Despite the daily struggle by enemies of Rivers State to divert the attention of Governor Nyesom Wike from delivering on his pledge to recreate the state, he has remained on track, emerging as Nigeria’s Governor of the Year, 2016.
The story of Wike’s outstanding performance in the current political dispensation is legendary in all ramifications. He has ensured that the people of Rivers State experienced the benefits of voting for a focused leader, who has the interest of his people at heart.
Wike has turned his leadership into an impregnable love story between the leader and his people. It is a traditional love story, exemplified by the African virtue of “you scratch my back and I scratch yours”.
The governor has proved to be an inspirational leader, leading from the front as he transforms Rivers State. The transformation of the state is right on track, making the state an envy of all.
It is not by chance that Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike is the best performing Governor in Nigeria for the year, 2016. From the very beginning, Wike set out to make a difference.
His footprints of performance are spread across the length and breadth of Rivers State. From defending democracy to reviving the economy of Rivers State through to the improvement of security down to the unprecedented massive infrastructural development in the state.
Three major national newspapers in the course of 2016 pronounced Wike as Governor of the Year, 2016 and Man of the Year 2016, respectively.
The three newspapers are: Independent Newspapers, Sun Newspapers and Authority Newspapers. The three newspapers have already presented their nomination letters to Wike
Reasons For The Awards
Sun Newspapers: The Managing Director of Sun Publishing Ltd, publishers of the Sun Titles, Mr Eric Osagie explained that the award was extended to Governor Nyesom Wike on the premise of his outstanding performance in the areas of infrastructure, security, agriculture, health and education.
Hear Osagie: “This award is not for sale. It is based on contributions to the development of the State. This is the most prestigious award in Nigeria.
“This category is for those who have performed. We stake our reputation on this. In recognition of the remarkable transformation that Wike has brought to bear on development, the Sun Publishing Ltd gives him the award of Governor of the Year 2016”
To the Managing Director of Independent Newspapers, Mr Ted Iwere , Governor Wike was voted Man of the Year 2016 because of his exemplary giant strides in the areas of developmental projects.
He said: “We believe that Governor Wike richly deserves this honour. We are conversant with his giant strides. We take note of the growing network of roads to facilitate the movement of goods and services.
The Managing Director of Authority Newspapers, Mr Madu Onuorah, said the Authority Newspapers resolved to vote Governor Wike as its Man of the Year 2016 because of his courage to stand for the people of Rivers State and ensure that they are not conquered.
Onuorah said: “Governor Wike has ensured that Rivers State is not conquered by its enemies. Governor Wike has shown that we can all walk tall in the face of intimidation.
“In the case of infrastructure, Governor Wike never gives excuses. He has been committed to the work at hand, delivering on all fronts. The difference is there for all to see”.
Defender Of Nigerian Democracy
On December 12, 2016, the most significant event in the country’s democracy took place at the Rivers East Senatorial District’s Collation Centre. Rogue policeman and Rivers SARS Commander, Mr Akin Fakorede and other SARS Personnel invaded the collation centre, beat up electoral officials and were in the process of rigging the rerun election in the Senatorial District in favour of the APC.
It was obvious that Mr Akin Fakorede was working for the authorities. The news of Fakorede’s political robbery filtered into the town and Wike led from the front to defend democracy.
To Nigerians, this action in defence of democracy sets Wike apart as Nigeria’s Man of the Year, 2016. Wike’s action served as a reality check to political criminals that Rivers people will not stand aside and watch the desecration of the democratic temple.
Wike’s action has served as an inspiration to other Nigerians to stand up for democracy . They now understand that peacefully, people can stop rigging of elections, irrespective of the number of security personnel deployed by the ruling party.
Indeed, Wike became outstanding because he led Rivers people to stop the use of security agents to manipulate the electoral process. This he did without destroying the fabric of state security.
Rivers rerun marked the beginning of a new phase in the nation’s democratic experience. It was a major departure from Edo and Ondo States where security agents were used to cow the people for the purpose of rigging.
In Edo State, for instance, security operatives drove PDP agents and journalists from collation centres before results were manipulated. The collation in Edo State was even delayed by 24hours. These techniques failed in Rivers State because Wike preached vigilance and peaceful resistance.
Therefore, beyond his other outstanding achievements, Wike’s ability to weather media falsehood, security intimidation and INEC manipulation stood him out in 2016.
Outstanding Projects Delivery
In 2016, there was no governor in Nigeria that delivered the number of projects that Wike brought on stream for the people of Rivers State.
The governor redefined governance, making projects delivery the centrepiece of his engagement with the people. Like he pledged during the campaigns, Wike spread development projects to the three senatorial districts of the state.
His road infrastructure delivery programme is considered the very best in the country. More than 200 roads have been delivered across the state, with 50 other roads in the works.
In the Urban Areas of Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor, Ikwerre and Eleme, critical road infrastructure have been delivered to rejig the state economy, empower the people and set the state on the path of growth.
The urban renewal programme in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City has witnessed the reintroduction of traffic and street lights.
Several feats have been recorded in the health sector. Some 17 hospitals are being completely rehabilitated across the state. The objective is to re-position the health sector to serve the people better. The 17 General Hospitals being rehabilitated are spread across the three senatorial districts of the state.
To ensure that more residents of Rivers State have access to quality healthcare, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike flagged-off the private hospitals loan scheme.
In the first batch of the scheme, 37 hospitals in the state have accessed N500million to upgrade their facilities and improve their service delivery to the people. Seven of the beneficiaries are non-indigenes, while 30 are from Rivers State
In education, Wike has reintroduced model boarding schools. Eleven prominent schools across the state have been earmarked for total rehabilitation.
At present, work is ongoing in three secondary schools. They include; Nyemoni Grammar School, Abonnema, Birabi Memorial Grammar School, Bori, and Government Girl Secondary School, Rumuokwuta.
Today, the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park, the first of its kind in West Africa, is nearing completion. It is a modern recreational facility that will generate foreign exchange for the state and boost tourism.
Within this period, Wike completed the ultra-modern NBA Law Centre, remodelled the Diete-Spiff Civic Centre and is building a brand new Federal High Court Complex in Port Harcourt.
Wike has promoted the independence of the Judiciary all through the period under review. However, he has taken pragmatic measures to improve the welfare of the judiciary. Official cars were distributed to High Court judges and magistrates.
Today, Rivers State is one of the most peaceful states in the federation despite the negative propaganda sponsored by the opposition.
Rivers State is the preferred destination for national and international conferences. The Nigerian Guild of Editor’s National Convention, the Nigerian Bar Association’s Annual General Conference, West African Architects Conference, International Polo Tournament, PDP National Convention and other high profile events were hosted in the state in 2016.
However, the most outstanding achievement of Governor Wike in the security sector was the successful Amnesty Programme. It led to hundreds of cultists and militants embracing peace. They are being rehabilitated by the state government.
To achieve a peaceful state, Wike invested heavily in the state’s security architecture. Over 150 patrol vans have been distributed to security agencies, more than 50 Armoured Personnel Carriers and gunboats bought and rehabilitated and security agencies funded on monthly basis.
Wike made outstanding impact in different other sectors. The marine transport in the state is being repositioned through the reconstruction of jetties. The ATC Jetty in Okrika was commissioned by the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal and the Bonny Jetty is nearing completion.
The governor’s systematic empowerment programmes have been hailed across the country. He invested N2billion for the empowerment of small and medium scale businesses through direct grants.
Wike is not a man to rest on his achievements. He has already declared 2017 as the state’s year of unprecedented roll out of projects.
On May 27, 2017, Rivers State will celebrate its Golden Jubilee. The Jubilee Governor of Rivers State has planned a budget that will revolutionise development in the state.
Gov. Wike said: “The total projected capital expenditure for 2017 is N329billion only, which represents 70 per cent of the capital estimate to the projected budget volume and gives a capital to recurrent expenditure ratio of 70:30.”
Nwakaudu is Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media.