Without doubt, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike is the most outstanding governor of the first one hundred days of this era. The facts speak for themselves.
His predecessor, the embattled APC National Sponsor, Mr Rotimi Amaechi messed Rivers State up so terribly that he bragged at a public function few days to the expiration of his ill-fated administration that Wike would fail to deliver.
Hear Amaechi celebrating the trap he set for Governor Wike during a thanksgiving service held by the Greater Together Campaign Organisation (GTCO), the campaign outfit of the Rivers All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Dr. Dakuku Peterside. : " I think Nyesom Wike is coming, we are waiting. He will look for money for salary; there is none. But when he pays out salary, we will see if any of them can do what we did in this state: whether they can build the schools, the roads, even to get a loan''.
It was under this precarious situation planned and executed against the Rivers people that Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike took up the reins of leadership. It was a very gloomy period. The courts were closed, the State Assembly crippled, the state bureaucracy in coma, the roads were death traps and insecurity was at the worst imaginable level. Civil servants were owed for two months, pensioners owed for six months and the entire Port Harcourt City was a huge dump site because Amaechi owed refuse clearing service providers several months of unpaid fees running into billions.
Worse still, the former Governor did not hand over any documents, refusing to set up a transition committee to interface with the then incoming administration. Instead, Rotimi Amaechi turned a drummer boy at the Eagle Square, Abuja on May 29.
As an apostle of the "Talk na Do" political philosophy, Governor Wike refused to be cowed by the political booby traps set for him. He was overwhelmingly elected because they people believed in his capacity to surmount the obstacles of treachery and wanton theft of state resources as exemplified by the immediate past Amaechi administration. All through the campaign trail, the song was the same in all languages - "Wike na talk na do."
The governor himself amplified it at every spot- both at the riverine and upland communities. "My word is my bond. What I say I will do, I will do".
With 100days of his exemplary administration, the people have realised that they were right to have chosen the "talk na do", political philosophy over the politics of treachery and corruption.
On his very first day in office, Governor Wike revived the Judiciary, initiated operation zero potholes and kick-started the process of rebuilding the state civil service. On June 1, he swore in the State Acting Chief Judge and the State Acting President of the Customary Court of Appeal. It was also on June 1 that he proclaimed the State House of Assembly at the Assembly Complex. Governor Wike has instituted constitutional separation of powers in the state with all arms of government functioning optimally. Indeed, former Governor Amaechi had to use the State High Court recently, even though he shut it down for one year. The Rivers State House of Assembly is now one of the most active in the country, passing critical bills and doing legislative business at its complex.
Today, Rivers State is now a huge construction site. The economy had been kick-started and the State is working again.
Two construction giants, Julius Berger and CCECC are handling the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Port Harcourt roads which spans two local government areas with a great percentage of the state’s population and economic infrastructure. The success recorded so far is mind boggling. This is because, Amaechi had hinged his non performance on the constant rains in Port Harcourt. Now, Wike has redefined project execution in Rivers State. Even under the rains, the roads are springing to life. Areas such as Diobu, Borokiri, Iwofe road, GRA, Akpajo, Eliopranwo, Tombia extension, Eagle Island and other key communities in the state capital.
Several other construction companies are working on roads in different parts of the state to open up the state to the rest of the country.
Governor Wike initiated critical intervention into the reconstruction of the Eleme Junction to Onne Junction of the East West road leading to the Onne sea port. The once deplorable road is now motorable and work is still ongoing. He has done same for the Industry/NPA road to the Port in Port Harcourt City. These interventions to rehabilitate two key Federal roads are in line with his promise to make the ports functional for the economic revival of Rivers State. The Abonnema -Obonoma link road in Akuku-Toru LGA has been completed while work on Andoni-Opobo Unity road and well as the Trans-Kalabari road is billed to commence shortly.
Through the Greater Port Harcourt Development Authority, he has started the construction of a facility to move auto-mechanics and spare parts dealers out of the city centre to further beautify Port Harcourt.
Within his first 100days, Governor Wike strengthened the security architecture of the state. He intervened in the equipping of the police and other security agencies, supplying 64 security vans with high class communication gadgets to track down criminals.
Beyond the donation of the vehicles, Governor Wike initiated a compensation scheme where families of security agents who die in active service fighting criminals will receive N5million while residents who supply credible information that will lead to the arrest of kidnappers, armed robbers and cultists will get N1million. The governor sent the state anti-kidnapping bill to the State Assembly, which has been been passed and assented to by him.
In the housing sector, Governor Wike has completed the Iriebe Housing Estate of 50 units of two and three bedroom flats. He will replicate this model across the state.
For the first time in many years, Rivers State hosted an international football match. It hosted the U23 match Olympic Qualifier Match between Nigeria and Congo. It has been given the hosting rights of three Super Eagles matches beginning with the match against Tanzania. He has cleared the backlog of salaries of Sharks and Dolphin Football Clubs players.
Within this period, he has commenced the process of rehabilitating prominent schools across the state. To begin with, he has completed the hitherto abandoned state of the art Law Faculty Building at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology.
The health sector is to receive a revival pill. The governor has established the framework for the equipping of major general and Zonal hospitals in the state.
Regarding economic development, Governor Wike took the most ambitious step. He started the process to end multiple taxation by involving all stakeholders across the state.
He has in the first 100days opened functional lines of engagement with the diplomatic community, local and international business concerns. He has renewed partnerships with Shell, NLNG, NPA, Indorama, INTELS, NNPC, just to name a few. The governor has already attracted a Visa Centre of the South African Government and is working out international programmes with the British, the Irish, the Chinese and the US.
Rivers State in 100 Days has become a hub of development and collaboration. Institutions, companies and entrepreneurs are now coming to the state to benefit from expanding business opportunities. The multiplier effect would be increased jobs, economic growth and social stability.
Governor Wike has in line with his promise to the people effectively has commenced the creation of a New Rivers State. He has given them back their voice and ensured that their resources work for them.
Even his few opponents who are presently on self exile at Abuja have commended him on his programmed revival of decayed infrastructure across the state.
Wike is a political phenomenon. His 'Talk na Do ' brand of politics is hinged on the people and the vision to improve their living standard. It is anchored on protecting them from external resource predators and ensuring that their God-given resources are judiciously deployed for all round development. It is about giving Rivers State a pride of place in the comity of states. So far, so great.
Rivers State Government says it will ensure the success of the USAID’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) programme in the State.
Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, stated this when the country Director and Head of delegation of United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH), and Family Health International (FHI 360) paid her an Advocacy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt.
Dr. Banigo noted that the State government is passionate about the welfare of Vulnerable and Orphan Children in the state and will do all it can to take them off the streets.
“The important thing is not just that the programme will be successful but we will ensure its sustenance for the sake of the vulnerable children”. She stated.
According to her, Governor Nyesom Wike has demonstrated sincere commitment for the plight of the less privileged in the society which is captured in his policy framework and lauded the Agencies for their synergy.
The Deputy Governor stressed the need for proper monitoring of the progress of the programme, to include stakeholders like the chairman, Local Government Service Commission and those at the grassroots towards achieving set objectives.
Dr. Banigo, also urged the stakeholders to extend the awareness campaign by involving the State Primary Health Care Board to reach rural communities, noting that the sustenance of the programme would be guaranteed through collaborative efforts of all Stakeholders.
Dr. Banigo assured foreign partners in the state that the Wike-Led administration has taken adequate measures with security Agencies to ensure that law abiding citizens go about their normal businesses undisturbed.
“We know that security is a global problem but I assure you that this government is on top of the security situation in the State.” she asserted
Also, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation, Ms. Kadilo Brown and her Health counterpart, Dr. Somiari Isaac Harry appealed to relevant Ministries to uphold their commitment to the programme.
According to them, a pilot scheme has been initiated in five Local Government Areas of the state, covering the three Senatorial Districts and assured the determination of the relevant Ministries to drive the process.
Earlier, the Country Director, USAID and leader of the delegation Dr. Susan Coleman, stressed the need to step up the control of HIV/AIDs in the rural communities noting that the fight against the disease has not been won.
She disclosed that USAID has supported over 600,000 people in Nigeria, including Rivers State within 10 years of its existence in the country.
Few months back, Rivers State was the home of negative news, attracting all the negative commentaries by paid commentators who knew nothing about the state, except what their paymaster told them. These negative reports and commentaries damaged the reputation of the state and her people.
The negatives that defined the state in those dark days were deliberately drafted by the immediate past administration to divert attention from her failures and the mass looting of state resources that took place at the time. At the close of that administration on May 28,2015, the state was left in debt, unpaid salaries and pensions, abandoned projects, failed infrastructure, growing insecurity, looted facilities, low investors confidence and a comatose economy.
The height of the failure of the immediate past administration was the public boast by the former governor that Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike would fail since there will be no funds for him to work.
Five weeks after the last administration was swept away by the people of Rivers State , the state has started working again. It has been moved into the fast lane of development, with a view to reversing the losses recorded during the propaganda driven administration that closed shop on May 28.
Almost all sectors of the state have been positively impacted by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. The efforts of the governor have been deliberately crafted to kick-start the state and empower the people.
At the risk of being repetitive, the courts in Rivers State are working. You may take this for granted at this point, but the courts were close for about a year. The State Assembly is now one of the most vibrant in the country. Six weeks ago, Rivers State had a fractured legislative arm, with a group of lawmakers dinning regularly at the Banquet Hall of Government House. In essence, constitutional separation of powers is now in place.
The Operation Zero Potholes instituted by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has taken off across Port Harcourt. Key roads totalling 33 kilometres are being reconstructed or rehabilitated by the administration. These roads are being handled by two construction giants. Governor Wike is personally leading monitoring and evaluation team.
The abandoned health sector is receiving unequalled attention. Governor Wike has started with the approval of the total rehabilitation and equipping of the Bori Zonal Hospital and the Elele-Alimini General Hospital.
Steps have been taken to boost the economy of the State. One of such steps is the framework to end multiple taxation. Another is the collaboration with the Federal Government to make the two sea ports in the state functional. Governor Wike has also concluded plans to host an international investors forum aimed at attracting foreign investors to the state.
Though the state is yet to get to her preferred destination in terms of security, steps taken by Governor Wike have improved the security situation of the state. Wike has sent a bill to the State House of Assembly to further discourage kidnapping, cultism and armed robbery. He has entered into partnership with the State Police Command to prioritise the fight against kidnapping, cultism and armed robbery. He believes that a safer state will give him the leverage to deliver on his campaign promises and also allow investors to thrive.
The abandoned Law Faculty Building at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology is already being completed. Work on other educational projects are fully on course across the state.
The immediate past administration left without paying civil servants and pensioners. Many believe that this was a trap meant to pit Governor Wike against the workers and pensioners. The People’s governor has overcome this ugly challenge. He has paid the outstanding April and May salaries for civil servants which he inherited from the past administration and has also paid pension arrears for three months.
The action of the governor has drawn commendation from the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, NUP. The State NUP Chairman, Mr. Edward Festus-Abibo expressed gratitude to Wike for showing love to pensioners in the state.
He said: “The governor’s order that our three months pension arrears be paid is a very welcome development. This shows that he (Wike) has sympathy for the elders, who have spent most of their lives working for the state.
“The immediate past era in the state were the dark years and dark days of pensioners. Posterity will judge the immediate past administration. As I speak to you, some pensioners have died while most of them are hypertensive. The non-payment of their pension worsened their condition.
“We as a group will make out time to visit the governor to thank him for remembering pensioners and ordering that their pensions be paid at a critical time when it was reported that he (Wike) met an empty treasury,” the state NUP chairman said.
The State NUP Chairman is not the only appreciative person in Rivers State. People from all works of life and political persuasion have appreciated the fact that Rivers State is now working again. On all platforms, they have called on the governor to remain resolute in his commitment to building a new Rivers State where everyone will benefit from the resources of the state.
Governor Wike in one of his inspection visits to a road project site stated that funding will not be a challenge in the state government's commitment to rehabilitate and reconstruct key roads in Port Harcourt.
It for this reason that the governor acting on behalf of the State with the approval of the State House of Assembly took a loan of N30 billion. The governor met Rivers State in a very bad shape and he is determined to change the story of the state. The beautiful results of his efforts are glaring. Rivers State is picking up by the day.
Governor Wike was prepared for the mission to rescue the state from under-development and failures of the immediate past administration, hence he hit the ground running. His experience and capacity have influenced his quality delivery. As we progress, the achievements will continue to stream in for the people. This is not a governor who gives needless lectures on why things cannot work. He is a proven performer. A man who lives by his words.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Rivers State is now working. With Wike, Rivers State will be the envy of other states. No wonder, Rivers people resisted all financial inducements and threats to vote massively for Wike on April 11,2015.
Without doubt, the journey to reclaim Rivers State for the good people of the state was tough and the laden with several landmines. Of all the governors sworn in on May 29, 2015, that of Nyesom Ezenwo Wike ( CON ) was the most outstanding and historic.
Right to the very last minute of the constitutional exercise, concerned Nigerians from across the globe continued to place calls, afraid that the undemocratic forces would have their way and scuttle the will of the people.
It was not as if these forces did not try. One would require the services of the National Population Commission to know the actual number of frivolous suits filed by the defeated Rivers APC and their weather -beaten godfather in their regrettable desire to purchase a black market injunction to scuttle the wheel of progress. They were in Awka, Owerri, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano, Abuja, Osogbo , Katsina and other yet to be known cities to further deride the judiciary. The swearing-in ceremony took place because the judiciary was vigilant, knowing what they did in Rivers State.
With the swearing-in ceremony concluded at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt, the brand new Governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike started as he promised -delivering on his campaign promises.
His very first action to revive Rivers State and rebuild the confidence of the people in government was to immediately appoint the most senior High Court Judge in the state, Justice Daisy Okocha as the State Acting Chief Judge. He also appointed Justice Christy Gabriel-Nwankwo as the State Acting President Customary Court of Appeal.
These two appointments effectively revived the state judiciary. The governor gave the Acting Chief Judge the charge to open the courts on Monday, June 1 after her swearing-in ceremony.
Wike made a firm promise to the people of Rivers State after reviving the Judiciary : "Under our watch, never again will the doors to justice be deliberately and punitively shut against the people of Rivers State."
Also on May 29, Wike addressed one of the inglorious acts of impunity of the outgone administration. The sacking of lecturers of Rivers State University of Science and Techonology who fought against administrative injustice and political rascality. He reinstated all the affected lecturers.
He declared : " I hereby direct the management of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology to immediately recall and reinstate to their duty posts with all their rights and privileges restored, all the academic staff of the University, who were purportedly disengaged from service on account of their membership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and participating in a legitimate strike action called by the union. "
As promised, the Rivers State House of Assembly has returned to its hallowed chambers at the State Assembly Complex. It would no longer sit at the Dinning Hall of the Government House, Port Harcourt.
Like he did at the Federal Ministry of Education, where he brought life to the basic education sub-sector of Nigeria and re-positioned, the tertiary education sect as Supervising Minister of Education, Wike has hit the ground running.
He left the stadium, drove straight to the Government House, Port Harcourt where he inspected the guard of honour and thereafter rushed back to the streets of the Garden City.
Right in the company of the long suffering people of Port Harcourt. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike flagged off the reconstruction of roads in the Garden City under the programme, "Operation Zero Potholes ".
He explained that the operation zero potholes programme is aimed at restoring Port Harcourt and making it a pride of the people. Governor Wike said all the potholes in the state capital will be addressed for free flow of traffic to improve the productivity of the people.
On Saturday, May 30 after attending the Thanksgiving Service for Former President Goodluck Jonathan in Yenagoa, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike drove round the streets of Port Harcourt to monitor the condition of the ordinary man on the street. He was saddened by the fact that the altercation between the immediate past administration and the refuse collectors has led to uncleared refuse in many parts of the city. He has since directed the immediate clearing of the refuse dumps and will meet with the refuse collectors on Wednesday, June 3.
As the chief visioner of the New Rivers Vision 2015, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has started the process of reviving a state severely damaged by a failed administration. Henceforth, the people will witness the joys of good governance premised on dedicated service. He understands the needs of the state and has the required stamina to address the rot..
Beyond the tangible benefits of democracy, Wike’s administration will ensure that the people enjoy the intangible benefits of democracy and all the associated freedom.
He said : " We shall return power to the people as we conduct our common affairs with the fear of God and ensure that everyone is equal and accountable before the law. Our government will certainly be that of the people, for the people and by the people. Under our watch, the principle of separation of powers shall be operative. Equality and mutual respect for the constitutional status, powers and functions shall prevail among the three arms of government. "
The journey to a New Rivers State has effectively started and there is no going back.
Esther Chapter 6 verse 13 declared: "And Haman recounted to Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wise men and Zeresh his wife said to him, If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the offspring of the Jews, you cannot prevail against him, but shall surely fall before him."
The above is the case of the Rivers State APC, a political party built on falsehood, corruption and destructive deception. A party that has liars as leaders and men who would do anything to remain relevant, no matter the consequences to the state.
When Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike took proactive steps as the people endorsed and God ordained leader to protect the state Judiciary by writing to the Chief Justice of Nigeria ( CJN ) for the extension of the appointment of the Acting Chief Judge, Justice Daisy Okocha, the Rivers State APC went to town with their usual lies, claiming that the governor had ulterior motives.
The Rivers State APC spinned all manner of lies on the governor's effort to ensure that the state does to fall back to the ugly days when the Judiciary was grounded for almost one year. The intention of the party was to drag Governor Wike down the road of infamy that former Governor Rotimi Amaechi walked.
Therefore, they went to town with the report that Governor Wike planned to negatively influence the judiciary.
As with everything in life, time has played its role in exposing the Rivers State APC. Their lies on the efforts of the governor to stabilise the judiciary has been exposed. Their ultimate fall in the political equation has started in earnest.
For those who are not in the know, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed, GCON, has recommended the renewal of the appointment of Hon. Justice Daisy OKOCHA as Acting Chief Judge of Rivers State.
The recommendation was conveyed to His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo WIKE, CON, via a letter dated July 13, 2015 with Ref. No.NJC/S. l/XXVII.979
This recommendation was premised on Governor Wike's letter titled : “REQUEST FOR RENEWAL OF THE APPOINMENT OF HON. JUSTICE DAISY OKOCHA AS ACTING CHIEF JUDGE OF RIVERS STATE” dated July 10, 2015 and addressed to the CJN".
For a political party to find comfort in the concoction of lies and misleading information gives an insight into the warped nature of their mindset. The degree of comfort that the Rivers State APC leaders find in lying is worrisome. They have no boundaries and nothing is sacred to them.
Having impoverished the Rivers people for years, these Rivers APC leaders easily have willing tools to spread their falsehood for cheap fees. To imagine that they use their ill gotten finances to cajole a national television station, local radios and some national newspapers to be their megaphones say a lot on how much our society has drifted.
Former Governor Rotimi Amaechi, his political godson, Dakuku Peterside and their puppets in the party should for once consider Rivers State and desist from lying to the country. Their numerous lies have been unearthed and it is time for them to repent.
Sadly enough, this message will make no meaning to them. As they are exposed after this particular falsehood, they forget about the shame and start concocting another falsehood. They play the Ostrich, comforting themselves that they will get away with the next set of lies.
If the truth be told, the Amaechi era was simply a bundle of lies, half-truths and propaganda. You need to be in Rivers State to understand this fact. Relying on some sponsored media agents and wine tasters, apologies to former President Olusegun Obasanjo , would be believing their false tales.
Otherwise, Governor Wike would not be working day and night to rebuild the decayed infrastructure of Port Harcourt and the entire Rivers State. There is nothing on ground to show that Amaechi got three trillion naira as governor, except the carcass of the ill-conceived Monorail.
The Rivers APC are like the Biblical Haman. The exposure of their lies is the beginning of their fall. No matter the number of lies they spin against Governor Wike; an ordained leader by God and endorsed by the people, the governor will wax stronger. He is like a tree planted by the waterside with assured nourishment.
On the other hand, the fall of the Rivers State APC is certain. It's just a matter of time.
By May 29, 2015, Rivers State had degenerated to an all time low. The lowest point in the history of the state. Nothing was functional as all the arms of government had been grounded.
The immediate past governor of the state and his top officials made matters worse as they embarked on an embarrassing looting of resources of the state and government facilities in the state. These officials acted as if they were mercenaries on a desperate mission to suck the state dry. The governor inherited a state grounded by poor governance and unbridled corruption.
From the very day Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike assumed the leadership of Rivers State, he commenced the process of restarting the state from its state of coma.
He revived the Judiciary, which had been grounded for a year at the time, re-awakened the State Legislature which was hitherto meeting at the Government House and reinvigorated the comatose executive arm of the government.
Governor Wike in less than the first two weeks of taking over the leadership of the state, brought life to the state. He introduced a participatory style of governance that carried every stakeholder along and refocused the state for the much needed development.
In the first sixty days, Governor Wike settled the two months salary arrears owed by his predecessor, paid pensions, settled the outstanding wages of players and management of Dolphin and Sharks Football Clubs, attracted the Olympic Qualifier football Match to Port Harcourt, attracted several national and international workshops and political meetings to the state.
The first sixty days of Governor Wike has witnessed one of the best initiatives in developmental partnership. Governor Wike initiated the repairs of the Eleme to Onne Junction of the Federal East - West Road leading to the Onne Sea Port. In conjunction with the stakeholders, Governor Wike raised N3 billion for the fixing of the road.
Within the sixty days under review, security has improved in the state. Nigerians no longer hear terrible news from the state. Though the state is yet to get to the promised land, an enabling environment has been created for more investors to throng the state. A working relationship has been developed with security agencies in the state as against the cat and dog game enthroned under the immediate past administration.
Development projects have taken the centre stage in the state. Several abandoned road projects across the state are being completed by Governor Wike. The governor launched Operation Zero Potholes in the State capital with two construction giants working daily to address the poor state of roads left by the immediate past administration. The Faculty of Law building at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology which was abandoned by the Amaechi administration is nearing completion.
Governor Wike has also started the development of health facilities in the state beginning with Bori Zonal hospital and the General Hospital at Elele-Alimini. The over one year strike by health workers in the state have been resolved and the workers are back to work.
The administration is providing middle income houses for workers at the Iriebe Housing Estate. The first phase of 50 units of the housing estate will be delivered by the first one hundred days of the administration.
Within the period under review, Governor Wike has started rebuilding the economy of the state. He has built a partnership with the business community in the state for a more inclusive development that will be beneficial to the people.
To forestall future corruption in the state and recover stolen funds from officials of the immediate past administration, Governor Wike instituted a Judicial Commission of Inquiry. The commission of inquiry under the Chairmanship of Justice George Omereji will investigate the sale of state assets by the Amaechi administration and the mismanagement of some key contracts.
The process of rebuilding the State Civil Service has started in earnest. With a new Head of Service, the administration is creating a civil service equipped and motivated to help in developing the state.
Since Governor Wike took over the leadership of the state, it has been about the development of the state. All actions have been geared towards reviving the state. Unnecessary politicking has been relegated. The rule of law has been enthroned and impunity has taken flight.
Rivers State is now on a development mode. Everybody has keyed into the development agenda of the governor. The dirty streets bequeathed by former Governor Rotimi Amaechi are giving way to cleaner streets as marshaled by the new Rivers State Waste Management Authority.
Once again, Rivers State is functional. The dysfunctional state left by the Amaechi administration has been confined to history. This is an era of pragmatic development where propaganda plays no role. Everybody living in the state is feeling the impact of good governance, irrespective of party affiliation. The resources of Rivers State is now working for her people. That's what they voted for on April 11.
In the dying days of the failed administration of former Governor Rotimi Amaechi, Rivers State was in the news for the very wrong reasons. The former governor having lost the support of the people due to his corrupt tendencies and several abandoned projects chose to deliberately promote insecurity.
This deliberate plot of the immediate past administration was orchestrated through the unfortunate creation of conflict with all security agencies operating in Rivers State. To further damage the security framework of the state, the former governor stopped all forms of support to the security agencies.
To divert attention of his ugly plot against the people of Rivers State, the former Governor engaged in ceaseless negative propaganda against security agencies and operatives. He disparaged security agents, maligned them and promoted unwholesome insecurity across the state.
The former governor had allowed insecurity to fester under the lame excuse that he was in the opposition. An excuse that has been rubbished by the positive developmental actions of Governor Wike in the last two months.
Therefore, at the time Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike was sworn in on May 29, the level of insecurity in the state had degenerated unimaginably. The former governor worsened the situation by embezzling funds meant for the monthly salaries of workers and the pensions of retired civil servants. This further complicated the insecurity situation of the state.
Between May 29 and now, Governor Wike has changed the story of Rivers State. Though the state is yet to resolve all her security challenges, it has once again become the darling of investors and leisure seekers. It is no longer in the news for the wrong reasons. The level of kidnappings, armed robbery and cultism have declined considerably.
Though an opposition governor, Wike has constructively engaged with all the security agencies to promote best practices in the security of lives and property. He has supported all the services, engaging in regular and friendly security meetings with them for the good of the state. The results are there for all to see.
Nyesom Wike has taken politics out of the security architecture of the state. He has redefined it and given it a new meaning.
On Tuesday, August 4, he strengthened the security architecture of the state. He donated 64 Utility Vans equipped with state-of-the-art communication gadgets to the security agencies operating in the state. Thirty four of the vans were donated to the joint task force comprising all agencies while 30 vans were donated to the Police.
The Inspector General of Police ( IGP), Solomon Arase travelled to Rivers State to receive the vehicles personally on behalf of the security agencies. He praised Wike for redefining the security architecture of Rivers State.
He noted that the collaboration between the police and the Rivers State Government is yielding positive results as post election violence has been reduced.
Arase urged the security agents who will use the vehicles to respect the rights of the citizens while carrying out their assignment.
At the ceremony to mark the donation of the vehicles, Governor Wike said: "The most important responsibility of government is to protect lives and property. This government will not fold its arms and allow criminals to terrorise the state. That is why we have donated these 64 Utility Vans to the security agencies to frustrate the criminals ".
Beyond the donation of the vehicles, Governor Wike initiated a compensation scheme where families of security agents who die in active service fighting criminals will receive N5 million while residents who supply credible information that will lead to the arrest of kidnappers, armed robbers and cultists will get N1 million.
The governor had earlier sent a bill to the State House of Assembly for the amendment of the state kidnapping law. Under the proposed law, convicted kidnappers will forfeit their assets and proceeds of their crime to the state government. This is aimed at reinforcing the government’s determination to make kidnapping unattractive in the state.
During the campaigns, Wike made a solemn pledge to make security of lives and property his administration’s priority. He has lived up to his promise.
Aside the collaboration with the security agencies, Wike’s execution of projects across the state is keeping countless youths busy and turning them away from crime.
Wike came prepared to lift Rivers State. He is working in line with the expectations of the people who sent Amaechi and his political associates on political exile for wanton corruption, diversion of state resources and promotion of insecurity for political gains.
With a secure environment comes development. The future looks bright for Rivers State under a focused and compassionate leader.
Now that it has become apparent that the Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress ( APC ) has lost out in the nation’s political equation, the party has resorted to clutching a nonexistent straw. The party’s latest press release supporting the illegal arrest of the Rivers State REC by the Directorate of State Services ( DSS ) proves beyond all reasonable doubts that the party can no longer be redeemed.
The party’s ill fated press release further confirms the belief that it sponsored this illegality that has been condemned by all Democrats and well meaning Nigerians. It is tantamount to using under the table techniques to achieve what they could not achieve in the state as they were rejected by the people for their love for fraud, corruption, electoral malpractice and sabotage.
In a desperate attempt to curry favour from President Muhammadu Buhari who disowned the Rivers APC during his visit to the United States by berating them for only getting five percent of the votes cast, the downcast Rivers APC resolved to fall back on their irresponsible, but ineffective technique of spewing falsehood.
For the umpteenth time, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike won the April 11, 2015 election, fairly and in compliance with the electoral law. The Rivers State APC was never on ground and the party will never be on ground in Rivers State. The people overwhelmingly voted Governor Wike, hence he had no reason to employ illegal means.
Aside from sponsored propaganda, there is no APC in Rivers State.
The Rivers State APC must understand that the party’s failure at the polls was occasioned by the corrupt tendencies of their leader, Rotimi Amaechi who not only siphoned the state's resources, but destroyed all the state's institutions.
The Rivers State APC must be told that adopting intimidation via the use of the DSS will lead them nowhere. Cooking up cock and bull stories about the REC and the state REC in liaison with the DSS will amount to nothing.
It is obvious that the resort to the fraudulent use of intimidation and harassment against officials of INEC is only an admission that they have no case against the election of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. All they are doing is to give their few supporters an excuse to brag in beer parlours, while using this falsehood as a bargaining chip before their unhappy principal at the Federal level.
Falsehood comes naturally to the leadership and members of the Rivers State APC. Therefore, this latest falsehood should be disregarded.
The Rivers State APC should instead focus their attention on how to convince their Abuja principal on why they failed to deliver on March 28 and April 11. It is instructive that President Muhammadu Buhari had to take Amaechi all the way to the United States of America, before completely humiliating him before a world audience. Buhari’s action is an eternal lesson to desperate politicians who betray their people for a plate of soup.
It is not surprising that Rivers State APC supports impunity and unconstitutional actions of the Federal Government. After all, under the party, the courts were closed and the State House of Assembly crippled. Therefore, these politicians only understand survival, they know nothing about decency, rule of law and respect for the constitution.
The previous administration spent a lot of taxpayers money building model schools, while existing ones were completely ignored and left to rot further. Those existing schools have produced great men and women of Rivers State who have, in turn, given back to the state in many ways. Some of these schools, mainly secondary, are overpopulated because they are free of tuition charges.
With the speed and meticulousness he has dedicated to delivering the New Rivers Vision, Governor Ezenwo Wike identified these dangerous lapses of the previous administration, just weeks after he was sworn in, and is devoted to tackling them head on. On the 11th of August, 2015, the Governor visited one of these neglected schools -- Government Comprehensive Secondary School, Borikiri -- and pointed out the level of decadence these institutions were facing, but reignited hope of students and staff of such schools with a promise of making it an important agenda that such schools are revived. With his credibility in project delivery, whether in the rain or sun, there's no room for doubt that He would follow through.
The Governor immediately directed the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education to begin work, and guess what, work has begun. This is #TheNewRiversState for you.
While many states are wallowing in regrets and numerous inexplicable excuses by their governors, Rivers State is basking in the euphoria of electing a well groomed and prepared governor. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, just like his promoters pledged, has started the process of planting Rivers State on higher ground.
At the height of the 2015 Governorship campaigns, then PDP Governorship Candidate, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike presented his blueprint for the creation of a new Rivers State to the people. One of the core promises embedded in that blueprint, "A New Rivers State, new vision, new thinking, better opportunities", was the development of the state into a national economic hub where industrialisation, jobs and wealth creation will be guaranteed for the people.
Governor Wike promised to achieve the economic growth of Rivers State by creating an enabling environment for local and international investors to invest in the state. He further pledged to enhance security and build collaborative platforms for investors to find the state attractive.
On July 11, Governor Wike took one of the most positive initiatives in Nigeria to invigorate the economy of a state. He initiated a partnership with international investors and federal agencies in a move geared at making the Onne Port more productive and economically viable.
Using his legendary diplomatic skills he got the buy-in of the stakeholders to fix the portion of the East - West Road linking the Port. All parties agreed to jointly fund repairs of the road to attract millions of Port users from across the country to patronise the state.
The companies that expressed their commitment to work with the state government to repair the critical portion of the road include, Intels Logistics Services, Indorama Limited, West African Container Terminal and Port Harcourt Refinery Company. Others are: the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Free Trade Zone while the Federal Government was represented by the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta and the Federal Ministry of Works.
The funding plan for the project has been worked out by the stakeholders and the project will be delivered in two months.
Governor Wike explained that because of the importance of the road, it cannot be left to the dictates of official bureaucracy, necessitating the initiative to assemble all stakeholders to commit to the reconstruction of the portion that has degraded badly.
The poor condition of this section of the East - West Road has over the years discouraged port users from Onne Seaport. The condition of the road encourages kidnappers and armed to throng the area. Therefore, Port users from the South East and the North who have used Onne take to the already congested Port facilities in Lagos.
The multiplier effect of Governor Wike’s initiative remains unimaginable. To begin with, the repair works on the road will create employment and empowerment in the short and long term. It will attract thousands of Port users especially from the neighbouring South East and the North East and North Central. More local and international investors will find the Onne Seaport more attractive as their staff and patrons can easily have access to the facility.
All these would cumulatively impact positively on the economy of Rivers State. The security challenges being witnessed in the state flow from comatose condition of the economy occasioned by the failure of the previous administration.
With more youths involved in productive ventures being created by the Wike administration, in no distant future many would exit crime as they would be contributing to the development of the state.
The high level of the governor’s productivity is based on the fact that he has outlined his goals and how to achieve them. Therefore, he is not distracted by the noise of the opposition.
Recreating Rivers State after a propaganda driven administration mismanaged resources and left all sectors of the state crippled, is an enormous task that requires a leader like Wike.
The state cannot afford the joke that some states have been subjected to, where the people are compelled to listen to gubernatorial lectures with no productivity. In Rivers State, they are getting used to daily doses of productivity and their expectations are being met.
The New Rivers State has a team of prolific writers who will be introduced with time.