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A President On Trial

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As usual, pomp and fanfare would overwhelm the land today in
observance of the annual rites of remembering October, 1, 1960; a symbolic day;
a phenomenal moment encapsulating the collective agenda of a people’s desire
for identity, self determination and recognition.

Today is significant in two respects. First, independence
was achieved through dialogue and negotiation with the administering power –
the British -, rather than by violence. Second and most crucial, the civil
populace were, for the first time, going to govern themselves, by themselves
and for themselves.

Thus, the nation would be suffused with manifold emotions as
the government and people of Nigeria relieve that historic moment of our first
independence day which held so much promise for a nation just being retrieved
from the stranglehold and asphyxiating tedium of British imperialism.

Consequently, on a day like this, the past comes alive,  as we remember the unforgettable gallery of
great nationalists who helped inspire the optimism of the hitherto beleaguered
Nigerian people who had jubilated, optimistic that independence would translate
into a prosperous future.

In several constitutional conferences preceding October 1,
1960, the founding fathers had fired this optimism by speaking collectively of
the possibility of a great nation where ethnic pluralism would constitute a
source of strength, and a federalist arrangement to liberate the potentials of
the constituent units of the multi-ethnic, multi-national country.

The euphoria seemed justifiable because indeed Nigeria is
blessed with abundant human and natural resources of the highest quality.

Fifty two years later, however, many of the initial dreams
of our founding fathers have either died or have been frustrated by the
failures of the emergent elites, no thanks to the despicable moral turpitude
and political immaturity and perfidy of the Nigerian successors of the British
imperial factor.

As we reminisce about the triumphs and travails of the
Nigerian State today, not a few critical questions gnawing away at the
conscience of the nation and the Jonathan Presidency continue to hang in the
air, unanswered.

No doubt, looking back, a lot can be said of the symbolism
of democratic rule and the psychic income it has offered especially in
re-directing the focus of civil society towards properly defined objectives and
principles of state governance. And in ensuring the expression of the people’s
power as the truest source of legitimacy, the questions still seeking answers
are: What has independence brought us? What have we done with the legacy of the
nationalists?

One of the key issues in the 60s was the need to ensure
unity in diversity among the various ethnic nationalities, Today,
sectarian  identity is as sharp as the
newly acquired matchet. Various social groups are questioning the basis of the
Nigerian union.

The idea of the true federalism also seems to have been
thrown over board. The allocation of federal resources remains contentious as
groups and constituents within the federation are everyday complaining of
marginalization, inequitable distribution of amenities and national resources,
and injustice. Unemployment and inflation are rising sharply every day. The
middle class has gradually disappeared as citizens lose purchasing power, with
the attendant drop in the quality of life, reminiscent of the Biblical
seven-year lean period of the Egyptians. Infact, Nigerians have been so unhappy
and had been openly expressing their disenchantment with the nation’s
leadership even before giving a minority citizen, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan,
the mandate to deliver the much expected democracy dividends to the populace.

Exasperated perhaps by these anthology of woes, President
Jonathan, at his inauguration on May 29, 2011 pledged transformative leadership
in all the critical sectors. He said: “We must demonstrate the leadership,
statesmanship, vision, capacity, and sacrifice to transform our nation”.

Assuring “strength to the weak and protection to the
defenceless”, Jonathan promised that his leadership “must grow the economy,
create jobs, and generate happiness for our people”.

“To drive our overall economy, he continued, “the power
sector reform is at the heart of our industrialisation strategy”, assuring also
that “in the next four years, attention will be focused on rebuilding our
infrastructure, … creating greater access to quality education and improving
healthcare delivery”.

Pledging to place premium on the agricultural sector to
ensure food security and massive job creation for our people”, President
Jonathan promised “affordable public transport system”, “access to first class
education for the citizenry” and to banish corruption with “overwhelming
force”.

With those kinds of promises, expectations were very high
when Jonathan emerged the elected President in the 2011 polls. Even before his
emergence, he reportedly harped on power sector reform and security at campaign
rallies.

In fact, documentation by the International Press Centre
(IPC), Lagos, in conjunction with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting,
indicated that between February and March 2011, Jonathan, as the Presidential
candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), made some specific promises on
power. The document quoted him as promising amongst others:

“To deliver stable, constant supply of electricity, To
provide stable power supply by the year 2015 so that small and medium scale
industries can thrive again, to ensure that Nigerians do not use generators
more than two times in a week; to explore the coal deposits in Benue and Kogi
States for improved power supply; to construct more dams to build more
hydro-power stations; to reduce the importation of generators by at least 90
per cent in the next four years; to raise power generation to about 4,747
megawatts by December 2011 and to put an end to epileptic power supply in the
country just as fuel queues at petrol stations were ended”.

On security, the IPC documentation says Jonathan promised,
amongst others:

“To make anyone caught breaching the public peace to face
the full wrath of the law; To make sure that no part of the country is allowed
to be a sanctuary for criminals anymore, be they armed robbers or kidnappers;
to make a complete transformation of national security architecture; To
confront headlong ethno-religious violence in the country; to ensure there is
no sacred cow in the fight against corruption; all crimes will be investigated
as security is key; Not to interfere with corruption cases; to strengthen the
EFCC and ICPC to fight crime; to eradicate kidnapping impeding entrepreneurship
in Eastern Zone; to pursue all bombers and terrorists and to adopt modern
method to tackle the problem of political violence”.

Expectedly, the Jonathan administration’s performance on the
promises would be appraised against the backdrop of high expectations from the
people as the nation marks her 52 years of independence; high expectations
arising from the failure or inability of most past administrations to fix the
Nigerian project.

Critics of the Jonathan administration have persistently
faulted the President’s security measures as being insufficient enough to
tackle the nation’s ever-growing in security breaches. They argure that Boko
Haram’s incessant attacks which have claimed many lives have worsened, as
stories of bombings and killings have become a daily affair. Next to this is
the power sector reform in which the administration has received more knocks
than kudos. But the good news here is that there is now a roadmap for the
successful reform of the sector as winners have emerged from among the firms that
bidded for slots in the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria
(PHCN). Also, from a meager 2,200 megawatts upon inauguration, power generation
is already more than 4,400 megawatts. The administration has also assured that
by December this year, 1,000 megawatt will be added to that figure with a view
to reducing the problems arising from power outage.

Again, while one may be tempted to score this administration
low in the fight against crime, kidnapping, malfeasance and rancid corruption,
there are indeed very positive steps taken and which have started paying of.
Also, its achievements in health and educational sectors are commendable. The
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which had a running battle with
President Olusegun Obasanjo had their outstanding issues settled amicably,
through dialogue.

And even if some analysts might consider the petroleum
subsidy issue as a sore point of this administration, the fact remains that the
people were to later see reasons why government had to take the stance it took
as those involved in the subsidy scam are now facing various charges in the law
court in the public interest.

What with the Niger Delta question. Though the case for
fiscal federalism is getting stronger by the day, the Niger Delta youth
restiveness in the creeks has since given way for rehabilitation and
reconstruction of the region, in fulfillment of the president’s promise.

Only recently, President Jonathan himself admitted at a
forum that the Boko Haram insurgency was distracting his administration from
fully actualizing his mandate of delivering democracy dividends to the people.
Assuring that he would not be deterred from the focus of his administration, he
vowed to work assiduously to enthrone peace and security in the land.

No doubt, more is still needed to be done by the Jonathan
administration to correct the ills of the past and inspire, not just
psychological reliefs, but confidence in the system and deliver happiness to
the citizenry.

Aware of the enormous tasks and great challenges ahead,
President Jonathan has, at a every available opportunity, pleaded for patience
to sort things out; a plea most analysts say may be given some consideration as
he has only spent 16 months in office as President and Commander-in-Chief.

As it is, what is required now is a general reconstruction.
The country’s infrastructure which is lamentably in disarray must be fixed. We
need to rebuild the bridges between the state and the civil society, empower
the people and strengthen the state. In fact, the ideology of governance must
be reviewed to give full effect to true federalism as enshrined in the
constitution so that such hallowed values as equity, fairness and justice must
remain sacrosanct.

Again, the country’s social infrastructure must be made to
become more active and efficient. Our hospitals and educational institutions
must be well equipped to standards obtainable in other climes and the public
service made more efficient.

More importantly, considering the present age of economics
we live in, coupled with the stark reality of globalization, international
finance and statelessness of capital, the leadership must ensure that Nigeria
is moved beyond the limitations of the past and be part of the future. In this
way dashed hopes would have been rekindled and the nation galvanized to greater
heights.

 

Victor Tew

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Wike’s Pragmatic Offensive Against Illegal Bunkering

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On Wednesday, January 13, 2021, Governor Nyesom Wike, embarked on fact-finding assessment tour of two local government areas: Ikwerre and Emuoha, to see for himself, some of the locations where the operators of the infamous illegal refineries tormenting the health and well-being of Rivers people with black soot for years now, have commandeered as their operational bases.
The revelations of that tour, have not only been mind-boggling in terms of the assemblage of sophisticated equipment and the operational dynamics of the illegal refineries, but sadly in the cumulative impact and overall long-term negative implications of the environmental, health and economic damages their continuous operations have inflicted and would continue to inflict on the people.
Wike’s pragmatic, on-the-spot assessment tour to the two local government areas, to dare the lions of illegal refineries in their own dens, was sequel to his radically precise 2022 New Year message to Rivers people, in which he unequivocally read the riot act to sponsors and operators of illegal refineries in the state.
He not only dropped the gauntlet by naming some of those behind the illegal operations, he boldly declared 19 persons wanted, and urged others who know themselves to report to security agencies on their own volition and discretion.
Wike equally directed all local government chairmen and community leaders to locate, identify such sites and report all those behind illegal bunkering and crude oil refining sites in their localities for prosecution.
And as a follow up to his trip through the track roads into the forest of Ogbodo community in Ikwerre Local Government Area and the forest of Ibaa community in Emohua LGA to uncover the illegal refining sites, Wike has now issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the 23 local government chairmen to provide a comprehensive list of illegal refineries and their operators within their jurisdiction.
The Rivers governor, who gave the ultimatum at a meeting with the council chairmen and heads of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police Force, the Directorate of State Service (DSS) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) at Government House on Friday, January 14, challenged the council chairmen to prove that they are not complicit in the dangerous business that has continued to threaten the health of Rivers people and the national economy.
While further demanding the redeployment of the DPO and NSCDC officers implicated in illegal refinery activities, the governor stated unequivocally that as a responsible government, it will be unwise for them to fold their hands and do nothing to safeguard residents of the state from the death that is forced upon them by criminally-minded operators of artisanal refineries.
Wike’s pragmatic offensive against illegal refineries had been driven by his deep worry and concern over the environmental pollution caused by dangerous black soot, which had practically covered the stratosphere of major parts of Rivers State, and had become even more life-threatening with the arrival of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, to compound the already menacing and precarious respiratory health challenges synonymous with the Coronavirus.
More significant to the Rivers governor’s courageous trip into the heart of the jungle where the operational hub of these illegal refineries throb with nefarious activity, is however, the widely believed notion that the Federal Government and its security agencies have either deliberately or otherwise, failed woefully to rein in those behind illegal oil bunkering and artisanal crude oil refiners in the state, whose illegal operation has become the number one health hazard in the state.
Wike, speaking on the black soot matter, in his New Year message, stated categorically that: “As a state government, we have drawn the attention of the Federal Government to this problem, and requested for its intervention to stop the activities of illegal bunkering and artisanal crude oil refiners, which have been identified as the main sources of the soot pandemic.
“Unfortunately, the Federal Government has remained inexplicably silent over our request, and even complicit to a large extent with the security agencies actively aiding, encouraging and protecting the artisanal refiners to continue with their harmful activities unabated,” the governor declared.
To fully comprehend and appreciate the enormity of the situation which confronts Rivers people with the continued operations of these illegal refineries unchecked, and which has now driven the Rivers governor to engage in this frontal, hands-on radical action to tackle the soot menace, one must necessarily reflect on the timeless Igbo adage invoked by the great Nigerian writer, late Professor Chinua Achebe, in the famous novel, “Things Fall Apart”, which says that: ‘a man who does not know where the rain began to beat him, cannot say where he dried his body’.
It is a well known fact that the illegal refining business is a multi-billion naira industry. It is something that is not hidden, it is very visible. Wike has, in several widely reported occasions, called out the heads of security agencies in the state, over their involvement in aiding and abetting the illegal operations.
Niger Delta analysts and Civil Society Organisations have also opined that a lot of influential political and military leaders referred to as ‘cabals’ or ‘cartels’ are all involved in this business, and so, it has become quite difficult to put a halt to it.
The result of this illegal occupation in Rivers State and on Rivers people is the black soot. Efforts to tackle this health hazard may have been cosmetic, especially following the 2016 and 2018 #StopTheSoot protests in Port Harcourt and other parts of Rivers State and Niger Delta.
The emergence of COVID-19 and the concerted agenda to control and manage the pandemic has even achieved a greater urgency now, as a result of the protracted air pollution crisis, caused by the black soot and exacerbated by the new Omicron variant, which is said to swiftly aggravate and accelerate respiratory failure.
A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that, outdoor air pollution causes 4.2million deaths each year across the world. Additionally, 99per cent of the global population is exposed to a high level of air pollution which puts them at risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other life-threatening medical conditions. Black soot, in particular, can be linked to a wide range of severe health effects, including acute bronchitis (an inflammation that causes coughing) and an aggravated breathing situation for asthma patients.
Wike recognised this in his impassioned directives to the Rivers State Police Commissioner, Mr Friday Eboka at one of the sites of the illegal refineries, to ensure that the sponsors and operators of these operations are brought to book, no matter how highly placed.
As at January 13, 2022, when Wike was in Ikwerre and Emuoha LGAs to assess the illegal refineries’ bases, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria amounted to 249,586. According to figures from the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the latest numbers show that Lagos State had total confirmed cases of 97,320 to top the list, followed by Abuja (27,782), Rivers (15,990), as the second and third highest number of cumulative cases, respectively.
It is common knowledge that Section 44(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); the Land Use Act, and Petroleum Act, vests the exclusive control, ownership, and management of oil and gas in the Federal Government and not to the state or local government where the oil and gas are situated (Exclusive List).
But there’s no doubt whatsoever that Wike’s pragmatic offensive against illegal refineries in the state is not only a step in the right direction in the collective effort, with civil society groups, to confront and defeat the continued production of black soot through the activities of these illegal operations, it once again exposes the distinctions between opportunistic service and the demands of the conceptual responsibility of service and leadership, geared towards protecting and preserving the well-being of the people.
Wike has never failed to stand on the side of the people and his ‘war’ against illegal refineries is just another manifestation of a leader who not only leads from the front, but will always put his people first, and step on toes to ensure that the people come first, no matter whose Ox is gored.
Political opportunists whose stock-in-trade is to politicise every genuine intention of Wike should bury their heads in shame this time around. The Rivers State Government is winning the war against the menace!

By: Paulinus Nsirim
Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State.

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As Bonny Monarch Marks Milestone…

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The catalogue of colourful events earmarked for the celebration of the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty, King Edward Asimini William Dappa Pepple III, Edward I, Perekule XI, Amanyanabo and Natural Ruler of Grand Bonny Kingdom, that began with a solemn service of rendition at the Cathedral Church of St. Stephen’s on  Friday December 17, 2021 and ended on Wednesday December 22, 2021 with the whole Kingdom coming back to the Cathedral to thank God for a peaceful atmosphere, fair weather and the general success of the celebrations. The solemnity of the rendition service will forever remain with me. It was epochal, not just for the major milestone it marked, but for its spiritual and historical significance.
King Edward has now reigned as Bonny monarch for 25 years and people of the Kingdom stopped at nothing to celebrate their great ruler, starting with a special church service where the King and his Council of Chiefs were rededicated to serve God and Bonny people. It was a reenactment of the foundation laid by King George, the great grandfather of Edward sometime in the 1880s.
The humility of the King and his Council of Chiefs and the declarations they made before God on that fateful day was enough to give hope to every indigene of Bonny Kingdom in that service.
Before God and the people of Bonny Kingdom, the King made commitment saying: “In the name of the Lord and to the best of my abilities, I will continue to be a faithful monarch to this Kingdom. I will continue to share with us those gifts which God had entrusted to me. I shall daily strive to lead, teach and equip us for service. I shall love my people and have faith in them. I faithfully continue as one among them as we strive to better the lot of all who dwell both within and out outside the walls of this Kingdom. I shall seek to lead by example with God as my strength, Jesus Christ as my example and the Holy Spirit as my Guide”.
The Council of Chiefs, led by its chairman, Se – Alabo Dagogo Suoala Claude Wilcox made a commitment to God, the King and the Kingdom saying: “As Chiefs of this Kingdom and in the name of God, we make this commitment. We will, with God’s help, and to the best of our abilities, seek to be supportive of you in monarchical services. We offer to you our support, our confidence, our encouragement, our patience, our trust, our giftedness, our wisdom, our love and our prayers. We will have faith in you. We will serve with you for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord and for the love of our native land. In this your re-dedication to godly services, we claim your family as our family and commit ourselves to respect, love, care and support them as we support do to you. We make this promise s through Jesus Christ our Lord”.
The content of these declarations have hope written all over them, especially when the King said he was going to be one among his people. Following through on these commitments is at the core of what true leadership is. In very simple terms, the King has committed to feel the pain of his people and celebrate their joy in the years ahead.
Actually, the import of the declarations can only be fully understood by an indigene of Bonny of Bonny Kingdom. In Bonny Kingdom, irrespective of who is the local government chairman, the Amanyanabo and his Chiefs take the blame for every form of failure. Bonny people always look to their King and his Council of Chiefs. The reason for this is not clear, but it could be adduced that the transient nature of political offices and the actions of politicians might be a major factor.
In the past 25 years, most of the development in Bonny Kingdom had been facilitated through an organ of the Kingdom called the Bonny Kingdom Development Committee (BKDC). The BKDC was instrumental in the conceptualisation and delivery of such developmental projects in power, human capacity (through the Bonny Vocational Center) and social impact projects as the Ibanise HIV Initiative that reduced HIV/AIDS prevalence in Bonny Kingdom.
The youthful generation that saw the coronation of the Amanyanabo in 1996 is now in their 40s and 50s. A few are Chiefs, some are title citizens, others form the core of the current crop of political class and the rest are professionals in various fields. The next 25 years is starting with a fresh crop of youths desirous of a sustainable and prosperous future. How will the King lead into the future? How does he surpass the successes of the past years? How will he, in consonance with the local government council and the security agencies in the Kingdom, bring drug and kidnapping to zero? How does he hold the Kingdom together as one man among many? Will he put on the cloak of burden for his people, making sure no one is left behind? These are the questions on the mind of every indigene and resident of Bonny Kingdom irrespective of age, house, creed or political affiliation.
There is every reason to hope because the King was prayed for and blessed by his people. God has favoured the King by preserving the eighty one year Rt. Rev. Gabriel Herbert People, Bishop emeritus of Niger Delta Diocese, Anglican Communion who crowned him in 1996 to rededicate in 2021 after 25 years. In rededicating the King, the Bishop charged him under God, “to be of good courage to hold fast that which is good; to strengthen the faint hearted; to render unto no man evil for evil; to help the afflicted; to support the weak; to honour all men and to love and serve the Lord.”
The second reason for hope is found in the significance of gifts given to the King during the service. Gifts of water, wine, a shepherds’ staff, olive oil, traditional wrapper and candle were given to the King; representing the peace the Kingdom desires to enjoy in the years ahead, wisdom and good leadership from the King, prosperity for the Kingdom and the candle as a symbol of light and truth that his majesty’s light may shine to the glory of God and the uplifting of Bonny Kingdom. The Bishop also handed the King a copy of the Holy Bible, charging him to lead the kingdom under God, with Christ as an example and the Holy Spirit as guide.
The future of Bonny Kingdom is a blank page in which anything could be written; and the Amanyanabo understands his role as that pencil in the hand of the Creator. He should bear in mind that the strategies that worked for the Kingdom and brought him safely to his 25th Anniversary would not take him and the Kingdom into the promised land of a sustainable and prosperous future, especially in an uncertain political and economic environment as Nigeria. He must now surround himself with men of bold ideas capable of lifting everyone in Bonny Kingdom out of poverty; men who rather think of the GDP of Bonny Kingdom and fight its emergence as an economic power house in spite of oil and gas. Men who can design a 25-year development plan, with concrete deliverables every five years and to give their lives, if need be, for the sake of posterity.
The Chiefs must return and rebuild every stratum of their Houses – Gburusu, Asawo, Erawo and youths. In the same token, each House must domesticate the 25-year plan after it has been approved by the Ibanise Assembly. Every sleeve must be rolled up for the work ahead; the King’s strength is in his people. The political class must know they only exist to serve the people in a democracy. Therefore, they must reorient themselves to fulfilling their duty of creating an enabling environment for growth by being transparent and accountable. In this regard, Dame Hon. Anengi Barasua, the current Bonny LGA boss, has a rare opportunity to show the men folk have to lead by rising with concrete achievements.
In my interactions with some title citizens and youths, the general consensus is that the Kingdom stagnated in the last five years despite the euphoria of the signing of the new MoU with NLNG, SPDC and ExxonMobil in 2015. They were of the opinion that the parochial interest of a select few denied the Kingdom desperately needed resources for almost six years. They prayed and hoped that the occasion of this coronation Silver Jubilee would mark a turning point for the Kingdom’s new vehicle for development – the Bonny Kingdom Development Foundation (BKDF). Bonny people must know that the best time to turn her fortunes around was in 2015, but the next best time is now. No one is exempt; everyone has a role to play in bringing the Kingdom across the Jordan and into the promise of the future.
In a chance meeting in 2018, I got a rare opportunity to hear from the King, the history and purpose of the BKDF and a possible future for Grand Bonny Kingdom. With the aid of a video, his Majesty explained how Bonny Kingdom was to transition from a monolithic economy to a diversified one. I left the meeting in tears and a heart full of hope, knowing that the future of Bonny Kingdom was assured and the thought that there are still visionary leaders in Nigeria. There have been delays of all kinds, however, my hope and belief in Bonny Kingdom and its people has not diminished.
Bonny Kingdom is blessed beyond imagination, and it has everything it takes to transform into a type of Dubai on the Atlantic. The people must know that no one will build Bonny Kingdom but Bonny people.  Every son and daughter of the kingdom both at home or in the diaspora must on this occasion of the coronation Silver Jubilee rededicate themselves to an upliftment of the Kingdom. The King and the Council of Chiefs need a deep introspection on avenue to our core values and identity as a distinct people. In a sense, Bonny Kingdom needs to remain ancient in the things that set it apart and modern in its approach to matters of the economy, politics and social cohesion. The Ibanise Assembly must be revived to meet at least quarterly; an annual Bonny Kingdom home and abroad conference should be instituted to be held every Fungu (Mid August) with a day set aside for every House to hold their annual general meeting.
Prof. Pat Utomi once commented that the future of Nigerian is so bright that it can’t be viewed with the naked eyes. But, I want to submit that the future of Bonny Kingdom is even brighter. Nigeria and the rest of the world is waiting for Bonny Kingdom’s contribution to the blue economy, ICT, health, pharmaceuticals, education, sports and tourism. The world is waiting for Edward I to lead Bonny Kingdom into the promise land, but every indigene must stand to be counted.

By: Raphael Pepple

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Dakuku Peterside On A Wild Goose Chase

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Our attention has been drawn to the ranting of a rabble-rouser, Dakuku Peterside, in an interview published in the December 15, 2021 edition of Daily Independent newspaper captioned “No governance in Rivers State in the last six years – Peterside.”
In the said publication, Dakuku Peterside laboured in futility to magnify his vicious and mischievous attacks aimed at demeaning the person of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and his nationally celebrated administration that can be compared to none in the present democratic dispensation.
We sympathise with Dakuku Peterside who is still licking the wounds of his woeful political escapades in 2015. Obviously devastated by the colossal loss in that election, due to unpopularity, he has since won the toga of a serial liar, even though well meaning Rivers people often dismiss his public views with ignominy.
Worrisome is the degree of amnesia always exhibited in his illogical vituperation whenever he attempts to exert resources trying to denigrate the glaring and incontrovertible developmental strides of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike in virtually every sector  of Rivers State economy.
Although the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had spitefully dumped Dakuku Adol Peterside as a choice to fly the governorship flag of the party in the 2019 general election, only a kindergarten politician like Dakuku Adol Peterside will blame Governor Wike for the internal crisis that led to the failure of the APC to field candidates for all elective positions in Rivers State.
There is no gain saying the fact that Dakuku Peterside’s persistent vociferous opposition to the good works of Governor Wike is born out of his desperate meandering to secure the nod of his boss, the Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi, to bear the 2023 governorship flag of the already depraved APC in  Rivers State.
It is disheartening to note that despite all efforts by informed persons to explain the true meaning of democratic governance, Dakuku Peterside has deliberately decided to continue in his mischief to sell bunch of fabricated lies about the state institutions rendered moribund by Governor Wike’s predecessor, such as the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency, RSSDA, Rivers State Traffic Management Agency, TIMARIV, Rivers State Housing and Property Development Authority amongst others.
Dakuku Peterside, on a wild goose chase, can not feign ignorance to the fact that the Amaechi’s administration left all those institutions mere shadows of themselves with huge debts of unpaid salaries and  allowances.
It is on record that TIMARIV was disbanded because of the inability of Amaechi to sustain the agency he created. And as at the time it was disbanded the Amaechi’s government was owing eight months of salaries to the workers.
We may like to remind Dakuku Peterside once again that as a concerned Rivers man he should first of all seek public enquiry into N70 billion ditched monorail project, the nonexistent $39.9 million Karibi-Whyte hospital, the $300 million Gas Turbines sales still unaccounted for, amongst others, used as conduits to siphon Rivers State Government money.
Contrary to the despicable assumption expressed by Dakuku Peterside, Governor Nyesom Wike has clearly redefined governance in Nigeria through massive infrastructural development of Rivers State, which received early acknowledgement by the Vice President, Prof. Yomi Osinbajo, who gave Governor Wike the sobriquet, “Mr. Project”.
Governor Wike has not only sustained that nickname but has added speed to his projects delivery capacity by completing and commissioning six out of nine flyover projects awarded by his administration within a space of two years. This is outside the massive  construction and commissioning of several roads within Port Harcourt and the other 22 local Government areas of the State.
Governor Wike’s administration has also embarked on several developmental projects in the health sector, education sector, social sector and the sports development, Today, Governor Wike is priced as the Nigeria’s face of democracy.
We need not re-ephasise the fact that men of sound mind across the political divide and indeed Nigerians are overwhelmed by Governor Wike’s unprecedented achievements in putting in place signature projects that  have transformed Rivers State for rapid socioeconomic growth within six years.
Amazed by Governor Wike’s results oriented leadership style, particularly at this period of global economic downturn occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigerians refer to him as “face of democracy” and “Mr Quality Project.” Major stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party refer to Governor Wike as the pride of PDP.
Only recently, former Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, while commissioning the Rumuola flyover project, has proved himself worthy of his sobriquet “Mr. Project!”
Mimiko asserted that those who feel unsettled by Governor Wike’s words and actions cannot take away the fact that he conceives projects, plans projects, delivers projects because he loves projects.
“Some see governance or being in government as an end in itself, you have deployed your limitless energy, by these accomplishments to demonstrate that governance is a means to an end; the improvement of the lives of our people,” Mimiko spoke about Wike.
While inaugurating the GRA flyover project, legal luminary and human rights activist, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, said Governor Wike has demonstrated transparency and accountability in the management of the resources of the State through the execution of numerous infrastructural projects.
“Governor Wike has shown that it is not enough for a governor to get his monthly allocation from the revenue account under section 162 of the Constitution but without showing evidence of  what you are using that money for,” he said.
Ozekhome commended Governor Wike for showing that investing in human capacity is the best way to live in the heart of the people. “He has shown that he possesses the capacity to develop the people, not just in terms of infrastructure, but in terms of their education and human capacity building.”
On his part, Adamawa State Governor, Rt Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, alluded that he has always known Governor Wike as a man who has instituted a culture of commissioning projects in Rivers State for the use of the people.
“It is from Rivers State, under Governor Wike that we have all learned that one can deliver on multiple projects and dedicate a whole month to commissioning them.
“As recent as April this year, so many projects were commissioned in the State and today, instead of receiving his birthday gifts from Rivers people, he has decided to celebrate his birthday in a grand style by giving Rivers people a carnival of commissioning,” Fintiri said.
Enugu State Governor, Rt Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who was also in the State this week to commission the Tombia road extension project described Governor Wike’s leadership style as a fulfilling experience on his previous visit to Rivers State  in January, 2021 to commission the then newly dualised Saakpenwa-Bori Road project that serves the Ogoni heartland.
“It was a fulfilling experience and I returned to the coal city State with good tidings of exciting progress and great hope for infrastructural development in Rivers State, the treasure base of the nation.
“Today’s experience evidences a quantum leap in the great State and I dare say that my brother, the Governor of Rivers State is truly Mr. Project,” Ugwuanyi declared.
These are a few of the long list of wonderful testimonials from the spectators of Governor Nyesom Wike’s unique and highly results oriented governance style which provides strong evidences that are incontrovertible. Governor Wike has set the pace for others to follow in rendering the actual dividend of democracy.

By: Amieyeofori Ibim
Ibim, Special Assistant, Media to Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, resides in Port Harcourt.

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