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Your Mandate ’ ll Never Be Abused – Amaechi

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Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s inaugural address to mark the beginning of his new four-year mandate, on May 29, 2011 in Port Harcourt.

A  CALL TO  RENEWAL

Fellow citizens of Rivers State, on the 26th of October, 2007, after I assumed office, I addressed you for the first time as Governor. Today, as I take another oath of office to serve you for the next four years, I believe that it is only fitting and proper that I start by thanking you, the good people of our great state, for the trust you bestowed on me, through my resounding victory at the last elections. On behalf of myself and all our elected officials, I sincerely thank you. Your overwhelming mandate was as humbling as it was challenging. Your mandate is much more than a privilege. It is a sacred trust, an article of faith that we do not take lightly. I promise that we shall never abuse it.

My appreciation goes not only to those who voted for me but also to all those who showed belief in the future of our state by exercising their civic rights. In a democracy, electoral victory belongs to the people, not to an individual. Therefore, this occasion belongs to all the people of Rivers State, as one people; united by a common purpose, joined by common aims and energized by common dreams. The time for electoral battle is over. The time to close ranks in the service of the people is now. I therefore call on all those who honestly have valid contributions, irrespective of their party affiliations, to join hands with us in the development of Rivers State.

In many ways, this occasion is unique. I took my first oath of office in circumstances that are quite different from today’s. On that occasion, I was empowered by the will of God and the power of justice. That day witnessed the correction of injustice and the triumph of the rule of law. In that first term, I had the opportunity of serving our people to the best of my ability and the sincerest of purposes. Today, as we collectively commence this new four-year journey, I make a solemn pledge, before all of you present, that with God’s help, we would strive to serve you even better. I pledge further to head a government of Rivers State that would work tirelessly to “improve the quality of life of our present and future generations and empower our people in a peaceful, just and harmonious society”.

When we took over in October of 2007, we had no illusions about the enormity of the task before us. We had inherited a state that was in need of reconstruction and rehabilitation. Not only was security to life and property a confounding challenge to the security agencies, the state’s infrastructure and other attendant social services were in need of reconstruction. Everywhere we looked, there was work to be done.

At our inauguration then, we promised that we would act boldly and swiftly to lay the foundation for the growth and development of a new Rivers State. Based on a Blueprint of Action which was put together by the best and brightest of our state, we set down to work. We promised to build new roads and bridges, to restore our schools to their past glory, to construct new hospitals and health centres, to create jobs, empower our people, terminate urban decay and above all, bring back transparency and accountability to government. We entered into a pledge with you, the people, that every kobo earned for the state use would be expended on the state for the benefit of all the people.

With your support, we have made substantial progress and moved our state forward. By the end of 2008, barely one year after I took office, our state had become a much safer place to live in. We have arrested the crumbling school system by building new primary and secondary schools. Also, we have delivered on our promise to revamp the entire health-care delivery system and shall continue to do so.

These modest achievements have been duplicated in the area of infrastructure where we have built hundreds of kilometres of roads and several bridges and flyovers across all the 23 local government areas of the state. In addition we have also recorded substantial strides in the area of power generation.

We have not stopped at merely putting up visible structures. We have done more. We have also instituted mechanisms that will guarantee the sustainability of our emerging institutions. For instance, for the first time in the history of our state, we put in place a Due Process Commission that guarantees transparency and accountability in the award of all contracts. Similarly, an effective Health Management Board has been inaugurated to ensure that our revamped Health sector continues to receive the attention it deserves beyond the life of this administration. The Traffic Management Agency and the Schools’ Management Board are other similar institutions that have been put in place to guarantee sustainability.

Yet, even with our modest collective achievements in less than four years (or perhaps because of them!), some people have said that we are, probably, doing too much, too quickly and that if care was not taken, we would lose focus and go astray.

To those who say so, I invite them to read the disconcerting text messages I receive practically every morning from Mr. Dibi, who lives at No. 3 Enugu Street in Port Harcourt, complaining that there is hardly electricity supply in his part of town.

Those who say we are doing too much too quickly should have seen the mayhem that was created on Friday, the 13th of May, here in Port Harcourt, when a trailer vehicle tipped over at the Rumuola junction, creating a gridlock of traffic jam that paralysed the entire city, a situation that would have been impossible with a better network of roads.

Those who say we should hasten slowly obviously do not see the thousands of our people whom I see every morning trekking long distances to work because our transportation network still leaves much to be desired.

Those who say we should slow down, should say it to our many young school leavers who remain unemployed because we cannot find them jobs as quickly as they graduate from school. The story that we are a government in a hurry would be mere hot air to thousands of our citizens who still have no access to pipe borne water and therefore are at the constant mercy of water-borne diseases.

Yet we have made improvement in certain areas of our lives. The other day, during one of my numerous inspection visits to our new primary schools, I was deeply touched when an elderly grand-mother warmly embraced me, in appreciation for the provision of school uniforms, sandals and textbooks for her only grand-daughter.

But the truth is that a lot more would need to be done if we must transform Rivers State into a preferred destination for business and living in our country.

To this end the central focus of this next administration shall continue to be the welfare of the people and the rapid economic development of the state.

To get there, we will need in the next four years, to empower the less privileged to improve their lot in the shortest possible time. At the same time, we shall make the state more business friendly in order to generate opportunities for our teeming youth.

In our healthcare strategy, we shall look out in particular for the powerless, the aged, the infirm and those who are physically challenged. We shall continue to provide basic healthcare while to prevent the diseases that may cripple our people tomorrow.  To this end, we shall complete and equip ongoing health centres projects while ensuring that the operational ones are well stocked and well staffed. We shall provide secondary healthcare to ensure that the sick and infirm receive appropriate care and that the burden of disease does not erode the energy of the people.

Again, the equipment of ongoing hospitals will be speeded up while renovation and upgrading of existing general hospitals will proceed apace. We shall intensify efforts to complete ongoing tertiary health facilities to eliminate the need for our citizens requiring specialized attention to travel abroad for medical treatment. My commitment to the provision of free healthcare for all our citizens remains intact. The modalities will become clearer in the months ahead.

In the area of education, our efforts will now be intensified. We shall continue to equip completed primary schools, complete ongoing schools while embarking on the construction of new schools strictly on the basis of need. The same approach will apply to our new model secondary schools. I am aware that fears have been expressed with regard to the operation and maintenance of these schools with their ultra modern facilities. I want to assure the people of Rivers State that an appropriate arrangement is in place to ensure efficient management and optimal maintenance of these schools.

We would also need to do more for Education by ensuring that the new Rivers State University of Science and Technology is completed in the next four years.

Our independent power projects are progressing satisfactorily.  We have recently negotiated significant concessions from the Federal Government that will allow us to generate and distribute our own power. Already, I have set up a technical committee to ensure that by the end of next year, we should achieve 24 hours power supply in Rivers State, beginning first with the Onne oil and gas free zone and extending to the Port Harcourt Refinery and other parts of the state.

In the next four years, we will continue to rigorously pursue our urban renewal drive, by completing our existing network of roads and an infrastructure that would rapidly drive economic growth and activity.

To get there, we must execute our dream of building a new Greater Port Harcourt city, one that will be the envy of our people and our country. While this is a long-term project, we can, and would, in the next four years, under the newly created Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, lay a solid and irreversible foundation for the quickest realisation of this dream.

Having completed most consultancy phases of the project, we intend to go into active construction of infrastructure, major commercial projects as well as open the field for private development of commercial and residential structures.

We cannot expect to achieve much without adequate security. In spite of significant improvements in this area, there remain pockets of problems. My commitment this time around is to ensure that the state becomes a crime free zone in the shortest possible time.

Our social and economic empowerment strategy will increasingly target the huge energies of our women. A lot of that energy is currently locked away mostly in rural areas. We shall encourage our rural women to organize and mobilize their energies to support our development efforts.

We also need to empower the people to do for themselves those things, which only people can do for themselves. But we realize that the skills and competencies required for optimization of individual good are not readily available. Our government will initiate programmes to build capacity, to impart skills and train manpower in basic areas. A re-energized Rivers State Micro Credit Agency (RIMA), will increase the access of the people to credit for small and medium scale businesses.

In order to transform and modernize our state, we need a well-motivated and efficient public service. To this end, we shall continue to encourage the service through capacity enhancement and continuous improvement of working conditions. In return, we expect a higher level of commitment from the public service. Old habits must give way to new energy. Absenteeism and negligence must now be replaced by a new sense of commitment to the cause of development.

My fellow citizens of Rivers State, today, I ask you to reach out to that enduring and indomitable spirit as we confront the challenges of the next four years. If you ask me again about my vision of Rivers State, I shall say without equivocation: I see a state that will be a beacon of development and progress in the federation. I see a state in which the citizens are enlightened, skilled and healthy. I see a state at peace with itself and with its neighbours. I see a state that is poised to compete with the rest of the world in the benefits and challenges of this century and the next. That state shall be the home of a happy, fulfilled and proud people. I believe happiness and prosperity is the entitlement of every Rivers citizen. So help us God.

To all the peoples of Rivers State, I say, your continued support is indispensible to our success as a people. It is true that governments can, and do initiate visions and policies. But only if the people themselves are keyed into such visions can a people’s collective dream become realities.

But today, your continued support is indispensible to our success as a people. I am emboldened by your mandate to say loud and clear: This is a new day in the life of our state. It is the day for hard work. It is the day of service to the people. It is the day for a new commitment to development. To the business community at home and abroad, my message is more confident today: Rivers State is renewed and now open for business.

Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s inaugural address to mark the beginning of his new four-year mandate, on May 29, 2011 in Port Harcourt.

A  CALL TO  RENEWAL

Fellow citizens of Rivers State, on the 26th of October, 2007, after I assumed office, I addressed you for the first time as Governor. Today, as I take another oath of office to serve you for the next four years, I believe that it is only fitting and proper that I start by thanking you, the good people of our great state, for the trust you bestowed on me, through my resounding victory at the last elections. On behalf of myself and all our elected officials, I sincerely thank you. Your overwhelming mandate was as humbling as it was challenging. Your mandate is much more than a privilege. It is a sacred trust, an article of faith that we do not take lightly. I promise that we shall never abuse it.

My appreciation goes not only to those who voted for me but also to all those who showed belief in the future of our state by exercising their civic rights. In a democracy, electoral victory belongs to the people, not to an individual. Therefore, this occasion belongs to all the people of Rivers State, as one people; united by a common purpose, joined by common aims and energized by common dreams. The time for electoral battle is over. The time to close ranks in the service of the people is now. I therefore call on all those who honestly have valid contributions, irrespective of their party affiliations, to join hands with us in the development of Rivers State.

In many ways, this occasion is unique. I took my first oath of office in circumstances that are quite different from today’s. On that occasion, I was empowered by the will of God and the power of justice. That day witnessed the correction of injustice and the triumph of the rule of law. In that first term, I had the opportunity of serving our people to the best of my ability and the sincerest of purposes. Today, as we collectively commence this new four-year journey, I make a solemn pledge, before all of you present, that with God’s help, we would strive to serve you even better. I pledge further to head a government of Rivers State that would work tirelessly to “improve the quality of life of our present and future generations and empower our people in a peaceful, just and harmonious society”.

When we took over in October of 2007, we had no illusions about the enormity of the task before us. We had inherited a state that was in need of reconstruction and rehabilitation. Not only was security to life and property a confounding challenge to the security agencies, the state’s infrastructure and other attendant social services were in need of reconstruction. Everywhere we looked, there was work to be done.

At our inauguration then, we promised that we would act boldly and swiftly to lay the foundation for the growth and development of a new Rivers State. Based on a Blueprint of Action which was put together by the best and brightest of our state, we set down to work. We promised to build new roads and bridges, to restore our schools to their past glory, to construct new hospitals and health centres, to create jobs, empower our people, terminate urban decay and above all, bring back transparency and accountability to government. We entered into a pledge with you, the people, that every kobo earned for the state use would be expended on the state for the benefit of all the people.

With your support, we have made substantial progress and moved our state forward. By the end of 2008, barely one year after I took office, our state had become a much safer place to live in. We have arrested the crumbling school system by building new primary and secondary schools. Also, we have delivered on our promise to revamp the entire health-care delivery system and shall continue to do so.

These modest achievements have been duplicated in the area of infrastructure where we have built hundreds of kilometres of roads and several bridges and flyovers across all the 23 local government areas of the state. In addition we have also recorded substantial strides in the area of power generation.

We have not stopped at merely putting up visible structures. We have done more. We have also instituted mechanisms that will guarantee the sustainability of our emerging institutions. For instance, for the first time in the history of our state, we put in place a Due Process Commission that guarantees transparency and accountability in the award of all contracts. Similarly, an effective Health Management Board has been inaugurated to ensure that our revamped Health sector continues to receive the attention it deserves beyond the life of this administration. The Traffic Management Agency and the Schools’ Management Board are other similar institutions that have been put in place to guarantee sustainability.

Yet, even with our modest collective achievements in less than four years (or perhaps because of them!), some people have said that we are, probably, doing too much, too quickly and that if care was not taken, we would lose focus and go astray.

To those who say so, I invite them to read the disconcerting text messages I receive practically every morning from Mr. Dibi, who lives at No. 3 Enugu Street in Port Harcourt, complaining that there is hardly electricity supply in his part of town.

Those who say we are doing too much too quickly should have seen the mayhem that was created on Friday, the 13th of May, here in Port Harcourt, when a trailer vehicle tipped over at the Rumuola junction, creating a gridlock of traffic jam that paralysed the entire city, a situation that would have been impossible with a better network of roads.

Those who say we should hasten slowly obviously do not see the thousands of our people whom I see every morning trekking long distances to work because our transportation network still leaves much to be desired.

Those who say we should slow down, should say it to our many young school leavers who remain unemployed because we cannot find them jobs as quickly as they graduate from school. The story that we are a government in a hurry would be mere hot air to thousands of our citizens who still have no access to pipe borne water and therefore are at the constant mercy of water-borne diseases.

Yet we have made improvement in certain areas of our lives. The other day, during one of my numerous inspection visits to our new primary schools, I was deeply touched when an elderly grand-mother warmly embraced me, in appreciation for the provision of school uniforms, sandals and textbooks for her only grand-daughter.

But the truth is that a lot more would need to be done if we must transform Rivers State into a preferred destination for business and living in our country.

To this end the central focus of this next administration shall continue to be the welfare of the people and the rapid economic development of the state.

To get there, we will need in the next four years, to empower the less privileged to improve their lot in the shortest possible time. At the same time, we shall make the state more business friendly in order to generate opportunities for our teeming youth.

In our healthcare strategy, we shall look out in particular for the powerless, the aged, the infirm and those who are physically challenged. We shall continue to provide basic healthcare while to prevent the diseases that may cripple our people tomorrow.  To this end, we shall complete and equip ongoing health centres projects while ensuring that the operational ones are well stocked and well staffed. We shall provide secondary healthcare to ensure that the sick and infirm receive appropriate care and that the burden of disease does not erode the energy of the people.

Again, the equipment of ongoing hospitals will be speeded up while renovation and upgrading of existing general hospitals will proceed apace. We shall intensify efforts to complete ongoing tertiary health facilities to eliminate the need for our citizens requiring specialized attention to travel abroad for medical treatment. My commitment to the provision of free healthcare for all our citizens remains intact. The modalities will become clearer in the months ahead.

In the area of education, our efforts will now be intensified. We shall continue to equip completed primary schools, complete ongoing schools while embarking on the construction of new schools strictly on the basis of need. The same approach will apply to our new model secondary schools. I am aware that fears have been expressed with regard to the operation and maintenance of these schools with their ultra modern facilities. I want to assure the people of Rivers State that an appropriate arrangement is in place to ensure efficient management and optimal maintenance of these schools.

We would also need to do more for Education by ensuring that the new Rivers State University of Science and Technology is completed in the next four years.

Our independent power projects are progressing satisfactorily.  We have recently negotiated significant concessions from the Federal Government that will allow us to generate and distribute our own power. Already, I have set up a technical committee to ensure that by the end of next year, we should achieve 24 hours power supply in Rivers State, beginning first with the Onne oil and gas free zone and extending to the Port Harcourt Refinery and other parts of the state.

In the next four years, we will continue to rigorously pursue our urban renewal drive, by completing our existing network of roads and an infrastructure that would rapidly drive economic growth and activity.

To get there, we must execute our dream of building a new Greater Port Harcourt city, one that will be the envy of our people and our country. While this is a long-term project, we can, and would, in the next four years, under the newly created Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, lay a solid and irreversible foundation for the quickest realisation of this dream.

Having completed most consultancy phases of the project, we intend to go into active construction of infrastructure, major commercial projects as well as open the field for private development of commercial and residential structures.

We cannot expect to achieve much without adequate security. In spite of significant improvements in this area, there remain pockets of problems. My commitment this time around is to ensure that the state becomes a crime free zone in the shortest possible time.

Our social and economic empowerment strategy will increasingly target the huge energies of our women. A lot of that energy is currently locked away mostly in rural areas. We shall encourage our rural women to organize and mobilize their energies to support our development efforts.

We also need to empower the people to do for themselves those things, which only people can do for themselves. But we realize that the skills and competencies required for optimization of individual good are not readily available. Our government will initiate programmes to build capacity, to impart skills and train manpower in basic areas. A re-energized Rivers State Micro Credit Agency (RIMA), will increase the access of the people to credit for small and medium scale businesses.

In order to transform and modernize our state, we need a well-motivated and efficient public service. To this end, we shall continue to encourage the service through capacity enhancement and continuous improvement of working conditions. In return, we expect a higher level of commitment from the public service. Old habits must give way to new energy. Absenteeism and negligence must now be replaced by a new sense of commitment to the cause of development.

My fellow citizens of Rivers State, today, I ask you to reach out to that enduring and indomitable spirit as we confront the challenges of the next four years. If you ask me again about my vision of Rivers State, I shall say without equivocation: I see a state that will be a beacon of development and progress in the federation. I see a state in which the citizens are enlightened, skilled and healthy. I see a state at peace with itself and with its neighbours. I see a state that is poised to compete with the rest of the world in the benefits and challenges of this century and the next. That state shall be the home of a happy, fulfilled and proud people. I believe happiness and prosperity is the entitlement of every Rivers citizen. So help us God.

To all the peoples of Rivers State, I say, your continued support is indispensible to our success as a people. It is true that governments can, and do initiate visions and policies. But only if the people themselves are keyed into such visions can a people’s collective dream become realities.

But today, your continued support is indispensible to our success as a people. I am emboldened by your mandate to say loud and clear: This is a new day in the life of our state. It is the day for hard work. It is the day of service to the people. It is the day for a new commitment to development. To the business community at home and abroad, my message is more confident today: Rivers State is renewed and now open for business.

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RSG’ll Not Tolerate FIRS’ Attempt To Undermine Our Authority-Wike

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Being a text of the State wide Broadcast by the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike on Monday, September 6, 2021. Excerpts.
My dear people of Riv
ers State
As we all know, following the recent judgement of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, which upheld the constitutional right and authority of State Governments to impose, collect and utilize value added taxes (VAT) within their respective territorial jurisdictions, the Rivers State Government enacted the Rivers State Value Added Tax Law 2021 to regulate the effective administration of VAT in Rivers State.
As expected, the Federal Government, through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), disagreed and filed an appeal coupled with a request for stay-of-execution of the judgment before the Federal High Court.
While the appeal was pending and without any stay-of-execution of the subsisting judgement, the FIRS went about to bully corporate bodies and business entities from paying the VAT to the Rivers State Government even when they knew that an appeal does not serve as a stay neither was there anything to stay in a declaratory judgement.
As a mere agency of the Federal Government without any political authority, the effrontery and impunity exhibited by the FIRS against the Rivers State Government was ill-advised and highly provocative. 
However, being a government that believes in the rule of law, we decided on our own to suspend the enforcement of the Rivers State VAT Law 2021 pending the outcome of the FIRS’s application for stay-of-execution.
Today, the FIRS has failed in its attempt to frustrate the enforcement of the State’s Law on VAT with the Federal High Court’s dismissal of its application for stay-of-execution of the judgement. 
It is important to reiterate the fact that we did no wrong in exercising our legal right under our constitutional democracy to stop the continuing breach, denial and curtailment of the constitutional right of States to lawfully impose and collect value added and other related taxes within jurisdiction to the exclusion of the Federal Government.
And in doing so, our singular and progressive objective was to contribute to the advancement of fiscal federalism by enabling the federating States to explore and exploit their potential and capacity for generating greater internal revenues with which to fund their development goals and reduce the outdated over-reliance on pitiable Federal allocation and other handouts.
Naturally, some States with presently low economic activities and ethically restrictive social policies with economic implications may be adversely affected for now. 
But, this is not our own making. Like the right to derivation, this is also a constitutional prescription, which we all swore as political leaders to respect and defend as the supreme law of the land.
 Above all, fiscal federalism remains the right path to economic self-reliance and sustainability for all our States and the benefits derivable from this case by all the States in the long run far outweigh the immediate revenue loss that some States may presently suffer. 
All that is required is for all of us to wear our thinking caps as elected Governors to collectively fight for the greater devolution of resources, responsibilities and powers to the federating States. 
It is therefore very unfortunate that some State Governors led by that of Katsina State are vainly conspiring to truncate this progressive reality in favour of the inequitable status quo so that the Federal Government can continue to rob Peter to pay Paul as the nation’s self-imposed tax master-general.  
For us in Rivers State, we will continue to ensure and project our constitutional rights to access all possible resources we can take hold both within and outside our geographical boundaries to advance the progress of our State.
And with today’s judgement, the way is now clear for the administration and enforcement of the Rivers State Value Added Tax Law 2021 across the entire State until otherwise decided and set aside by the Superior Courts.
Consequently, I hereby direct the Rivers State Revenue Service (RSRS) to ensure the full and total implementation and enforcement of this law against all corporate bodies, business entities and individuals with immediate effect.
All corporate bodies, business entities and individuals are advised to willingly, truthfully and promptly comply with their tax obligations under this law to avoid the full weight of the stipulated sanctions, including having their business premises sealed-up.
Let me warn that the Rivers State Government is fully in charge of the State and will not tolerate any further attempt by the FIRS to sabotage or undermine our authority to freely administer our tax and other related laws in our own State. Those who play with fire risk having their fingers burnt. Enough of the shenanigans.
I wish to further assure every resident that we shall as usual make effective use of the expected proceeds from this tax to accelerate the development of our State and improve the wellbeing of everyone. 
Fellow citizens, let me also draw your attention to the alarming rate of transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic in our State.
The daily figures released by the NCDC show that both the transmission and death rates in the last two weeks have consistently been on a rising spiral because residents and visitors to the State have largely abandoned their responsibility to comply with the existing COVID-19 Protocols.
Clearly, we are headed for a serious health disaster of profound consequences if residents and visitors continue to behave as if the pandemic no longer exists or impotent in Rivers State. 
This is a big lie and we cannot afford to continue to close our eyes to the dangers such irresponsible behaviour poses to the health, lives and livelihood of everyone.
Accordingly, I wish to remind residents of the subsisting protocols on regular washing of hands and use of alcohol-based sanitizer; maintaining social distancing; wearing of face masks at all public places, including transport vehicles and going for immediate testing and treatment whenever you notice any of the symptoms.
Furthermore, it has been proven that vaccinations are saving lives here and across the world and those refusing to take the vaccines for no certified medical reasons should know that they are endangering the rest of the citizens.
I therefore appeal to all residents to help protect yourself, your loved ones and the rest of the citizens by getting your jab at the designated health centres in the 23 Local Government Areas of the State as they become available.
I also appeal to religious leaders and churches to convince and encourage their followers and members to please go out and take the vaccines and comply with the covid-19 protocols in addition. 
Although it remains our desire to keep the State open and allow citizens to go about their social, religious and economic activities unimpeded. 
But we may be constrained to re-impose the suspended COVID-19 lockdown measures across the State if the transmission of the disease continues to increase beyond tolerable limits.
Finally, we wish to reiterate that the ongoing demolition of shanties was borne out of the compelling need to safeguard lives and property across the State. 
Our objective, which is gradually achieving is to deny the criminals these sanctuaries and hideouts from which they embark on their criminal activities and safely return to. 
We therefore refuse to be blackmailed by those unpatriotic elements who are trying to stir false ethnic, religious or tribal sentiments around our patriotic commitment to advance the safety and security of residents.
Furthermore, we refuse to be intimidated by such baseless pranks. Rather, we will not rest until we clear the State of all shanties wherever they are located and restore sanity to our environment and achieve a better sense of comfort and security for everyone.
Once again, thank you all for your support, prayer and understanding as we continue to work together to advance our collective security, peace and progress.
Thank you and may God bless Rivers State.

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For The Record

Wike, Face Of Nigeria’s Democracy – Nsirim

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This is a text of a media briefing by the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim on the second phase of the advocacy campaign of #OurStateOurResponsibility message in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, September 1, 2021. Excerpts.
Protocol
I most heartily welcome you all to this media briefing aimed at bringing you up to speed on the advocacy campaign with hash tag #OurStateOurReponsibility.
You may recall that on the 31st of July, 2019, the Rivers State Ministry of Information and Communications commenced an advocacy initiative with the hash tag #OurStateOurResponsibility campaign aimed at mobilising those living and doing business in the State to join hands with the government to change the negative narratives about our dear State.
The initiative is aimed at promoting the giant strides of the administration of His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and showcasing the proud heritage of a people known for their traditional hospitality.
Two years after we rolled out the advocacy campaign, it is gratifying to note and appreciate the overwhelming and massive buy-in by people from all walks of life resident in Rivers State. We are glad to report that indeed the people of Rivers State, including non-indigenes who reside and do business here, proudly received and took ownership of the message of the advocacy campaign.
Thus, having noted the high level of reception of the message of the campaign, the Ministry is now ready to launch into a second phase of the advocacy campaign which aims at taking further steps to plant the message in the hearts of our citizens, both young and old, with the overall aim of ensuring that everyone becomes a major stakeholder in the Rivers State project and portraying the State in its true positive status as the most hospitable in Nigeria.
To this end, the State Ministry of Information and Communications is entering into a second phase of the advocacy campaign which would involve input from members of the public in line with our philosophy of ensuring a further buy-in from all stakeholders.The second phase of the advocacy campaign would stretch beyond solidarity campaign to engage residents of the State on essay writing, theme song, skits and short film competitions which would attract cash prizes.
The essay competition which would centre on the #OurStateOurResponsibility is aimed at inculcating in the minds of our young ones the ideas and ideals behind the advocacy campaign, as future drivers of the advocacy. It would be open for youths between the ages of 16 – 25 years. They would be required to write an essay of between 250 – 500 words, in their own handwriting, which they would scan and forward to this email address: rsministryofinformationandcoms@gmail.com within two weeks from Thursday, 2nd September, 2021. The deadline for the submission of the essays is on Wednesday, 15th September, 2021.
To ensure originality and transparency of the exercise, twenty three best scripts would be selected by judges and the chosen participants would be required to appear physically for a second round of essay writing at the Ministry of Information and Communications on Wednesday, 22nd September, 2021.
As an incentive, the Ministry of Information and Communications has earmarked cash prizes for the first, second and third place winners of the essay competition, while the best essay would attract a Fifty Thousand Naira cash prize, the second and third placed winners would smile home with Thirty Thousand Naira and Twenty Thousand Naira respectively. There would also be consolation prizes for the fourth, fifth and sixth placed participants. In addition to the cash prizes, the winners would also be presented with memorable plaques for their efforts on October 4, 2021.
In furtherance to creating more awareness that will give greater visibility to the #OurStateOurResponsibility advocacy campaign, the Ministry would also call for entries from members of the public, including members of the Advertisers Practitioners Council of Nigeria, Port Harcourt Chapter, for the theme song selection, skit competition and a short film competition, centred around the hash tag.
While the skit is not expected to go beyond sixty seconds, the theme song would be between three to five minutes long and would be judged based on the lyrics, creativity, rhythm and originality of the work.
Apart from the monetary incentives that would accompany the best of each category, the works would receive reviews on the media platforms of the Rivers State Ministry of Information and Communications, plaques would also be presented to the winners. Moreover, winners of the various categories would become Ambassadors of the Ministry of Information and Communications and would be specially invited in all activities of the Ministry for the quarter (three months) of their reign.
Gentlemen of the Press, you would recall that when we first embarked on this advocacy campaign which took us round on visits to different media organisations, traditional rulers, various professional bodies and associations, including faith-based organizations, our mission was clear. It was focused on etching into the psyche of all those living and doing business in the State to know that Rivers State belongs to them and therefore the need for them to uphold the virtues that portray the State in good light and counter the evil political, religious and ethnic bigots whose stock in trade is to run the State down.
As you can attest, the performance of His Excellency, Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike in his six years of governance of the State has been remarkable in so many positive ways. The avalanche of projects commissioned and flaggedoff in the last two months gives credence to the fact that Governor Nyesom Wike remains the hope of Nigerians that democracy can actually work to favour the common man.
When we started this advocacy campaign, we promised it was going to endure for a long time. We were clear of the direction we were headed and we are glad to say that it has been worth the effort.
It is our fervent hope that this second phase would bring even greater success as the Ministry is poised to let the world know the truth about Rivers State and for our people to tell our story in a way that would counter the mischief of a few who are overwhelmed by the achievements recorded by the present administration ably led by Nigeria’s face of democracy Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. 
I thank you for your attention.

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For The Record

Delivering Quality Projects, Soul Of My Administration-Wike

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Being a text of Governor Nyesom Wike’s address at the presentation of the six years progress report to mark the 2nd year of his second tenure on Monday, July 12, 2021.
Excerpts.

Protocol,

As you know, our government was first inaugurated on the 29th of May 2015 with a four years’ mandate. When it ended, we sought for and got a renewal in 2019 to continue in office for a second and final term.
The 29th of May 2021 therefore marked two historic milestones in our government. First, it marked the 2nd anniversary of our second term in office and second, it also meant that we have been in office for six consecutive years.
First of all, I wish to thank God Almighty for the grace to lead our State for the last six years and the strength, wisdom and enablement to deliver our vision of progress and transformation to the good people of Rivers State in the midst of very daunting challenges.
For us, our duty is to govern, and govern well. But it is for the people to judge whether we have done well or not taking all the circumstances into consideration.
That is why we have gathered our people to, yet again,present to you our account of stewardship for the last six years.
Let me therefore welcome and thank you all for honouring our invitation to this important accountability event as I proceed with my presentation.
Precisely six weeks ago, we kick-started the celebration of the second anniversary of our second term in office with the flagging-off and commissioning of new and completed projects.
For 40 days, we traversed the length and breadth of the State to either commission or flag-off various development projects cutting across different socio-economic sectors, including roads, bridges, education, healthcare, housing, social welfare, sports and rural development.
The entire nation was witness to this phenomenal harvest of projects in Rivers State as the sounds and sights of the happy and grateful beneficiary institutions, communities and people were beamed on live telecasts.
You may wish to recall that this is rather the third phase of the series of project commissioning events that our government has carried out since late December 2020.
Before you, or shortly to be distributed to you, is a compendium of 536 pages, which captures the fundamental achievements of our administration in the last six years in road infrastructure, rural development, economic progress, education, healthcare, housing, administration of justice, security,agriculture, social welfare, sports,as well as culture and tourism.
Going through this compendium, you will see, with facts and evidence,the claims and assertions on what we have delivered in practical terms to advance the progress of our State and well being of our people in the last six years.
From the very beginning, we stated that the mission of our administration was to mobilize and deploy all available resources to build a State that works for everyone; a State that every Rivers person and residents can all be proud of and be happy to live and raise their children.
We reaffirmed this commitment during our second inauguration and further pledged to continue to build on the foundations already laid to make our State a land of peace, justice and development.
We promised to continue to grow our economy, expand our revenue base and create viable economic opportunities for everyone to explore for the benefit of everyone and to the exclusion of no one.
We promised to continue to deliver on our equitable development agenda that guarantees the spread of public goods and services, including quality socio-economic infrastructure such as roads, bridges, health and education facilities to all parts of the State.
We also promised to continue to advance the progress of our rural communities with modern internal roads and other social amenities to spur their economic viability and stem the rural-urban drift.
We also promised to deliver some specific important roads and projects, including the long awaited trans-Kalabari road and the Ogoni – Andoni – Opobo unity road.
We further promised to continue to transform and elevate the infrastructural status of our capital city, Port Harcourt and the adjourning territories with our urban renewal programme and make Rivers State one of the preferred business and leisure destinations in Africa.
We also promised to continue with our responsibility to build a virile judicial system, support the security agencies to protect lives and property and make Rivers State more safe, convenient and welcoming for residents, investors and tourists.
It is six years into our journey of renewal, transformation and consolidation; a journey to build a new Rivers State with a better life and future for the present and generations unborn, and we are very proud with what we have so far accomplished.
Recall that we came into office at a time the national economy was and is still in turmoil with much reduced revenues accruing to the State governments.
You also know that we inherited a State with visibly decrepit infrastructure, litany of abandoned projects coupled with a hopeless economic and security situation as businesses were closing shops in their numbers.
Everyone knew that Rivers State, prior to our administration in 2015,was asphyxiated and in urgent need for the restorative oxygen of rehabilitation, reconstruction and renewal.
But with determination, commitment to purpose and prudent management of available resources, we have drastically changed the development trajectory of the State for the better with many more progress to be delivered before we exit the stage for the next government.
Most of you, if not all, will agree with us that fulfilling promises and delivering quality projects is the mind, body and soul of our administration.
From the economy to the provision of roads, security, and administration of justice to the provision of education, healthcare, housing, rural development, and in the advancement of sports, social welfare, culture, recreation and tourism, the constant, consistent and recurrent narratives of the last six years under our watch have been unprecedented delivery of projects, transformation and progress.
Our economy has not just recovered from regression; it has grown and far more robust, stronger and generating greater revenues for government now than when we came in six years ago.
Although the long failing national economy continues to be drag on our own growth prospects and projections, the fiscal policies and measures we have put in place have and will continue to sustain and increase our economy to create more opportunities for business, jobs and empowerment.
The Rivers Cassava Processing Company alone is a game changer in the long-subdued potential of making Rivers State the foremost hub in cassava production in Nigeria. We will leverage on this facility as well as the cassava value chain to create wealth, income and jobs for our teaming youths who are willing to take to the business of agriculture.
Our performance in the provision of quality infrastructure, especially roads, has generally been described as phenomenal with the echoes being felt, heard and commended everywhere across the nation.
With over a thousand kilometres of Trunk-A roads already delivered, no government has increased and improved the State’s road networks and connected as many communities to the State capital and other parts of the State with good quality roads as we have done in the last six years.
We will be happy to be contradicted, if any, but it is rather humbling to say that, not even the Federal Government, has embarked on the simultaneous construction of ten arterial flyovers, with three already commissioned, and the others at various stages of completion,to improve connectivity and traffic flow within a record period of two years as our administration has done.
Today, we have efficiently reconstructed and regenerated the entire road networks at the Old Government Reservation Area, Amadi Flats and substantial parts of new Government Reservation Area in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas to further improve connectivity, restore environmental sanity and enhance the socio-economic conditions of the population that live and do business in these areas.
It is historic that the ancient coastal community of Opobo has been connected to the rest of the State and the country by a tarred road and we are as excited as the good people of Opobo for being the government that ensured this glorious reality in the infrastructure and socio-economic lives of this important and famous community after one and half century of existence, 61 years after Nigeria’s independence and 54 years after the creation of Rivers State.
Again, with us, the construction of phase one of the trans-Kalabari road is underway while the remaining portions of the Ogoni-Andoni would soon be completed to connect the coastal communities of Ngo, Ikuru and other towns along that way after decades of impossibility by the previous governments.
As at the last count, we have turned and transformed not less than 18 major single lane roads, including Igwuruta – Chokocho road, Saapkenwa – Bori road, Tam David West Boulevard, Rumuokwurishi – Eneka – Igwuruta road, Reumepirikom – Rumuolumeni road, Rebisi – Trans-Amadi – Oginigba road, Justice Iche Nduroad, Eagle Island – Illoabuchi road, Elelenwo – Akpajo road, Birabi road, Emeyal road, Tombia road, Forces Avenue, Olumeni road, Abacha road, and Harley street to dual carriage ways with street lights, pedestrian walkways and covered drains, while the dualization of, Ahoada – Omoku, and Egbema Omoku roads is also underway.
Even now, a lot of roads connecting and interconnecting several more communities across the State, including Phase one of the Ahoada – Omoku dual carriage way, the Bori – Kono dual carriage way, the Eastern bypass – Ogbum-nu-Abali dual carriage way, the Ezimgbu dual carriage way, the Tombia Extention dualization, the Woji – Aleto – Alesa road and the Wakama – Ogu – Bolo road, are underway. These roads and many more would be delivered to further expand the State’s existing road networks in the next one year.
Similarly, we have continued to step-up investments in the provision of internal roads, jetties, land reclamation, water and shore protection as part of our new development deal for the rural areas across Rivers State.
Elele-Alimini, Isiokpo, Rumuche, Okochiri, Amadi-Ama, Omoku, Odiokwu Bolo and some others now have a new lease of social and economic life with the internal roads we have provided, while those for Ogbakiri, Omerelu, Okochiri phase 2, Omagwa and Igwuruta are also already underway.
The reconstructed Bonny/Bille Waterside and the Okrika, Isaka and Witt and Bush Jetties are some of our interventions in the transport sector serving the social, economic and commuting interests of our people in the riverine communities.
Furthermore, we have reclaimed vast swathes of sand-filled land for some of the coastal communities, including Abalama, Bakana, and Kulato advance their development, just as, we have also started the sand filling of 55 and 42 hectares of reclaimed land for Abonnema/Obonnoma and Okrika communities respectively to drive the growth and expansion of these ancient and major communities. Last week Saturday, we further committed the government to sand-fill 25 hectares of land for Ogu community.
Also, construction has resumed on the shore protection works at Aze-Azaga, Isukwa, Owikwu, Obiofu and Utu communities in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area to prevent the continuous erosion of their shorelines.
The justice sector is another important area that has received special and consistent attention from our government. In the last six years, we have built, furnished and equipped both State and Federal Courts, provided life-long accommodation for all State Judges and enhanced their movements and comfort with new official vehicles as well as built official residences for judges of all Federal Courts in the State.
The new Rivers State High Court complex, the new Federal High Court, the New National Industrial Court, the new Court of Appeal complex, and the new judges’ quarters for the State and Federal Courts all testify to what we have structurally achieved for both the State and Federal Judiciaries in Rivers State.
We have also automated the case management system, ensured the employment of more Judges and Magistrates and sustained the administrative and financial autonomy of the State’s judiciary.
Contrary to the chaos we inherited, there is no doubt that the justice system in Rivers State has been restored and what we have now is a system that meets international standards; a judiciary that is working well in advancing the administration of justice and contributing to the socio-economic progress of our State.
Our development agenda also prioritizes the provision and access to quality education and healthcare.This is why funding for education and healthcare delivery have always been next in quantum only to road infrastructure in our annual capital budgets, since 2015.
With the increased funding we have provided over 1200 classrooms and nearly 14,000 desks to over 200 primary and junior secondary schools. We have also reconstructed, furnished and equipped several secondary schools with modern classrooms, laboratories, libraries, sports facilities, staff quarters and paved interconnecting road networks.
We have continued to implement our free primary and secondary education policy with the payment of WASCE, NECO and JAMB examination fees in public secondary schools as well as stopped the collection of illegal levies by school administrators.
As a result of the concrete and targeted interventions, the education system is becoming more and more effective and qualitative in the State with enrollment and transition rates of over 98 per cent, while over 80 per cent have consistently recorded 5 credits and above pass rates, including Mathematics and English in WASCE since 2015.
At the tertiary level, we have elevated the structural quality of our tertiary institutions with new faculty, administrative and other buildings, strengthened the governance systems and enhanced staff welfare with the new salary structure.
Apart from the College of Medical Sciences, we have also implemented a multi-campus structure for the Rivers State University with the establishment of new campuses at Emohua, Ahoada and Etche Local Government Areas,thereby increasing the carrying capacity of the University and providing more access to quality tertiary education for our children.
Equally worthy of note is the approval we have received and our commitment to deliver the Port Harcourt Campus of the Nigerian Law School in the next six months to advance legal education in the State. I wish to reassure you that the Port Harcourt Campus will be the best Law School campus in Nigeria.
In the health sector, we are also very pleased with the progress we have made so far. In the last six years, we have built some new primary healthcare centres for under-served communities, renovated some existing primary health centres and general hospitals, commissioned the 132-bed Mother and Child specialist hospital, established the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, built the senior doctors quarters and rebuilt and upgraded the Government House Specialist Clinic, while a junior doctors quarters is also under construction.

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