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.