Eze Chukwuemeka Eze
The first part of this article was published on Monday June 21, 2010.
Governor Amaechi is not ignorant of the problem of Rivers State and he summed it thus “we knew that the problem of the state was basically education, the state of our quality of education was abysmal and we knew that the quality can only improve if we take over primary education”, the governor emphasised, as he expressed concern over what local government councils were doing with the money meant for that.
The government is currently running free primary education with free books and uniform with provisions of library and internet facilities for the primary schools. The government has acquired 150 hectres of land to relocate the premier University of Technology in Nigeria; the Rivers State University of Science of Technology (RSUST), to a bigger and better permanent site. The new site is expected to have facilities that will accommodate no fewer than 50,000 students. The Rivers State Government has been adjudged the best performing state in the education sector within the South-South zone. In recognition of this the Federal Ministry of Education has rewarded the state with the sum of N70 million for its performance. Due Process procedure has been complied with in respect to the furnishing of the model primary schools as well as completed health centres, noting that they would be furnished soon.
Given the importance of the health sector in any given community, the Amaechi’s administration has completed about 100 out of the 150 health centres being built by the state government across the state at the cost of about N3billion. Each of the health centres will have ambulances and state-of-the-art medical equipment. About 200 medical doctors have being recruited to man these hospitals.
However, due to the threats of ocean surge and the loss of its lands to tidal waves and erosion, the state government decided to reclaim the lands first. The land reclamation exercise is going on in Buguma while the contract for similar exercise in Abalama was signed some few months ago. Also, the administration is reclaiming land in Andoni while the land reclamation exercise in Opobo alone costs about N3billion. It is worthy of note that the land being reclaimed in Opobo is bigger than Opobo town itself.
Already, 376 communities across the state have been earmarked for electrification. Based on his promise to consolidate on the power programmes of his predecessor, Governor Amaechi has ordered for additional equipments and contracted expert vendors for the completion of the moribund turbines such as Trans-Amadi Gas Turbine and Eleme Gas Turbine projects for effective power supply in the state. Also, additional feeder stations are being completed in places hitherto without power supply.
The New Rainbow Town is a N50billion housing project, which includes cost of land, infrastructural provision, structural inputs and the cost. The financing of the project was done through a unique and innovative Private Public Partnership (PPP), which involves the Rivers State Government and First Bank Plc. While First Bank is the Private Sector Partner (PSP), through a special project vehicle (SPV) company that owns and holds the assets of the project, City Scape International Limited, a real estate provider is the project developers of the New Rainbow Town.
While the Rivers State government is paying 20 per cent of the total sum, First Bank Plc will foot the remaining 80 per cent. The New Rainbow Town, which took its name from the demolished shanty Rainbow Town that was initially occupied by miscreants, is occupying a 32.42 hectare of land. It is a fully integrated 840 Unit Community Housing/Commercial Scheme. In addition to the various types of accommodation being provided at the New Rainbow City, the project also boost of an office, a large shopping mall, an educational centre and a clinic.
The Obi Wali Integrated Cultural Centre, located along Abonema Wharf Road has already been taken over by the Silver Bird Group, who built ultra-modern Cinemas there. The state government having acquired and demolished adjourning buildings to the Cultural Centre, located along Bonny Street intends to build a world-class cultural centre there.
The Governor has to the credit of his administration, several infrastructural development in the different sectors of the state and they include the ongoing construction and commissioning of projects as well as the introduction of modern urbanisation initiatives i.e. 200 link roads, 105 health centres, over 300 model schools, upgrade of refuse disposal, urban renewal, upgrade of security outfits, Private Public Partnership Initiatives, dualisation of eight major roads in Port Harcourt-Rumuola-Rumuokuta (completed), Oginigba-Rumuokbiakani Road (completed), Eastern by pass-Amadi Ama-Oginigba (reconstruction completed), Old Aba Road (80% completed), Elekahia-Rumuomasi (70% completed), Rumuokuta-NTA-Choba Road (60% completed), Tam David-West Road (80% completed), d mega-Airport-Isiokpo-Omerelu dualisation (42km Federal Road, 50% completed), Rumuokwurusi-Eneka-Igwuruta Road (ongoing), award of 850 km of roads, completion of 260km of roads. Two overhead bridges completed, two under construction, four bridges completed and four under construction. It is to the credit of this administration that very soon communities in the Riverine areas hitherto inaccessible by road will be linked to the road network.
The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Magnus Abe expanding on the vision of this administration stated, “As part of its tenure strategy, the Government sees the whole of Rivers State as one big family in need of urgent attention. The onus is on us as a responsible government to ensure the provision of basic infrastructure in every community in the state irrespective of whether they have representation on the State Cabinet”.
President Goodluck Jonathan had during his visit to the State commissioned some of these projects including the Port Harcourt-Owerri Road, a Federal Government Road constructed by the Rivers State Government to ease the suffering of commuters at N45b, lay the foundation of the Adokie Amiesiemaka Stadium that will host the forthcoming National Sports Festival that will be hosted by the Rivers State Government this year, lay the foundation of the Rivers State Monorail Initiative that is intended to revolutionise transportation in Rivers State and a challenge to other States of the federation, the commissioning of the Trans Amadi based Gas Turbine. This GT project has been upgraded and is being managed through the State Independent Power Project (IPP) among other projects.
The State Government has paid the sum of N11 billion out of N60 billion meant for the monorail project under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) to ensure effective management. The government as part of efforts to create employment and boost the economy of the state has concluded arrangement with two foreign firms to open two new oil palm farms in the state where 60 per cent of the shares for the farms would be sold to Rivers people.
Other projects in the pipeline include the Scrap to Wealth plant established at Kira-Tai which will be functional before the end of the year. The Greater Port Harcourt project is ongoing. PHCN has been tasked with the distribution of electricity generated from the State Independent Power Project’s (IPP) Gas Turbine located in Trans Amadi axis in the Port Harcourt metropolis. The government is not relenting as it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to embark upon water project under which water would be made available to every home in the state before the end of the year to add to the already 260 mega watts of power so far generated for the citizenry in Rivers State. The ICT Scheme recently commissioned is expected to link all primary schools and health centres in the state. The state government is currently sourcing for funds to embark on a six lane road project at the cost of N59 billion while the Monorail transport system would also gulp huge sums of money to deliver which on completion would help in decongesting traffic in the state capital.
Amaechi’s administration has hosted major events to sell Rivers State to the outside world than all the states in the federation put together-he hosted the ION Film Festival where the world best film producers were feted with the hospitality of Rivers State, he hosted Miss ECOWAS Pageant, Garden City Literary Festival, the recently concluded Guild of Editors, Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP), a trade delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on an enlighten mission for private companies within the South-South zone on how to access business opportunities available within the ECOWAS sub-region among many other major events hosted by the Rivers State Government.
The Deputy Speaker of Ugandan Parliament and Chairperson of CWP, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, lauded the developmental efforts and policies of Governor Amaechi especially those geared towards improving the lot of children and women, saying that the issues already canvassed confirm that what the CWP was set to achieve are already in place in Rivers State.
Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
SDP Wants Death Penalty For Election Riggers
The Social Democratic Party, SDP, has advocated for death penalty against election riggers ahead of 2023 general elections.
This was as the party kicked against zoning of the Delta State Governorship ticket to the Central Senatorial District, saying in a state like Delta with its political maturity and as home to eggheads, competence must trump zoning.
Chairman of the party in the state, Amb. Oke Idawene, who is also the Chairman, Forum of SDP State Chairmen, stated this in an interview with The Tide source.
He commended the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for its decision to deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, in the September 11 state Assembly bye-election in Isoko South 1, Delta state, saying the technology helped to reduce incidents of multiple voting.
Idawene said the device was able to guarantee the credibility of voters’ accreditation by preventing incidents of multiple voting or the use of stolen Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, to vote while the use of the incident form was eliminated.
On rigging, he said the problem is not with INEC but other stakeholders.
He said: “The problem we have right now is not INEC. It is the people. Somebody tried to snatch a ballot box in Isoko South and he was gunned down. I don’t like bloodshed, but that is the way to go. Ahead of 2023, the punishment for such electoral malfeasance should be death by hanging. Anybody rigging elections is an enemy of the people and must be so treated.
“With the BVAS, the votes were not adulterated. There was no rigging in that election. For the first time in Nigeria, I went for an election where until the morning of the elections, the collation officers were not known and the voting pattern was clear. “To this end, I think we should give INEC all the support for electronic voting, electronic collation and transmission of results. It is only then we can get genuine leadership and see Nigeria tilting towards progressive tendencies. I want to call on the National Assembly to support this BVAS and other technologies used by INEC.”
Nwanosike Signs Four By-Laws
The Executive Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, Hon. Samuel Nwanosike has signed four bills into by-laws.
While signing the bills at the Ikwerre Council Chamber, Isiokpo, which were passed by members of the Ikwerre Legislative Assembly, Nwanosike described them as very significant to Ikwerre people.
According to him, “Just hundred days in office plus, we are here today signing into law four bylaws. It is a feat that is worth commending”.
“I want to thank the leadership of the 9th Assembly to continue flying the flag of legislative activities in Ikwerre Local Government.
“So, I want to assure them that the executive arm will continue to collaborate with them to make sure activities of government at the third tier level is done to provide dividends of democracy for the people of Ikwerre Local Government.
The Ikwerre chairman stated that the defaulters of the by-laws would be punished accordingly.
“As a government we will do everything within our power to make that the laws are properly executed”, he added.
He commended members of the Legislative Assembly for doing their best to serve the people of the Ikwerre LGA.
In his speech, the Leader of the lkwerre Legislative Assembly, Hon. Nwobuisi Chikwe-Tasie, said that the by-laws would be monitored and defaulters made to face the law.
The bills signed into by-laws were the Internal Control and Regulation of Sanitation Activities in Ikwerre Local Government Area as well as the Recovery of Possession and Protection of Premises and Other Matters Connected Therewith in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
Others were the Regulation and Control of Sawing of Premature Trees for Timber in Ikwerre Local Government Area and the Regulation and Control Operation of Motorcycles/Tricycles in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
Author Urges Political Leaders To Empower Youths
A budding author, Iyke Ekwueme Amirize, has identified youth empowerment as the key to transform society.
Mr. Amirize in a chat with The Tide shortly after the launch of his book,” Political Milestones in Rivers State” recently, said youths should also be schooled in leadership.
According to him, when youths are fully empowered, it creates equity and peace, as those who are not positively engaged are liable to be used in carrying out violent acts.
On the tutelage of young people in leadership, the author submitted that exemplary life is very important as young people copy what they see around them.
Commenting on the book, Amirize said the publication seeks to mirror the development of Rivers State since its creation in 1967.
“ The book is all about the milestones in the state. It covers the traditional, educational and judiciary and legislature, including the electoral processes”, he stated.
He said that Rivers State was working towards massive infrastructure development, but had not gotten to a full developed state.
He urged government to give attention to security of lives and property, as a way of spreading the dividends of democracy, adding that “the youths also need scholarships and employments”.
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