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The Amaechi Years: Rivers Economy After Seven Years His Feats, His ‘Sins’, His Tribulations

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His Feats:
– Setting up of the Songhai Farms
– The N20bn Agric revolution     ,
-Initiated the Greater Port Harcourt City
– Construction of one of the best stadia in Nigeria
– Building and equipping 180 health centres across          the State
– Constructed many roads and schools .
– Embarking on first-ever monorail to ferry 40,000
passengers daily
– Scholarship to over 2,000 students in universities               abroad
– Rescuing the UST to world class staus
– Free education with free books, uniforms, sandals,          etc
– ICT -driven education system with free laptops
– Building of 500 out of planned 750 world-class
primary schools
– Building and equipping 180 primary healthcare
centres, two tertiary health institutions
– Employment of hundreds of medical doctors and               nurses
-Employment of 13,210 fresh teachers
– Invested over N100bn per year for roads, bridges              and social amenities
-Built over 1000 km of roads
– Built two additional power stations in Afam and
completed three inherited ones
– High international financial rating, latest by S&P,
affirmed ‘B’, stable outlook
– And many more
Preamble
This analysis is aimed
at showing sterling economic achievements for which Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi would forever be remembered. It is also to point out the intrigues and the politics of this misunderstood leader and some of his actions that led to his present exalted position in the politics of Nigeria.
Early Political Career
University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) in Rivers State was where Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi laid the foundation of his political life, particiipating actively in student union politics, especially in the National Union of Rivers State Students (NURSS), of which he was president, and the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).
After graduation, he cut his teeth in politics as secretary of the now defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State from1992 to 1994.
He was special assistant to Peter Odili, the then deputy governor of Rivers State, and also a member of the Board of West Africa Glass Industry as well as Risonpalm Nigeria Limited.
He was secretary of the Caretaker Committee of the Rivers State Chapter of the disbanded Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN) in 1996 during the transition programme of the General Sani Abacha junta.
In 1999, Amaechi contested and won a seat to become a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly to represent his constituency.
He was subsequently elected Speaker of the House of Assembly as well a chairman of Nigeria’s Conference of Speakers of State Assemblies.
He was re-elected into the State House of Assembly in May 2003 and equally re-elected Speaker. A master’s degree holder, Amaechi assumption of office as Governor based on a Supreme Court judgement after PDP dumped him despite his convincingly winning the party’s gubernatorial ticket, remains a mystery to many political watchers in the country.
By May 2015 Amaechi would have spent eight years as Governor of Rivers State. He is currently Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). His unprecedented feats in the transformation of Rivers State have won him many international and local awards as well as the respect of great world and Nigerian leaders.
His Feats
The administration of Amaechi has recorded several feats, among them the following: Setting up of the Songhai Farms and the N20bn Agric Scheme that revolutionised agriculture in the State; initiated the Greater Port Harcourt City to decongest the present Port Harcourt City and construction of one of the best stadia that hosted the 2010 National Sports Festival in the new city; building and equipping 180 health centres across the State, constructed many roads and schools, embarked on a monorail- the first of its kind in Nigeria  which upon completion will transport 40,000 passengers daily.
Another feat is the offer of scholarship to over 2,000 students in Nigerian higher institutions and spending of about N20bn on Rivers students in foreign institutions. Then there is the building of a world-class university  which when completed will turn out well equipped graduates that will hold their own in any field and compete with the best in the world.
There is also the building, in Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), of a hostel that will accommodate about 6,000 students in addition to housing all the lecturers of the university. The university will be fully ICT compliant.
It is important to point out here that the Rivers State Government is among the few in Nigeria that offer free education and free health delivery to its people but stands apart as the only State offering free edu- cation, free sandals, free books and free uniforms in Nigeria. About 200  primary schools have been set up in 200 communities, a feat that no other state is yet to accomplish.
Under Health; so far, about 100 medical doctors have been employed  to staff most of the Health Centres in the rural areas. The Rivers State Government has currently embarked  upon the eradication of malaria vectors  from the State. The Health Centre  at RSUST will soon be opened to the public. The State was lauded last year for its daily commissioning of a health centre over a 60-day period in 60 communities in its 60-60-60 initiative. The Dental Hospital located in the Garrison area of Port Harcourt will soon be opened.
The Rivers State Government invested over N100bn per year from 2008 till 2011 in provision of roads, bridges and social amenities. In this regard, the Government has engaged in the construction of 800km roads with 250 already completed. It also commenced work on 10 major bridges, with 3 already completed while 20 minor bridges were started, with four completed.
Other projects include 2 flyovers/interchanges under construction; 6 land reclamation/shore protection projects at Andoni, Opobo, Buguma, Abalama,Olombie/Owukiri Island, Obo Ama, Okrika, with 1,1400,000km completed; 2 major markets and a shopping mall under construction (phase 1 of Mile 1 Market housing 960 shops and two banking halls completed).
Apart from all these, the Rivers StateGovernment has built three power stations at Omoku (150 Mega watts), Trans-Arnadi (130 Mega watts) and Eleme (75 mega watts). The security and freedom the people of Rivers State are now enjoying can only be appreciated if the scenario in the State before Gov. Amaechi assumed office is replayed.
It is on record that Rivers State has again been affirmed a ‘B’ international rating by leading international financial analysis agency, Standard and Poor’s (S & P). The long-term outlook for the state was revised upwards from last year rating of “Stable” to “Positive” on the strength of significant ongoing infrastructural investments (in roads, ICT, healthcare, education and urban renewal) and relentless efforts to transform the public finance framework. All this would help lift the state’s social and economic status in the long run.
In appreciation of these feats, the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has been conferred with the prestigious SERA award for his contributions towards the social development of Rivers State, in line with the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially in the areas of Health and Education.
While I know the difficulty in managing public funds, Governor Amaechi has demonstrated a high level of skill, integrity and probity in this regard. The numerous projects completed and ongoing in the State is a clear indication that the Governor indeed deserves encomium from all and sundry rather than being vilified by some people.
He and his team certainly deserve kudos for prudently utilising the public funds. To Malcolm X, “When you have a philosophy or a gospel- I don’t care whether it’s a religious gospel, a political gospel, an economic gospel or a social gospel – if it’s not going to do something for you and me right here and right now – to hell with that gospel.”
One can state unequivocally that Governor Amaechi has invested the resources of the people of Rivers State wisely and judiciously. This is not surprising to keen watchers of this administration. History will surely be fair to Amaechi and his team.
Amaechi and Jonathan before the crisis:
Reminiscing on the orchestrated problem between President Jonathan and Governor Amaechi, two great sons of the Niger Delta, I took out time to study the gladiators and the bond between them which, ordinarily, should have made their friendship impenetrable. The word bond means something that binds, fastens, confines, or holds together a cord, rope, band, or ligament, something like an agreement or friendship that unites individuals or people into a group.
According to Catherine Beecher, “The principle of subordination is the great bond of union and harmony through the universe” and according to Rainer Maria Rike, “I hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other:”
Facts available to me show that these two great exponents of democracy share similar family background – raised in humble families and experienced the pains of being educated by poor parents.
President Jonathan won the hearts of Nigerians with his expose that he was that student who trekked to school without a shoe, while Governor Amaechi also won hearts by revealing that he had a sandal and one pair of trouser which he washed every weekend to be used the following week for the major part of his undergraduate days. The two political leaders are products of UNIPORT and are among the Port Harcourt big boys.
Although President Jonathan is the older of the two, Amaechi has greater political experience. He has been in politics right from his days in the university, eventually becoming the only Nigerian that was a Speaker of a State House of Assembly for eight years and at the same time Chairman, Conference of Speakers in Nigeria, while later becoming Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
President Jonathan, on the other hand, is the first PhD holder (not honourary) to preside over the affairs of the country and the only Nigerian that left the academic environment where he was a Lecturer after having a stint with the defunct OMPADEC and rose to become a Deputy Governor (Bayelsa State), Governor, Vice President,  Acting President and  President all this without contesting a single election.
Talking of the significance of their names, Chibuike means “God is all Powerful” and “Rotimi” an abridged version of “Oluwadurotimi” meaning “the Lord stands by me”, while Amaechi means “who knows tomorrow?”.
On the other hand, Ebelechukwu which is the native name of the President, means “God’s Mercy”. Remember the popular phrase, what is in a name? One does not need to be a sage to know that all the meanings embedded in their names are playing out nicely in their lives.
While President Jonathan as the Vice President of Nigeria was suffering every humiliation in the hands of the cabal during the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua-led administration, Amaechi proved to be a reliable pillar of support behind him.
When President Yar’Adua passed on and Jonathan was being pushed around, Amaechi was among those in the forefront of ensuring that Vice President Jonathan assumed office as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when the National Assembly out of their wisdom came up with the Doctrine of Necessity.
During the 2011 elections, Governor Amaechi, not minding some other options available to him, opted to rally other Governors to ensure that President Jonathan won the PDP ticket and during the election proper, Amaechi delivered two million votes from the State to ensure that Jonathan got elected as the 14th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Not done with all this affection to his own brother with whom he shares some invisible bond not known to many Nigerians, Amaechi went ahead even while President Jonathan was the Vice President to ask him to nominate candidates to his Cabinet in Rivers State.
This resulted in the nomination of Israel Owate, a professor, who was once the president’s classmate, as the Commissioner for Education. Unfortunately, Owate could not drive the vision of the governor on education as fast as the governor wanted, so he was dropped.
Amaechi requested a replacement from Jonathan, who this time norninated Moses Ahubele, who manned the Ministry of Empowerment and Employment Generation till he died after an illness in the later part of 2010. After the 2011 general elections, Governor Amaechi requested from the president and he graciously nominated Charles Okaye, who still serves as the commissioner for chieftaincy and community-related affairs.
Amaechi’s Travails:
Despite his great show of love to President Jonathan, Governor Amaechi has been subjected to monumental humiIiation by the presidency. A few examples: The plane of the Rivers State Government was grounded for no just cause, the PDP Structure in Rivers State was taken away from Amaechi, his election as the Chairman of NGF duly certified and acknowledged worldwide was annulled by President Jonathan and his cohorts.
As if that was not enough, Arnaechi was suspended from a party he so much loved and spent so much to build. Indeed, if not for divine providence, he would have been illegally impeached by five legislators in a House of 32 members; a Police Commissioner was posted to haunt, insult and abuse him publicly, calling him a despot. What is more, governors that came to visit him were stoned! In the eyes of Nigerians, Amaechi stands as a great man while in the eyes of those haunting him he is a persona non grata.
The Reasons:
Governor Amaechi’s rnajor sin apart from his feats in governace and his assistance to President Jona than is his love for his State and readiness to protect the interest Rivers State.
The chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Service Matters, Andrew Uchendu once raised an alarm that Amaechi’s life had come under threat from the Federal Government and its agents.  He too recounted several actions and threats to the governor, from Kano incident to the Odudu Ondo one. Who would believe that a person of the status of Governor Ameachi irrespective of his relationship, respect and love he exhibited towards his own brother the President could be so haunted, humiliated, frustrated and his State turned to a war zone even while his brother is still the President of the Federal Republic Nigeria? That is the irony of  life. Let the world judge!
Commenting on the perceived sins of Governor Amaechi, one of his closest allies, former Commissioner of Works and current Chairman of the Petroleum Downstream Commitee of the House of Representatives, Dakuku Peterside, said in a recent  interview: “Some persons also claim that he is too forthright and I don’t know what crime that is called. However, the biggest unsaid problem in the perception by certain persons Presidency that Governor Ameachi has ambition to aspire to higher office.
The attempt to crirninalise ambition, if any, is the root cause of the perceived problem in NGF. The second strand is speaking truth to power as can be seen in Governor Amaechi’s comments on Sovereign Wealth Fund, Excess Crude Account, Rivers-Bayelsa oil well issue, fuel subsidy, East-West road, Adamawa PDP, amongst others:
Achinike Godwin William-Wobodo, senior special assistant to Governor Amaechi on Inter-Governmental Affairs, who holds an LLM in Criminal Law and Practice and is currently pursuing a PhD in Money Laundering and Anti-Corruption Law,in his own submission stated: “The induced situation is caused by third party elements, who are either driven by the hunger for power or jealousy.
Hear the illustrious son of the State and former Minister of Petroleum Resources, the professor, Tam David-West: “I’m particularly worried about the trend, not only because I am a Rivers State elder, not only because I am a strong supporter of Amaechi without any regret, I am also worried as a Nigerian because what is happening to Amaechi underscores a terrible Nigerian paradox, which I call the paradox of excellence.
“We support him because those of us who grew up in Port Harcourt as a famous ‘Garden City’ knew how the city changed to a rotten city. And Amaechi, who is also a Port Harcourt boy, returned the city back to its glorious ‘Garden City’ status. Any person that does not realise this is not only blind but terrible:”
This great sage reminded Amaechi’s opponents that he who laughs last, laughs best, stating with emphasis that the governor would laugh last because his first name, Chibuike, means God is strength:
How Amaechi, others, were pushed to the APC.
The desperation to completely destroy Amaechi led to his departure, alongside six other PDP governors, to form the New PDP, with five of them later joining the mega opposifton political party, the APC.
Explaining why, Amaechi Said: “At various times, as the one whom  you gave your mandate, I had cause to complain about the marginalisation of our State and our people despite our huge contribution to the national coffers and our unflinching commitment and support for the ruling PDP.
While the political and economic importance of Rivers State cannot be contested, we continue to hold the shorter end of the stick. A few instances may suffice: Our oil wells have been ceded to Bayelsa, Abia and Akwa Ibom states. Even after we got a judgement that the oil wells were wrongly ceded to Akwa Ibom State and should be returned to us; only dry wells that were no longer producing  oil were returned.
“In the specific case of the Soku oil wells, despite a decision reached that the monies should remain in an escrow account till all matters concerning it are resolved, the Federal Government continues to pay  neighbouring Bayelsa State the revenues meant for Rivers State in a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is indeed noteworthy that we have made several representations formally and informally on this matter.
A second instance is the total absence of federal presence in Rivers State. The National Good Governance Tour provided a good opportunity for  the Federal Government to showcase its presence in Rivers State. The tour, if nothing else, proved that there was not much to show in a state that is the cash cow of the federation.
The East-West Road remains abandoned, work has been deliberately slow on the Port Harcourt International Airport, the third busiest airport in the country, while all airports started along with it have long been completed and ommissioned.
The Bonny-Bomu Road that leads to the only functional liquefied natural gas project remains uncompleted.
In the midst of all these, our administration went ahead to fix federal roads to the tune of N103bn. Several representations and letters after, not one kobo has been repaid. The Federal Government is actively discouraging investments in Rivers State:
Conclusion: Good name better than gold;
When the powers that be in Abuja chose to chastise Governor Amaechi left, right, front and back to make him look unpopular before his constituency in order to prepare the ground for his ultimate removal from office, I saw whose interest they were serving and warned that they would inadvertently help Amaechi to become not only stronger but also triumphantly victorious at the end of the day. Many people dismissed my prediction with a wave of the hand. This has happened.
Today, despite all the attempts to bring him down, Governor Amaechi has proved himself an icon, hero and soldier of democracy. Some of the feats of this great leader of our time include making Port Harcourt the World Book Capital City, dogged fight for the oil wells and other rights of Rivers State and her people, as well as award-winning achievements in Education, Agriculture and Health, etc.
The latest proof is governor’s recent decoration as an Associate Fellow of the United Nations Institute for Training & Research (UNITAR), Geneva, Switzerland.
Culled from Business Day.

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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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