Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital is 100
years this year and the government and people of Rivers State have taken time to celebrate the anniversary and to appreciate the grace of God on the city. In some ways, it is also an opportunity to celebrate the accommodating nature of its people and the potentials of the city.
One hundred years is a landmark anywhere in the world. Apart from the fact that Port Harcourt will not be 100 years again, quite a lot of people alive today will not be there to see Port Harcourt at 200. This easily explains why the anniversary has become so important and exciting.
Besides, Port Harcourt has played great roles in the development of Nigeria. For the people of the Niger Delta, it has served as state or economic capital, entertainment or holidays destination and home of some of the greatest Nigerians or dependable friends.
As we join the government and good people of Rivers Sate to celebrate Port Harcourt, we cannot forget how it has been the city of possibilities for many people. Port Harcourt has realised the aspirations of millions of people in Nigeria and across the world.
At different times, the city had taken up fond names like Igwocha, Pitakwa, Garden City, even P.H. Port Harcourt has also grown in population and landmass. Areas that used to be neighbouring communities to the city have formed part of the city that is still growing.
Through the years, Port Harcourt has not just become a major cosmopolitan city, but a household name across the world. In addition to serving as the gateway to the world for the people of the Southern part of Nigeria, because of its airport and seaport, the city has become a safe haven for all.
Port Harcourt is the oil and gas capital of Nigeria, a fly way to the emerging economies of the Gulf of Guinea, a huge market and a growing tourist destination. Port Harcourt has also become famous for its pioneering development programmes and projects.
To celebrate this once-in-a-life-time anniversary, the Rivers State Government declared public holidays between November 15-22, 2013 to enable the people own the celebrations. Its well mapped out plan for the anniversary has already produced books, awards and commentaries from leaders of the land that will be cherished for a very long time.
Within the period, there has been symposium/books presentation, beauty pageant, health walk, and football competition. Before it winds up, there would be State banquet, carnival, street party and awards night among others. These activities show clearly how the anniversary is more about the good people of the city and the grateful heart of the government.
Indeed, the Rivers State Government under Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi deserves all the commendations it gets. Not only has the government recognised and put on record the development of the city, the roles it played in preparing Port Harcourt for this epoch is almost divine.
It is not an accident that Governor Amaechi is on seat when Port Harcourt marks her 100 years. It is also no accident that the government is working assiduously to re-model Port Harcourt for the future; re-direct its economic focus and develop the human capacity for change.
It is on record that at 100, Port Harcourt has the most modern health and educational facilities. Its roads, drains and housing plans stand out. The Greater Port Harcourt project has also added infrastructural outlay that would take the city out of the usual African setting.
Already, the city is leading with a monorail project that would be ready soon. A new ultra- modern stadium is already in place, while the new campus of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology is a statement waiting for its time.
This centenary celebration should serve as home coming for the Port Harcourt boys and girls. It is also a time to plough back and contribute to the development of the city. Port Harcourt has the potential to be the most industrious, economical, viable and developed.
Once again, we congratulate the government and people of Rivers State. We rejoice with the people of Port Harcourt and we pray that Port Harcourt will continue to grow and meet the varied and various needs of her people.