For very inexplicable reasons, the immediate past Rivers State Governor, Mr Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi shunned Etche Ethnic Nationality for eight years. They were treated as outcasts by the Amaechi administration. It was a regrettable situation.
By the time Amaechi concluded his ill-fated administration in 2015, Etche Ethnic Nationality had been cut off from the rest of Rivers State. They were shut out by Amaechi who was unapologetic for his act of political wickedness. All the foodstuffs produced by the food basket of Rivers State could not get to the markets. They perished in Etche land. This negatively affected the economy of the area.
Ahead of the 2015 general elections, the then PDP Governorship Candidate, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike witnessed first hand the neglect of Etche by the Amaechi administration. The Igwuruta-Chokocho was so bad that it looked like an abandoned farm. During his campaign, Governor Wike vowed to make a difference . He pledged to create access into Etche land and revive the economy of the area.
Upon assumption of duty, Governor Wike kept his word to Etche people. He connected Etche land to the rest of Rivers State . He constructed the Igwuruta-Chokocho Road. Incidentally, this road was commissioned by APC Chieftain and Former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Commissioning the project, Senator Akpabio said: “Here is a governor who does not care if a road belongs to the Federal or State Government, he goes ahead to construct to the benefit of his people. Distribute money voted for federal roads to states. There is no need to continue to vote money for federal roads which are never constructed. These funds should be distributed to the states to construct the roads”.
He commended Governor Wike for being a transformational leader who governs his people with compassion and judicious application of resources. He said Governor Wike deserves the applause he is getting for the infrastructural renaissance taking place in the state.
The Igwuruta-Chokocho was the beginning of great things to come for Etche people.
Then came: Chokocho-Umuechem-Abara-Elele-Ozuzu Road, Odufor-Akpoku-Umuoye Road, Ulakwo-Afara-Nihi, Zonal Hospital, Okehi, GSS Umuola, State School Abara, Chokocho -Igbo-Etche-Rumuokurushi Inter- Change .
Governor Wike’s imprints can also be found in Omuma LGA. The 17km Umueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke- Umunju-Umuellechi-Eberi road in Omuma LGA, electrification of 16 communities of Omuma Local Government Area, construction of Zonal Hospital Ebieri and reconstruction of 7 Basic Schools in Omuma Local Government Area.
It was Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who commissioned the Chokocho-Umuechem-Ozuzu road and Chokocho -Igbo-Etche-Rumuokurushi Inter- Change at the invitation of Governor Wike.
It was in appreciation of the commitment of Governor Wike that the clerics and laity of the Anglican Diocese of Etche honoured Governor Wike as the “Nehemiah of Rivers State “ award.
Anglican Bishop of Etche Diocese, Rt Rev Okechukwu Nwala said that the Nehemiah Award is a recognition of the ability to build. It was christened after Biblical Nehemiah who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.
Bishop Nwala declared that Etche people are desirous of more projects, hence they will sustain their support for Governor Wike. He recognised the fact that Wike has been there for Etche Ethnic Nationality after years of drought..
“You will have victory. Because you remembered Etche Diocese, God will remember you”, Nwala declared.
For Governor Wike, the commitment to the development of Etche land will continue. He stated that his second term will witness the sustenance of the superlative that have revived the area.
Importantly, the Church in Etche land is supported by the political and cultural leadership. Everyone in Etche land is on one page. They are committed to the re-election of Governor Wike.
The PDP Campaign Rallies in Omuma and Etche Local Government Areas witnessed a massive turnout of the people. In unison, their leaders declared their endorsement.
Rt Hon Kelechi Nwogu, Member Representing Omuma State Constituency said the PDP Rally in Omuma was not a campaign rally, but a victory rally.
He said that Governor Wike has been magnanimous to Omuma people through projects and employment. He said that Omuma people will vote for Wike and PDP.
He said: “We are completely for PDP. We will vote for you and protect our votes. We are ready for the election. We have gone up to 90 percent PVC collection.
“We will show our commitment to PDP by voting out Buhari and voting in Atiku. We will vote all PDP candidates. For Governor Wike, take it for granted, he has won”.
Chairman of PDP in Omuma Local Government Area, Mr Simeon Nwuju said Governor Wike has passion for the development of Rivers State .
Chairman of Omuma Local Government Area, Hon Chisom Nwaiwu declared that Omuma people will deliver Governor Wike one hundred percent across the area
PDP Chieftain in Etche Local Government Area, Prince Emma Anyanwu said that Etche people will reciprocate the governor’s massive projects in the area through their votes.
Chairman of Etche Local Government Area, Mr Obinna Anyanwu noted Etche people have resolved to vote all PDP candidates. He said the rally was a mere formality because the decision has been taken by Etche people to secure Governor Wike’s Second Term.
PDP House of Representatives candidate for Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency, Hon Ephraim Nwuzi noted that Etche people are committed to the re-election of Governor Wike.
During the 2018 Ogbakor Etche December Convention at Obiri Etche, Umugwu, Okehi, the socio-cultural association of Etche Ethnic Nationality gave her reason for endorsing Governor Wike for a second term.
President General of Ogbakor Etche, Sir Machy Nwodim said that the Etche people will re-elect Governor Wike because of his outstanding projects delivery. They urged the governor to execute more projects in Etche land during his second term.
In his remarks, Onye-Ishi Etche and Paramount Ruler of Etche Kingdom, Ochie E. N. B. Opurum said Etche people are reaping the benefits of their support for Governor Wike in 2015. He said Etche people will support Governor Wike again in 2019.
With the pronounced commitment of Governor Wike on Etche soil, this era of practical development will be sustained. Governor Wike is a man of his word and a firm practitioner of state-wide development.
Nwakaudu is Special Assistant to Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media.