Leadership can be likened to an art. Whoever does a work of art is called an artist. Works of art definitely spring forth from the heart, it is intrinsic. However, when work is elevated to an artistic level for instance through exemplary leadership, the arrowhead of such a feat can be regarded as an artist. Governor Amaechi could be called an artist in this sense.
In Rivers State, the administration of Governor Amaechi has, in unmistakable terms elevated leadership to an artistic height. His creative ingenuity in crafting a change from what used to be, could be termed an escape from the ordinary and an art of sorts.
Before the emergence of Governor Amaechi, the ordinary man in Rivers State had harboured a negative feeling towards governance. To the citizenry, a feeling that change cannot take place was a familiar sentiment. Change from the old order of contract abandonment, carry go, and sharing of the common wealth of the state was a far-fetched possibility. It was unthinkabl. Infrastructure, to say the least, was at the decaying level.
The health industry, hospitals and clinics were elevated to a prescription center where the presiding doctors and health officials only referred patients to their own privately run hospitals. Security of lives and property was as uncertain and dangerously threatened, Cult boys masquerading as ethnic militias held the state by the jugular. The education sector did not fare better as private schools took the shine off public schools with exorbitant fees which the common man could hardly afford. Power generation begged for a touch. Of course, Water Corporation and its responsibility of giving the people good drinking water was non-existence. Road network in the city capital of Port Harcourt was a sorry issue. No wonder, inter – city and intra-city commuting was a horrendous experience.
However, Governor Amaechi happened to be on the driving seat in the State as Governor and not only made change a reality, he made possible a radical drift from the old order. The masses felt a new breeze caress them. This he did by revamping the infrastructural decadence in the State. For the first time after the departure of Alfred Diette Spiff from the Brick House, the oil wealth in the State was turned into the people’s wealth.
Before Governor Amaechi’s rise to power, the Rivers man never believed a contract could be executed to its end. They never believed that the several roads being constructed today or re-furbished could be done not to talk of finishing them.
But before one could step into the Governor’s massive infrastructural turn-around programmes, there is the important need to talk of his battles with the cult boys in the State which culminated in one way or another into both the insecurity in the State and amnesty saga subsequently.
Quite alright, the Governor was not the one that granted amnesty but his initial refusal to negotiate any deal with militants as his predecessors had one, brought the message of his aversion to them to the fore. This approach made the militants realise the enormity of the menace they constitute to the state and to the masses.
And when it was as if there was to be an impasse in the understanding between his administration and the militants who insisted he must regularly settles them, Joint Military Task Force (JTF) was brought into the State to restore order. After this development security gradually began to sip through the state. The militants got cowed to a reasonable extent. Finally, the amnesty came eventually to help stamp out the menace of the cult boys. Today, Rivers State is one of the safest cities in the country.
Coming away from security, the Governor rolled out a massive agenda of road construction and refurbishment. This agenda has seen such roads like Rumuola to Rumuokwuta, Rumuokwuta to Choba through NTA, Rumuomasi to Rumuobiakani, Ohiamini road starting from Psychiatric Road to Rumuola, Rumuola to Elekahia link Road and a host of others scattered all over the state and not only Port Harcourt metropolis. While some of these roads have been competed others are nearing completion. The Eleme fly – over bridge under this scheme have equally been completed while others are on the verge of completion.
Education is another prominent sector where the governor could thumb himself and his administration up for having done well so far.
First of all, in order to ease the financial burden of Primary School Teachers salaries in the State, the governor elected to take over the payment of primary schools teachers’ salaries thereby creating more funds for the Local Government Chairman to plough into other projects. This impacted positively on the primary education system.
Again, Government further saw the need to inject new life into the primary schools sector and so a total of 350 model primary schools went under a new programme of construction. As at today, 70 to 80% of these schools have been completed. The Governor did not stop there. He followed the primary school style by initiating the construction of 24 new model boarding Secondary Schools all over the 23 local government areas of the state. This new determination to turn around the slide and the drift in education compelled the governor to personally supervise the construction works going on in these Secondary Schools. At the tertiary level, he initiated a bill in the Rivers State House of Assembly (RSHA) that gage birth to the establishment of a law elevating the Rivers State College of Education to University status.
Every sector of the economy under Amaechi’s administration has one reason or the other to blossom. Thus, in the health industry, 160 health centers have been constructed around the state. These have also been properly equipped with modern health apparatus to properly handle issues of primary health delivery. In the same vein, the secondary and tertiary health needs of the state got a boost through the upgrading of some existing hospitals, such as Niger Hospital Emenike street Port Harcourt.
Interestingly, in the health sector, the governor being aware that infrastructure alone cannot do the work has made the training and retraining of personnel to man state hospitals a cardinal programme of his administration through the recruitment of qualified medical personnels.
Unemployment which was one of the reasons why all manner of vices reared their ugly heads in the metropolis and the state generally got a serious consideration with the establishment of the Ministry of Employment and Youth Empowerment. Sustainable development which was to have a direct impact in the state through series of programmes geared towards emancipating the citizenry from the clutches of hunger and starvation had an agency of its own. Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA), an autonomous agency set up as multi-sector intervention agency under the office of the Governor to whom the RSSDA Directors report regularly. This statutory establishment with its enabling laws is empowered to undertake projects in a wide variety of areas including youth development and re-orientation, SMES, Education, health, Skills Acquisition, Employment, Local Government, etc.
Principally, the agency tackle rural poverty, build effective community institutions and viable local economies across the rural areas including urban slums but emphasis however here is on youth development.
Within its short period of existence, RSSDA has established scholarship schemes for indigent students both abroad and internally. Under this scheme, over 1,500 students are already studying aboard in different universities. The countries working in liason with RSSDA include UK, Singapore, Canada and Benin Republic, locally too, students are sponsored under this programme.
In agriculture, the agency has set a record in aquaculture and related sectors in the state. Basically, the agency has rigorously supported the production of catfish and fingerlings in the State where millions fingerlings are produced every six weeks for fish multiplication. Cassava production is also supported while enhanced poultry primary is encourage with the stocking of over 45,000 layers which produce enormous quantity of eggs regularly.
To make sure that its programmes are sustained, the Rivers State Government works in concert with the World Bank, USAID, DFID, NNPC, SPDC, NDDC and other agencies of the Federal and Rivers State Government. According to the Director of the Agency, ‘sustainable development is holistic socio-economic transformation of the rural areas of Rivers State with a long term horizon which ensures that the needs of the rural dwellers are met. “This, “ he continued “could only be realised through results – oriented and professionally supported programmes and projects”
There is bountiful evidence to believe that the present Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi has no hidden agenda other than to beaqueath a profound legacy of enhanced development whenever he leaves office. However with the sustained and determined drive by the opposition to unseal him, one begins to wonder what the Governor is doing wrong. Is it his determination to revolutionise democracy with his open-door policy, grassroots development, Youth Empowerment, Education for all as is being planned, sustainable development, the construction of a greater Port Harcourt City, development, emancipation of the poor and the needy or what?
Whatever be his sins, the masses in the state are prepared to do any thing to have the hard working Governor come back, if not for any thing for the continuity of the numerous projects that dot the land most of which he either has completed or are between 60-70% in completion. He remains a pace setter.
We at the Center for Good Governance will believe that the people of Rivers State, having suffered so much deprivation should therefore have the best in terms of good leadership which Governor Amaechi exemplifies. Nevertheless should they allow partisan opposition intimidate his administration into capitulation we collectively have ourselves to blame. Continuity is essential in this time.
Nnamdiwrote in from Port Harcourt.
Engr. Chukwu Nnamdi
Ahead 2027: Pro-Tinubu Group Sets Up Structures In APC
The Mandate Movement (TMM), a pro-President Bola Tinubu group in the All Progressives Congress (APC), has set up 37 structures in a bid to enlarge its membership base across the country.
The structures consist of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
The national leader of the movement, Cardinal James Odunmbaku, made this known in a statement, explaining that the move became necessary for the ease of administration.
Cardinal Odunmbaku, in the statement, noted that this move was a precursor to the preparations for the 2027 general election.
He stressed that the move aims at ensuring that the APC has strong dominance across communities and towns in every part of the country.
He advised those to be appointed as state coordinators to be more effective in mobilising new people into the ruling APC.
The APC chieftain also used the opportunity to appeal to Nigerians to be patient with the President Bola Tinubu’s administration, assuring that the government was taking steps to address the harsh economic challenges.
Benue APC Crisis: Court Sacks Acting State Chairman
The recently suspended Benue State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Austin Agada, has been reinstated by a Makurdi High Court presided over by the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Maurice Ikpambese.
Recall that Mr Agada was earlier in the month suspended from office by another Benue High Court in Aliade presided over by Justice Lilian Tsumba following an ex parte motion filed by Mr Moses Agaba against him and the APC after his Ihaje Ward I Executive in Ogbadibo Local Government Area had passed a no-confidence vote on him and also suspended him for alleged anti-party activity.
The suspension was immediately followed by the inauguration of Mr. Benjamin Omakolo from Igoro Ward, Apa LGA as the acting State Chairman during a State Executive Committee meeting of the party presided over by Governor Hyacinth Alia.
However the crisis in the party took a dramatic turn Monday when Justice Ikpambese reinstated Mr. Agada while ruling on a motion by the embattled chairman seeking to set aside the interim order restraining him from parading himself as Chairman.
After listening to the arguments of counsel to Moses Agaba, Mr. Johnson Usman, and that of Innocent Daagba, who appeared alongside Richard Ayilla, George Ushongo, Daniel Sorkaa and John Ifer who appeared for Mr. Agada, Justice Maurice Ikpambese vacated the order restraining him from parading self, function and acting as the Chairman of the APC in the State.
Justice Ikpambese ruled that “under Order 39, rule 3 of the Benue State High Court Procedure Rules, 2023, the lifespan of an interim order is seven days, and since the order was issued on February 2, 2024, it has elapsed by law.”
Justice Ikpambese nullified the appointment of Benjamin Omakolo as acting Chairman and any other appointment made from February 2, 2024.
He accordingly struck out the motion seeking to set aside the interim order of February 2, 2024, as “it has been overtaken by events.”
The matter would be assigned to another Judge by the Chief Judge who would hear it on its merit.
Reacting, the APC State acting Chairman, Mr. Omakolo dismissed the reinstatement of Mr. Agada saying “whether the order restraining him (Agada) from parading himself as the Chairman is vacated or not, the fact that he has been suspended by his Ward still places a ban on him to be able to function as APC Chairman in Benue State. “And it will interest you to know that in the court ruling today, no matter concerning my person or role as the acting Chairman was mentioned.
“So, I still remain the valid acting State chairman of the APC in Benue State. I remain the one who pilots the affairs of the APC in Benue State and the APC family takes instructions and directives from my office as the acting Chairman of APC in the State.
“And even that wrong vacation that was done in the High Court has already been appealed. The person that took him to court has appealed the judgement because it is not correct in law for a High Court to restrain another High Court, a court of coordinate jurisdiction. I have long assumed office as the acting Chairman of APC in Benue State.”
There’s No Changing Bayelsa Gov’ship Result – Diri
Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has said that the November 11, 2023, governorship election in the State has been won and lost and cannot be changed through subterranean moves of his main rival in the poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the incumbent governor winner of the election and presented certificates of return to him and the deputy governor-elect, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, on November 17, 2023.
Diri, who spoke on Monday during the first year memorial service of his late father, Pa Abraham Diri, at the St Peter’s Anglican Church, Sampou, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, said the subpoena to the police to testify as witness at the election petition tribunal by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, was diversionary, a waste of time and an exercise in futility.
He said the acceptable standard was the election result declared by INEC and not that of the police.
His words, “they are bringing a police report. They are bringing a police commissioner to come and testify in the election tribunal. We have crossed that bridge long ago. Just as we stopped them from rigging, we will stop them again.
“If you want to subpoena anybody, let it be INEC, which conducted the election and declared the results. The police are in charge of security.
“Let us be steadfast. Our second tenure will be better than the first.”
The governor eulogised his father for laying a solid foundation for him and his siblings.
According to him, his father was being celebrated a year after his death because he left good legacies that were speaking through him and his siblings.
He said: “His impact upon our lives, his children and relatives, is unspeakable. That is why I believe in giving the best education to children, so that whether you are alive or not, they can stand anywhere. I urge fellow Bayelsans to give their children good education.
“What we are doing today is to appreciate God and celebrate the life of our father for what he has done in our lives. Our father guided us very well. All his life was how to discipline and give what he had to society.
“Those of us in leadership as president, governors, Speakers and other positions, let us know that there is a legacy we should leave, which will speak for us when we leave this world.”
Speaking on the topic: “What will you be remembered for?” Rev. Funkuro Amgbare, Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Izon of the Anglican Communion, noted that Pa Diri was being remembered a year after his death because he impacted positively on his children and the society.
He admonished all to live a life worth remembering by maintaining their integrity.
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