It is now two years since the people of Rivers State began a new democratic journey. Before the Gov. Chubuike Amaechi’s led administration, the people had been so unlucky to have witnessed a near endless leadership struggle in its political history.
The struggle led to the emergence of Sir Celestine Omeha whose tenure was short lived. Rt. Hon. Chuibuike Amaechi emerged as the executive governor of the State on October, 26, 2007 when he came to the stage some saw him as a conservative; having the tendency to conserve and maintain the activities of his political mentor, who perhaps had shot him into political lime light.
While others saw him as a radical, having the inclination to question things on ground and agitate for change. His political opponent say he demonstrated this radical values and tend to become reactionary in the process of effecting change. Hon. Maxwell Donald a strong member of Democratic People Party (DPP) in Rivers State who had pulled out of the forum of organised opposition political parties (FOOA) says he had deep conviction that Gov. Chuibuike Amaechi occupies both conservative and radical positions in his quest to move a people perceived to be either impoverished or maginalised by previous administration in the state.
According to Maxwell Donald, he has expressed reservation at different for a that, Gov. Amaechi should be seen as a radical in some position he had taken to change the face of under development in the state. Some of his policies he said lack human face. For instance, here is a Governor who had received the apex court verdict to governor a state, told the people on assumption of duty that the state had N100 billion lying waste from previous administration, and had the capacity to save for the people N1 billion monthly.
But only to turn around, he said, to tell the people within the last two years that he intends to impose social service levy on the already impoverished and neglected people of the state. “I thought Gov. Amaechi is a modern day William Willberforce who had much to abolish slavery,” he lamented.
Amaechi he admitted had a greater burden to set men and women in the state free from the evil chain of economic slavery. “People called him radical,” Thank God Donald said, Amaechi was. But to Hon. Kelechi Amadi of APPA Amaechi has a greater burden than any other Governor does in the Niger Delta. Before he came to power, there was no urban renewal programme. According to Hon. Kelechi Amadi of All Progressive Party Alliance (APPA) the original plan for the Garden City was thrown to the dust. But he said, Gov. Amaechi came with the urban renewal transformation and today the past glory of the garden city is coming back.
Only a radical like Gov. Amaechi could embark on this laudable urban renewal programme, he said. Afterall, he said, previous administration had tried several times but failed because of political interest and reverence for sacred cows.
Amaechi he said, does not revere sacred cows. According to him, the governor carried out policies and programmes careless of the reaction of the people.
Besides he said, most of the governor’s policies are carried out to the best of his personal assessment of the circumstances or the social and economic implication to the state.
From the first one year in office, he said, Amaechi embarked on compulsory monthly savings of N1 billion, today, the state government had saved N17 billion in 17 months. Aside from this N17 billion, the state government in a bid to trim down its over bloated civil servant’s pay roll had recovered N400 million monthly through an automation of salaries. An amount Hon. Amadi said, the state government loses per month for the number of period the civil servants salaries were not automated.
As a change agent, Amaechi told the people of the state that it is no longer business as usual for fraudulent financial officers, who arbitrarily defraud the state government through over bloated pay vouchers. Before now, Amadi said the state government has been extremely wasteful through corrupt contract award.
But with the Bureau of Public Procurement Law (BPPL) put in place by Gov. Amaechi led administration, every contract award had to go through due process, he said. Hon. Kelechi Amadi said, when it comes to reforms, Amaechi led administration is doing a lot. There is financial management reform, for instance, the governor he said, is no longer allowed to just wake up and spend money any how he likes. Gov. Amaechi himself he explained, assured the people that “with the Fiscal Responsibility Bill, the financial a management bill, Public Private Partnership (PPP) bill and the Due Process Bill passed into law, the people can enjoy the dividend of democracy.”
Hon. Felix Pepple a social critics based in Port Harcourt said he had to give pass mark to Gov. Amaechi led administration because of several reasons. History he said, has it that before now, previous administration never hold meetings with stakeholders. Gov. Amaechi he said has been different. The governor always had quarterly stakeholders meeting, it was free for all and so, all deliberations with stakeholders have been very democratic. Pepple said, this may not mean much but it is an attempt to re-identify with the people. Gov. Amaechi he said, had also told the people of the state that between now and December, Port Harcourt will have about 250 mega watts of power. The plan of the governor, he said, is to hit the 280 mega watts of power and the target of the state government is to hit 650 mega watts of power by 2011, which mean all the ailing industries would be revived.
On his part, Chief Eze C. Eze the Publicity Secretary of Action Congress (AC) in Rivers State, said Amaechi’s administration inherited a volatile security situation in October 2007 due largely to an upsurge in crime that included cult activities, militancy, bank robberies and privacy along waterways, gangland style abductions and hostage taking.
According to him media report on the state prior to Amaechi’s administration, served to negate any likelihood of attracting prospective investment to the state. But early 2008, Eze said, with Gov Amaechi at the helms, handed over 38 patrol vehicles and host of sophisticated communication equipment to the police command.
Chief Eze explained that the two years of Governor Amaechi’s administration has witnessed peace because the government was committed to assisting the police in its fight against crime and achieving optimum law and order.
As a change agent, he said, Gov. Amaechi administration has completed three hospitals already. The Dental Hospital at Garrison, the New Niger Hospital at Emenike Street in Diobu and the 50 bed General Hospital at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology.
According to Eze with Prince Tonye Pricnewill a dependable partner of Gov. Amaechi, the Justice Karibi Whyte Mega Specialist Hospital is yielding fruit in the new Greater Port Harcourt City.
Chief Eze noted that if the essence of governance is to provide basic amenities and alleviating the poverty level of its citizenry then this man Amaechi, an unassuming revolutionist must have been sent by God to take the state to the next level.
Two years in office may not be enough to judge a government, but from what Amaechi has achieved within this period, coupled with the undiluted alliance with AC leader in the person of Prince Tonye Princewilll the sky is truly the limits of the new democratic initiative Gov. Amaechi in Rivers State.