NIGERIA’S 60TH INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY SPEECH
HIS EXCELLENCY NYESOM EZENWO WIKE
GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE
1ST OCTOBER 2020.
It is my honour and privilege to welcome you to the ceremonies marking the 60th Independence Anniversary of our country, Nigeria.
2.?As we join the rest of the country and other well-wishers to celebrate independence, let us start by appreciating our forefathers through whose struggles our nation was freed from colonial rule on the first of October 1960.
3.?As you know, political independence was necessary for us to take full control of our destiny and steer our nation and our people towards a progressive and prosperous existence.
4.?And so, today’s reality is that we have been a free nation; absolutely free from the shackles and indignities of being ruled, dominated and exploited by imperial Britain for the past 60 years.
5.?This is no trivial historical milestone and achievement, for which we are justified in rolling out the drums to celebrate with other friendly nations who share in our excitements and wished us well no matter the circumstances and challenges of the moment.
6.?We therefore salute the courage, sacrifice and heroism of our founding fathers that resulted in the birth of this potentially great nation.
7.?We shall forever be grateful to them not only for the plateau of independence they delivered to us on a platter, but also, for reclaiming and restoring the pride and dignity of our people to self-rule.
8.?We also appreciate our past and present national leaders and the Armed Forces of Nigeria for their labour and sacrifice to keep this nation together for the last consecutive 60 years in the midst of the challenges, which continues to manifest in many forms and proportions.
9.?At independence, our founding fathers envisioned to build our nation with due regard to our diversity and with visionary enthusiasm provided the basic building blocks for sustaining a united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria in the foundational constitution documents.
10.?We had democracy, regional autonomy and fiscal federalism as the guiding principles for political, social and economic relations between the central government and the constituent regions.
11.?No one part or region was deliberately denied against what was due to it; neither was any ethnic nationality politically and economically unduly favoured above all others by the central government.
12.?Above all, the regions controlled their resources and were engaged in healthy competition for development and transformation while remaining loyal to the corporate existence and progress of the Federal Republic.
13.?Under these arrangements, Nigeria thrived on a peaceful and progressive path and as great author, Chinua Achebe, once affirmed: “there was a country” at least in the First Republic, when true federalism and regionalization of political power and resources held sway.
14.?Unfortunately, the fundamental foundational principles of negotiated constitutionalism, regional autonomy, and fiscal federalism were blatantly jettisoned by long years of misguided military incursions and adventurism into the nation’s body politics.
15.?Although the military has since vacated from politics over 20 years ago but the constitutional, political and economic substructures they mischievously imposed on us, especially the inherent error of commission or omission in the nationalization of communal lands and resources, have continued to challenge and diminish the nation’s fragile peace, unity and socio-economic progress.
16.?And so, 60 years after independence, nation-building remains a far cry and the lofty goals and aspirations of our founding fathers for a politically transparent, economically healthy and socially peaceful and prosperous nation remain betrayed while the way to a glorious future is arrested.
17.?No one is in doubt about the fact that ours is a nation blessed by God with enormous human and natural resources, yet, after 60 years of self-rule we are still held behind as a nation teeming with one of the poorest and helpless population in the world with an average income per capita of less than a dollar per day.
18.?Without inadequate access to social, political and economic rights, including quality education, healthcare, nutritious food, housing, social security, information technology, energy and transport infrastructure, Nigeria’s misery index remains one of the worst in the world.
19.?And then, violence, banditry, rampant killings and insecurity continue to plague and ravage sizeable parts of our country for over a decade, destroying communities, farmlands and causing massive dislocations and untold sufferings to already desperate and hapless populations.
20.?Never in our history since the end of the civil war have Nigerians been so divided, despondent and distressed with prognosis that clearly point to the fact that the cracks are getting deeper in the much-strained, abused and debased walls that have managed to hold this nation together.
21.? As things stand now no one can really predict the future survival of this nation if we continue to maintain this nebulous, rigged and generally rejected federal system through corruption, repression and the abuse of both legitimate and illegitimate state institutions.
22.? We may as usual choose to gloat in the limited progress we have made since independence, especially the relative expansions in access to education, healthcare and other socio-economic infrastructures without giving any considerations to the serious challenges preventing us from building a free, fair and just nation that would command the total loyalty of all nationalities above all other interests.
23.?However, let it be known that the persistent failure and or resistance to heeding the voices of reason in confronting and resolving the contending core political and economic issues troubling this nation as quickly as possible is akin to postponing the doomsday, which looks inevitable with the way things are going.
24.?Our nation can be strong and progressive if we practice true democracy, fraud-proof electoral system, effective and politically neutral law enforcement, deepen the rule of law and enable the practical independence of our judiciary.
25.?Again, our nation can only be free from the perpetual state of crisis, violence and threat of disintegration if we exhibit and courage, sincerity and commitment to rational restructuring, effective devolution of powers, resource control and true federalism as our governance system under a people-propelled and robustly negotiated constitution that secures basic human rights and social justice as the touchstones of our existence both as a nation and as a people.
26.?Therefore, as we celebrate the 60th independence anniversary of our country, let us all reflect on the need to save Nigeria from the self-destructive direction it is wrongly headed.
27.?Let us resolve to take the right steps to lay and institutionalize the necessary constitutional and political systems that will enable us to build a free sovereign democratic and functional nation under God where everyone, including the unborn generationbs, can have equal access to political, social and economic opportunities and live in peace, security and happiness with one another.
28.?This is the only way for us to have and build an inclusive and prosperous nation unhindered by divisive and seditious tendencies and loyalties to sectional interest in our match towards realizing the lofty aspirations of the founding fathers and other patriots.
29.?As the Governor of Rivers State, I wish to reaffirm the subscription of the people of Rivers State to the unity and continuous existence of Nigeria and our resolve to welcome, accommodate and live in peace with our neighbours and our brothers and sisters from other parts of the country on the basis of reciprocity, mutual accommodation and tolerance.
30.?The commitment of our government is to build a State that is home to all Nigerians and foreigners alike who desire to either reside, visit or invest and share in the social and economic opportunities on offer and in our prosperity.
31.?In the last five and half years, we have prioritized and improved the living conditions of our people with unprecedented investments in the provision of socio-economic infrastructures across the length and breadth of the State.
32.?We are constructing roads, flyovers, jetties, markets and expanding healthcare and education facilities throughout the State including our rural areas to accelerate economic growth and make life more meaningful for our people.
33.?We have spared no efforts in advancing and achieving security and Rivers State is now reckoned as one of the few most peaceful States in Nigeria and with a much-improved business environment that is attracting investors into the State in their numbers.
34.?We have prudently managed our economy and kept it on the path of safety and stability such that we have been acclaimed as the most fiscally viable State in the Country, generating resources enough to meet our capital and recurrent expenditures.
35.?Clearly, we have a bright future and our dream is to create a prosperous State that offers viable opportunities for everyone who works hard to lift him or herself from the valley of want and poverty into the plateau of economic progress and prosperity.
36.?Although much has been achieved in our determination to build a better and prosperous Rivers State, we believe that there is much more to be done to mobilize resources to build our economy and generate good jobs for our youths and a prosperous and dignified life for all our people.
37.?I therefore call on everyone to stand with us to confront our common challenges and together take Rivers State to the promise land of our dreams as we will achieve more if we stand together and act as a united people with a common destiny.
38.?Finally, as I wish all Nigerians a happy Diamond Jubilee anniversary, let us all take pride in our diversity and rise above narrow ethnic and other sentiments to build a truly peaceful, united and prosperous nation.
39.?May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
40.?God bless Rivers State
APC’s Ploy To Ban, Regulate Social Media, Hypocritical, Wike Affirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says it is hypocritical for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to contemplate banning or regulating social media after using it to hoodwink Nigerians to attain power.
He argued that the APC-led government has miserably failed, and wants to use its disagreement with Twitter as a false premise to suppress criticism of the administration’s appalling handling of the affairs of the nation through the dubious regulation of social media.
The governor, who make this assertion during the inauguration of nine reconstructed streets: Nzimiro, Herbert Macaulay, Amassoma, Arochukwu, Atako, Ogoja, Akure, Yola and Chinwo in Old Government Residential Area of Port Harcourt, noted that APC, having become the butt of jokes on social networks, was desperate to trample on freedom of expression of Nigerians.
“You have misled the country. You told us lies through social media. The same social media that you used to take over government, the same social media you want to regulate and ban. The same social media you used to tell Nigerians lies of how former President Goodluck Jonathan did not do this, how PDP did not do that.
“Now, you want the same social media to be regulated. You don’t want freedom of speech. Now, you want to gag them. Did anybody gag you when you were using them?”
Wike said the kidnap of scores of students at Federal Government Girls College, Birnin Yauri, Kebbi State, last Thursday, was a further demonstration of APC’s gross ineptitude to guarantee safety of lives and property of Nigerians.
According to him, Nigerians are anxious for the APC to quit power and allow the more experienced Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to once again restore stability in the polity and dignity of the nation.
“You wake up every morning to hear 20 people have been kidnapped; 30 people have been kidnapped and people are telling us to keep quiet. Is it when they have kidnapped your own daughter?”
The governor also took a swipe at the Presidency for berating PDP governors, who demanded for transparency and accountability in the way the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was managed and that the APC-led government should be alive to its constitutional responsibility to protect lives and property.
“In Kebbi, 40 to 50 girls have been kidnapped, our young daughters. And then, you are telling me we (PDP) have not proffered solution. Which solution are you talking about? The President is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is the president that appoints all the security heads in this country.
“No governor has the power or any role to appoint even a Commissioner of Police. And then, you are telling me that we have not proffered any solution. What solution do you want us to proffer, when you have taken your oath of office that you are going to guarantee the lives and property of Nigerians?”
Wike noted that even President Muhammadu Buhari during his recent television interview, had disclosed to Nigerians that he has nothing left to offer the country in terms of good governance.
“The president spoke to us the other day and Nigerians were happy the way he spoke to them, he told them the truth. And the truth is that whether you like it or not, I have nothing again to offer and that was the truth. And people must agree to that.”
The governor said his administration has deliberately embarked on massive urban renewal drive aimed at restoring the Garden City status of Port Harcourt.
According to him, it was regrettable that past administrations in the state did not consider it appropriate to restore the lost glory of Port Harcourt.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the PDP, Senator Walid Jubril, who inaugurated the nine streets, commended Wike for transforming Port Harcourt, such that even the blind can attest to it.
Jubril said the entire board of trustees of the PDP was proud of Wike’s steadfast commitment to the PDP.
According to him, party stalwarts across the country, are impressed with the governor’s remarkable achievements and leadership.
“Anybody, who is from this state and is trying to go astray, I am not with him. I am with the people of this state, and I will remain with you (Wike).”
The Commissioner for Works, Elloka Tasie-Amadi, said the nine streets have a combined length of 4.2km and 6.5km of drains.
He explained that the scope of work includes; road expansion, construction of drainages, walkways, asphalt overlay, street lighting and road marking.
He listed some of the benefits of the reconstructed streets to include: ease of movement, reduction in travel time, reduction of vehicle wear and tear, protection and enhancement of real estate values, and improving living standards.
Fulfill Promise To Complete East-West Road, Wike Charges FG
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has urged the Federal Government to expeditiously complete the abandoned East-West Road because of its economic importance.
He said the neglect of the East-West Road, particularly the Eleme axis where the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone, Port Harcourt Refinery, and Onne seaport were situated, was unacceptable.
Wike stated this during the inauguration of Community Secondary School, Eteo, Eleme; and Community Secondary School, Obeakpu-Ndoki, Oyigbo, respectively, last Friday.
“I urge the Federal Government under the APC to please fulfill promises they made to Nigerians, fulfill promises they made to Rivers State.
“It is unfortunate; look at the East-West Road, this part of it has almost collapsed. The money comes from where? The money comes from us. Can you see this part of the road anywhere in this country?
“They are taking us for granted because we have nobody. God in his infinite mercy will give us somebody. The kind of treatment we are receiving from this Federal Government is unacceptable.”
The governor charged the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to visit the Eleme section of the East-West Road to appreciate the agony of the people of the area.
He further decried the failure of the Minister of Transportation, who hails from Rivers State to ensure that both the Port Harcourt and Onne ports function optimally for the benefit of the state.
Wike explained that prior to the reconstruction of Community Secondary School, Eteo, students were learning in a very unconducive environment, worst still, without chairs.
He stated that the state government decided to reconstruct the 24 classrooms school to improve access to quality education in the state.
“We are not only focusing on road, we are also focusing on health and we are also focusing on education. This will improve access to quality education.”
The governor appealed to the teachers and students of the school to utilise the facilities provided by the state government and make sure that the school is protected.
Wike commended Eleme youths for resisting attempts by some persons with secessionist agenda to use the community as a base for their nefarious activities.
According to him, Rivers State believes in the unity of the country, and will continue to insist that every section of the country should be accorded equal opportunities and privileges.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the PDP, Senator Walid Jubril, who inaugurated the Eteo Secondary School, said the party was proud of the developmental strides of Wike.
Jubril further commended the governor for his steadfast defence and support of the PDP.
Similarly, former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, who inaugurated the Community Secondary School, Obeakpu-Ndoki, said the achievements of Wike were worthy of emulation by other governors.
He explained that as a party man, Wike has displayed total commitment, total loyalty and total faith in the survival and management of the PDP.
“Governor Wike remains a role model, worthy to be emulated. I advised other governors to come to Port Harcourt to see what Governor Wike is doing.”
Also speaking, the Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku, said the two inaugurated schools will further create access to quality education in the state.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Projects, George Kelly D. Alabo, said the reconstructed secondary school at Eteo has 24 classrooms, library, laboratory, chapel and connected to the national grid.
Don’t Borrow Money Without Approval, Wike Warns New LG Chairmen
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has told newly sworn-in chairmen of the 23 local government areas of the state not to approach any financial institution to borrow money without first clearing with the state government.
The governor gave the warning shortly after the elected chairmen of the 23 LGAs took their oath of office at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
According to Wike, the caution has become necessary in order to stem unguarded desire of some council chairman to access money without any development plan.
“Don’t go and borrow money without the state government approval. Some of you tried it last time and started with your blackmail, saying help us, we are finished. You have no authority to go and borrow money. Even we as state government, before we go and borrow money we get approval from the Debt Management Office. No bank will even give us.
“Before you borrow money, the state must know what you want to use it for, and how you will pay it back, so that others who are coming will not suffer because of your indebtedness.”
Wike also charged the council chairmen to pay proper attention to issues of security in order to stem likely security breaches in their various councils.
The governor particularly urged them to establish a robust working relationship both with the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) and the traditional rulers that will engender having regular security meetings for proper briefings.
“Stay in your council areas. Don’t stay in hotels and in Port Harcourt. If you’re not at home, how do you know about the security situation in your local government? Security is key!
“Relate with your DPOs. It does not cost you anything. Even if it cost you, governance is not easy. Governance is expensive. Security is expensive. Some of you cannot relate with the DPOs.
“It’s only when you have a problem that you relate with your DPOs and some of them are intelligent and when you call them that time, they turn their face the other way. You must make effort to relate with your DPOs.”
The governor urged the council chairmen to ensure they hold Security Council meeting weekly or better still, once in every two weeks for proper briefing.
Speaking further, Wike warned them against embarking on needless travel outside of the state and the country without notifying the state government.
He also encouraged them to work to strengthen the unity of the party in their various councils, consult widely with the leaders over appointments, and on other issues that will give everybody a sense of belonging.
Wike frowned at the worsening sanitary conditions particularly in Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt City, Eleme, Oyigbo LGAs, and charged the council chairmen to work assiduously to regularly evaluate refuse dumped on major roads in their councils.
The state governor revealed that the state government prevented the former chairmen whose tenure ended, last Wednesday, from paying local government workers salary due to security report and complains by some councillors and political appointees that they will not be paid what was due them.
“So, I decided to suspend the payment of local government workers and political appointees, so that the newly sworn-in chairmen will have to pay them without any crisis whatsoever.”
He said the state government will set up a committee to oversee the payment of all entitlement of immediate past chairmen, their political appointees and councillors.
According to him, “All the former council chairmen, all political appointees and councillors must be paid their money.”
Wike said he has received intelligence report that some council chairmen have sworn that they will not swear in some elected councillors who they perceive to be opposed to them.
He warned that if this happens, appropriate sanction will be taken against the erring council chairmen.
The newly sworn-in chairmen are, Daniel E. O. Daniel (Abua/Odual); Benjamin Eke (Ahoada East); Hope Ikiriko (Ahoada West); Rowland Sekibo (Akuku-Toru); Barrister Awortu Erastus (Andoni); Onengiyeofori George (Asari-Toru); Irimagha David ( Bonny); Michael Williams (Degema); Obarilormate Ollor (Eleme); Dr. Lloyd Chidi (Emohua); Obinna Anyanwu (Etche); Deko Confidence (Gokana); and Engr Nwanosike Samuel (Ikwerre).
Others include, Bariere Thomas (Khana); Barrister Ariolu George (Obio/Akpor); Nemieboka Vincent (Ogu/Bolo); Akuro Tobin (Okrika); Nwaiwu Chisorom (Omuma); Vincent Job (Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni); Enyiada Cookey-Gam (Opobo/Nkoro); Nwaogu Akara (Oyigbo); Ihunda Allwell (Port Harcourt City); and Mbakpone Okpe (Tai).
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