathan has for the state.
He said, “I find it very unfortunate and objectionable that the President was being accused of partisanship and has been asked to resign over the location of this park.
“If the President has no love for Delta State, he would not have visited Delta State at least twice this year to inaugurate two projects in that part of the state. It shows he loves Delta State.”
According to Uduaghan, the project was originally billed for Koko but had to be relocated to the present site at Ogidigben because of the shallow nature of the waters at the initial location, noting that if Mr. President had ulterior motives, he could have taken it to another state.
He said: “This is a $16 billion project, which was approved by Mr. President to be located in Delta State.
“The initial place the project was to be located was Koko, but because of the need for a deep sea port, it was relocated to Ogidigben.
“Let us join hands together peacefully to ensure that the project takes off as everybody will benefit from it irrespective of tribe.”
The Delta State Governor appealed to the various interests to put aside their differences and ensure that the project takes off, adding that investors are waiting.
“Let us not use our hands to drive away investors. I think I owe it a duty and a responsibility as the chief executive of Delta State to apologise to all journalists in Nigeria for the very ugly incident that happened in this state in the last two days in which 14 journalists were unfortunately held hostage.
“I say the act itself is unfortunate, it is condemnable.”
Uduaghan said President Jonathan has directed thorough investigation into the incident and that anyone found culpable would be handed over to the security agencies.
He commended the Delta State Council of the NUJ for being peaceful and challenged journalists to be objective in reporting the forthcoming 2015 elections.
He said: “As journalists, you have specific roles to play to ensure that all is well with the country. You have enormous powers as one word or one write-up can change the history of the world, nation and election.
“Remember the saying: the pen is mightier than the sword.
“I appeal to all of you to abide by the tenets of your profession, verify that your story is true before you disseminate information.”
Dr. Uduaghan assured journalists in Delta State that his administration would build and complete a befitting secretariat for the Delta State Council of the NUJ.