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Okrika: We’re Running Out Of Patience – APC

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Being a speach by spokesperson for the Greater Together Campaign Organisation, Ibim Semenitari, at a press briefing on Wednesday in Port Harcourt on the postponement of APC rally in Okrika.
Today is a sad day for
our democracy. Today, the Nigerian state has visited violence on us as members of the All Progressives Congress in Okrika Local Government Area, and has told us that we are less than humans. We are not entitled to enjoy our democratic rights of association, our right to vote or be voted for.
The incidents in our local government area, perhaps, are no longer news to you. For purposes of records and for emphasis, Okrika local government is one of the 23 local government areas of Rivers State. It is home to over 222,285 persons (2006 census).  Some 65,300 of these are registered voters while 38,000 are members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Okrika Local Government Area.
Coincidentally, Okrika is also the home of Nigeria’s first lady, Mrs. Patience Ibifakaa Goodluck Jonathan. Okrika people are known for their industry, tenacity and courage. Their early contact with the colonialists meant that they had early education and learnt early the tenets of democratic rule and governance.  Okrika is both an oil producing and oil bearing community. It suffered a lot of damage as a frontline LGA during the Niger Delta militancy days. Indeed, its communities bore the brunt as the fault line of those days. Needless to say the scars are still with us.
There is much to say about Okrika Local Government Area but we will prefer to turn our attention to more recent events. Okrika people have always supported leadership that is progressive and focused on service delivery. We are republican in nature and whilst we have the war canoe chieftaincy system, we recognise and reward merit. We are not afraid to call a spade, a spade, and will fight to ensure the unity and progress of our Se.
In 2011 Okrika people displayed this commitment to the good of our people when even though an Okrika son, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, contested for the governorship elections under the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the elections in Okrika were, peaceful, free, fair and without acrimony or rancour. Even as we campaigned, we ate together, sang together and danced together without anyone shifting his or her political positions. In the end, the PDP won the elections in Okrika at all levels. As at that time, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi led members of the PDP in Okrika to hold rallies and campaign without injury to any of our people or any attack of any kind.
Events after 2011 forced Governor Amaechi and also majority of the members of the PDP in Okrika to move political party to the All Progressives Congress. Since this decision to exercise our right of association by moving to the All Progressives Congress, our members have been visited with threats, violence and intimidation. When we commenced APC registration in Okrika Local Government Area in February, 2014, our members were attacked and brutalised. Thankfully, the Okrika indomitable spirit kept them going, and we managed to conclude the registration under most trying and difficult conditions.
More recently, in the early hours of January 11, 2015, the Okrika LGA APC party secretariat and the campaign office of the APC candidate, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, was attacked. Campaign billboards and posters were destroyed.
The APC secretariat is located in Abam-Ama, a community that shares borders with Oba-Ama, hometown of Nigeria’s first lady, Patience Jonathan. This incident was reported to the Rivers State police command and the police high command in Abuja the same day. Till date, the Nigerian police has done nothing.
Again, on the early hours of Saturday, January 24, 2015, some PDP members attacked the venue of the proposed APC Governorship rally. They destroyed property, burnt cars and attempted to prevent the rally from holding. Refusing to be cowed, the APC tried to rebuild its destroyed platforms to enable it hold the rally.
It is pertinent to note at this point that the security personnel who were sent to secure the venue were unceremoniously pulled out, and asked to stand down the operations on the ubiquitous orders from above. Minutes after the security left, another set of PDP boys swarmed on the venue attacking persons and destroying property. Not satisfied with this they moved into the community, attacking homes of APC members, burning cars, looting homes and harming persons.
Again for the sake of peace, the APC called off its governorship rally, engaging all parties and rescheduled it for January 10th. CP Bature went on air to say that on any other date, the police would provide adequate security for any subsequent rally in Okrika. On February 4, 2015, the APC Okrika again wrote to the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State, requesting security protection for that rally. On the 9th of February, after all arrangements had been put in place, the outgoing Commissioner of Police, Dan Bature informed the APC that it would need to change its dates and hold its rally instead on Thursday, February 12th to enable the police put in place adequate security measures to enable the APC hold its rally in Okrika.
On Monday, February 10th, leaders of the APC in Okrika received invitation letters to a security briefing with CP Bature scheduled for February 11, 2015. Prior to these invitations, there were rumours all over Okrika to the effect that the wife of the president, Mrs. Jonathan had decreed that the APC must not be allowed to hold its rallies in the two Okrika-speaking local government areas of Okrika and Ogu/Bolo.
According to the rumours, despite several entreaties to her to allow the APC hold a mere campaign rally, she insisted that the rallies must not hold on “her turf.”
To further guarantee that her orders were not to be thwarted, Mrs. Jonathan arrived Port Harcourt on Wednesday, February 11, 2015, with plans to visit Okrika on Thursday, February 12th.
In obedience to the invitation from the CP, the leadership of the APC was at the Rivers State Police Command at 12noon and waited to meet with the CP up till 12:40pm. Eventually, DC Shaba, DC Amadi and other members of the command who sat in for the CP received us. The members of the PDP were evidently absent at the meeting.
The sum total of the meeting with the police command was that the Rivers State police command was unable to guarantee security for anyone in Rivers State during any rallies. This meeting was holding at the same time as the PDP was holding its own rally in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
In the light of the above, the APC in Okrika wishes to ask the following questions:
1. Under the laws of Nigeria isn’t the Rivers State Police command bound to provide security to all parties to enjoy their fundamental rights of freedom of assembly and choice
2. Why was the police command able to provide adequate security for the PDP to hold its rally in Obio/Akpor an equally volatile LGA but not in Okrika?
3. Is Okrika Local government suddenly so ungovernable that the police is unable to give us a date on which we can hold our rally as we have been asked to postpone the rally indefinitely”
4. Why is the police unable to unravel the mystery behind the attacks on the APC and its members whereas they were quick to unravel those who attacked the PDP?
5. Can elections hold in Okrika local government area since it has become obvious that the Rivers State police cannot guarantee security for a mere rallies?
In conclusion, the APC leadership Okrika wishes to ask all our members and the peace loving people of Okrika, to remain calm in the face of undue provocation and intimidation. We also call on our in-law Mr. President to call his wife to order and to direct the security agencies to protect the constitutional rights of every citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Posterity is watching all Nigerians!

Sulieman Abba, Police IG and Dr Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, Rivers State APC Chairman

Sulieman Abba, Police IG and Dr Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, Rivers State APC Chairman

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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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