In four years, Chief Nyesom EzenwoWike, Governor of Rivers State has emerged as Nigeria’s most remarkable success story in good governance, pro-people politics, empathetic leadership and commitment to the improvement of the fortunes of Rivers State and her people.
Through creative implementation of the New Rivers Development Blueprint and the prudent application of scarce resources, Governor Wike has turned Rivers State into the cynosure of all eyes. Nationally and internationally, Rivers State has been recognised as the best performing state, despite the political distractions and economic difficulties created by the powers that be.
Right from his swearing in on May 29, 2015 till date, Governor Wike has entrenched the right form of governance for the development of the state. On his first day as Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike appointed the State Acting Chief Judge, the State Acting President of the Customary Court of Appeal and flagged off the Operation Zero Potholes Programme.
The development of a New Rivers State started in line with the New Rivers Development Blueprint. It commenced on day one . The entire first term has been action-packed, with the delivery of pro-people projects and programmes.
Over four years, Governor Wike has delivered roads, schools, hospitals, new courts, modern markets, security infrastructure, empowerment programmes, reclaimed communities, tourist sites, jetties, sports facilities, housing projects, water supply, agricultural projects among others.
By virtue of his superlative performance, GovernorWike has earned himself different names of appreciation across the globe. He is called “Mr Projects”, an appellation conferred on him by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. Rivers people call him “Talk and Do” Governor because of his promise keeping status. Governor Wike is synonymous with delivery of projects and the empowerment of the people.
The 2015-2019 journey has been remarkable in all respects. It has placed the good of the people in the front-burner and created the right framework for the emergence of a New Rivers, which was the basis for the social contract between NyesomEzenwoWike and the good people of Rivers State.
Governor Wike has created a world class network of roads across Rivers State with the multiplier effect of improved economy, rapid social growth and de-congestion of traffic in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas.
The investments in world class roads and bridges have been handled by reputable international and renowned local contractors. Key roads have been dualised, while Governor Wike has initiated and completed over 150 roads across the state.
In four years, Governor Wike has executed the most outstanding roll-out of roads under the present dispensation. The governor’s integrated Strategic Road Development Programme (SRDP) has transformed the landscape of Rivers State.
By investing about 70percent of the State Capital Expenditure on Road Development, Governor Wike has connected the entire state. Also, he has completed all major roads inherited from past administrations in the state
Similarly, Governor Wike within the past four years initiated new roads to expand the State’s existing road network and connectivity;
.Improved road network in urban/residential neighbourhoods; and
·Expanded existing road network in the highly urbanised Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas.
ª%Several key roads to different parts of the state have impacted the economy of semi-urban and rural communities. The administration has constructed internal roads across the state.
(i) Provision of Internal roads
1. Abonnema town (completed)
2. AmadiAma community (completed)
3. Elele-Alimini community (Phases 1 and Phase 1 completed)
4.Isiokpo town (Phases 1 &Phase 1 completed)
5. Omoku town (completed)
6. Okochiri community (completed )
7. Ozuboko community (completed)
8. Odiokwu Internal Roads (ongoing)
Urban Neighbourhood Roads
Governor Wike renewed and improved the roads in several urban neighbourhoods in the State capital and revived the social and economic life of residents of these areas. The uplifted neighbourhoods include:
. Port Harcourt township/Borokiri neighbourhood
. Old and New Government Reservation Areas ;
.Trans Amadi Industrial layout and adjoining neighbourhood;
. Rumuepirikom community neighbourhood;
. Woji community neighbourhood
. Ozubuko/Amadi-Ama /Abuloma neighbourhood iconic roads.
. Dualisation of Sakpenwa-Bori Road
This is one of the most important road projects since the creation of Rivers State. This road has been a source of vain political promises. Governor Wike pledged to construct this road which connects Tai, Gokana, Khana, Opobo-Nkoro and Andoni Local Government Areas to the heart of the state capital and he has delivered on that promise.
. Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo-Nkoro Unity Road
This road started by the Odili administration was abandoned by the immediate past administration in the state. Governor Wike has connected the Ancient Opobo town by road. Since December 2018, Opobo people started driving into the ancient kingdom.
Governor Wike received the Golden Key to the city of Opobo as the first governor to drive into the ancient island.
The Amayanabo of Opobo Kingdom , King Dandeson Douglas Jaja, presenting the key to Governor Wike, thanked him for building the road.
Similarly, key communities of Andoni Local Government Area have been connected by road, while the road is heading to NGO, the headquarters of Andoni LGA.
. Woji-Elelenwo Dual Carriageway
This is a Dual Carriageway and Bridge, a major inter-change between three local government areas of Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt and Eleme. The road was awarded in 2009, but the previous administration failed to fund it, leading to its abandonment in 2012.
Governor Wike re-started the project because of its relevance to the economy of the state. The Wike administration completed the road and the bridge. The road is an alternative route to Trans-Amadi-Slaughter Road. The road was constructed on a swampy area, with a beautiful flyover, streetlights, an under-pass and 750 metre bridge.
.Obiri-Ikwerre Airport Dual Carriageway
This is a 12. 2 kilometre Dual Carriageway that is an alternative route to the Port Harcourt International Airport. This road has eased travel time. Before the reconstruction of the Obiri-Ikwerre Airport Road by the Wike administration, the road was impassable due to abandonment.
This is an 8.4 kilometre road completed by Governor Wike in the heart of the Rivers State capital. The Garrison-Trans-Amadi-Slaughter-Woji-Elelenwo Road which leads to the economic nerve centre of Rivers State is a major contribution to the growth of the state.
Fitted with 16 telecommunication ducts on the two sides of the dual-carriageway, the Garrison-Trans-Amadi-Slaughter-Woji-Elelenwo Road has six bridges and seven exquisitely designed roundabouts with delicately placed walkways and gardens.
The contract was awarded by the immediate past administration in 2009 but abandoned due to lack of funding. Upon assumption of office, Governor Wike financed the execution of the project through Internally Generated Revenue.
. Chokocho-Umuechem-Ozuzu Road and Chokocho -Igbo-Etche-Rumuokurushi Inter- Change
The Chokocho-Umuechem-Ozuzu road is a 16 kilometre road that is key to the evacuation of agricultural products from Etche LGA.
The Chokocho -Igbo-Etche-Rumuokurushi Inter- Change is another road that serves farmers in the area. Governor Wike delivered both roads in record time.
.Igwuruta- Chokocho Road
The Igwuruta-Chokocho Federal Road was abandoned by the Federal Government foe over 20 years , cutting off the Etche people from the rest of Rivers State. The reconstruction of the road was flagged off in January, 2016 and completed within seven months by the Wike administration.
This Road was abandoned by the Amaechi administration at less than 30 percent completion stage . Governor Wike upon assumption of duty, mobilised the contractor for the completion of the important project.
The dual carriageway of 1.672 kilometers has a bridge of about 207.5metres long, and 20 meters road-width with a total of 63 beams.
.Airport–Ipo-Omademe -Ozuoha Road
This 22 .3 kilometre road cuts across different agrarian communities of Ikwerre Local Government Area. It is a key project that helps farmers convey their wares to markets in Port Harcourt.
Governor Wike constructed the two Nkpogu Bridges which makes access to the NLNG Office and other business districts in Port Harcourt possible.
This is one of the key ways of expanding access to land for different communities.
The Wike administration has reclaimed lands in Abalama and Bakana communities of Asari-Toru and Degema LGAs.
Also, 18 hectares of land reclamation and sand-filling at Nkpogu/Ogbnabali;
and14 hectares of land reclamation and sand-filling at Eagle Island.
The administration embarked on shore protection for the following Ndoni communities
· Aze-Azaga community
· Isukwa community
· Owikwu community
· Obiofu community; and
· Utu community
Quality Healthcare Delivery
Since taking over the reins of leadership on May 29, 2019, Governor Wike has revitalised and fortified the primary healthcare system; restored and rehabilitated the long-abandoned General Hospitals;
And established a medical school in the State’s University to enhance the training of health personnel for the State.
He also restored and upgraded the Schools of Health Science and Technology as well as that of Nursing and Midwifery.
The Wike administration has also partnered with the private sector to develop and ensure efficient healthcare delivery in the State.
The administration renovated 17 existing primary Healthcare Centres and built
three new primary healthcare centres at Bile, Mgbuosimini and Ogbakiri communities.; and
To strengthen Secondary Healthcare, Governor Wike reconstructed
12 existing but completely abandoned General Hospitals, namely:
Abua General Hospital, Abua Local Government Area;
Nchia General Hospital, Eleme Local Government Area.
Isiokpo General Hospital, Ikwerre Local Government Area.
Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Rumuigbo, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
Abonnema General Hospital, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area.
.Bodo General Hospital, Gokana Local Government Area.
Opobo General Hospital, Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area.
.Ngo General Hospital, Andoni Local Government Area.
.Emohua General Hospital, Emohua Local Government Area.
.Buguma General Hospital, Asari-Toru Local Government Area.
.Eberi General Hospital, Omuma Local Government Area.
.Okrika General Hospital, Okrika Local Government Area
.There is the ongoing completion of four Zonal Hospitals the administration inherited from the previous administration;
.Ongoing construction of additional zonal hospital at Omoku
. Completed the Mother and Child Hospital, Port Harcourt;
. Constructed 22 nos. Of 3-bedromm Doctors Residential Quarters;
Introduced the N500,000,000.00 interest-free Private Hospitals Support Loan Fund.
The administration has embarked on the
Upgrading Braithwaite Memorial Hospital to Teaching Hospital for the Rivers State University.
The Wike administration also procured and installing new equipment and facilities worth 6 million United States Dollars in the hospital.
Improving the Quality of Education
Governor Wike inherited a decayed education sector. By the roadside, the immediate past administration created the impression that it has made inroads into the sector. But the story in the communities was disheartening.
Since 2015, Governor Wike has embarked on the revival of the education sector. This has expanded access to quality education.
In doing this, the Wike Administration increased budgetary allocation to the education sector, strengthened the implementation of Universal Basic Education, rehabilitated and equipped schools and improved infrastructure in tertiary schools
The administration achieved the following
· reconstructed 175 primary schools, including classroom blocks, landscaping and the provision of water, toilet facilities and power generators;
· supplied furniture and equipment to over 100 primary and Junior Secondary Schools;
· supplied sports and information and communication Technology equipment to a record number of Primary and Junior Secondary Schools.
· provided training to basic education teachers across the state; and
· completed the construction of the Headquarters building of the State Universal Basic Education Board.
.Senior Secondary Education
This is one area where key interventions by the Wike administration have been appreciated by Rivers people.
Aside upgrading 11 junior secondary schools senior secondary schools, the administration cleared all salaries owed to teachers and security contractors in the State’s secondary schools and ensured the regular payment of salaries to the secondary school teachers, pensioners and other staff.
The administration also subsidised the registration fees for Rivers State students undertaking the West African School Certificate Examination (WAEC) and the National Examination Council Examination (NECO) and sustained provision of science equipment, chemicals, materials and consumables to all secondary schools in the state for WASSCE and NECO examinations;
The most outstanding in this sub-sector is the reconstruction of 13 Secondary Schools, out of which six have been completed, furnished and equipped:
In the under-listed schools, the reconstruction involved Classrooms and teachers’ Science and arts laboratories, Sports and recreational facilities; Dedicated water sources and power generator for regular electricity; Perimeter fencing and gate for improved security; New hostel blocks and Assembly halls.
1. Government Girls Secondary School, Rumuokwuta (completed)
2 Birabi Memorial Grammar School, Bori (completed)
3Nyemoni Grammar School Abbonema(completed)
4 Government Secondary School, Ogu(completed)
5. Government Secondary School, Onne(completed)
6. Bonny National Grammar School, Bonny (completed)
7. Community Secondary School, Bille(ongoing)
8. Government Secondary School, Okarki(ongoing)
9. Western Ahoada County High School, Ahoada (ongoing)
10. Government Secondary School, Abua(ongoing)
11. Community Secondary School, Ubima(ongoing)
12. Model Primary School, Mgbuosimini, Rumueme (completed)
13. Construction Of Model Primary School, Abara Etche .ª%Tertiary Education
.Rivers State University
From the very beginning, Governor Wike started improving the infrastructure at the Rivers State University. The administration improved the funding of the university which led to the accreditation of all programmes earlier denied accreditation.
Similarly, Governor Wike has given approval for the recruitment of new staff at the Rivers State University.
Key infrastructural projects delivered at the institution include:
ª%Faculty of Law Building
ª%Faculty of Management Sciences Building
ª% Faculty of Science and Technical Education Building
ª%College of Medical Sciences Building
.Other Tertiary Institutions
ª%Key funding interventions for Captain ElechiAmadi Polytechnic Port Harcourt; the Kenule Beason Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic, Bori, and the Ignatius Ajuru University, Rumuolumeni have led to improved infrastructure in these schools. Each of the institutions got N200million from the State Government.
. The State Government is upgrading Rivers State School of Nursing and Midwifery while a scholarship programme with the PAMO University of Medical Sciences to train 100 students of Rivers State origin for the next five years is on course.
.Administration of Justice
As a life bencher who believes in the rule of law, Governor Wike has made access to justice as a cardinal goal of his administration. On the very first day of his administration, Governor Wike opened the courts closed by the immediate past administration for two years.
The revival of the Judiciary stands out as one of the mostoutstanding achievements of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike since he assumed office as the elected governor of Rivers State.
Right from the very beginning on the day of his inauguration, Governor Nyesom EzenwoWike kick-started the process of rebuilding the battered structures of the state judiciary. On May 29, 2015 after taking his oath of office, Governor Wike in his inaugural address announced the appointment of an Acting Chief Judge of the state, Justice Daisy Okocha and an Acting President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Christy Gabriel-Nwankwo. These two key judicial officers were sworn in on the 1st of June, 2015. This was the beginning of the visionary revival of the Rivers State Judiciary.
Four years down the line, Governor Wike’s administration has appointed new heads of our courts and filled all existing vacancies in the State’s High Court and Customary Court of Appeal.
Nwakaudu is Special Assistant to Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media.
To be continued…