RSG, World Bank And Challenges Of Rural Dev

L-R: Project Director, SEEFOR CDDS-PIU, Sir ThankGod Amaewhule, Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Chieftaincy and Community Affiars, Mr Felix Odungweru (2nd left) and others, during the commissioning of an ICT facility in Isiokpo, recently. Photo: Obinna Prince Dele

The quality of governance, the World over is determined by its impact on the lives of the citizenry be it in the rural or urban areas.
That is why the present administration, under the able leadership of Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike is leaving no stone unturned towards improving the quality of lives of the citizens across the state.
It would be noted that the commissioning, last year of 22 micro projects under the aegis of the State Employment And Expenditure for Results Project (SEEFOR) in over ten communities across the three Senatorial zones, were part of the commitment by the administration to bring government closer to the doorsteps of rural folks in the state.
The State Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) project was born out of the Financing Agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), the World Bank and Four States of the Niger Delta, including Rivers State on July 31, 2013.
A press release made available to The Tide with the title: “What is SEEFOR?” says that it is financed by the World Bank with grant from the European Union (EU) and counterpart fund from the Rivers State Government.
The Project Development Objective (PDO), according to the release, was to enhance opportunities for employment and access to socio-economic services, whilst improving the public financial management systems in the participatory states.
The programme has three sub components which are; A1 which deals with youths empowerment through small public works.
A2, which is Technical, Vocational and Agricultural Training (TVAT) and A3 which is Community Driven Development Social-project implementation unit CPPS-PIU) under the supervision of the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs.
That, the over 22 micro projects executed and commissioned across the three senatorial zones of the state in remote communities was indication that the project has impacted positively on the lives of the people.
Some of the projects and benefitting communities are; Minimarket and health centre at Egbelubi Ndashi Etche, town hall/Information Communication and Technology (ICT) centre at Omueke Igwuruta, market/public convenience at Akpajo, Modern Female toilet/drainage project at Ogbogbo Ama in Okrika.
The rest are; rural electrification project at Kalaibima Opobo/Nkoro, Mini Market/Electricity Extension projects at Odiemerenyi Ahoada East, Skills Acquisition Centre and Concrete walk way at Rumuigbo, Obio/Akpor modern townhall and borehole at Kerebangha Khana, Information Communications/Technology (ICT) centre and water borehole at Botem Tai and market and townhall at Ubinimi in the Emohua Local Government Areas.
Commissioners for Chieftaincy/Community Affairs, Silvanus Nweke and his Budget/Economic Planning counterpart, Barrister Isaac Kamalu, described the projects as a dream come true for the Rivers State Government in the effort to develop the rural areas.
The commissioners, who were represented by the permanent secretary, Ministry of Chieftaincy/Community Affairs, Sir Felix Odungweru, said that the successful execution of the project was made possible by Governor Wike, who not only signed the agreement but released the state counterpart funds for the project.
Odungweru said that the immediate past administration abandoned the project because rural development was not part of its agenda adding that the Wike-led administration has shown that it is committed to the wellbeing of Rivers people who live in the remotest communities in the state.
The Permanent Secretary told the benefitting communities that the expectations of the government is for them to see the projects as their own, by protecting them against vandalisations as well as give them maximum supports to the State government.
Sir Odungweru said that the projects will not only improve the living conditions of the people but will go a long way in checking restiveness in the affected communities.
In his address at the commissioning ceremonies, the Director, Community Driven Development Social-Project Implementation Unit (CDDS-PIU) Rivers SEEFOR, Sir ThankGod Amaewhule, said that the over 22 micro projects were launched on the nineth of February 2017, in ten communities spread across the state and executed within seven months.
Sir Amaewhule also attributed the feat to the political will of Governor Ezenwa Wike to drive the process through, “The reason we have all gathered, started on the February 2017 when some micro projects were launched in 10 communities spread across the state.
“Within the space of seven months, these projects have been completed. This glaring success would not have been possible without the support of the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Barrister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike (CON) ‘MR PROJECT’.
“We have been able to deliver our mandate of enhancing the living standards of the rural dwellers by way of provision of these essential micro projects” he said.
He said that some of the projects such as health centres will enhance the availability of health care services to rural dwellers by checking infant and maternal mortalities, while borehole will check the rate of waterborne diseases in the affected communities.
Sir Amaewhule also charged the communities to guide the projects jealously against vandalisation.
Also speaking, the State SEEFOR project co-ordination, Mr Kelcious Amos, thanked the communities for their supports towards the successful execution of the projects.
Amos who was represented by Mrs Nkiru Igbe further said that the projects will improve the living conditions of the benefitting communities and warned against theft or vandalisations of the projects. For the communities, it was indeed a dream come true.
The number of masquerades and carnivals that welcomed the visiting SEEFOR officials shows the level of appreciations that Rivers people can show to government that has impacted on their lives.
Aside from that, it is the first time that communities are being given the opportunities to not only nominate projects to be sited in their areas, but participate fully from the foundation to completion stages.
This, I must say, was “far cry from the past when government at the state level imposed projects on the people without their imputs leading to project failures across the state”.
It also shows that the State Employment And Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) project has come to stay in Rivers State just “as Sir Odungweru said, to whom much is given, much is also expected”. That is why it behoves on the communities to protect the projects against vandalisation, make maximum use of them and support Governor Wike to do more for them.