In keeping with its policy of good community relations and advancing education of host communities, a leading indigenous oil company in the Niger Delta, Belemaoil Producing Ltd has awarded an annual scholarship worth over N100million to 374 indigent students in its areas of operation for the 2017 session.
Out of the 374 beneficiaries, 78 are post-graduate students, 175 undergraduates while 121 are post-primary students drawn from Kula, Idama, Bonny, Elem Ifoko, Abuloma, Okuru, Okujagu and Peni Peni-Ama, communities.
The scholarship, was awarded under the NNPC/Belemaoil Joint Venture (JV) as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Speaking during the official handing over of the scholarship awards to beneficiaries at the Hotel Presidential, in Port Harcourt last weekend, the Founder/President of Belemaoil Producing Ltd., Mr Jack-Rich Tein Jr, stated that the scholarship is in recognition of the important role education plays in the lives of the young ones and the host communities.
“We are here not just to celebrate the success that has come to them, but to also honour the privilege given to us as a company to serve. And we recoignise very importantly that if you joke with education then you are joking with future and if you fail to grab these young ones who have the enthusiasm and that flair to pursue their academic dream you are limiting the unraveling of future opportunities that they would have used to grow themselves and as well as society.
“And I believe very strongly that what we have come here to celebrate is not just a display of so much wealth but a display of interest; that believing in the young ones of today is unlocking the future of tomorrow and that is making the society a better place”, he said.
The President/Founder of Belemaoil Producing Ltd, who thanked all the partners, including, NAPIMS, NNPC, host communities, youths, the bank and as well as the state government and President Muhammadu Buhari, for their support, charged beneficiaries to see the scholarship as opportunity to develop themselves. He further called on the beneficiaries to use the scholarship and unlock their future potentials rather than use it for misplaced priorities.
Tein Jr, who also fielded questions from journalists shortly after the programme, explained that the scholarship is worth over one hundred million naira annually, pointing out that it is both for students in Nigerian schools and overseas.
He said: “The total scholarship per annum is over a hundred million naira. What we have given today is over seventy million naira cheques and we have other students in Cyprus, we have other students in the UK, America, Canada, Ghana, Malaysia, Phillipines and in Nigerian schools. And what we have done is not just to show wealth but so that they can in turn do same for society when they come out.”
He further stated that the company is also hoping to create about twelve thousand jobs if its proposal with the Presidency is approved.
According to him, the Belemaoil Model is aimed at making sure the company supports the local communities where it operates.
“The Belemaoil Model is all about making sure that the local communities where we operate and competent Niger Deltans are given technical opportunities to showcase their competences such as alliance with technical companies that provide specialised types of jobs where they can partner with them and begin to provide those services. We also make sure that we create strategic capacity development through training for the local communities. We have also awarded scholarships like you have seen today.
“Basically as we speak now, we have our offshore floating and offloading terminal sailing to Nigeria. We are expecting to build some pipeline, we are also expecting to create some opportunities based on proposal we put forward to Mr President and we believe very strongly that Mr. President is a man that loves the Niger Delta region and he wants to see employment everywhere, he wants to see peace return very quickly, he wants to make sure that the operating communities are in harmony with the operators and with the federal government so that wealth creation can begin to improve. So we have put forward a programme that we believe will create additional 12,000 employments which can turn around about 36,000 jobs. And we believe that as soon as he gives a nod to it, the employment will begin to roll out,” he added.
In his opening remarks, Chairman of the occasion, Chief Alabo Tonye Graham Douglas, lauded the Founder/President of Belemaoil Producing Ltd, Mr Jack-Rich Tein Jr for his passion towards developing the host communities and the Niger Delta at large.
Chief Graham-Douglas, who is a former Minister of Aviation and a Leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, (PANDEF) in Rivers State, charged Tein Jr to create a department to tackle environmental pollution in the company to help secure the environment.
He, however, charged the beneficiaries not to misuse the opportunity given them.
On his part, the Managing Director of National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS, represented by Mrs Tolu Adefuwa, stated that NNPC is supporting Belemaoil in the scheme.
On the benefit of the scholarship to both the communities and the Nigerian economy, the NAPIMS MD said, “If you are able to educate the children at the young age you are rest assured that our future is sustained because it means we are raising the next leaders, we are raising the next generation. So we are encouraging them not just to be educated but take it to the next level.”
Earlier in her opening remarks, the Executive Vice President, Finance, Administration and Human Resources of Belemaoil Producing Ltd, Mrs Rosemary Asiegbu, called on the beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity and emulate the President/Founder in his vision.
She said: “Aside the joint venture with NNPC, he has joint venture with the communities. So the young ones, this is not just another event of giving you scholarship, we want you to emulate and see him as your mentor and want to be like him so that all his efforts will not be in vain. Let it be as a challenge to all of you the benefactors that this is not another scholarship, but a scholarship that has an underlying tune of challenges of saying I want to be like him, I want to surpass him.”
When interviewed, some of the beneficiaries hailed Belemaoil for the opportunity, saying it would ease their financial challenges. According to Miss Kuromiema Oburamadim, a JSS One student of Government Girls Secondary School, Abuloma, “this scholarship will help me pay my school fees. I don’t have to think of how my school fees will be paid anymore and it will help my parents too. I want to say to Belemaoil thank you for what you have done for me.”
A post-graduate student, Alalibo Rita-Malley, said: “I feel very excited that this is coming at this time.They are an indigenous company. I think this is the first time an indigenous company is doing this. The companies that actually do this are IOCs and it is my prayer that God blesses them.”
Also, another Post-graduate student, Prince (Barr) Opunabo Ekine, said: “I must say that words will be inadequate to express how I feel. Personally I feel very happy to be a beneficiary of this kind gesture. And no doubt it will go a long way to develop me as a person to also contribute to society. I will say to Belemaoil God bless you, I will also say to NNPC, God bless you. I’m from Kula community and I am also from Belema community and this is the reason why some of us are agitating for an indigenous company because of this kind of opportunity.”
NIPR And Burden Of Insecurity On Nigeria’s Reputation, Dev
One dominant issue that has premiered the global space in recent times is the negative effect of the daring security challenges, not only on the rationale of citizens, but also on the reputation of the Nigeria nation and its consequent effect on the development of the country.
The devastating effects of escalating violent crimes such as terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, ritual killings among others on the country, since the inception of the current democracy in 1999, have done terrible damage to the reputation of the Nigerian nation in the global community.
According to reports by Statista 2021, as at 2019, Nigeria ranked second coming after Afghanistan as the terrorism most impacted country with a total of 1,245 fatalities. Afghanistan came first with 5,725 fatalities while Somalia came behind Nigeria with a record of 569 deaths.
The level of insecurity observed in the country has led to some countries such as the United States, United Kingdom and others, listing Nigeria as an unsafe place to travel to. This year, the UAE refused work permit applications from Nigeria because of the involvement of citizens in profile crimes.
Burdened by the negative impact of this daring challenges, the Rivers State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), at its 2021 conference cum annual general meeting held in Port Harcourt on September 23, elicited public discourse on Nigeria’s security challenges and to proffer solutions to the impact of the challenges on the reputation and development of the Nation.
The State chapter of the Institute, established in 1963 and chartered by decree 16 of June 1990, assembled stakeholders drawn from the public and private sectors in the Nigerian project within and outside the state, to brainstorm on a well thought out theme: “Nigeria’s security situation: a factor in reputation and national development.”
The thought provoking theme of the conference brought to the front burner the daring security situation currently bedevilling the Nigerian State and how it’s devastating effects on the reputation could be remedied for meaningful national development.
Welcoming participants to the conference, the Rivers State Chapter Chairman of the NIPR, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim told the audience that, as a responsive organisation to national development, the chapter had chosen the theme of the conference as its own contribution to the national discourse.
With great expectations, Nsirim told the gathering that the purpose for the conference was to set agenda for moulding public opinion.
“We are excited as a chapter that we will use this conference to begin to show a roadmap for security situation in Nigeria and national development.”
He urged participants to contribute robustly to the conversation with high expectations that the conference wasn’t going to end a talk shop but was going to produce a blueprint that would guide national discourse.
“It is our expectation that the fallout of the conference will re-engineer national security, re-engineer national development with the aim to put our country on the path of rapid growth,” the chairman charged participants.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who was special guest at the conference, noted that time had come for deliberate effort by image managers to begin to rebrand Nigeria considering the hydra-headed security challenges that are adversely affecting the nations socio-economic, political and security development.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, the governor stated that the survival of Nigeria’s sovereignty is presently burdened by security challenges and urged members of the NIPR to rise up to their challenging career of reputation management in addressing the nation’s challenges.
“We need to seat up to make our people and government realize that everyone must rise to the dare challenges of our country. As PR and media managers, you have crucial roles to play in terms of national development.
“I strongly recommend that all hands must be on deck, especially reputation managers such as members of the NIPR to call on the Government and all stakeholders to begin to act in ways that will help revive the battered image, security, and economy of our dear nation.
He assured that the Rivers State Government on its part, would continue to support security agencies to ensure a safe and secured environment for the economic prosperity of all. “We have set up the Rivers State Neighbourhood watch, Operation Sting and revived the C4i, as an effort to provide security, stimulate growth, development and prosperity of all”, he said.
He noted that the administration in implementing the NEW Rivers Vision blueprint, has also embarked on a deliberate infrastructural development and urban renewal effort to attract local and foreign investment to stimulate the economy of the state.
Earlier, Nsirim, who also doubles as the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, had disclosed that the relationship between the Rivers State Government and the State Chapter of NIPR has blossomed during the Governor Nyesom Wike’s administration.
The commissioner noted that Wike, as a visionary leader, had changed the landscape of the State infrastructure and various developmental projects that touch the life of the ordinary man.
“We are proud of being associated with the NEW administration and the giant strides he has recorded and continue to record until 2023, he said.
Taking his turn to address the conference earlier, the President of NIPR, Mallam Muktar Sirajo, noted that the issues of security were of urgent national interest that needed the attention of all Nigerians.
“You can agree that there was a country we all enjoyed living in without fear and looked at one another as brothers and sisters and without asking questions. You will agree with me the situation is no longer the same. As an institute that regulate the practice of public relations and at the core of its mandate is relationship building, we feel that it is a duty incumbent on us to build our bridges.
“It is unfortunate that we have come to this path… but we believe that the basis of coming together cannot be served if there is no communication between the component parts to fix the country.
A cerebral Public Relations practitioner and the keynote address presenter, Dr. Ike Neliaku diagnosed the topic as a worry by the NIPR about the security situation in Nigeria and its implication on the nation’s reputational capital and national development.
He majored his presentation on two issues at the core of the theme-Insecurity and Reputation, expected to land on their implications for national development. Therefore, simplified the topic of his presentation to, Insecurity, Reputation and National Development.
Speaking on insecurity, Neliaku observed that three critical issues have shaped and influenced the trajectory of the Nigerian State and the welfare of citizens in the last twelve years which he listed as insecurity.
He gave statistics of the security situation presents adding that insecurity caused over 70,000 deaths in Nigeria between 2012 and 2020.
“Since 2011, Boko Haram insurgency has led to 37,500 deaths, 2.5million displacement, and 244,000 refugees.”
He disclosed from statistics that in just two years, farmers-herder clashes claimed 10,000 lives and resulted in the displacement of 300,000 people. “Nigeria has one of the world’s worst kidnap-for-ransom with 685 kidnaps reported in the first of quarter of 2019 alone.”
He noted that between June 2021 and March 2020, Nigerians paid about $18.34million as ransom and that militancy in the Niger Delta has resulted in kidnapping, unrest, and economic distortion.
“Indeed, any part of the nation that appears safe, including military formations and the territory of our national sovereignty which are not spared, are considered rather an act of God’s benevolence and love for mankind than the efficacy of security agencies.
“The question that bugged my mind at some point was, what has not happened in Nigeria in the last 10 years? In my lifetime I heard about money been stolen, bicycle stolen, motorcycle stolen, small car stolen, big lorry stolen, ship stolen, human parts stolen full human beings stolen.
“In spite of all this, I may not have been as shocked when I heard that soldiers had been stolen from their barracks and other formations. Need we any further proof that we are really in troubled times where only the mercy of Almighty God can save us, Dr. Neliaku lamented.
He listed human rights violations by State armed forces and cybercrime as other vices that dragged Nigeria’s reputation into the mod and hindered development. “In December, 2020, the office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court concluded that war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed by Boko Haram and the Nigerian military and that Nigerian authorities had failed to investigate and prosecute these crimes, therefore warranting a full investigation.
He said 2018 report has it that commercial banks in Nigeria lost a cumulative sum of N15 Billion to electronic fraud and cybercrime. “Nigeria’s Consumers Awareness and Financial Enlightenment Initiative has projected a US$6 trillion loss by 2030 to cybercrime within and outside Nigeria. These crimes are committed mostly through phishing and identity theft.”
Neliaku traced causes of insecurity in Nigeria to include rising rate of unemployment, religious and ethnic differences, corruption, weak security apparatus, porous borders, marginalisation and inequalities in resource distribution, and bad governance and poor leadership.
The key note speaker also identified vicious attacks on the family unit which he said has led to near complete collapse of family values. “In the course of struggling for survival, parents have abandoned their responsibilities in raising quality ‘seeds’ to preserve the true heritage of what a responsible family should stand for.”
He blamed the increasing rate of drug addiction and other vices in society on the failure of the State to meet its expectation to the youths. “This is one of the things that have laid the foundation for massive acceptance of criminality by the youths.”
Neliaku listed Shoprite, Mr. Price Woolworths, Etisalat, HSBC and UBS, Tiger Brands, and Truworths as companies that have closed business in Nigeria in the face of escalating insecurity.
“Businesses are the vehicle for economic activities that would lead to national economic development. It therefore follows that businesses play a great role in the process of development and such role can be hampered in the absence of adequate security as we find in Nigeria,” he said.
He also observed that one of the greatest impacts of insecurity in any society is the creation of climate of fear and culture of uncertainty in the hearts of citizens.
“A high level of insecurity makes it difficult for citizens to plan effectively and make creative decisions and take effective control of their operating environment,” he asserted.
He finally submitted that the rising insecurity situation in Nigeria had impacted and would continue to impact negatively on corporate and national reputation, with concomitant consequences on individuals and national development unless the people have a rethink of their nationhood by rebuilding their relationship.
By: Amieyeofori Ibim
Ibim, Special Assistant on Media to Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, resides in Port Harcourt.
Nigeria @ 61: So Far, So Fair
Nigeria’s Independence movement started when she became a British Protectorate in 1901. The period of British rule lasted until 1960, when an independence movement led to the country being granted freedom. The Independence movement in Nigeria emerged first in 1920 under the influence of Herbert Macaulay who is considered the founder of Nigerian nationalism.
The nation’s independence was achieved by an act of the British parliament and she became an independent country within the Commonwealth on October 1, 1960.
Actually, in 1953, Anthony Enahoro, became the first to move the motion for Nigeria’s independence which was eventually granted in 1960 after several political setbacks and defeats in parliament. As a result of this, Enahoro has been regarded by academics and many Nigerians as the Father of Nigerian State.
When Nigeria was granted independence a new constitution established a federal system with an elected Prime Minister and ceremonial head of state. The NCNC was headed by Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe who had taken control after Macaulay’s death in 1946. He formed a coalition with Abubakar Tafawa Balewa’s NPC after neither party won a majority in the 1959 election. Balewa continued to serve as the Prime Minster, a position he held since 1957, while Azikiwe took the largely ceremonial position of President of the Senate. Following a well supervised referendum, the northern part of the Trust Territory of the Cameroons joined Northern Nigeria in June, 1901, while in October, the Southern Cameroons united with Cameroon to form the Federal Republic of Cameroons.
On October 1, 1963, Nigeria became a republic. Azikiwe became president of the country, although as prime minister, Balewa was still more powerful.
On October 1, 1960, Nigeria was conceived as it officially gained independence from the British colonial masters. A lot of things have changed in 61 years especially as regards the political landscape.
However, the labour of our heroes who made Nigeria’s independence possible can never be forgotten. From Tafawa Balewa, to Azikiwe, the country’s first elected President, they made the fight for Nigeria’s independence look like their personal struggle.
Ahmadu Bello was the first and only premier of the northern region who ruled from 1954 to 1966. As the leader of the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), he led the party to a majority victory in the pre-independent parliamentary election of 1959. As Sardauna of Sokoto, he was a formidable force behind the throne and was considered one of the most powerful men in Nigeria.
The historic 1959 general election, which effectively ushered in Nigeria’s Independence in 1960, saw an alliance between the NPC under Bello to forge an alliance with the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) under the leadership of Nnamdi Azikiwe, which resulted in Nigeria’s first indigenous Federal Government Ahmadu Bello chose to remain the premier of northern Nigeria and always preferred to be among his people in the north. His reign was cut short in the January 1966 coup, when he was assassinated by Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu in a coup which toppled Nigeria post-independence government.
Nnamdi Azikiwe was a leading figure of modern Nigerian nationalism who spent a better part of his life working to end British control of Nigeria, both as a journalist and a politician. He served as the last Governor-General of Nigeria from 1960-1963 as well as the country’s first elected president from 1963 to 1966 during the First Republic. He joined politics in 1944 and later co-founded NCNC after a successful stint as a journalist, he became active in politics in 1944.
The great Zik inspired the Zikist Movement, a radical revolutionary and multi-ethnic youth body which championed the Nigerian struggle against imperialism and the belief that Nigerians and indeed Africans should manage their own affairs. Back in the 1940s, Nnamdi Azikiwe championed Nigeria’s Independence from British rule and in 1943, joined other West African editors to sign a memorandum to raise awareness about political independence. They also called for socio-political reforms that would include a repeal of the crown colony system, installing a representative system in regions and granting independence to West African colonies under the British rule.
Tafawa Balewa was among those who fought for Nigeria independence. After the NPC won the pre-independence parliamentary election, Tafawa Balewa, being the vice president of the party, emerged Nigeria first prime minister. A position he held till January 1966, when he was killed in the coup. In the 50s, he was actually involved in the campaign for indigenous rule and discussions on constitutional reforms which ultimately led to independence in 1960.
Obafemi Awolowo, the first premier of the western region from 1954 to 1960, was another nationalist who played active role in the struggle for Nigeria’s independence.
Anthony Enahoro according to reports was the first politician to move the motion supporting Nigeria’s independence in the parliament in 1953, although ended up unsuccessfully. The early agitation for self-rule suffered setback and at a time, caused the northern members of parliament to stage a walkout from the legislative chamber.
Despite the fact that his motion suffered setbacks, it contributed to a new movement in the parliament that sustained the pressure on the British colonial masters for Nigerian independence. There were also similar motions from Balewa and former deputy premier of the western region, Remilekun Fani-Kayode, which all resulted in Nigeria’s independence in 1960.
As part of the struggle for Nigeria’s independence, women were not left out even as they confronted the British maladministration. Mostly, women from the southern part of Nigeria, carried out the Aba Women Riot. The women in a riot rebelled against economic and socio-political oppression on the colonial masters in Nigeria. Such things as the imposition of tax on market women and the dictatorial powers of the warrant chiefs who were in power. Following the introduction of indirect rule system of government. In November 1929, thousands of women assembled in Calabar and Owerri from where they took over major roads and streets in protests. Some of the warrant chiefs where forced to resign, following the riot, which was seen as the first major uprising against the British rule in Nigeria.
Margaret Ekpo of Calabar, led women in the eastern part of Nigeria during the pre-independence era while Funmilayo Ransome Kuti took control of the western part of Nigeria. Funmilayo Ransome Kuti organised and mobilised women to resist any colonisation during the pre-colonial era. That was when colonial masters refused to give permit for demonstrations in some parts of Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Independence Day came on the 1st of October 1960. Indeed, Nigerians at the time were joyful for being liberated from the hands of their colonial masters. Reports have that it was a symbolic day. Since then, the day had always been celebrated. A day Nigeria, which was amalgamated by joining the southern and northern protectorate by Lord Frederick Lugard got recognition. It was like people being granted their heart desire. Since Nigeria got independence, one can say that she has sustained it.
Nigeria’s independence was achieved through dialogue and negotiation rather than confrontation. Clubs and weapons were not used to achieve what we know today as independence. Since then, Nigerians have continued to govern themselves as a nation bound in freedom, love and unity.
Some of the elderstatesmen who ensured that Nigeria’s dream was achieved have passed on but their legacies still live on. Even as the nation celebrates independence annually, they are also remembered for the good works they did in their time.
When it was clear that Nigeria had attained Independence after series of constitutional proceedings with the United Kingdom, it was the night preceding October 1, 1960, that British Union Jack gradually descended from Nigeria’s parliament building and Nigerians Green-White-Green ascended. Princess Alexandra of Kent, who represented the Queen of England, handed over the constitutional instrument of Nigeria’s Independence to Tafawa Balewa. He became the prime minister
Independence day is significant as it is celebrated on every 1st October annually to mark Nigeria’s proclamation of independence from British rule. It is also important because it is used by Nigerians to decide on its economic, political and cultural fortunes. It is significant in that all states positions would be occupied by Nigerians and that the economy would be invigorated so that an egalitarian society would be created.
Achieving independence in Nigeria means that all the nations cultural practices would be restored and that anything foreign that did not respect their way of life would be jettisoned. As Nigeria became independent, it was assumed that people could exercise their franchise to choose and vote into power those they think will perform well as they vote them into power. But this is not the case as many have testified. Slowly, corruption has continued to rise.
Instead of helping Nigerians, some persons entrenched corruption. There are those who don’t care about the feelings of the masses. Whether Nigeria is independent or not, as far as they are concerned, the British can come back and let it be as if nothing worked since 1960. There are also people who lack faith in the survival of the country. As Nigeria marks 61st birthday, it is time to take stock and ask where we got it right or wrong. Nigeria after gaining independence in 1960 is not totally independent. The country still depends on importation of foods, power generation and supply and others. Other basic things of life are still being sought overseas like medicare.
If Nigeria is really independent, she should not import certain items for consumption. She should provide for her youths. Various systems should be strengthened. At 61, Nigeria should not still be grappling with leadership challenges.
As Nigeria commemorates her 61st birthday, hatred, mediocracy, tribalism, ethnicity and division in religious beliefs should be avoided. Bribery and corruption must stop to exist. Nigeria with her abundant human and material resources should be able to compete favourably with other countries. The issue of kidnapping, killings, banditry, armed robbery, insurgency to mention but a few should be discouraged.
By: Eunice Choko Kayode
Wike’s Development Blueprint Still On The March
The Rivers State Government, on Monday, September 27, 2021, approved the sum of N25 billion (Twenty Five Billion Naira) loan from Zenith Bank of Nigeria, for the funding of the Oyigbo-Afam Road, Chokocho-Igbodo Road, the Rumukwurushi-Elimgbu flyover in Port Harcourt and other projects.
Approval for the loan was given during the State Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
In keeping with his unflinching insistence on following due process in the utilization of public funds, Governor Nyesom Wike has already settled the repayment schedule for the facility by stating categorically that the loan would be repaid within eighteen months, from the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
It is indeed heart-warming that at a time when Nigerians are expressing collective dissatisfaction and futuristic fears with the spate of monumental borrowings that are mounting into a huge and frightening national debt profile, without commen-surate developmental indices to justify the action, Governor Wike is exhibiting astute financial management and admini-strative acumen by matching borrowing with the delivery of critical infrastructure for the long term benefits of Rivers people.
A clear example of using funds to provide critical infrastructure is the Oyigbo-Afam Road and Chokocho-Igbodo Road.
These roads have been agonising and tortuous stretches of nightmare not only for users and commuters but indeed for the economic and commercial fortunes of these areas and the state.
The roads remain the major connecting artery for the substantial volume of commercial movement and activities between Abia, Imo and Rivers States.
We even recall with a subtle sense of irony, the recent unfortunate action and utterances of the member of the House of Represen-tatives, who claimed with the flimsy excuse, that the bad state of the Oyigbo Road was the major reason he defected to another political party.
It is no longer news that our political space is filled with charlatans and fickle-minded politicians without any integrity and we wonder how that politician would be feeling, now that Governor Wike has set down a definite plan to fix and deliver the Oyigbo-Afam Road before the end of his tenure.
What is even more satisfying is the fact that while some other Governments and leaders are borrowing heavily with the wicked intent of passing the huge debt to the incoming administrations, Governor Wike has already made it clear that servicing and repayment plan for the loan is firmly tied with IGR of the state, a brave and strategic decision which can only be embraced by a Governor who is fully confident that his state will generate the requisite revenue to offset the loan within the moratorium period.
For the avoidance of doubt and in fulfilment of the demands of transparency, this loan has a repayment period of 18 months, with effect from October 2021 and to be completed in April 2023, from the State’s IGR. The repayment structure and schedule is N1, 547, 874, 350.66 monthly for the period under review for the projects to be executed.
Simply put, Governor Wike has made it clear and left no one in doubt from the onset, that repayment of this loan would be completed even before the end of the tenure of his administration. This is indeed impressive leadership and astute administration at its finest.
Governance, by a contextual definition, is the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented) and it has often been noted in international development, that good governance is a way of measuring how public institutions, including governments, conduct public affairs and manage public resources in a preferred way.
According to the United Nations, Good Governance is measured by the eight factors, viz: Participation, Rule of Law, Trans-parency, Responsiveness, Consensus Oriented, Equity and Inclu-siveness, Effectiveness and Efficiency, and Accountability.
It is thus against the backdrop of the United Nations assessment of Good governance, that we must appreciate the fact that the projects to be funded with this N25 billion loan, in addition to the Chokocho-Igbodo Road in Etche Local Government Area, the Oyigbo-Afam Road in Oyigbo Local Govern-ment Area, also include, the Nabo Graham-Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School at Rumueme, Port Harcourt; the construc-tion of new Magistrate courts, construction of Judicial Institute for training of judicial officers in the state that would enhance justice delivery and the Rumuokwurusi-Elimgbu flyover, which would be the tenth flyover that will be constructed by the Governor Wike’s adminis-tration.
Of course, these wide range of projects, in addition to the plethora of projects that have already been delivered by the Governor Wike admini-stration, are all people oriented and they are intended to further enhance development in all the nooks and crannies of the state, in line with the Governor’s avowed commitment to ensure that all projects that are initiated by the government are completed before the end of his tenure.
Those who have followed Governor Wike’s administrative trajectory objectively and dispassionately, since he assumed office in May 2015, are already well aware of his avowed pledge and commitment, both in actions and comments in the last six years, that he is very determined to ensure that he will not leave any debt behind for the incoming administration in the state.
He has also kept faith with his pledge to Rivers people of his commitment not to leave any abandoned project behind for the next administration, as well as his promise to make sure that he delivers legacy projects to every local government area in the state.
The Oyigbo-Afam Road, Chokocho-Igbodo Road, just like the dualised Bori-Sakpenwa-Kono highway and the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity road, is therefore not just a project that will be done for the sake of political publicity and grandstanding, but in fact a project that will touch and impact on the lives of the people positively, just like the others already delivered are doing.
Most importantly however is the fact that these will serve as major projects of the Wike administration to consolidate the promise which our dear “Mr. Quality Projects” made to Rivers People at the beginning of his tenure, that he will make sure that even development across the length of breadth of Rivers State is and will be the hallmark of Governor Wike’s leadership style.
Governor Wike is indeed touching lives and finishing strong, as his administration continues to deliver quality projects and good governance to Rivers people.
This will be the standard until he hands over on May 29, 2023.
By: Paulinus Nsirim
Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State.
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