Earlier in 2018, I had an argument with the Late Attorney-General of Rivers State, Emmanuel Aguma (SAN) on the appropriateness of a term that was used by some supporters of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. These supporters had coined the word — RENEW– to promote their belief that Governor Wike deserves a second term.
The late Attorney General, to buttress his argument that New Rivers remains apt, lifted the development blueprint and emphasised that the goal is the creation of a New Rivers State. Very correctly, he stated that Governor Wike is on the right track to re-defining Rivers State. As such, the second term should still be focused on developing a New Rivers State, which was the original intention of introducing Nyesom Ezenwo Wike into the governorship race in 2014.
The core of the New Rivers Development Blueprint was developing a new vision, new thinking and better opportunities across Rivers State. The goal was to take back Rivers State from the forces of darkness and treachery and return the state back to the people.
Indeed, the idea of a New Rivers State was to re-validate the state as the pivot for the revival of the entire South-South through purposeful leadership and execution of pro-people projects.
About three and half years down the line, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has achieved his mission in government.
The mission, as stated in the New Rivers Development Blueprint, is: “To actualise the aspirations of the people of Rivers State for a balanced development and enhanced quality of life for the present and future generations through responsive guided by the fear of God”.
Through careful investments in projects and good governance, Governor Wike has turned the fortunes of Rivers State. He has changed the story of Rivers State and made it the centre of development in the country.
Key projects in the areas of administration of justice, healthcare delivery, security, education, road infrastructure, women development, youth and women empowerment, sports development and provision of water have transformed the state. The people now feel the impact of good governance.
Governor Wike has justified his first term in office. He has lifted Rivers State above her peers and attracted respect across the globe for the state. Governor Wike is now Nigeria’s best performing governor.
In place is the foundation of a New Rivers State. The beauty of good governance backed by the support of the vast majority of the people.
There is no part of the state where the outstanding governance qualities of Governor Wike has not been felt. In Opobo, for the first time, the people are driving into the Ancient Island. In Asari-Toru Local Government Area, Governor Wike has reclaimed lands and expanded economic opportunities for the people. In Degema, the Zonal Hospital, a tertiary health facility is getting set for use. In Akuku-Toru, Nyemoni Grammar School has been commissioned while the Abonnema Ring Road is nearing completion.
The story is the same in Ogoni-land as the dualisation of the Sakpenwa-Bori Road is the greatest gift to the people since 1960. This is followed by the reconstruction of the Birabi Memorial Grammar School, Bori and several other educational projects across Ogoni communities.
In Etche, Governor Wike has given the people a sense of belonging, reintegrating them to the mainstream of Rivers Development. Before the coming of Wike, Etche could only be accessed through Abia and Imo States. The story is now different. Governor Wike started with the Igwuruta-Chokocho Road before delving into Chokocho-Umuechem-Ozuzu Road and Chokocho -Igbo-Etche-Rumuokurushi Inter- Change commissioned by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
It was the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu that commissioned Ulakwo II-Afara-Nihi Road while the 16 kilometre Umueze -Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke- Umunju- Umuellechi-Eberi Road in Omuma Local Government Area and Odufor-Akpoku-Umuoye Road in Etche Local Government Area are under construction.
Governor Wike has opened up Etche with the promise to do more in his second term. The economy of Etche has picked up and several projects are ongoing in the areas of health and education.
The people of Orashi region are also feeling the direct impact of good governance and coordinated leadership.
Governor Wike rolled out 10 Internal Roads in Omoku, while the Shore Protection project in five Ndoni communities is nearing completion.
The construction of the General Hospital, Omoku and the dualisation of the Omoku-Egbema Road in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of the state have reached advanced stage.
The state government has located two faculties of the Rivers State University in Ahoada Local Government Area, while the Western Ahoada County High School has been reconstructed. There is the ongoing construction of three major roads in Ahoada West Local Government Area alongside the construction of Model Primary Healthcare Centre, Odiokwu, Ahoada West Local Government Area.
In Abua, the Rivers State Governor has reconstructed and equipped the General Hospital, Abua. Many basic and senior secondary schools in the area have also been reconstructed to boost education.
The list of projects in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas is endless. Governor Wike has transformed the capital city and its environment.
This is an administration with a holistic approach to governance. Every section is carried along.
Presenting the 2019 Budget, Governor Wike said: “There is no local government area we have not reached; no State or Federal Constituency we have not touched; and no Senatorial District we have not positively affected with our development policies, programmes and projects.
“In the areas of urban renewal and rural development, we have constructed and reconstructed several roads in Port Harcourt City, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Omoku, Elele, Isiokpo, Okochiri, Ogbunabali, and Amadi-Ama communities. The numerous roads and other social amenities, including water, electricity, jetties, land reclamation we have provided are boosting socio-economic activities and improving the wellbeing of our people in several of our rustic and hitherto neglected communities across the State”.
Governor Wike has used his first term to address the developmental challenges created for Rivers State by the immediate past failed Amaechi administration.
Governor Wike told Rivers Lawmakers: “When we came in three and half years ago, we met a State that was literarily on its knees: physically battered, economically raped and psychologically traumatised, but we came in with a clear vision and mission: a vision to repair and renew the promise of our State; a mission to pull our people from the cesspool of despair and restore our hopes for brighter future.
” Three and half years after, we have substantially achieved our commitments on all directions of human advancement”.
For Rivers people, the decision has been made. Governor Wike will be re-elected in March 2019 to consolidate on the gains of his first term.
The reason why Governor Wike was elected in the first place was because of the extreme looting of Rivers resources by Amaechi and the destruction of the fundamentals of Niger Delta unity by the immediate past Rivers State Governor. The overwhelming mandate bestowed on Governor Wike was a message to the failed Amaechi that nobody derides his people successfully.
While Amaechi blabs about PDP destroying Nigeria for 16 years, he plays the Ostrich about his heinous crime against Rivers people by squandering N3trillion of Rivers resources and selling valued state assets to his business partner.
In 2015, Amaechi preached ethnicity and planned to foist his godson on Rivers State to elongate his regime of resource-theft. The people stood firm and voted Governor Wike. They declared that the dichotomy that Amaechi preached was irrelevant in the face of the need to revive Rivers State.
With the full process of revival on course under Governor Wike , nobody will touch Amaechi’s business partner with a long pole. There is no resident of Rivers State who would want a resumption of the Amaechi’s years of fraud, sale of state assets and squander-mania.
Governor Wike’s second term is guaranteed. It is the decision of the people. Their endorsements have come from the 23 local government areas. They have chosen a lover of Rivers State over a petty trader who betrays his people at the slightest opportunity.
The progress of Rivers State lies in the continuation of the construction of a New Rivers State. This process cannot be disrupted by crooks who thrive in propaganda, but lack the capacity to deliver when given the opportunity.
Nwakaudu is Special Assistant to Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media.
APC, PDP Bandy Words Over Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request
The ruling All Progressives Party (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have argued over President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for approval to borrow $4 billion and €710 million to fund the deficit in the 2021 budget.
Recall that the president made the request in a letter he addressed to the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in reaction to the development, cautioned the NASS against approving the request, saying it could set the country’s debt profile skyrocketing without a feasible repayment plan.
With the approval to borrow $8.3 billion and €490 million loans by its legislative body barely two months ago, Nigeria’s debt profile risks reaching over N40 trillion.
“More alarming is that the debts that APC is hanging on Nigerians are for nebulous projects whose scopes, utilities, locations and contractors are largely vague; a development that validates apprehensions of a huge swindle on our nation at the expense of innocent Nigerians, including generation yet unborn.
“Our party holds it as an act of wickedness that individuals who know that they will be leaving office in less than two years will be accumulating debts instead of seeking ways to reduce the liability they have brought upon our nation.
“The APC knows it will not be around after May 29, 2023. That is why it is pushing our nation into a deeper economic quagmire with foreign loans, which are largely diverted to the personal pockets of their corrupt leaders,” the opposition PDP said in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Tuesday.
But responding to the PDP’s criticism, the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday, said the loans are for “the good of the country” and well-being of the citizenry.
The ruling party also accused the opposition party of looting foreign loans obtained during its 16 years rule rather than spending on infrastructure and economic growth as, according to it, Mr Buhari-led government is doing.
“It was in PDP’s era that loans to fund power generation, purchase arms and ammunition to fight a raging insurgency were misappropriated and diverted to fund PDP activities; and the borrowed money ultimately found its way to the pockets of cronies, friends and family members of administration officials. Nigeria is still servicing a $460 million loan taken from China to fund a phoney Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) contract awarded in August 2010.
“Nigerians should also reflect and recall that the PDP had in its 16 years of misrule pushed the country into a dark ditch of insolvency, and a period in which most state governments could not pay workers salaries, not even the minimum wage, or settle contractors’ bills and cater for patients in hospitals, to name a few,” the APC interim National Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, said.
A’Ibom Gov Signs Anti-Open Grazing Law
Akwa lbom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has signed into law a bill to prohibit open rearing and grazing of livestock and provide for the establishment of ranches in the state.
The Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, with the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uko Udom (SAN), presented the bill for signing on Wednesday at the State Executive Chambers, in the Governor’s Office, Uyo.
The governor, after signing the bill into law, stated that the new law was no respecter of persons irrespective of status or calibre.
He instructed relevant authorities of government to ensure that the law was implemented and enforced to the letter with strict compliance, stressing that, culprits must be brought to book accordingly.
The new law will promote modern techniques in animal husbandry, prevent the destruction of farms by wandering cattle while reducing clashes and killings between herders and farmers in the state.
It will also promote international best practices in livestock administration, regulation and control in the state, among other things.
The state Assembly passed the bill on Tuesday, and the Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, directed the Clerk of the House, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to communicate the decision of the House to the Governor for his assent.
Also at the Executive Chambers, the Speaker who was accompanied by the Leader of the House, Udo Kierian Akpan, and the Clerk of the Assembly, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to the signing ceremony witnessed the inauguration of two C\committees by the Governor.
The committees are the Akwa Ibom State Gender Based Violence Management Committee, chaired by the First Lady, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel, and Akwa Ibom State Road Safety Management Committee, chaired by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo.
NASS S’East Caucus Moves To Reconstruct Federal System
Members of the South East Caucus of the National Assembly have resolved to join hands with other patriotic Nigerians across regional, religious, political, and ethnic divides to reconstruct a federal system where the rights, happiness, and prosperity and those of unborn generations are guaranteed.
Making their feelings known in a communique issued at the end of an extraordinary meeting held at the Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja last Wednesday, the law makers said the topic of the meeting centered on review of developments in the South East, particularly the security situation in the region vis-à-vis the sit-at-home orders by members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) and the detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“We expressed solidarity with our people of the South East over the marginalisation of the region in the scheme of things within the Nigerian commonwealth. The Caucus feels the pains of our people and their quest for equity, justice, and protection of their lives and property in every part of the country. The Caucus, therefore, resolved to continue to fight for a level-playing ground and an enabling federal system where Ndigbo are able to develop their homeland at their own pace and equally pursue their happiness and actaulise their enormous potentials in every part of the country, unmolested.
Reviewing the sit-at-home orders by the IPOB and the mayhem some nefarious elements have seized the opportunity to visit on the lives, properties, and psyche of the people, the Caucus equally reviewed and rued the incalculable economic losses and hardships these have brought upon the region.
They, however, condemned in strongest terms the disruption of the ongoing Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in some parts of the South East, particularly the incident at Comprehensive Secondary School, Nkume, Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, where the English examination organised by the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC, on Monday, September 13, 2021, was ruthlessly scuttled by armed men, who chased away the students, teachers, and examiners before setting ablaze motorcycles belonging to the teachers.
“This is certainly not who we are as a people. On the contrary, we are a people, who have always cherished and encouraged learning from the ages. We are a people that fully appreciate the place of education in the liberation and enlightenment of the human mind and the socio-economic and political emancipation of a people”.
The South East legislators equally condemned in strongest terms the incessant killings in the South East, adding “This must stop immediately. We call on the security agencies to unravel the culprits behind these wicked acts and ensure that they are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.
“ Noted with delight that IPOB has called off the Monday sit-at-home order and resolved to ensure that nobody uses them as façades to bring ruination on Igbo land.
“ Call on our people to go about their lawful businesses and enjoin our governors and the security agencies to rebuild confidence in our people by not only ensuring the security of their lives and properties, but also ensuring that our people feel safe as they undertake their legitimate businesses.
”Elaborately discussed the issue of Mazi Nnamdi and resolved to intervene. To this end we resolved to set up a committee to constructively interface with relevant stakeholders, the Federal Government and its relevant agencies towards finding a political solution. We will keep Ndigbo abreast of developments in regard.
“Appeal to our people not to allow anyone to destroy the South East region. The post-war South East was not built through government patronage, but largely by the sheer determination and sacrifices of our people, who refused to resign to fate or bow their heads in defeat.
“It is in Igbo land that you easily find hospitals, schools, roads, and other social amenities built by individual or communal efforts of the people, home and abroad, through the instruments of the town unions and other community organisations such as the age grades, Umuada, etc.
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