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Nigerians Must Value Their Diversity – Ajumogobia

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Being a text of the convocation lecture delivered by former Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia (SAN) on the occasion of the 19th -23rd convocation ceremony of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port Harcourt on Thursday, October 13, 2011.

Excerpt.

The Pro Chancellor, the

Vice Chancellor, Members of the Governing Council, esteemed graduates of RSUST, distinguished ladies -and- gentlemen. I am grateful to RSUST for the honour to share this podium with so many past distinguished convocation speakers before me. It is also a special privilege for me to be a part of this most important moment in the lives of so many young men and women who are to be conferred with their hard earned and long anticipated diplomas and degrees – testimonials of “character and learning” by our nation’s premier technological University, RSIJST. An institution whose motto, “excellence and creativity”, defines the very ethos of success in our modern world.

Since 1980 when it was created, RSUST has been a leading light as a higher learning institution, providing unique and special programmes and courses such as marine engineering and pollution studies in furtherance of its mandate and goal to be relevant to their irnmediate environment.

I wish to especially acknowledge and thank the Governor and Visitor to the University, Rt. Honourable Rotirni Chibuike Amaechi, My Lord, Chief the Hon. Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte CON retired Justice of the Supreme Court and Pro chancellor, and Professor Barineme Fakae, the Vice Chancellor and Members of the Governing Council of the University for this unique honour and for the freedom to choose the subject of my address this afternoon.

I must confess that soon after I accepted the Vice Chancellor’s invitation, in large part out of the high esteem and regard in which I have held him, since the days of his exemplary leadership as the Provost of Bori Polytechnic when I served as Honourable Attorney General of this State, I felt a certain uneasiness as I began to think about what I would say to you all and to our graduates in particular, today.

No doubt, I have delivered numerous speeches in the course of a long, varied and most fulfilling career as a lawyer and public servant, but one always feels that convocation speeches are somehow different and special. This is despite the fact that with the understandable excitement that convocation ceremonies create, a number of years from now, I doubt that many would remember who presented this address, let alone what I said. But even for those few, I thought it important to try to deliver a meaningful message.

I found the task even more engaging because of the impact of the multiple crises currently confronting our country, and the enormous political and socio-economic challenges facing us all, and our young people especially. Unfortunately, many of these difficulties come as part of the process of building a nation, that will allow each of us to realise our collective dreams and individual aspirations – and will allow you, today’s graduates to be whatever you aspire to be and to exploit your talents to the full, to achieve your God-given potential.

After some reflection, I chose to speak about The Challenge of Nation  Building: Empowerment, Expectation and Entitlement”, because I believe that the realisation of our full potential as citizens, both individually and collectively, is directly linked to the fortunes of this diverse nation to which we belong. And so, far from being another lecture on political economy for which I would simply refer to the works of that revered scholar, the late Professor Clause Ake, the title of my address today, simply provides a context for my message to you, concerning your own role as graduates and potential change agents; another set of privileged University students who have acquired “character and learning” and thereby gained the empowerment to build promising and successful futures for yourselves in diverse fields of endeavour.

A respected authority on development, Michael Frederiksen in making a distinction between ‘country’ I and ‘nation’, described the latter as “a living and evolving entity that reflects the ideals and dreams of its people and the reality of living together”. I rather like his simple, but insightful definition, because it centers on the peoples’ shared sense of purpose, “though tribe and tongue may differ”, to recall the words of our first national anthem, and without regard to religious affiliation or social status.

The term “evolving” in the definition suggests that a nation takes time to build, grow and mature. “Living together” implies both choice and harmony. I like Frederiksen’s definition too, because it highlights the people and not the space. The people are the nation and the nation is the people.

Let us remind ourselves of the reality that most modern states were once ethnically, diverse, and some still are. Did you know for example that Canada’s largest city, Toronto, is home to some 5 million people where 400 languages and 600 dialects are spoken? Just like Nigeria!

The boundaries of most modern nations generally emerged over centuries, not out of deep bonds, forged from primordial ethnic solidarity. They were a solution for the protection of the productive weak from the unproductive strong through the selection of a common authority to mediate contending human interests, and create and enforce acceptable rules and regimes of conduct; what my distinguished Harvard Professor and Dean, the late James Vorenberg profoundly referred to at my own graduation ceremony, as the “chains that make us free” in contrast to the “state of nature” described in Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan in which life was “solitary, poor, brutish, nasty and short”, and where might was right.

Nigeria, like most countries came into being by “the stroke of an imperial pen”, that needed only the recognition of other States to make it part of the comity of nations. It is however a painfully slow circuitous process that ultimately transforms countries into ions with which their people eventually wholly identify with pride and patriotism.

Nation building therefore connotes the creation or establishment of the conducive environment by the government and the people within a geographical space in which the dreams, hopes and aspirations of the people, who occupy that space, can be realised. It is the common pain and sacrifice, pleasure from individual action and effort, the shared experience that comes with equal access to power, resource and opportunity, that creates the identification and sense of belonging.

As Nigerians, we must value our diversity and respect the ways in which we are not alike in tradition, culture and religion even as we work hard towards the common purpose of building a strong economy and a just and vibrant nation that will be the envy of the world.

As fresh graduates and the emerging generation of leaders, you are therefore perhaps the most important stakeholders in this project, because the nation is the framework within which most of you will apply your talents and training, for entitlement and reward, and to meet society’s expectation of every generation to create opportunities for itself and for others. It is the nation that gives you your identity and is what should give you pride. So why should you not be to build it?

That task is not just for President Jonathan and his Ministers, our governors and all those in authority over us. It is a collective responsibility.

Statistics reveal that we are a nation with a young population. That more than 70% is under the age of 25 years.

Building our nation, is therefore as much about how your generation deals with the challenges that you face in the current tumultuous economic climate, as it is about how our Governments, Federal and States, are able to bring about transformational change in the polity with guarantees of life, liberty and the pursuit of individual fulfillment to paraphrase John Locke’s thesis of the social contract.

To be clear, it is well known that we face significant socio-economic political and civic challenges characterized by poor and crumbling infrastructure, weak institutions and a faulty moral compass of values: From roads and electricity; to education and health service of our courts and law enforcement apparatus – to cheating to pass exams. The list is endless.

Indeed, these challenges have seemed to grow and become almost grotesque as time has passed, and thus often have an effect on us that is demoralizing, and sometimes brings us to a point of despair and helplessness.

So how can you help Nigeria build its way out of this state of affairs and into true nationhood?

The truth, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, is that although our situation may be precarious today, it is our actions as citizens that will determine our destiny as a nation, and whether we will continue to be a nation in which our diversity threatens, rather than complements, our stability. Fortunately, recent history is replete with examples of nations that faced seemingly insurmountable challenges that were overcome by the combination of committed leadership that transcended the crises of national identity, and the collective sacrifice, determination and perseverance of the citizens, within a single generation.

We must therefore all join hands with our President, President Goodluck Jonathan and with our Governors by making our own contribution, small or significant, with “excellence and creativity” to transform whatever space that we occupy. Unless we do so, we cannot as a nation harness the potential and resources that we collectively possess, not in our oil, or in our soil, but in ourselves. We must cease to be a nation that promises much but delivers little to its people or to world.

Clearly, it begins with education at all levels, for education at this higher level is of no use if we haven’t learned politeness, remorse and gratitude, the basic courtesies of ‘please’, ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’. If we have not learned sportsmanship and much else that should be ingrained in -the home and in the nursery~, primary and secondary school your Education still is mostly about learning and developing the ability to learn and discover and apply such learning to our environment. This is significantly enhanced by the process of obtaining a university education.

Through your university education, your degrees and diplomas, you are now all ~quipped with knowledge, know how, skills and power – the key to “developing the man to develop his environment” and the ability to convert human beings into human capital and change our surroundings by influencing those around us.

The application of learning gained from your education at this premier institution that has produced so many eminent citizens, is vital to developing effective solutions to problems, and for change, improvisation and innovation because you have been taught to think in the RSUST way! “excellence and creativity”. Education liberates the mind and exposes one to opportunities and possibilities that are likely to have been unimaginable or unimagined without it.

It facilitates the development of critical and creative thinking that is crucial for the transformation of the individual and by extension the space he or she occupies. If we each transform our space, our nation will be transform: But then is the education you have received to date (your degree and diploma alone) sufficient to guarantee you success. Are you truly empowered? What are your expectations and entitlements?

When I was a young boy, I learned to swim with much difficulty because I had always been scared of water. I and a number of other boys had indeed just successfully swum from the deep end of a 25 metre pool to the shallow end one particular day.

Our swimming coach then thought he would boost our self confidence in the pool by what he called “drown proofing” to demonstrate that you could not drown as long as you remained calm and did not panic. The process was as follows: My hands were tied behind my back and my feet were tied together. I was then thrown feet first, into the deep end of the swimming pool. This of course was not before I had indicated that I had taken a sufficiently deep breath. My instructions were simple. Relax. Allow your body to sink to the bottom and on its own without you moving a muscle, your body will float back up to the surface. When your head breaks the surface of the water, gently tilt your head back and take another deep breath. Your body will go down again to the bottom and then involuntarily come up again to the surface, and will keep doing this indefinitely as long as you don’t panic or struggle! I had to do this for five minutes which seemed like an eternity. But I did it successfully and it certainly gave me the incredible self confidence that I still have around water till this day.

But we all know that as frightening as it sounds, and I don’t recommend any of you to try it, it was a controlled experiment in a swimming pool, with my expert coach, his vigilant assistants and other members of the swim team around, watching to make sure that I didn’t simply settle at the bottom of the pool as some people apparently do!

In the open sea, this would obviously have been impossible to do and the result would certainly have been different if I went in head first! Strong and accomplished champion swimmers have been known to grown as I later learned, even in swimming pools. So there really is nothing like “drown proofing”.

The experiment however served its prime and only purpose: to prepare me to be fearless in the water in much the same way that your university degree has prepared you to face the world and all its challenges, without fear. But there is nothing like “life proofing”.

A university education is certainly a form of empowerment, and still is the most assured requirement, for those who have the intellectual capacity, to build a successful future regardless of your circumstances. It is indeed the most effective “proofing” that exists for life. Your university degree has created the mindset, to take advantage of or to create opportunities that will propel you towards realizing your individual ambitions and goals.

If we reject this notion, we foster the wrong and disabling belief that it is necessary to seek and obtain other forms of enablement to complement our education as a prerequisite for an individual to make something meaningful out of his or her circumstances. It is common for us to say that you need a ‘Godfather’ or you must ‘know someone’ to succeed. Such thinking perpetuates a base culture that encourages feelings of despondency rather than expectation enthusiasm and optimism, and erodes the sense of self confidence and self reliance that a university education ought to confer.

By the same token, a sense of entitlement to a job prevents you from even exploring your talents and potential because of a distorted orientation that looks everywhere else, but within.

Do not misunderstand me. Having a sense of expectation within the context of family or society is not wrong in itself. Expecting the Government to create jobs or an environment in which more jobs will be created is indeed our entitlement as citizens. What is self limiting however is creating a se expectation in our university graduates that compels an exclusive reliance on government or society at large to provide or create opportunities for their own self-sustenance.

The whole world is facing economic crises of perhaps unprecedented proportions. Unemployment globally is at an all time high. The Government of President Jonathan inherited problems that were created over several decades. The solutions, like the problems, are complex and take time to implement. Governments, at the Federal and State level are responding to these challenges by developing policies and executing programs that are aimed at stimulating the economy and attracting investments that will create jobs. Loans and incentives are being provided to manufacturers and farmers to encourage and increase production and employment; policies are being fashioned in the financial sector to increase access to credit by our creative artists as well. Steps are being taken by the Government to strengthen State institutions, restore confidence, and support private sector led growth. At the same time bold reforms are being driven to improve the state of infrastructure so that we can create favourable environment that encourages and supports both individual and business growth, and promotes the wellbeing of the citizen.

In the meantime, do we just fold our arms and lament and criticise? The truth is that even if the economy was booming, not everyone would be guaranteed employment or a job of their liking or even one that meets their expectation in terms of remuneration, growth or opportunity.

So what should your expectation or attitude be as you venture into this next phase of your lives as young graduates?

In our dynamic and technology driven world, there is almost as much learning out of our Universities and educational institutions as there is within them. So you must continue to learn, and improve yourself, even if you do not pursue a post graduate qualification as I am sure many of you will.

You have today achieved an important milestone in your lives and I congratulate you on the degrees and diplomas that you have earned that provide you with opportunities and alternatives, and the ability to make informed judgments and choices. Each of you have a better chance than tens of millions of equally talented young men and women who have not had the opportunity to obtain a university education.

I have no idea what each of you will become, or indeed what your individual aspirations might be.

Life is unpredictable. But it also holds tremendous promise and amazing rewards for those determined to succeed at it.

There is unfortunately no roadmap that I can share with you. Each of you travelled here by a different road and will leave this place to a different destination.

I had no idea that one day I would serve this State as its Attorney General and serve two Presidents in the Federal cabinet. If you were to ask me how I got to this point in my life, I would have to say it was entirely by the grace of God. But His grace is sufficient for all who look up to Him.

What I did set out to be, was the very best lawyer that I could be, and that is the advice that I will give you all today. Set out to be the very best that you can be at whatever you choose to do or wherever you find yourself.

Beyond that, I can perhaps offer a few common tips that helped me to succeed in my career.

Don’t expect the perfect job next week or next month or next year. But don’t rule it out. Keep an open mind.

Have clear objectives, and develop a passion for whatever you set your mind to do even if it is trying to find a job. Keep knocking on doors. One will open if you are tenacious enough. It always does. Passion, confidence and perseverance are infectious. But be flexible and adaptable. In a changing world you must embrace change. Your true calling may be what you consider to be a past time. Explore your talents. They are your unrealised fortune.

Have a core set of values that you won’t compromise, integrity, humility, respect for others, hard work and discipline. Above all, fear God and be thankful for everything you get; Focusing on yourself limits you. Focus rather on your environment and you will find opportunities around you that you will miss if you are obsessed with yourself. Never settle for less than you are capable of. Challenge yourself and you will often surprise yourself. Always do your best, be courageous and adventurous.

You can’t always do it all by yourself. Collaborate and consult. Two heads are usually better than one, and a younger and less experienced person’s idea may be better than your own. Believe in yourself and others will respect and believe in you. You have all the training and learning you need to succeed. Aim for the sky but also help others to succeed and always have compassion for those less fortunate than you are.

There will certainly be bumps along the way. There always are; roadblocks, setbacks and dead ends, which are part of the journey. But they help build your stamina and strengthen your character. That bump or pothole in the road may, in fact be your stepping stone to fame or fortune.

Life is a marathon not a sprint. The sprinter who stumbles and falls has lost the race. The marathon runner can pick himself up and still finish first. Never lose sight of your destination but enjoy the whole journey. That is the essence of a life well spent. Learn something from all your experiences.

I don’t not know what life has in store for each of you. What I do know is that what you have acquired from RSUST is sufficient to set you on your way to a successful future.

You have acquired knowledge and developed character and now have the opportunity to make a contribution and a difference to your nation no matter how small it may be. So just look up, have faith and don’t ever give up.

In conclusion, let me share with you Michael Frederiksen’s simple but eloquent charge to the graduating class of a technical University in Kenya just last year. He said, “Not all can lead but all can learn, Not all will be elected into office, but all can serve. Not all can build a bridge of understanding, but all can live a life of peace. Not all can inspire a nation, but can help built it.”

I hope you will all help build our nation and I wish you all the best as you go out into the world.

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For The Record

Wike’s Key Signature Projects Have Changed Rivers’ Landscape – Nsirim

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Being Text of a Speech on “Developing Media Infrastructures for Good Governance, the Example of Rivers State Government” by The Honourable Commissioner of Information and Communications, Rivers State, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, As Special Guest of Honour/Keynote Speaker at The Rotary Club of Port Harcourt 2020-2021 Media Day on Monday April 19, 2021 at the Rotary Centre, off Trans-Amadi Industrial Way, Port Harcourt.
Excerpts.
One thing that is not in
doubt in today’s world, especially in the corporate world, is that good public relations image remains essential to achieving great results. Indeed, the fact that a public relations committee had been at the epicenter of the management of not just the activities but also image of Rotary, tells a great deal of story why publicity matters so much to the world’s longest and oldest organized social and humanitarian club.
Rotary and Rotarians may not record much success in their endeavours without publicity. It is to that extent that Rotary and the media must establish and sustain a symbiotic relationship in order to further the goals of Rotary, and most importantly, make a difference in the lives of millions of those who need help, support and assistance to keep alive hope of a better life.
It is for this reason that I wish to commend Rotary club for dedicating the month of April in their International Calendar as Magazine/Media Month. I believe it is a month for the celebration of the media for its role in bringing to the fore the good qualities of Rotary club and its activities in order to inspire the world for better living. Rotary believes that the synergy with the media has been and will continue to be of profound importance to its activities. Let me also commend the media whose advocacy and information management roles have been critical to the achievement of the core goals of Rotary in the society.
Since February 23, 1905 when Rotary was formed and its first meeting of like minds in Chicago, Ilinois in the United States of America, “the characteristics of Rotary Club and those who populate it have remained the same everywhere; the features of service, internationality, fellowship, classification of each vocation, development of goodwill and world understanding, the emphasis of high ethical standards, concern for other people, and many more descriptive qualities, which show care and compassion, respect for others, honesty and integrity, as well as patriotism, industry and hard work”.
The 4-way Test Philosophy of Rotary Club, which in 1943 was translated to the acceptance that whatever Rotarians think, say and do they must be guided by the TRUTH at all times, and must be FAIR, and naturally
seen to be so by others. Rotarians must ensure that they, whatever they think, say, or do, help in building GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS across the community, and by extension, the world and that their results are BENEFICIAL to all concerned.
This 4-way Test Philosophy and the roles the media play in upholding a just society, by holding leaders and government accountable at all times, clearly makes it impossible for either the media or Rotary to divorce each other, since both work for the good of the society.
Having said these, let me return to the issue of today.
Media refers to the channels of communication which are utilized for the purposes of dissemination of news, music, movies, education, promotional messages and other data. It includes physical and online
newspapers and magazines, television, radio, billboards, telephone, the internet and fax, that provide news and information to the public.
One thing that is legendary and long-standing is the power of the media in shaping society, setting agenda for public discourse and moulding public opinion. Perhaps, that explains why Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), the third president of the United States of America and principal author of its declaration of Independence once said, that if he had to choose between “a government without newspaper or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the later”.
According to Jefferson, “the press is the best instrument for enlightening the mind of man, and improving him as rational, moral and social being.” Jefferson’s successor, James Madison (1751-1836) corroborated this view when he said; “to the press alone, chequered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression”.
Truly, the above statements underscore the importance of the media as it carries out its multifaceted roles of providing information education, and entertaining. Also the media acts as a public forum for the discussion of important issues. While the media also plays the role of entertainment, it acts as a watchdog for government, business and other institutions, mirroring society as it were.
Chapter 2, Section 22 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution states clearly the role of the
media in governance. It says, “the press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people”.This clearly links the media to good governance.
Thus, as required by the constitution, the media which is the watch dog of society should hold public office holders accountable to the people who elected them by monitoring governance closely. Clearly, in the issues of promoting good governance, rule of law, ensuring probity and accountability, wiping out illiteracy and eradicating poverty, the media are the key factors in that strategic link.
The media provides a platform for discussion of all the checks and assessments of the activities of government by bringing public concerns and voices into the open. The media articulates citizens voices and preferences for government to use in policy formulation. They hold government accountable and provide information for the people. Thus, the media are a critical link in the accountability chain between the government and the governed.
With the existence of an unfettered and Independent press, and the spread of modern information and communication technologies, “the media are essential for democratization and guaranteeing good governance through freedom of expression, transparency, accountability, rule of law and providing a pluralist platform for political expression about controversial issues”.
Without good governance, it is difficult to attain nor guarantee social, economic and political progress, because the bedrock or pillar of any modern democracy is good governance.
However, to achieve the humongous roles of the media, there are means through which they can reach the public. This is termed media infrastructure. According to Lisa Parks, a Professor of Comparative Media Studies and Science, Technology and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whose research focuses on satellite technologies and global Media, critical studies of media infrastructure, among others, “the word “infrastructure” surfaced in the early twentieth country “as collective term for the surbordinate parts of an undertaking: substructure, foundation,” and first became associated with permanent military installations. Since then, the terms meanings have expanded to encompass power grids and telecommunication networks, subways and freeways, sewer systems and oil pipeline.
While Critical media studies
scholars have investigated “networks” for decades, they have only recently begun to think of “infrastructures” as part of their research field.
“Work on media infrastructure has explored the material conditions in which broadcast, cable, satellite, internet and mobile telephony systems are arranged to distribute audiovisual content to sites around the world. While such systems have historically been referred to as “Telecommunication networks, “the reconceptualization of them as “media infrastructures”, signals a shift toward exploring issues of scale, difference, unevenness, rationality, labour, maintenance and repair, literacy etc.”
According to the World Bank, “Media Infrastructure can be a vital and necessary step in the media development process. “A functioning media
infrastructure is the underpinning for the rest of the media sector.
Media Infrastructure are defined as the “foundational technologies, services, facilities and outlets that are critical to the communication of information, opinion and expression.
Media Infrastructure can be classified under Networks, which includes data and communication networks such as internet or 5G mobile networks. Other aspects of media infrastructure include “Last mile”, which is the infrastructure required to deliver media to the consumers door, such as an internet connection, newspaper delivery or cable TV services.
They also include information, communication and Technology (ICT) platforms, facilities such as data centre, broadcasting centre, newsroom or modern printing press. Others are broadcast media-media that flows from a simple source to a large audience such as television networks, newspapers and radio statement. Social media and streaming media applications are part of the media infrastructure.
All aspects of media infrastructure available in the state are put to use by the Rivers State Government to promote good governance. Media infrastructure available through the Ministry of Information and Communications and its parastatals (the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation, publishers of The Tide Newspapers; Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation, Operators of Radio Rivers, Rivers State Television (RSTV), Garden City Radio and the Government Printing Press, provide channels of communication for the government to communicate to the people of the state.
Over the years, the Rivers State Government have made huge investments in these MDA’s to underscore the importance attached to them in ensuring good governance, especially in the areas of rule of law, transparency, accountability, effectiveness, consensus Oriented, equity and inclusiveness and responsiveness.
The procurement of a state-of-the art printing machine for The Tide Newspaper, outside Broadcast Van for the Garden City Radio and Radio Rivers, Placement of Rivers State Television on Satellite platforms to enhance global reach, are all aimed at reaching out to the people about government activities and also get the peoples reactions and suggestions. That is not all. Plans have reached advanced stages to completely revamp the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation, publishers of The Tide Newspaper to  give the medium a competitive edge in the industry. New computer-to-plate machine, delivery vans, communication equipment and other media infrastructure to enhance its mandate will soon be delivered by the Rivers State Government. In the same vein, the Rivers State Government has set in motion plans for a hitch-free Digital Switch over in the state on July 8, 2021. What that implies is that Rivers State Television would no longer require a transmitter to broadcast to the world. It would translate to an increase in the capacity of the station by improving spectrum efficiency and providing better signal quality.
What this implies in terms of benefit to the government are enormous. Jobs will be created by manufacturers, Surface Mount Technology will be created and chipset industry would be set up, making Nigeria the only of such in West Africa, Central Africa and creating a hub. It would also create local plastics industry jobs that are needed for the gift packs for the Set Top Boxes (STBs), creation of other value added jobs and small businesses.
For the industry, this switch-over would mean massive technology transfer in terms of SMT, chipset design, PCB implementations and opening up ancillary manufacturing opportunities for other electronic devices and equipment.
The Rivers State Government would also benefit immensely from the Digital switch-over as it provides opportunity for enhanced revenue generation. The local government councils can use the STBs to collect TV and radio license fees. It also creates new ways to provide education delivered to the homes through TV and improves social interaction and creativity as communities start to develop applications for the new digital TV platform.
Aside these, the Rivers State Government under the visionary leadership of His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has been open to the infrastructure of the independent media in the state to ensure good governance. The Governor believes strongly that good governance can be facilitated by a strong and independent media scape.
For Governor Nyesom Wike, there is nothing to hide, but much to improve. Journalists are free to monitor, investigate and criticize the administration and he is always ready and handy to let the public through the media see and dissect his administration activities.
Rivers State Government allows the media to contribute to the participation process by the citizenry through assent or dissent or exploring aspects of issues not considered through official channels and in arenas where face-to-face participation is impossible.
As you are aware, the Rivers State Government under the pragmatic and visionary leadership of Governor Nyesom Wike has embarked on rapid infrastructure development that has changed the landscape of the state through the execution of key signature projects particularly in the area of road infrastructure, to accelerate robust economic activities within the urban centres and their environs.

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For The Record

Wike’s Key Signature Projects Have Changed Rivers’ Landscape – Nsirim

Published

on

Being Text of a Speech on “Developing Media Infrastructures for Good Governance, the Example of Rivers State Government” by The Honourable Commissioner of Information and Communications, Rivers State, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, As Special Guest of Honour/Keynote Speaker at The Rotary Club of Port Harcourt 2020-2021 Media Day on Monday April 19, 2021 at the Rotary Centre, off Trans-Amadi Industrial Way, Port Harcourt.
Excerpts.
One thing that is not in
doubt in today’s world, especially in the corporate world, is that good public relations image remains essential to achieving great results. Indeed, the fact that a public relations committee had been at the epicenter of the management of not just the activities but also image of Rotary, tells a great deal of story why publicity matters so much to the world’s longest and oldest organized social and humanitarian club.
Rotary and Rotarians may not record much success in their endeavours without publicity. It is to that extent that Rotary and the media must establish and sustain a symbiotic relationship in order to further the goals of Rotary, and most importantly, make a difference in the lives of millions of those who need help, support and assistance to keep alive hope of a better life.
It is for this reason that I wish to commend Rotary club for dedicating the month of April in their International Calendar as Magazine/Media Month. I believe it is a month for the celebration of the media for its role in bringing to the fore the good qualities of Rotary club and its activities in order to inspire the world for better living. Rotary believes that the synergy with the media has been and will continue to be of profound importance to its activities. Let me also commend the media whose advocacy and information management roles have been critical to the achievement of the core goals of Rotary in the society.
Since February 23, 1905 when Rotary was formed and its first meeting of like minds in Chicago, Ilinois in the United States of America, “the characteristics of Rotary Club and those who populate it have remained the same everywhere; the features of service, internationality, fellowship, classification of each vocation, development of goodwill and world understanding, the emphasis of high ethical standards, concern for other people, and many more descriptive qualities, which show care and compassion, respect for others, honesty and integrity, as well as patriotism, industry and hard work”.
The 4-way Test Philosophy of Rotary Club, which in 1943 was translated to the acceptance that whatever Rotarians think, say and do they must be guided by the TRUTH at all times, and must be FAIR, and naturally
seen to be so by others. Rotarians must ensure that they, whatever they think, say, or do, help in building GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS across the community, and by extension, the world and that their results are BENEFICIAL to all concerned.
This 4-way Test Philosophy and the roles the media play in upholding a just society, by holding leaders and government accountable at all times, clearly makes it impossible for either the media or Rotary to divorce each other, since both work for the good of the society.
Having said these, let me return to the issue of today.
Media refers to the channels of communication which are utilized for the purposes of dissemination of news, music, movies, education, promotional messages and other data. It includes physical and online
newspapers and magazines, television, radio, billboards, telephone, the internet and fax, that provide news and information to the public.
One thing that is legendary and long-standing is the power of the media in shaping society, setting agenda for public discourse and moulding public opinion. Perhaps, that explains why Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), the third president of the United States of America and principal author of its declaration of Independence once said, that if he had to choose between “a government without newspaper or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the later”.
According to Jefferson, “the press is the best instrument for enlightening the mind of man, and improving him as rational, moral and social being.” Jefferson’s successor, James Madison (1751-1836) corroborated this view when he said; “to the press alone, chequered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression”.
Truly, the above statements underscore the importance of the media as it carries out its multifaceted roles of providing information education, and entertaining. Also the media acts as a public forum for the discussion of important issues. While the media also plays the role of entertainment, it acts as a watchdog for government, business and other institutions, mirroring society as it were.
Chapter 2, Section 22 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution states clearly the role of the
media in governance. It says, “the press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people”.This clearly links the media to good governance.
Thus, as required by the constitution, the media which is the watch dog of society should hold public office holders accountable to the people who elected them by monitoring governance closely. Clearly, in the issues of promoting good governance, rule of law, ensuring probity and accountability, wiping out illiteracy and eradicating poverty, the media are the key factors in that strategic link.
The media provides a platform for discussion of all the checks and assessments of the activities of government by bringing public concerns and voices into the open. The media articulates citizens voices and preferences for government to use in policy formulation. They hold government accountable and provide information for the people. Thus, the media are a critical link in the accountability chain between the government and the governed.
With the existence of an unfettered and Independent press, and the spread of modern information and communication technologies, “the media are essential for democratization and guaranteeing good governance through freedom of expression, transparency, accountability, rule of law and providing a pluralist platform for political expression about controversial issues”.
Without good governance, it is difficult to attain nor guarantee social, economic and political progress, because the bedrock or pillar of any modern democracy is good governance.
However, to achieve the humongous roles of the media, there are means through which they can reach the public. This is termed media infrastructure. According to Lisa Parks, a Professor of Comparative Media Studies and Science, Technology and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whose research focuses on satellite technologies and global Media, critical studies of media infrastructure, among others, ??9Cthe word “infrastructure” surfaced in the early twentieth country “as collective term for the surbordinate parts of an undertaking: substructure, foundation,” and first became associated with permanent military installations. Since then, the terms meanings have expanded to encompass power grids and telecommunication networks, subways and freeways, sewer systems and oil pipeline.
While Critical media studies
scholars have investigated “networks” for decades, they have only recently begun to think of “infrastructures” as part of their research field.
“Work on media infrastructure has explored the material conditions in which broadcast, cable, satellite, internet and mobile telephony systems are arranged to distribute audiovisual content to sites around the world. While such systems have historically been referred to as “Telecommunication networks, “the reconceptualization of them as “media infrastructures”, signals a shift toward exploring issues of scale, difference, unevenness, rationality, labour, maintenance and repair, literacy etc.”
According to the World Bank, “Media Infrastructure can be a vital and necessary step in the media development process. “A functioning media
infrastructure is the underpinning for the rest of the media sector.
Media Infrastructure are defined as the “foundational technologies, services, facilities and outlets that are critical to the communication of information, opinion and expression.
Media Infrastructure can be classified under Networks, which includes data and communication networks such as internet or 5G mobile networks. Other aspects of media infrastructure include “Last mile”, which is the infrastructure required to deliver media to the consumers door, such as an internet connection, newspaper delivery or cable TV services.
They also include information, communication and Technology (ICT) platforms, facilities such as data centre, broadcasting centre, newsroom or modern printing press. Others are broadcast media-media that flows from a simple source to a large audience such as television networks, newspapers and radio statement. Social media and streaming media applications are part of the media infrastructure.
All aspects of media infrastructure available in the state are put to use by the Rivers State Government to promote good governance. Media infrastructure available through the Ministry of Information and Communications and its parastatals (the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation, publishers of The Tide Newspapers; Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation, Operators of Radio Rivers, Rivers State Television (RSTV), Garden City Radio and the Government Printing Press, provide channels of communication for the government to communicate to the people of the state.
Over the years, the Rivers State Government have made huge investments in these MDA’s to underscore the importance attached to them in ensuring good governance, especially in the areas of rule of law, transparency, accountability, effectiveness, consensus Oriented, equity and inclusiveness and responsiveness.
The procurement of a state-of-the art printing machine for The Tide Newspaper, outside Broadcast Van for the Garden City Radio and Radio Rivers, Placement of Rivers State Television on Satellite platforms to enhance global reach, are all aimed at reaching out to the people about government activities and also get the peoples reactions and suggestions. That is not all. Plans have reached advanced stages to completely revamp the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation, publishers of The Tide Newspaper to  give the medium a competitive edge in the industry. New computer-to-plate machine, delivery vans, communication equipment and other media infrastructure to enhance its mandate will soon be delivered by the Rivers State Government. In the same vein, the Rivers State Government has set in motion plans for a hitch-free Digital Switch over in the state on July 8, 2021. What that implies is that Rivers State Television would no longer require a transmitter to broadcast to the world. It would translate to an increase in the capacity of the station by improving spectrum efficiency and providing better signal quality.
What this implies in terms of benefit to the government are enormous. Jobs will be created by manufacturers, Surface Mount Technology will be created and chipset industry would be set up, making Nigeria the only of such in West Africa, Central Africa and creating a hub. It would also create local plastics industry jobs that are needed for the gift packs for the Set Top Boxes (STBs), creation of other value added jobs and small businesses.
For the industry, this switch-over would mean massive technology transfer in terms of SMT, chipset design, PCB implementations and opening up ancillary manufacturing opportunities for other electronic devices and equipment.
The Rivers State Government would also benefit immensely from the Digital switch-over as it provides opportunity for enhanced revenue generation. The local government councils can use the STBs to collect TV and radio license fees. It also creates new ways to provide education delivered to the homes through TV and improves social interaction and creativity as communities start to develop applications for the new digital TV platform.
Aside these, the Rivers State Government under the visionary leadership of His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has been open to the infrastructure of the independent media in the state to ensure good governance. The Governor believes strongly that good governance can be facilitated by a strong and independent media scape.
For Governor Nyesom Wike, there is nothing to hide, but much to improve. Journalists are free to monitor, investigate and criticize the administration and he is always ready and handy to let the public through the media see and dissect his administration activities.
Rivers State Government allows the media to contribute to the participation process by the citizenry through assent or dissent or exploring aspects of issues not considered through official channels and in arenas where face-to-face participation is impossible.
As you are aware, the Rivers State Government under the pragmatic and visionary leadership of Governor Nyesom Wike has embarked on rapid infrastructure development that has changed the landscape of the state through the execution of key signature projects particularly in the area of road infrastructure, to accelerate robust economic activities within the urban centres and their environs.

Governor Nyesom Wike did not jump into governance. He is a visioner who believes in listening and giving to the people what they want. He engaged stakeholder groups before the NEW vision blueprint was launched. All the stakeholder groups in the state were consulted and what you have is a collective vision of Rivers people, but there is a visioner in the person of His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. The engagement of stakeholders was robust. Visionary leaders use that as a strategy for stake-holders buy-in.
Using the various media infrastructure in which a wide range of debates take place and variety of viewpoints represented, the Rivers State Government led by His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has continued to deliver projects that impact positively for the betterment of Rivers State and her people.
Between late last year and the whole of the first quarter of 2021, Rivers State was on the global map as eminent citizens of Nigeria joined Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to commission projects in eleven (11) Local Government Area of the State. This unprecedented development coming at a time when most leaders were hiding under the cover of the Covid-19 pandemic to cover their ineptitude will surely remain legendary.
Many social commentators across the country have opined with convictions, that the only person who can realistically beat this impressive record is Governor Nyesom Wike himself, especially when the next phase of projects commissioning would commence, which will unveil some of the most amazing and marvelous legacy infrastructural projects ever seen in River State.
Of course, the delivery of quality projects to the people is not new to Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. Everyone who has followed the trajectory of his administration objectively, will agree that he hit the ground running from the first day he assumed office in 2015, fixing roads and bridges, reorganizing institutions and establishments, opening up clamped down spaces and courageously mending a broken, dysfunctional and deliberately abandoned state.
Project commissioning has become synonymous with the Governor Wike administration in the last five years and even against the backdrop of the noisome buzzing of a jobless, fragmented and confused opposition in the state. One important fact which even his critics will admit and even concede to is that the construction of infrastructural projects like road, bridges, jetties is not a one day job. Quality projects require careful planning, expert handling and many months of hard work to ensure that projects are delivered to specification to serve the people for a long time.
This is what the Rivers State Government under Governor Wike has achieved with class, panache, tremendous success and a lot of goodwill and appreciation from Rivers people who will be the beneficiaries of these projects.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, good governance is not rocket science. It is achievable if you have the right mental attitude, the residual capacity, the perspicacity and sagacity of a leader who has a vision. This is what Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has brought to governance in Rivers State.
I will like to end with this quote by Former Governor of Anambra State and 2019 PDP Vice Presidential candidates, Dr. Peter Obi, while commissioning one of the numerous projects undertaken by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, “Accountability in government is the most critical yardstick to determine good governance and to build the trust of the people. For recruitment into governance, competence, capacity and visible performance like we are seeing here today should be embraced”.
Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has made good governance look like a piece of cake using all the media infrastructure at his disposal. But to some, good governance remains a fleeting illusion pursued, but never attained.

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For The Record

Wike, Giving Roadmap For Rivers Of Our Dreams – Nsirim

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The Rivers State Government under the pragmatic and visionary leadership of  Governor Nyesom  Wike has embarked on rapid infrastructural development that has changed the landscape of the State through the execution of key signature projects particularly in the area of road infrastructures to accelerate robust economic activities within the urban centres and their environs.
Armed with the landmark achievements of the Nyesom Wike’s administration, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim engaged the media to enumerate the gains of the dogged implementation of the well articulated developmental blueprint of the State Government encapsulated in the NEW Rivers Vision of Governor Nyesom  Wike.
Below are the excerpts of the media encounter.
Why all this long ceremony about the commissioning of the Okoro-Nu-Odo and Rumuogba Flyovers?
You will call it long ceremony, but you see what is happening in Rivers State is essentially an infrastructural revolution and for people who thought that His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike will not even have money to pay salaries when he took over office as Governor, I think that it is important for them to see that visionary leadership and strategic thinking can turn a State like ours into a model. And so the truth of the matter is, a lot of people want to come to Rivers State now because of the developmental strides that are going on.
So you can’t showcase all this in one day. What you have even seen is not complete because after this week, the next week again we are going to have another round of project commissioning. You recall that in January we did same. The last week in December we did same. You see when you have something to offer, you won’t hide you showcase it.
You know this is a State where the Governor is not one of those that commission 3D projects. You are a journalist in Nigeria. You know there are people who commission 3D projects.
What is 3D Project?
Oh just pictures . . .  laughter . . . pictures and images on 3D. Here we show you the projects live for you to see.
Is the NEW Vision blueprint the people’s vision or the idea of one man?
You see, for a man who did not jump into governance, you need to engage stakeholder groups. Before the NEW Vision blueprint was launched, it was actually launched. All the stakeholder groups in this State were consulted and it is a collective vision of Rivers people but there is a visioner in the person of His Excellency Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. So it is not one man. He has a vision of what he wants to do. He engages stakeholder groups, bring your thoughts together, an aggregate of ideas summed up in the NEW Vision blueprint and that’s why it is easy to implement. It is easy to implement because the engagement was robust. Visionary leaders use that as a strategy for stakeholder buy-in and that is what His Excellency has been able to demonstrate in governing Rivers State these few years.
Did these contracts involving billions of naira pass through the required procurement procedure?
There is a Bureau for Public Procurement. For every procurement entity, for instance, Ministry of Works, for them to be able to execute any project, that project first of all has to be approved by the Rivers State Executive Council and it has to go through the procurement process. The Bureau of Public Procurement has to give a certificate of no objection saying that, for example, if there is a quotation of say N10, we have looked at it, from procurement process and guideline, this thing should cost N8. That certificate is a necessity before any contract is executed in Rivers State. People just want to play to the gallery. With what is happening in Rivers State, they are dazzled so they look for one thing or the other to say. His Excellency is a man who is always stuck to protocol. He follows it to the letter and if you check, what he has done so far follows this procurement process.
Was the procedure of advertising these projects for bidding done?
All these processes are followed. You can’t execute any project in Rivers State without following the procurement process, you cannot, you can’t.
Why give the building of flyovers to Julius Berger alone? How does that empower the Rivers People?
That’s not correct, MCC is not Julius Berger, Lubricks Construction is not Julius Berger, O.K. Isokariari is not Julius Berger, they just finished the Abonnema Ring Road. Lubricks, all the roads you saw in Ogoni heartland were executed by them. There is Chrisjoe, an indigenous company, Ausphepz that handled the Bolo Internal Roads and so many others. The truth of the matter is, for the ones that you see in the city centre are handled by Julius Berger. A good number of projects that are going on throughout the local government areas of Rivers State today are handled by indigenous contractors and of course, you cannot say because a project is being handled by Julius Berger, local people are not empowered. It will be erroneous to say so because if Julius Berger is on site, at a particular location, they will not import people from outside Rivers State to supply the materials they will need. Of course, there is a trainee engineer apprentiship scheme agreement that the Rivers State government also signed with them.
For every project they are executing, trainee engineers are taken on board to be trained while that project is on-going.
How many people have benefited from that programme?
I can’t give you the real statistics of how many people, but they are Rivers people. You see, this administration is not a noise-making administration. When we started this conversation, I told you about strategic thinking. Wike is a visionary leader.  He is a leader leading for tomorrow, and so that apprenticeship scheme is embedded in the contract with Julius Berger. My colleague from the Ministry of Works is not here, he would have given the statistics on how many people have benefited. Of course, you can see the ripple effect of that to the manpower development in Rivers State. That’s not we talking about the unskilled labours, that’s not talking about the contractors that are involved in the execution.
So both Julius Berger, local contractors, coming together, what has happened in Rivers State within the last five years is amazing, engaging a greater percentage of the people.
How come people don’t know about the trainee engineer apprenticeship programme?
No, no, no. It is not true. As the Commissioner for Information and Communications, the day it was introduced, I addressed the press on it. After the State Executive Council approved the novel initiative, I addressed the press, then, I told the public that this is what the Rivers State Government is doing, I did.
What is the process of engaging the young people into this scheme?
The Ministry of Works in liaison with the contractor, gets the youths and screen them, because you see, these days, you don’t just base on paper qualification, just give somebody an opening or a slot, so they engage them, assess them, those who fit into the kind of          status that they want, they quickly put them in.
This is something that any right thinking government, even private sector does. They have their apprenticeship training scheme. Now under an apprentiship training scheme, those who do well during apprenticeship, because it is a skill building process, some are usually retained in those organisations, others can now export their skill to other companies. But what it means is that it now fully equips them with the requisite skill to be able to compete, assuming you are not taken by Julius Berger to work as a permanent staff, you now have the requisite skill and experience to also compete favourably with those your counterparts who will be aspiring for jobs in other places. Such capacity building wouldn’t have been possible if that opening was not given, so these are the things that will happen to the          trainees.
Also, it doesn’t mean that if Julius Berger is doing a job,  members of the Nigeria Society of Engineers are not involved. You can’t be doing such things without involving local contractors. Everybody, those involved in engineering, architecture, estate valuing, these professional groups, they are all integrated into whatever Julius Berger will be doing on site. That’s the truth of the matter. If you go to where they are working, a greater percentage of the people who are doing the jobs are Rivers people, it is just that the name of the company is Julius Berger, they are empowering       Rivers people.
Are the contractors following the terms of agreement on the apprenticeship scheme with the government?
Yes, they are following. If they are not following, His Excellency is one man who is committed to defend the interest of Rivers people, if they are not following this agreement, they won’t be taken into consideration.
What is the government doing concerning Agriculture?
Yes, fantastic, by God’s special grace, the next phase of commissioning that will happen in the upcoming week, the Cassava Processing Company will be commissioned, and already we have about 3000 up takers who will be involved in this cassava revolution.  You know, the truth of the matter in governance is that you cannot take everything at once. But we are looking at this Cassava Processing Company as a model for agricultural development in Rivers State. You know, when you want to start something, you can start with a little thing at first, progress, see the challenges, and then you move on to the next one, but this one that is going to happen very soon, you can’t find it anywhere in this country because it is designed in a way that machines go to the farms, harvest the cassava, clear them up at the farm and then, ship to the factory. The farmers don’t need to go to harvest, they don’t need to enter the labour of carrying the products to the factory. Now, the factory meets them at their farm locations. It is novel,  so gradually we will be building on this because His Excellency is desirous to also make agriculture the centre piece of this administration. So we are kick-starting with this Cassava Processing Company in the next few weeks.
How will the cassava company source for raw materials when the garri that is consumed in Rivers State comes from outside the State?
I will be surprised that somebody who lives in Rivers State will say that the garri consumed in Rivers State is gotten from outside the State. The garri that I eat comes from Ozuoba. And I know that all the Ikwerre -speaking areas, all the Etche- speaking areas, all the Ogoni- speaking areas heavily invest in cassava production. Go to any market in these areas, the garri is not imported from elsewhere.   And before a company like the Cassava Processing Company was set up, there is what is called feasibility study. And this is what we need to note, feasibility study takes into consideration where you are going to get raw materials for the factory and it is feasibility study that will say okay site this industry here. All of us did elementary Economics, location of industry, nearness to source of raw materials. So what is happening here is that feasibility study has shown clearly there will be raw materials for this factory, otherwise, go there, it is a multibillion naira investment. You can’t just go and site an investment when you can’t get raw materials for it.
Is there a need for another Flyover at Waterlines?
Well, you stay in Port Harcourt. You people play to the gallery. For example, talking about Waterlines, have you experienced gridlock in Waterlines before? It will be worse after GRA has been expanded, that’s what people don’t understand.
Waterlines used to have gridlock before now, now you have four lanes emptying into that gridlock, it worsens the problem. So, for what has happened at GRA not to affect and impact Waterlines, to jeopardise what has happened at GRA, you need that flyover. Because you see, Waterlines is a major hub for commercial vehicles that are plying inter-state. It is just like you have Ojuelegba in Lagos. So if you don’t create that kind of flyover there, when GRA empties there and all those who are coming from all those motor parks, it will be terrible. You know people sometimes criticise just to make criticism, now, the one that will be at Ikoku, I don’t know if you have experienced gridlock there before? So like I say to people, Governor Nyesom Wike is building infrastructure for tomorrow.
Now, note very soon, NLNG Train 7 will be on stream, this is the commercial hub of Nigeria, a lot of things will be happening in the city and if you don’t create the infrastructure now, Governor Wike doesn’t want Rivers State to look like Lagos where people will stay in traffic for hours, do you know what it means to waste an hour in traffic? A visionary leader sees tomorrow. I try to recall, you were in this State, Eleme Junction used to be a nightmare. People will park their cars there. Some will sleep there, at that junction, but because of that interchange, today, people have forgotten. Now very soon, people will forget all the horrors they used to face within the city centre because a man has come to redefine governance.
Are we sure the newly flagged-off projects will be delivered before the end of the tenure of Wike?
You see,  why I am excited working with His Excellency is that, he  follows his promises through, since he came on board, show me one promise he made that he has not kept.
I am the Commissioner for Information, when we flagged off the three flyover projects and it was to be delivered in 16 months, if you go to my facebook wall, people were saying how can this thing be, it’s just like a man in the Bible, you know when the Prophet said by this time tomorrow, food will be all over Samaria and the man said it’s not possible even though God opens everywhere. That’s what people were saying.
But today, all of them are completed within schedule. He matches every project with requisite funds.
It is uncommon in politics; it is uncommon in the governance of Nigeria. What people do; we have seen previous administration here leave behind white      elephant projects.
This man’s love for Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Wike loves for Rivers State. And he keeps repeating it, he said I will not leave any abandoned project for whoever will succeed me.
Some persons have the opinion that the flyovers are not well designed. What is your response to that?
 On how the flyovers are            being built, I am not an engineer but the truth is that a lot of people are not speaking from professional perspective. It is just like beer palour gossip. Before those projects were sited, engineering design had been taken into consideration, so many things were put into consideration.
The engineers know what you and I don’t know. What do you say about possible return of traders to the Okoro-Nu-Odo flyover?
Recall that a big market was opened at Rumuokoro, a very big market that has motor park and everything as part of that market. But you find that it’s a problem, just like you see along Creek road, traders leave the markets to trade on the road, but these are human beings; do they need somebody to always flog them for them to go into the market? These are the things even the Rivers State Traders Association (RTA) should be able to engage its members in. RTA needs to engage its members to sensitize them to understand that, they need to do the right thing. It is not good enough for government to build facilities and then they turn roads into markets.
What is the last thing you like to say to Rivers People?
Thank you very much, like I said during my interview yesterday, Rivers people need to join hands with His Excellency to develop Rivers State. His vision is to make Rivers State investors’ destination of choice and of course that’s why with our campaign “Our State Our Responsibility”, we are trying to make everybody who lives and does business in Rivers State understand that we have a shared prosperity to protect.
Governor Wike is giving us the roadmap. He is giving us the roadmap, on a daily basis to achieve a Rivers State of our dream. Truth of the matter is, a lot of people want our governor on loan to their States. It is the truth of the matter, it’s the truth.. A lot of people call me to say if your people can just loan your governor to us for six months because what they see happening under this COVID show me one State that is functioning. What is the magic wand? Vision, prudent management of resources and that determination to build a Rivers State that all of us will be proud of.
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