In Defence Of 100 Days ‘Exam’

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A road project
A road project

Whatever excuses some may advance to the contrary, 100 days in office benchmark, as a necessary milestone to assess performance of the executive arm of government cannot be easily wished away. As a convention, it enables the governed to hold the government accountable and in the process set performance templates for those in power.
Beyond that it reassures the electorate that those they voted into power and positions of authority indeed know what kind of service to deliver and were indeed prepared for such service. One Hundred days may be short a period to solve all of the people’s problems but long enough period to address pressing issues that formed a part of a given politician’s campaign worries.
It is indeed such performance that sets the basis for public assessment and also help drive future achievements. More than anything else, such performance score-card gives the people hope for a better or sustained service delivery in the future.
Truly, no two instances are exactly the same. To properly examine the performance of a state executive therefore, key indices must be outlined. These include what the new government inherited in terms of funds, human and material resources, assets and liabilities and indeed the prevailing security climate, since no meaningful development can be achieved in an atmosphere of insecurity, senseless bloodletting and wanton destruction of human lives and property, among others.
What did the Nyesom Wike administration in Rivers State meet on assumption of office in May 29, 2015? Apart from the fact that what ought to be a smooth transition fell far short, with the unexplained absence of Wike’s predecessor, former Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi at the inaugurals, the new government inherited a myriad of challenges.
Firstly, the state had for more than a year, remained without a functional House of Assembly. What existed was irregular assembly of law makers who, once in a while were invited to rubber-stamp executive needs, desires and appetites. The same was true of the judicial arm, as the courts also remained firmly shut against anxious and helpless litigants, lawyers and other court servants.
Civil servants’ salaries and pensioners’ stipends were in arrears of between three and five months, while, roads in Port Harcourt and environs were glorified death traps with dangerous gullies and potholes.
On assumption of office, Gov. Nyesom Wike told Rivers people that his administration met a virtually empty treasury and huge debts running into billions of naira. Another challenge was the state of poorly or non-executed contacts for which full or reasonable payment had been made by the Amaechi government.
Also worrisome was the unexplained sale of electricity power plants belonging to the Rivers State government, the sale of the state-owned Olympia Hotel and huge resources wasted on the Monorail project, among many others.
To meet the most urgent concerns, the Wike administration made a list of priorities necessary to drive development. Top on the list was security. With crime and cult-related activities at their peak, no reasonable success would have been recorded, hence the need to address the issue of insecurity.
Within the period under review, the state collaborated with the Police and other security agencies to tackle the menace. To ensure effective policing, the government purchased and donated nearly 30 patrol vans to the security agencies and at the same time battled cult-related violence to a standstill.
With the improved security situation, investors returned to the state along with new ones; commerce and trade thrived and the night-life for which Port Harcourt was popular, was restored, with people moving about their normal businesses and pleasures, without molestation.
Within the period under review, the Wike administration cleared the backlog of civil servants salaries and retirees’ benefits and also ensured prompt payment of salaries. The courts were re-opened and the State House of Assembly restored their constitutional powers, using their official complex instead of the government House.
But what has attracted the most applause by stake-holders was the ‘state of emergency’ declared on roads. Government secured a N30 billion loan duly approved by the State House of Assembly to address the issue of poor road network. Competent contractors were also engaged to resurface death-traps called roads and also construct new ones.
One Hundred Days after, the harvest is indeed bountiful. The long neglected and abandoned Creek Road and the only Borikiri access road (Harold Wilson Drive) are now a treasure to behold. The Abonnema/Obonoma Bridge in Akuku-Toru LGA was constructed and commissioned, so also was the old Port Harcourt, Kom-Kom-Oyigbo Road; Iloabuchi/Eagle Island Link road and many others within Port Harcourt and environs. Government also built and in addition to commissioned the Law Faculty Building of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology.
Perhaps, a major wonder to behold is the construction and commissioning of 50 Housing Units at Iriebe, in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area by the Wike administration, within two months, with a promise to complete all other abandoned housing projects in the state.
These indeed are real changes the people can see and feel. With non-payment of salaries for three  months and retirees’ benefits for much longer, many lost their lives. So did some litigants and lawyers on account of the protracted closure of the counts.
With salaries arrears cleared and courts re-opened, the state economy was automatically re-jigged as trade and commerce also came to life on account of improved road infrastructure. These indeed were basic needs of the people denied for long, in preference for political misadventure.
This indeed is the foundation which the Wike administration has laid for future development and progress of the state, in spite of the enormous challenges it met on assumption of office. It also provides the citizenry score-sheets upon which to assess and judge their government.
What is your score?