The Governorship Candidate of All Progressives Congress APC in the 2023 election in Rivers, Tonye Cole has accused Governor Siminalayi Fubara of neglecting the riverine communities in the state by rolling out only a free bus scheme as palliative for fuel subsidy removal.
Cole made this known in a post he shared on his Facebook page saying that while it is commendable to provide public transportation, free or otherwise, as a significant benefit for urban dwellers, but those residing in the riverine communities cannot benefit from it.
He wrote, “Are they not affected by the subsidy removal or are they not deserving of ‘palliatives’ and succour?
“Their primary means of transport are boats, not buses. A journey from Port Harcourt to Abisse, Elem Sangama, Bille or Soku is not undertaken with canoes paddled by men and women, but flying boats powered by petrol engines.
“The omission of those in the Riverine communities highlights an unfortunate oversight in the Governor’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to development. Our state’s strength lies in its diverse landscape and communities, from urban centers to riverine areas. It’s time our policies reflected this diversity.”
Cole further points out that Government initiatives should not focus solely on upland urban areas, but must also cater to the unique needs of our riverine counterparts.
According to Cole, while Rivers people appreciate the free bus transport, it is also important to discuss free boat services.
“Let this administration show they mean well for their riverine citizens by announcing initiatives and other essential projects for our riverine communities.
“Let’s advocate for an all-embracing development strategy, one that caters to all, leaving no one behind. Our unity and diversity are our true strength,” he added.
Governor Fubara, through his Deputy Professor Mrs Ngozi Nma Ordu, on Tuesday, July 11, launched the free bus transport scheme with deployment of 17 high capacity buses to ply routes within Port Harcourt, the State capital and its immediate environs.
He said the free bus scheme will last for two years.