My dear people of Rivers State
2. As usual, New Year’s Day offers us with the opportunity to reflect on the last twelve months and look forward to the challenges and opportunities of the New Year with renewed faith and optimism.
3. As individuals, we may be inclined to make our own resolutions encapsulating our desires to be closer to God and to live a more honest, healthier and happier life.
4. I sincerely pray to God to answer all your prayers and enable each and every one of us to realize the resolves we have made for ourselves, our families, our communities and our State in the New Year.
5. No doubt, the year 2020 was a very challenging year for our country.
. A mismanaged national economy in recession made worse by a brutal corona virus pandemic, escalated insecurity, corruption and socio-political tensions cast their shadows on 2020 and made life truly horrible for millions of struggling families and ordinary Nigerians.
7. What’s more, the poor state of the nation’s economy and its aftershocks of dwindling revenues, rising inflation, poverty and unemployment also affected us as a State.
8. Nevertheless, we strove and reasonably advanced our development agenda and efforts at building a financially responsible and socially equitable State.
9. Accordingly, 2020 also proved to be a very busy and eventful year for our State, especially in project execution and delivery of social services to our people.
10. As customary, we initiated and completed a record number of development projects with tremendous socio-economic impact while several others, including the multi-billion naira flyovers, received reasonable funding and construction attention in 2020.
11. As you know, some of the completed projects were inaugurated earlier this month while several more completed projects, including the Mother and Child hospital, the Real Madrid Academy new buildings, the Okoro-Nu-Odo flyover, the Sakpewa – Bori dual carriage way, the Abonnema ring road, the 10 kilometer Bolo internal roads, and the Eteo – Sime – Nowan – Kira road are due for inauguration from the 4th of January 2021.
12. Our agenda for the State has been clear from the very beginning, and far from the misguided views of some of our critics, we are not reworking old recipes in our development efforts.
13. Rather, we are surely and pragmatically addressing the critical concerns of our people, including the sustenance of peace and security, education and affordable healthcare, fixing our infrastructural deficit and driving better economic growth and social progress for our State than is generally acknowledged.
14. Today, we express our gratitude to God and our people not only for the opportunity to serve but also for the achievements we have recorded which now forms the foundations for our drive towards greater levels of development, economic growth, better life and secured future for our people.
15. But, we also concede to the fact that there’s much more to be done to realize the Rivers State of our dreams: a progressive State with fabulous infrastructures, quality education, affordable healthcare and boundless economic opportunities for all who live in it.
16. We will therefore continue in 2021 to focus on the fundamental task of creating a new Rivers State through prudent, efficient and transparent management of available resources.
17. Essentially, we shall continue to upgrade and expand educational infrastructures and services across all levels of the education system.
18. There is no better guarantee for the future progress of our State and the nation than to ensure that every child has the realistic access to the transformational light of education and skills acquisition.
19. We shall also continue to prioritize healthcare delivery and ensure that everyone has access to affordable primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare services.
20. We therefore commit to completing all ongoing and new healthcare infrastructures, including the five zonal tertiary hospitals and the proposed specialist hospital for the treatment of cancer, kidney and cardiovascular diseases.
21. In the same vein, we shall continue to give focused attention to the State’s physical and economic infrastructure and ensure that we deliver fabulous roads, bridges and flyovers to connect all parts of our State to ease the movement of goods and services, enhance economic growth and accelerate the development of the State.
21. Along with quality education, affordable health care and transport infrastructures, we shall also focus on creating a more robust business environment to stimulate economic growth, empowerment and create tangible jobs for our people.
22. We also wish to restate our commitment to recruit 5000 youths into the State’s public service in 2021 to reduce the unemployment rate and give the beneficiaries a new ease of life.
23. Fellow citizens,
24. It is very important for us to sound a warning note that we are currently experiencing the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic here in Rivers State.
25. This makes it necessary to remind everyone of our responsibility to adhere strictly to the existing protocols on compulsory wearing of face masks, maintenance of social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and the regular use of hand sanitizers so that we can reasonably prevent the rate of transmission and avoid needless deaths from the disease.
26. Furthermore, I wish to express our dismay with the continuing flouting of the ban on trading, the creation of illegal motor parks, taxi ranks and mechanic workplaces as well as the erection of illegal kiosks along our streets and other public spaces.
27. Apart from constituting public nuisance, these activities and structures obstruct traffic flow and pose serious threats to public safety and security to the extent no responsible government can tolerate.
28. With the grace period over therefore, we have no other option than to order immediate clampdown and put a final stop to these illegal operations from the 4th of January 2021.
29. Finally, as we say farewell to 2020 let us also eschew the recriminations, turn a new page on the hatred that has kept us divided, forgive one another and together, work towards making our dear State the best place on earth to live, do business and bring up our children.
30. On this New Year’s Day the challenge before us remains how we can work together to overcome the road blocks to our progress and build a State that holds concrete promise of hope for the present and future generations.
31. Let us therefore start a new chapter of cooperation, togetherness and solidarity and in one accord unleash our potential on the development of our State and better the lots of our people, for there’s no goal we cannot achieve if we remain united.
32. I wish to, once again, thank our leaders, traditional rulers, elder statesmen, religious leaders, party chieftains, opinion leaders, men, women, youths and the press for your continued support, prayers and understanding and reassure all of our government’s commitment to your service as we build the future that we all desire for our State.
33. As we step into the New Year, let us recommit ourselves to the new Rivers Vision by working together under God’s guidance to make 2021 truly remarkable and fulfilling for Rivers State.
34. I wish each and every one a prosperous, blessed and happy New Year!
35. And may God continue to bless our dear Rivers State.
Covid-19: Traders Move To Check Spread
Eneka Market Association says it has taken some measures to tackle the spread of Coronavirus in the market.
Chairman of the association, Mr Christian Amadi said this in an interview with The Tide recently in the area.
Amadi who said he became aware of the spread of the virus in an internet on the radio also said that the association is holding series of meetings with all stakeholders in the market to work out ways of checking the spread of the virus.
According to him, the association has made it compulsory that both traders and customers coming to the market must use hand sanitizers, wear face masks while all the tables in the market will be spaced.
He also said that the traders are thinking of levying themselves to provide hand washing soaps and water for both traders and customers coming to the market.
The chairman however, regretted that most of the traders and customers are not conforming to the rules, especially the wear of face masks and the use of hand sanitisers.
He also declared that the association is finding it difficult to enforce the rules on social distancing as the market is too small.
Also speaking, Mrs Felicia Ejekwu, a food vendor said that it was during their meeting that they were made to know the lastest development as far as the Covid-19 pandemic is concerned.
She said the traders are doing everything possible to check the spread of the virus in the market.
Also, another trader commended the association for the provision of taps and hand sanitisers.
He also thanked them for making the wearing of face masks compulsory in the market.
He however said the role on social distancing will be difficult to achieve since the market is too small and called for more enlargement and sensitisation.
Other traders who also spoke with The Tide on the issue called for the creation of more awareness on the danger of the pandemic.
Commissioner Advises Rivers Youths To Respect Authority
Rivers State youths have been charged to respect constituted authority and traditional institutions in order to be veritable tools of change in enhancing community development.
Commissioner for Youth Development, Hon. Prince Obi Ohia who made the declaration during a town hall meeting at Akinima in Ahoada West Local Government Area said that the youths who constitute over 60% of the population of any nation, had the responsibility of renewing, refreshing and maintaining societal values in any given community.
Ohia advised youths to show high level regard for traditional stools stating that the youth bodies are not autonomous entities but are under the local government councils and traditional institutions.
He made it categorically clear to the youths that if they must operate in the State, they must have absolute respect for the traditional rulers because the state government would not tolerate any disrespect for the traditional institutions.
The commissioner however, urged traditional rulers to be unbiased and desist from wielding overbearing influence on the Youths bodies, which may cause an incursion on youths activities.
Ohia, advised traditional rulers to play fatherly and advisory roles to youths in their communities rather than interfer with their activities especially in choosing their leaders in order to reduce crisis in their localities.
While delivering the youth education pep talk, the commissioner urged the youths to embrace the value of time in the area of technological and educational advancement and also, adequately carry out the role of community surveillance and security in accordance with laid down guidelines while liaising with security agencies in their localities.
He said youths in carrying out their security and surveillance roles could give vital information to security agencies and aid arrest of criminal elements in their communities as long as it is done lawfully.
Ohia hinted that the state had established a symbiotic relationship with youths, the local government, and the communities in order to gain total control of youth bodies to forestall any security breaches in the state.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Roland Obed Whyte stressed the need for Community.
Ethnic based youth organisations in the area to key into the ongoing revalidation exercise by the Ministry, warning youth groups which have not been revalidated that they remain proscribed until they have fulfilled and completed the revalidation obligations as stipulated by the ministry.
Chairman of Ahoada West Local Government Council, Dr. Hope Ikiriko warned that traditional rulers would be held responsible in any community where there are youth crises in the local government.
Dr. Ikiriko appealed to youth leaders to ensure that they are revalidated and registered with the Ministry of Youth Development as that is the prerequisite for being recognised as a Youth body in the State.
By: Ike Wigodo
KYC Alleges Sabotage Over Trans Kalabari Road
Warns Criminals To Steer Clear
The Kalabari Youth Council (KYC) Worldwide, says the recent kidanap of an expatriate working on the ongoing Trans Kalahari Road may be a sabotage to stall the project.
President General of the KYC , Ambassador Ipalibo Madodoye in a statement signed and made available to The Tide on Thursday said no amount of sabotage will derail the project.
Madodoye said, “this project displays good intention of the State Government to the Kalabari people. It’s something that will open Kalabari land. No amount of sabotage will derail it.”
He expressed hope that the 14 month time line for the project will be achieved, noting that the state governor, Chief Nyesom Woke has never abandoned any project he has started.
The KYC president general called on parents and guardians to warn their wards from being used to cause chaos and disaffection in the area and the entire Kalabari land.
“For us we see it as a challenge to ensure cordiality and peace within the project communities stressing tjat, “we strongly warn strangers and all agents against Kalahari land and Rivers State to stay far from all project sites and facilities.”
The KYC further condemned statement by Kengema Youth Forum (KUF) over the kidnap of the expatriate describing it as a mockery and tantamount to hypocrisy.
The statement said, “We condenm the dastardly kidnap and for the umpteenth time call for the immediate and unconditional release of the expatriate, while we state very clearly that KUF’s media display is rather too hasty, a mockery to Kalabari land where the project is cited and to the Rivers State Government”.
As far as KYC is concerned, the Kengema Unity Forum has never seen anything good in the present administration of Chief Wikem
The body further challenged KUF over its sincerity to condemn other kidnaps in Kalabari land including other criminal activities if really it meant well for the area..
We hereby strongly warn any other person, persons or group that would present itself or themselves as tool or decoy to distract or forestall the Trans-Kalabari Project or any other projects in our land to steer clear even as we call on all community youth bodies to be on the red alert and report suspicious moves to the appropriate quarters” the statement further declared.
By: Kevin Nengia
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