The Second Term of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State is fundamentally the making of God and the endorsement of Rivers people. It was a collaboration made in heaven. A destiny attained because God gave life to the voice of Rivers people.
The people sacrificed their lives. They paid the ultimate price to ensure a continuation of the Wike era. Most of these heroes we may never know. They have no media of expression, but they insisted on their voices being heard.
Rivers State became the highpoint of the nation’s 2019 General Elections. The centre of the will of the people.
According to United States Consul-General in Nigeria, John Bray :
“As I come from a democratic country, I am very proud of the Rivers people. During the last difficult elections, the people won. So, I raise my glass to you the people of Rivers”.
Since taking the oath of office on May 29, 2019, Governor Wike has dedicated his second term to serving Rivers people. He has committed himself to improving the lives of less privileged Rivers people, ensuring that they feel the impact of Government.
At the second term inauguration , Governor Wike pledged: “I stand here today with a humble spirit, conscious of the enormous responsibility that you have again entrusted in us and confident in our potential and with God on our side, we will surely discharge our mandate to the benefit of all and leave our dear Rivers State better off than when we started four years ago”.
In line with his pledge, Governor Wike commenced his second term with total commitment to lift the living standard of Rivers people. Since May 29, 2019, Governor Wike has been committed to touching the lives of Rivers people in very positive ways.
Abolition of Fees /Education Levies
In a bid to create access to quality education, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike announced the total abolition of all forms of fees and levies in public primary and secondary schools across the state.
Governor Wike directed State-Owned Primary and Secondary Schools to stop collecting fees and levies from students and pupils with immediate effect.
Governor Wike stated that henceforth the State Government will be sending direct allocations to all primary and secondary schools management for their operations.
He said: “From today henceforth, no child either in primary and secondary schools should pay fees and levies in any school across the State.
“The monies you collect from these children are just used for your personal purposes. If I hear that any school head collects any fees or levies, be they examination , NECO or WAEC fees, that school head would be sanctioned.
“We shall not only dismiss the school head who collects fees or levies, we will prosecute the person involved.
“Government will work out grants that will be sent to the schools for their regular management and operations “.
Bankroll of UTME Fees
Governor Wike approved that State Government will henceforth bankroll the form fees for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board(JAMB) for all Indigenes and non-indigenes in the state.
He said that the gesture of the Rivers State Government will commence with the 2020 UTME to be conducted by JAMB.
Governor Wike said that the Rivers State Government is committed to ensuring that less privileged students are not denied the opportunity to sit for the examination.
He said: “From 2020, UTME forms for Indigenes and non-indigenes will be paid for by the Rivers State Government. It is important for us to ensure that children of the less privileged don’t bear this burden.
“This offer is to ensure that no qualified candidate is denied the opportunity to write the UTME. For some parents, the fee is nothing, but there are families that cannot afford the fees”.
Payment Of NYSC Corps Members Allowances From July 2019
Governor Wike approved the immediate payment of monthly allowances to Corps Members serving in the state with effect from July 2019.
The immediate past APC Administration in Rivers State stopped the payment of allowances to Corps Members Serving in the state.
He spoke at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Permanent Orientation Camp in Nonwa, Tai Local Government Area during an interaction with Corp Members.
He said: “As from July 2019, the State Government will begin the payment of allowances to Corps members. The State Coordinator should send the list and account numbers to the office of the Secretary to the State Government.
“Recall that the allowances were stopped by the immediate past Administration. If I had started payment before the elections, they would have said I was playing politics. Now I am no longer seeking another term”.
Governor Wike also direct the resumption of the posting of some professionals to Ministries with shortage of manpower.
The Governor donated an official Prado Jeep to the State Coordinator of NYSC, a transformer to power the camp, and the furnishing of the hostels constructed by the Rivers State Government. He directed the immediate construction of the road to the Camp.
Governor Wike inspected the 5000 Capacity auditorium being constructed at the Permanent Orientation Camp by his Administration.
Revalidation Of Private Schools To Promote Quality Education
In a move to ensure that only standard schools operate in the state, Governor Wike directed all private schools in the state to apply for 2019 operational approval.
The Governor spoke in a meeting with all private school Proprietors in Rivers State at the Government House Port Harcourt.
He said: “All the schools must apply for operational approval within the next two weeks. We will set up committees that will recommend the approval of schools. All the schools in the state must be the required standard”.
The Governor said that his second term is committed to improving the right standards in the education sector for the good of Rivers people.
“The governor’s office will review all the approval of schools. All the existing approvals by the Ministry of Education have been cancelled. For this process, there will be no room for bribery and corruption “, he said.
Governor Wike has inaugurated three committees on a Senatorial Basis to carry out this all-important review.
Abolition Of Payment Of User Fees For Hiv/Aids Treatment And Free Antenatal Care In Government Hospitals
One of the highpoints of the young second term of Governor Wike is the abolition
of payments of user-fees for persons living with HIV/AIDS who want to access treatment at State-owned Health facilities.
Governor Wike said that the State Government will take over the payment of the user-fees to encourage more Rivers people to seek treatment for HIV/AIDS.
He spoke during a Courtesy Visit by an American Delegation of from the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention under the auspices of the Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria at the Government House Port Harcourt.
Governor Wike said: “We will stop all fees collected as user-fees for persons under the HIV/AIDS Treatment Programme . This is our contribution to the partnership with the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We will take over the payment of the HIV/AIDS user-fees for the Public Health facilities in the state.
“The Deputy Governor will be in charge of the programme since she is a medical doctor. We are committed to working with the United States Government to ensure we tackle this disease “.
He said that the Rivers State Government will support the efforts of the United States Centre for Disease Control and prevention and Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria in the programme against HIV/AIDS.
He said: “The Rivers State Government will take all necessary measures to assist the centre in this current push across the state.
“All the necessary support will be extended to the agency as they work in different locations of Rivers State “.
The Administration has also bankrolled all antenatal charges at Government Hospitals in the state. This is aimed at further reducing child and maternal mortality across the State.
These two key policies are already in operation as the Rivers State Government flagged off the waiver of user fees and antenatal charges at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt on Thursday, 11th July 2019.
Payment Of Pensioners Under The Contributory Pension Scheme
In fulfillment of the pledge made by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike after he signed into law, the Rivers State Pension Reform Law (No 4 of 2019), the Rivers State Government has commenced the payment of pensioners under the Contributory Pension Scheme.
Head of Service of Rivers State, Mr Rufus Godwins in an interview said that 800 Pensioners under the scheme who have completed their biometrics have been paid.
Governor Wike said that the Rivers State Pension Reform Law (No 4 of 2019) will help in resolving the challenges generated by the Contributory Pension scheme.
He said that the State Government is committed to ensuring that civil servants and pensioners are catered for, with the challenges they faced completely addressed.
International Partnerships to Create Employment
Early in his second term, Governor Wike is building International partnerships to create mass employment through commercial agriculture.
He said: “We will continue to solicit for targeted development interventions in Rivers State from the European Union Missions.
“Increase your unconditional development grants to Rivers State, and deploy same to fund programmes, projects and services that will sustainably advance the socio-economic wellbeing of our people and communities; and encourage European companies and investors to come over to Rivers State in particular and the Niger Delta in general, and invest in commercial agriculture, manufacturing, maritime services, oil and gas exploration, quality healthcare delivery, quality education, especially, in science and technology, roads and transport infrastructure, affordable housing, water provision and effective waste disposal systems”.
He said, though Rivers State and the Niger Delta have their security challenges, the region is relatively peaceful, well governed and with a crime rate that is lower than the national average.
“Rivers State is effectively being governed. Law and order is in place; people are freely going about with their social and economic activities; the entire State is largely peaceful; and the crime rate is relatively low on the national average.
“This is also true with the other Niger Delta States as none is under a state of pervasive insecurity or violence as we have in some other parts of the country”.
“As a Government, our desire and resolve is to ensure that Rivers State is sustainably peaceful, secure and safe for citizens and visitors to reside, do business and have fun. And we have done a lot in the last four years of our administration to advance the security and wellbeing of the State and our citizens through personal initiatives as well as through the national security institutions”, he said.
He outlined all the key support and investments of the Rivers State Government under his leadership in the promotion of peace and security, but pointed out that State Governors though called Chief Security Officers, are constrained constitutionally in the administration of the security architecture of their respective states.
He said: “State Governors face legal, administrative and political constraints when dealing with internal security issues. Although we are held out as the chief security officers of our States, but in reality, we do not have even the slightest of legal and administrative control over security personnel, deployments and operations in our States.
“And if that was not frustrating enough, we also suffer from the politicization of security agencies and operations, which was taking to absurd levels, when the Federal Government prevented us, that is, the Rivers State Government, from operationalizing the Neighbourhood Watch Corps established by law to provide intelligence and other necessary security support and services to the formal security agencies in our communities, despite allowing some other States of the same political party with the Federal Government to have there own internal security outfits. With such and other effective drawbacks, there is a limit to what any State Governor can do to ensure all round security in his State even with the best of intentions, efforts and inputs”.
Kick Start of Employment at Rivers State University and Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic
Already the State Government has commenced the process of employment into the Rivers State University and Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic. Similarly, other employment processes into other areas of need.
Returning Port Harcourt To Its Garden City Status
This is a major focus of the second term of Governor Wike. He is working round the clock to stop street trading, street operation of mechanic Workshops and uncontrolled siting of car sale points.
Governor Wike met with artisans and traders where he outlined the direction of his administration in this regard. He gave the artisans and traders an ultimatum , which has been extended.
Promotion Of Peaceful Economic Environment
Through very positive engagements, Governor Wike is developing a wonderful economic environment to encourage private investors to function in the state.
He has engaged with Stakeholder Communities, Oil Companies and security Services to ensure peace in the operational environment.
Governor Wike said under no circumstances should communities take laws into their hands by preventing oil production companies from working.
Speaking during a meeting with Chairmen of Cluster Development Boards in Asari-Toru, Akuku-Toru and Degema Local Government Areas with Oil Companies and Security Agencies at the Government House Port Harcourt , Governor Wike directed the immediate revival of the State Steering Committee on Cluster Development Boards. This directive has been implemented by the office of the Secretary to the Rivers State Government.
Also, Governor Wike initiated a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Stakeholder Communities and Shell Petroleum Development Company ( SPDC) on Oil Mining License ( OML) 25. All parties have since signed an agreement and the process of re-opening the oil facility has commenced.
The Governor also intervened in the conflict between Shell and Mgbuesilaru community. The Oil Company has since met its obligation to the community.
Still the Defender of Rivers State
In addition to his superlative start to his second term, Governor Wike has continued to defend the interest of Rivers people. Here, there is no room for RUGA, no room for imposition of any external religion and no apologies to any expansionist group. Governor Wike holds the mandate to the delight of Rivers people.
Governor Wike is Nigeria’s Star of comprehensive development. He works on all grounds to move Rivers State forward.
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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