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…
Governor Wike And The Audacity Of Accountability
On Monday, July 12, 2021, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, Govenor of Rivers State, did what most leaders, especially those elected to superintend the affairs of their people at various levels of governance, are often too scared to embrace.
This is either as a result of under perfomance or the glaring inability to impact positively on their people and area of administration.
Governor Wike boldly mounted the podium at the Obi Wali International Conference Centre, Port Harcourt and with unshakable confidence, cerebral oratory and fearless advocacy, laced with admirable aplomb, exhibited the audacity of accountability, when he presented his scorecard.
He gave an account of his stewardship, in a progress report covering the six years since he assumed office as the Governor of Rivers State on May 29, 2015.
Of course, many Rivers people will recall that the presentation of the performance scorecard had already been programmed as the culmination event of listed activities marking the second year anniversary of the second tenure in office of the Governor.
Yet, incredibly, every item listed on the activity chart, from flag-offs to inaugurations and a few other extras, had been accomplished with timely precision, performed by a distinguished cast of national and indigenous statesmen from across the geopolitical zones in the coutry and garnished with the flamboyant pomp and cultural pageantry, reminiscent of the proud, colourful, quintessential Rivers traditions.
It is indeed amazing that long after many states have forgotten how their own second year anniversaries celebration transpired, Governor Nyesom Wike was still flagging off and commissioning projects across the length and breadth of Rivers State, two months after.
As a matter of fact, precisely six weeks ago, the activities for the celebration of the second anniversary of the second term in office were kick-started, with the flagging-off and commissioning of new and completed projects and for 40 days, Governor Wike, his cabinet and his array of distinguished special guests, traversed the length and breadth of the State to either commission or flag-off various development projects cutting across different socio-economic sectors.
The global Community and the entire nation saw the phenomenal harvest of projects, including roads, bridges, education, healthcare, housing, social welfare, sports and rural development across Rivers State, as the sounds and sights of the happy and grateful beneficiary institutions, communities and people, were beamed on live telecasts.
The very fact that he delivered on every single item listed on the programme of activities, which had been drawn up several weeks before the second anniversary, was not only remarkable for the audacity and confidence of his visionary leadership, but indeed an excellent reflection and astute exhibition of what governance accountability to the people is all about.
By way of summary, Governor Wike’s account of six years of focused, determined, strategic, courageous leadership and unprecedented transformational development across the 23 Local Government Areas of the State, covered the breathtaking infrastructural revolution, golden era in health care delivery, educational advancement programmes, practical efforts in agricultural development, pragmatic rural transformation initiatives and the economic stimulus engagements.
Other areas included, strategic housing development, robust and necessary equipment, in hard and soft logistics, as well as humanitarian support to security agencies, smooth and uninterrupted administration of justice, expanded frontiers in sports development, appropriate social welfare provisions, unparalleled recognition for culture/tourism and of course the entrenchment of a peaceful, rancour free, political atmosphere, which all featured prominently, even against the backdrop of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Wike highlighted the fact that since 2015, his administration has delivered over a thousand kilometres of Trunk-A roads; embarked on construction of phase one of the trans-Kalabari road, simultaneous construction of ten arterial flyovers, with three already commissioned and connected the ancient coastal community of Opobo to the rest of the State and the country by a tarred road.
He further said that his administration has also transformed not less than 18 major single lane roads to dual carriage ways with street lights, pedestrian walkways and covered drains and while noting that the dualization of Ahoada–Omoku, and Egbema Omoku roads is also underway.
He affirmed that his government has reclaimed vast swathes of sand-filled land for some of the coastal communities, including Abalama, Bakana, and Kula to advance their development and also started the sand filling of 55 and 42 hectares of reclaimed land for Abonnema/Obonoma and Okrika communities respectively.
In the education sector, Governor Wike said his administration has provided over 1200 classrooms and nearly 14,000 desks to over 200 primary and junior secondary schools, all in addition to the reconstruction, furnishing and equipping of several secondary schools, including some renowned and famous ones too, with modern classrooms, laboratories, libraries, sports facilities, staff quarters and paved interconnecting road networks.
“As a result of the concrete and targeted interventions, the education system is becoming more and more effective and qualitative in the State with enrolment and transition rates of over 98 per cent, while over 80 per cent have consistently recorded 5 credits and above pass rates, including Mathematics and English in WASCE since 2015,” he said.
In the health sector, Governor Wike said his government has commissioned the 132-bed Mother and Child specialist hospital, established the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, rebuilt and upgraded the Government House Specialist Clinic, renovated existing primary health centres and general hospitals, and built some new primary healthcare centres for under-served communities.
All these and indeed many more, were succinctly and brilliantly packaged and presented in the compendium of 536 pages, which captures the fundamental achievements of the Governor in the last six years.
Central and integral to the amazing infrastructural transformation taking place all over Rivers State, is the international construction giant, Julius Berger, which has brought its globally renowned expertise, complemented by some critically recognized indigenous construction firms, in a formidable partnership with the government, to deliver quality, enduring legacy projects that will and have met all International standards.
Indeed no leader or administration could be more committed and insistent on embracing and ensuring that the courage and audacity to entrench and ensure accountability, are upheld in delivering good and responsible governance to the people.
Of course, the six years account of stewardship presentation would not have been complete, if Governor Wike had ignored his nationally acclaimed civic role and responsibility, as a Governor and concerned Nigerian, who loves our country so much and wants our democracy to survive, to once again voice his fears and concerns of many voiceless Nigerians.
He drew attention to the state of the nation, especially the deteriorating economy, the worsening insecurity, the lack of purposeful national leadership and the strangulating hardship being faced by ordinary citizens, as a direct result of the visible failure and mismanagement of our democracy and diversity by the APC-led Federal Government.
One of his and what eventually became a national concern was the nomination of Ms. Lauretta Onochie as an INEC Commissioner and gladly, the matter has been appropriately handled by the Senate to the relief of Nigerians, which it appears had listened and acted on this timely advise by Governor Wike: “Where Mr. President lacks the courage to so do, then, the National Assembly, which has a responsibility to defend our democracy must endeavour to wake up on the right side of history by rejecting her nomination.”
The other matter which engaged Governor Wike’s attention is the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act, which is now before the National Assembly and while commending the House of Representatives for affirming and reassuring Nigerians on its positive provisions in the proposed bill on electronic voting and simultaneous transmission of unit results by electronic means, he offered the following advise:
“Everyone who means well for our democracy believes electronic voting and simultaneous transmission of results has the potential to prevent the large-scale rigging of election that has become regular in our electoral system. President Buhari readily attributes his victory in both the 2015 and 2019 polls to the introduction of the novel card reader device by President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration; yet he has been overly reluctant on the need to midwife the birth of a new, transparent, efficient and trustworthy electoral system for the country.
“Let me therefore warn that we do not need a soothsayer to tell us that to allow the old ways of doing things and much vilified status quo to continue to prevail in our electoral system as recommended by the Senate’s version of the bill would be a complete disservice to the nation and a recipe for disaster for our country.
“Again, I hope Mr. President still cares about his legacy and would therefore prevail on the APC-controlled National Assembly to give the nation an Electoral Act with positive provisions on electronic voting and simultaneous transmission of results from the unit level to prevent rigging and guarantee trust, credibility and confidence in our elections.”
On the now uncontrollable state of insecurity and insurgency across the country, Governor Wike advised thus: “The heightened degree of insecurity across the country and the obvious inability of the Federal Government to tackle this menace continues to be very troubling. Nigerians are in desperate need of relief from the daily incidents of kidnapping and mindless killings across the country by insurgents, herdsmen, bandits and militia groups.
“The APC-led federal Government must step up and be alive to its constitutional responsibility to protect lives and property in all parts of the country or admit its lack of capacity and resign before the country collapses like a pack of badly managed cards on its hands. Enough of the excuses, ineffective actions and buck-passing”.
It has often been said that accountability is the very hallmark of good governance and excellent leadership and leaders demonstrate accountability by taking responsibility over the success and growth of the people and areas they administer by resolving to own up to commitments and promises that they have made.
Being an accountable leader is not an easy task but it is essential in order to be a change agent and to deliver real value to your people. Accountability therefore means being answerable to the actions and decisions made by the administrator and possessing both the vision of a leader and the courageous sagacity and administrative acumen to execute that vision.
The accountable leaders are the ones that can take a challenging vision and make it a possibility, even when it requires asking for help when and where it is necessary. They regularly monitor and review how they are doing and take the time to celebrate wins along the way, despite the bumps that will periodically appear to delay the project.
In the last six years, Governor Wike has exhibited all the hallmarks of an excellent accountable leader both in projects delivery and governance, with his footprints everywhere across the 23 local government areas of the State, and even beyond and like the Governor himself says: “Take it or leave it, the truth is constant. There is no promise we made or project we set out to achieve that we have not fulfilled or delivered”.
But like all true accountable and transformational leaders, Governor Wike would rather leave the judgement of his performance for the people to make, even as he is convinced like many Rivers people are too, that his administration has lived up to its promises, made the desired difference and brought about the transformational changes that majority of the people had yearned for when they gladly gave their mandate and trust, six years ago.
Governor Wike captured this conviction aptly in the following declaration and pledge: “The sheer number of audacious projects we have rolled out and executed in the last two years clearly confirms our abiding promise to continue to deliver more development projects for the benefit of our State, our people and the nation until our last day in office.
“I wish to therefore assure you that there will be no let-up in our commitment and determination to deliver more projects to further consolidate the progress we have achieved in the days, weeks and months ahead.”
It is only fitting therefore to reflect on the six years of the administration of Governor Wike in the uplifting words of veteran journalist, International publisher, media mogul and indeed the doyen of post modern Nigerian journalism, Chief Dele Momodu: “Super congratulations to the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, on the extraordinary job he has done in the last six years.
“I was proud to see a Nigerian leader render account of his stewardship two years ahead of the completion of his second tenure… May the good Lord complete the massive Projects he has assigned himself in the coming months. Amen”.
Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State.
Wike’s Enduring Legacy Berths At Opobo
After 150 years of its existence, the ancient kingdom of Opobo, an island in Rivers State, can now be accessed comfortably by road, following the inauguration of Opobo axis of the Unity Road by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
The road was commissioned on Saturday, July 3, 2021 by a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees and former Minister, Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri.
Waziri observed how excited the people are to have a road of such high quality to drive on and hailed Governor Wike for bringing humanity to governance.
The 11.15 kilometres long and 7.3m wide road, with five bridges along the Opobo axis of the super highway, has a minimum fill height of two meters, with a maximum height of 8 meters at some points.
It was built through swamps, mangroves and some of the most difficult terrains for road construction and has a 1.5m wide shoulder on either side. It also has 18 culverts and 5 bridges with a shoulder of 1.5 metres on either side.
The road, which is an ambitious project initiated by fomer Governor, Dr. Peter Odili has connected the Island of Opobo to the rest of the state .
With the commissioning of this axis of the Unity Road, an important campaign promise which Governor Wike made to the people of Opobo has been fulfilled.
It is also important to note that with this official commissioning, the great land of the legendary King Jaja, will now become a post modern, coastal tourist attraction with viable economic opportunities open to the global Community.
The avalanche of encomiums which have poured in from Opobo indigenes, Rivers residents and indeed many of those who either watched the live pictures from the commissioning or saw the still photographs of the glistening stretch of endless shiny nylon tar all the way into the heartland of Opobo kingdom, speaks volumes.
The amazing import and impact, both historical and existential, which this completed legacy road project represents for all and sundry is better imagined than described.
Governor Wike, prior to the inauguration of the Opobo/Nkoro axis of the Unity road, had often teased, in campaign language mode, that the people of Opobo town had never driven home with their vehicles for the past 150 years, until his intervention to complete the road for them.
Typically, the confused and attention seeking opposition had swallowed the well laid bait set by Governor Wike and filled volumes of Newspaper pages and the entire social media space, with their desperate campaign to locate themselves in the glory circle.
They attempted to woefully undermine the unparalleled accomplishment of the Rivers Governor in delivering the road and then dubiously misled the public with contrived contributions of the immediate past administration to the actualization of the project.
Of course, His Majesty, the Amanyanabo of Opobo, King Dandeson Douglas Jaka, Jeki V, a King who exudes imperial majesty and regal wisdom, understood Governor Wike perfectly and it will now be written and etched forever in the annals of Opobo folklore, that it was during his reign that his people actually drove home comfortably for the first time on this super highway.
The Amanyanabo who is also Chairman, Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, captured the historical dimensions of this legacy project, when he declared that his people will remain eternally grateful to Governor Wike for the courage, compassion and visionary acumen he has brought to leadership.
He also appealed to the Governor to initiate another land reclamation project in Opobo, to provide more land for the increasing population of her indigenes.
Governor Wike, while addressing the ecstatic crowd at Opobo, declared that the completion of the road and its inauguration is a dream come true not only for the people of the area, but especially for his administration, adding that he feels happy to have fulfilled his 2014 campaign promise to the people of Opobo.
To appropriately accord honour to whom it is due and equally address all the unnecessary and self-seeking innuendos flying around, now that the project has finally been completed, Governor Wike expressed appreciation to the administration of Dr. Peter Odili for conceiving the Unity Road project.
Governor Wike equally stressed that without the foresight of Dr. Odili, it would have been difficult for his administration to complete the Opobo axis of the Unity Road.
To further add a well deserved icing on the Opobo cake, Governor Wike directed his Special Adviser on Special Projects, in prompt response to the appeal of the King, to liaise with the Amanyanabo and leaders of Opobo on where they desire a new land to be sand-filled and reclaimed for them.
Governor Wike also urged the Surveyor General of the State to commence the process of land mapping and survey of the already sand-filled land in the area to enable Opobo indigenes to begin allocation of spaces among themselves.
It has often been said that one of the defining attributes of good leadership is the visionary discernment to provide what the people need more in their peculiar environments, rather than cosmetic, white elephant projects.
Governor Wike has exhibited an uncanny and astute visionary leadership by boldly delivering enduring projects where they will have meaningful impact instead of inaugurating projects just for cheap publicity.
The Urban Renewal Programme in the capital city, including the flyovers, the internal roads construction with drainages and streetlights, amongst others, have gradually returned the capital city to its garden city status.
It is this same astute leadership that has led to the highly acclaimed construction of some of the life changing projects like the Sakpenwa-Bori-Kono super highway, the first phase of the trans-Kalabari road, the reclamation of land in Abonnema, Obonoma and Okrika as well as the location of three new University campuses across the State.
The Mother and Child Hospital, Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diagnostic and Treatment Centre, the Rivers Cassava Processing Company and Real Madrid Football Academy also stand out for mention.
These indeed are some of the legacy projects of the Governor Wike administration and they will remain indelible and ensure that his name is etched in the sands of time for posterity.
Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State.
By: Paulinus Nsirim
Dakuku Peterside: The Tragedy Of A Misguided Intellectual
Our attention has been drawn to an article titled: “Governor Wike: When facts yield to pernicious propaganda,” written by Dr Dakuku Peterside and published widely both in mainstream and online media platforms.
Ordinarily, we would not have bothered responding to the long winding, virulent and dubiously rambling epistle for the simple reason that Dakuku Peterside’s riposte was a rejoinder to a professionally crafted features piece painstakingly written by the highly respected journalist, Chief Dele Momodu, titled: “My Close Encounters with Gov Nyesom Wike.”
Of course, the title of Chief Momodu’s piece, “My Close Encounters with Gov Nyesom Wike”, speaks loudly for itself, as a narrative predominantly inspired by his personal observations and comprehensive fact-checking tours of Rivers State and several other official and informal meetings with Governor Wike in the line of duty.
Chief Momodu has quite appropriately replied to Dakuku Peterside’s vitriolic and pugnacious bellyaching, in a succinct, widely publicized and highly recommended must-read 7-point right of response.
This response has situated his original article in its proper context and in measured tones, exposed the perfidious intellectual treachery, which defines the polemics of our newfangled public intellectuals.
However, Dr. Peterside, apparently in an effort to justify his recently arrogated, self styled title as: “a policy and leadership expert”, obviously assumed against the backdrop of some recent poorly written, ordinary and simplistic essays, lacking the intellectual rigours and analytics of an “expert”, attempted to stand truth on its head, with an overdose of misleading passages, which sadly reflected the unfortunate tragedy of his present predicament and dilemma, as a misguided intellectual.
Our response has thus become quite necessary therefore in view of the risk that, as Dr. Peterside rightly observed, the danger of allowing misinformation or blatant falsehood to stand and flourish, is the irreparable harm it does to society, as such misinformation leads to the arrest of social development and alters the popular aspiration of the people.
For example, an excerpt from his tedious rejoinder, which succinctly captures this dislocated intellectual locus, reads thus: “No amount of propaganda, not even leveraging on the reputation of Bob Dee, can garnish a bad case… it is only fair that as a significant stakeholder in the development and politics of Rivers State, I am joining the patriotic endeavours of well-meaning Rivers State people to put the record straight. In doing so, I concede that in our highly politicized environment, falsehood ignored later starts looking like the truth, and with time facts become debatable. This, unfortunately, is not time for politics.”
Against the backdrop of the above therefore, it becomes imperative to properly locate Dakuku Peterside within the ambit of his present hibernation and the torpor that ultimately invokes misguided hubris on his suffocating inertia.
Unceremoniosly relieved from his recent unimpressive misadventure with NIMASA; a job for which he had little knowledge and zilch experience, but was appointed as compensation for his failed Governorship bid, Dakuku has been compelled to recline quite disconsolately to his recognized day job of Wike-bashing.
Charged with reluctant gusto and this time masquerading with the ambivalence of an omnibus self imposed title as “leadership and policy expert”, ostensibly crafted after several pedestrian appearances as a ‘Speaker’ at some makeshift conclaves during his short- lived stint at NIMASA, Dakuku’s pathetic appendage of the Amaechi Administration and pitiful lackey of the Transportation Minister, has once again been exhumed.
We do not wish to further glorify his attention seeking, garullous verbiage, especially now that we are also aware of the devious and frenetic jostling for appointment into the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) substantive Board.
Suffice it to say that just as Chief Momodu has aptly observed in his response, Dakuku goofed in almost every paragraph of his bitter, acrimonious and conserted effort to undermine the amazing, determined and unstoppable zeal and dynamism with which Governor Wike is delivering legacy projects across the State.
It is indeed a shame that a ‘significant stakeholder’ and a ‘leadership and policy expert’ as Dakuku addresses himself in his verbose essay, is still appropriating projects meant for the welfare and wellbeing of Rivers people, to specific administrations, as though they were personal property.
Perhaps, he needs to be reminded that the railways which his mentor is gloatingly delivering were conceptualized and commenced with considerable work done on most of them by the previous Federal Administration.
The same goes for the second Niger Bridge, the rehabilitation of Airports and some of the far reaching reforms in the maritime sector. We are even embarrassed that Dakuku Peterside, who could not attract a single project or influence any meaningful value adding initiatives to the lives of his people in his many years as NIMASA Boss, can shamelessly reference the Andoni-Opobo-Nkoro Unity Road.
To even make such a pedestrian point that the Wike administration cannot complete the remaining 20 percent of the road in six years is laughable. After 150 years of existence as a Kingdom, his hometown, Opobo has been linked by road by Governor Wike.
It is even more surprising that despite the avalanche of information and authoritative clarifications in the public space about the refunds from the Federal Government, Dakuku Peterside, like a drunken analyst who has only just woken up from a delayed stupor, is only now adding his own misleading misinformation to the discussion, when the train had long left the station.
This is utterly ridiculous coming from a supposed scholar and so called ‘significant stakeholder’.
Like Chief Momodu rightly pointed out, Dakuku’s jaundiced perception of events in Rivers State, attests to the sad fact that he is no longer familiar or conversant with the reality on ground, which even distinguished members of his own party, APC have participated vigorously in, establishing the credibility of the amazing work Governor Wike is doing across Rivers State.
One needs not remind Dakuku Peterside that political psychophancy can oftentimes transform into reputational absurdity.
Indeed, Dakuku Peterside’s tirade resonates loudly in his warped translation that the curfews in Rivers State, most of which have also been necessitated by the horrendous failure of the Federal Government to stem the rife spillover insurgency and wide spread attacks by unknown forces in the land, as well as the Covid-19 lockdowns to enforce mandated protocols, aimed at curtailing community spread of the global pandemic in Rivers State, are examples of insecurity in the land.
One would not have been surprised if this was some beer parlour analysis by an inebriated critic but the fact that it is coming from a man of Dakuku’s so called scholarly disposition beggars belief. It would be a waste of time therefore to inform him that the spate of insecurity in states surrouding Rivers State has made it imperative and inevitable for Governor Wike to show bold, determined, focused and decisive leadership in order to protect and secure the lives and properties of Rivers indigenes and residents.
But perhaps, the most malevolent manifestation of jealousy and malicious angst echoes loudly and ruefully in the petty bitterness inherent in Dakuku Peterside’s conclusion, when he says: “I am aware that Governor Wike’s main signature project is the replica of the Government House that he has built for himself in his village…”. What else could be more churlish and infantile than this kind of dangerous covetousness which speaks ill of the good fortunes of one’s neighbor.
Ironically, while Dakuku Peterside is still wrapped up in the hypnosis of a past, riven with monumental failures, which he and his atrophied co-travellers have continuously attempted to repackage with half-truths, cover-ups, outright lies and distorted facts, Rivers people whose lives and communities Governor Wike had impacted and is impacting positively, have continued to shower uncensored enthusiastic and sincere encomiums on him, from Etche to Saakpenwa, Bori, Ikwerre, Kalabari and even from Dakuku’s own backyard in Opobo, when they celebrated the 150 years anniversary of Opobo kingdom.
We are however gratified in the knowledge that Governor Wike does not even have to engage in what Dakuku Peterside has so petulantly refered to as ‘pernicious propaganda’. His works in road infrastructure, healthcare, education, agriculture, human capital development and sports, speak for themselves in the 23 Local Government Areas.
Let us also notify Dakuku Peterside, that Governor Wike still has nearly two more years of his administration left and with the promise that he will impact every Local Government with legacy projects and will complete all projects he has embarked on, he has already written his name in gold in the annals of time. There is no amount of bellyaching or convoluted analysis that can alter that.
As a second term Governor, Wike is working as if it is his first tenure and Rivers people and the entire world are seeing and applauding him everyday.
Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State.
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