First 100 Days Of The First Female Rivers Deputy Gov


As Rivers State mark
the 100 days in office of the present state government, the Deputy Governor Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has significantly justified her choice as a capable running mate to the Governorship flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for the April Polls.
Soon after the inauguration of the Governor and his Deputy on May 29, 2015, the duo commenced work with the zeal and strength of those determined to make a difference in the political and leadership equation of the state.
The support and efforts of the Deputy Governor to enhance the state government’s realisation of its objective in delivering the dividends of democracy to Rivers people has been tremendously rewarding with adequate inputs from her office.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the quality of a leader determines how efficient the leadership would go in discharging its responsibility and in human society people come together to fashion out ways of accomplishing certain tasks that would be beneficial to the majority.
It was not surprising, therefore, that the monumental achievement of Governor Nyesom Wike within the first 100 days in office was accentuated by the able support of another achiever, an experienced medical doctor by training, an astute administrator, former Permanent Secretary, Head of Service and Secretary to the State Government at various times which can simply be described as an accomplished technocrat considering the wealth of knowledge garnered over the years which has been brought to bear on the present administration.    No wonder, in admitting the challenge of choosing his Deputy, Chief Nyesom Wike said, “the challenge of picking the right person was more difficult in view of the present rot and decay in governance and infrastructure in Rivers State. It became necessary to search for a fit and proper person with deep knowledge of the state’s bureaucracy with cognate experience that would greatly add value to our programmes of action.”
The acceptance of Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo to pair with Chief Wike to run as Governor and Deputy Governor respectively under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), sent enough signal to its opponents.
The level of support her personality attracted to the party was enormous as women in several professional groups and Christian women organisations rallied support for her and by extension for PDP to win the April 11, 2015, election.
Dr. Banigo on assumption of office became the first female Deputy Governor of Rivers State and indeed the South-South Geopolitical Zone, which also made her to become one of the four female Deputy Governors of the present dispensation in the country, others are Lagos, Ogun and Enugu States. She had, actually brought her wealth of experience to bear in the governance of the state to give the Governor necessary impetus to achieve unparalleled performance in just 100days in office with numerous projects completed and some ongoing.
The health sector like others institutions of government had witnessed immeasurable decay and abandonment leading to the Primary Healthcare Workers being on strike for one full year under the past administration. It was the intervention of the Deputy Governor that ended the lingering strike embarked upon by Primary Healthcare Workers that paralysed healthcare delivery services at the health centres and rural communities.
The Deputy Governor brokered peace and resolved the impasse occasioned by non-implementation of new salary structure, non-promotion of the Primary Healthcare Workers among other issues. Appreciating the gain of giving a holistic approach to matters of Workers welfare, Dr. Banigo personally held meetings with leaders of the various unions in the state health sector and the officials of the Ministry of Health and achieved the desired result.
On the death emanating from the adulterated locally brewed gin popularly called “Ogogoro” Dr. Banigo quickly visited the families and hospitals to see some of the victims and thereafter preached abstinence from consuming the product.
The number of female appointments so far carried out by the state government has reassured the womenfolk that one of their own is seated on the saddle. The first in this regard were the appointment of Acting Chief Judge of the state and the President Customary Court of Appeal, the number of permanent secretaries as well as membership of the Local Government Caretaker Committees has exceeded the 35 percent Affirmative Action.
Addressing workers Tuesday September 1st at the Alfred Diete Spiff Civic Centre, during the 2015 Civil Service Day and Awards celebrations, the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, reiterated that the choice of a female technocratic as his Deputy was based on her pedigree which has manifested clearly within the short period in office. The contributions of Her Excellency had been significant in recording the modest achievements of the present administration with a few weeks in office.

Rivers State Deputy Governor,  Dr (Mrs) Ipalibo Harry Banigo (left), taking her oath of office photo: Chris Monyanaga
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr (Mrs) Ipalibo Harry Banigo (left), taking her oath of office
photo: Chris Monyanaga