A fact which many people in and around Rivers State, including the opposition, can hardly controvert is the viability of the infrastructural and urban renewal programme of Governor Nyesom Wike who became the state governor in May 2015. Since his assumption of office, he has put a significant momentum of development in different parts of the State.
His urban renewal programme has continued to ensure the revitalisation of the state through the provision of critical infrastructure. Through the scheme several impassable kilometre roads have been constructed or reconstructed and made passable even in areas with difficult terrains like the riverine communities.
The governor’s massive urban renewal plan also includes such activities as demolition of illegal structures and construction of public interest-based projects in their place, the restoration of street and traffic lights in Port Harcourt, the state capital, and many others. These projects, no doubt, have pleasantly altered the face of the state tremendously.
There is also enormous physical reconstruction and revamping of public schools across the state. General hospitals, primary health care centres, financial grants to private health institutions, the building of housing estates in both urban and rural areas and markets have all combined to give the state a colossal face-lift.
The current administration has left no one in doubt that it is committed to the creation of prosperity for all residents of the state. Small and medium scale business enterprises are roundly revived and have been enabled to create jobs through a disbursement of loans by the state government to their owners.
There are additional corresponding activities in other sectors like agriculture, transportation, social welfare, sports, arts and culture, security and, of course, commerce, among others. It was in a clear acknowledgement of these achievements and how they have impacted on the state that induced the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, to mandate a senior official in his government to visit the state recently.
During the visit, Special Adviser to the Oyo State Governor and Director-General of Oyo State Bureau of Physical Planning, Waheed Badamosi, commended Governor Wike for the transformation of Port Harcourt after a tour of the master plan implementation in the state. An elated but startled Badamosi and his team thereafter implored the governor to avail himself of national leadership.
“The man is a workaholic as I have seen today. What I have seen today and yesterday speak volumes that the Rivers State governor has performed beautifully well. I wish him well and I think this is the kind of people we should have all over Nigeria, so that our country can grow to greater heights.”
Speaking further, he stated that he was in the State to study the urban development techniques implemented by the Rivers State Government for the singular purpose of applying same in his state. “We are not interested in what political party rules a particular state. What we are interested in is, are you doing it right? We want to see how you are doing it right, hence we have come to Rivers State,” he concluded.
This brief call correlates with Jesus’ parable in the Holy Bible precisely in the book of Matthew 13:57: “A prophet is not without honour, save in his country, and in his own house” (KJV). While the opposition in the state has consistently lived in denial of the governor’s laudable attainments, his works have advanced to speak on his behalf in distant Oyo State and beyond.
It is evident that the insightful leadership of the governor attracted the historic visit to the state which earned the visiting Oyo team some tutorials on the Rivers’ urban development template. The visit is very instructive in the sense that both states belong to different political leanings. While Oyo remains All Progresives Congress (APC), Rivers is a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) state.
This most auspicious visitation underlines the need for states in the country to partner to facilitate development. In this case, both Oyo and Rivers States have practically demonstrated the need to collaborate. There are strong indications that in the coming days, many more states from different political platforms will visit Governor Wike to be instructed on his style of governance which has earned him accolades and limitless successes.
Corroborating the sterling performance of the Rivers’ governor, a legal practitioner, who plies his trade in Port Harcourt, Ebenezer Okiemen, declared that Wike had done exceptionally well in infrastructural development. He said many of the governor’s projects had redesigned the state capital and jump-started the economy. He commended him for the accomplishments at a time the economy was inimical to growth.
“One of the most outstanding areas of performance of Wike in the last three years plus is in developing road infrastructure in the urban centres of the state which has improved the economy so much that jobs are being created.
“Also, Wike’s urban renewal efforts have paid off and many roads have been reconstructed and this has created access to the rural areas. As you can see farmers can easily transport their produce to urban settlements in the state. It is not a surprise that the Oyo State governor sent a team to nowhere else but Rivers to learn from its governor,” he stated.
Besides the many projects of the governor in Port Harcourt, rural dwellers are feeling the impact of his governance. For instance, earlier in the year, the governor flagged off the execution of Rivers State Government, European Union and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Water and Sanitation projects in Nkoro Town in Opobo/Nkoro local government area. This is a project that will surely benefit everyone in that area.
Similarly, the government is embarking on rural electrification project. This scheme was launched as a mark of the governor’s determination to revive and grow rural economies. When completed, small and medium scale businesses in communities in the state will be empowered and employ youths in return.
Indeed, Governor Wike’s remarkable accomplishments within a little beyond three years, have earned him reference with respect to vision and diligence. His deeds in massive urban programmes and a staggering state-wide development in infrastructure within such a very short time confound his critics in perpetuity.
What else do the governor’s detractors want to see to be convinced otherwise? Is it not an ignominy that Wike’s achievements have gained wide recognition across the length and breadth of the country and beyond, while the opposition wallows in incredulity and notoriety? No thanks to malevolent politicking by this approximated or so-called opposition in the State.
By: Arnold Alalibo.