From whatever angle you view the Rivers story, you will eventually come to the conclusion that Rivers State is on the right path, craved by the people when they first opted for Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, as their Governor in 2015.
As a reporter/observer who has witnessed this life-changing relationship between Governor Wike and Rivers people, I will take the next few weeks to discuss key aspects of this phenomenal drive to re-position Rivers State.
It is necessary to start this narration from the beginning. Governor Wike was drafted into the leadership race by Rivers people in response to the worst political and economic treachery against the people by the immediate past APC Administration in the state.
Rivers people co-opted Governor Wike to place a derailed state back on track. Between 2013 and 2015, the failed then outgoing administration had weakened the foundations of governance, destroyed the fabric of brotherhood and sold the soul of Rivers State to external political marauders . Rivers people needed a political tactician and warrior to save the state from total political slavery and economic damnation.
Therefore, the preference of Wike ahead of 16 other Governorship Aspirants was for the reason of rebuilding and re-positioning Rivers State from the ashes of failure imposed on the state by the immediate past APC Administration. From the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State, leaders opted to elect Governor Wike and entrench the PDP in the state. They fought against the huge financial war-chest of the immediate past APC Administration.
On December 8, 2014, PDP Delegates from all the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State unanimously voted for Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike as the party’s governorship candidate for the 2015 election in the state. On April 11, 2015, the good people of Rivers State overwhelmingly voted for Nyesom Ezenwo Wike as their governor. He polled 1,029,102 votes.
This was fundamentally the people’s project. It has always been driven by the people. That is why the entire structure is impregnable from within and without. True, some political engineering has been deployed, but the strength of Rivers people is deep and solid. It cannot be swept away easily.
Once the Rivers decide to flow, no quantum of machinations, no matter how well crafted can stop the flow. In the beginning, Rivers people set on a mission in one voice and they have remained undefeated ever since.
In the decision to create a new Rivers State, people came from the 23 Local Government Areas. They defied the riverine and upland divide and placed Rivers ahead of other reasons. They refused to hand their destiny into the hands of a treacherous few. Collectively, Rivers people became their own godfather. They handed over the state to God on the platform that: “the voice of the people is the voice of God “.
Despite the overwhelming victory in 2015, officials of the defeated APC moved from court to court shopping for illegal injunctions to stop the oath taking ceremony. Where ever they went, the hand of God frustrated Governor Wike’s first duty after taking over the reins of governance on May 29, 2019 was to restore the institutions of governance and democracy destroyed by the immediate past APC Administration. This is one of the most vital actions taken to kick-start the process of development in Rivers State.
Governor Wike re-opened the courts and appointed an Acting Chief Judge and Acting President of the State Custumary Court of Appeal. The Judiciary which was castrated by the past administration was revived. The Rivers State House of Assembly which relocated to the Government House, Port Harcourt under the previous administration was duly proclaimed and given the rightful autonomy to carry out its legislative functions.
According to the Former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the State had collapsed irretrievably at the time Governor Wike was handed the mandate by Rivers people.
Amaechi said, ‘’ I’m not joking, we have no money anywhere. In Rivers State, no money. I think Nyesom Wike is coming, we are waiting. He will look for money for salary; there is none. So, he will have to manage. But when he pays out salary, we will see whether they can build the schools, the roads, even to get a loan”.
Governor Wike inherited four months of unpaid salaries and three months of unpaid pensions. Governor Wike cleared these salary and pension arrears. The weakened economy was duly reflated, with mass economic activities set in motion.
Ever since, the Rivers economy has been on the ascendancy. It is a given that workers and pension welfare take precedence over other considerations .
Steps were taken to revive the state’s security architecture which was destabilised by the failure of the immediate past APC Administration to fund monthly financial obligations for security operations. With this, Governor Wike rebuilt the security infrastructure of Rivers State.
After reviving the state, Governor Wike set out to implement the New Rivers Development Blueprint. His careful implementation of this programme has seen Rivers State emerge as the country’s headquarters of projects and progress.
The Wike administration ended the misery of Rivers people and set the people on the path of development.
He has used Rivers mandate to create an atmosphere of hope where the people genuinely yearn for more. In every community, Rivers people have keyed into the season of stability, prosperity , new vision, new thinking, and better possibilities.
Governor Wike has planted the process of purposeful and rewarding leadership propelled by a dynamic team.
He has delivered on the social contract he entered with Rivers people in 2015. The people have renewed his mandate because they want him to Consolidate on the gains of his first term. We shall provide details of his outstanding accomplishments in his first term .
Nwakaudu is Special Assistant to Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media.
Ayade Orders Recruitment Into Civil Service
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has ordered immediate recruitment into the state civil service to fill the vacuum that may occur due to workers’ retirements.
The new Head of Service (HoS), Mr Timothy Akwaji, disclosed this on Wednesday during his maiden meeting with permanent secretaries on Wednesday in Calabar.
Akwaji said the creation of AkwaIbom from Cross River in 1987 caused a mass exodus of civil servants to the new state, leading to mass recruitment by the state government to fill the attendant vacant positions.
“Most of these workers will be exiting the service, having completed their mandatory 35 years in service and this may create a bureaucratic vacuum if there is no mentoring of those who may be left behind to keep the service running.
“The governor has, therefore, given approval for the recruitment of workers to cushion the effect of the impending mass retirement from the state civil service.”
The Head of Service stressed the need for the permanent secretaries to mentor their subordinates, as directors and for other civil servants to look up to them as role models.
He said mentorship in the service had become necessary to enable civil servants discharge their responsibilities effectively.
APC Releases Timetable For Nat’l Convention
The All Progressives Congress has said it will begin the sale of forms for aspirants vying for its national positions ahead of the National Convention from February 14.
National Secretary, APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, announced this in a statement he issued on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said, “The APC CECPC at its 19th regular meeting on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, at the party’s National Secretariat considered and adopted the timetable/schedule of activities for the February 26, APC National Convention.”
According to him, the schedule of activities ahead of the party’s national convention is as seen below:
“Receiving of the interim report of the National Reconciliation Committee, January 31, 2022.
“Consideration and adoption of Reports of State Congresses February 2, 2022.
“Inauguration of the State Executives February 03, 2022.
“Sale of forms to all aspirants vying for National Offices at the APC National Secretariat, February 14, 2022.
“Submission of completed forms and accompanying documents at the APC National Secretariat on or before February 19, 2022.
“Publication of Sub-Committees February 19, 2022.
“Screening of all aspirants vying for National Offices February 20 February 22.
“Screening Appeals to hear and resolve complaints arising from the screening exercise February 23, 2022.
“Accreditation of all statutory and elected delegates to the National Convention – February 24 to February 25, 2022.
“National Convention to elect National Officers to the National Executive Committee February 26, 2022.
“National Convention Appeal to hear and resolve complaints arising from the National Convention February 28, 2022.”
The APC scribe, at an interaction with newsmen at the party’s National Secretariat, had earlier described as fake, reports that the party’s leadership had zoned its national chairmanship position to a particular zone.
Akpankudohede said the report should be disregarded, adding that there was no decision on that.
INEC Dismisses Tinubu’s Comment On PVCs
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) have not expired.
The commission said this while responding to the comment credited to Senator Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaking while addressing the women leaders of the party who paid him a visit recently, Tinubu asked voters to obtain new PVCs.
Earlier in the month, after so much speculations, Tinubu formally announced his intention to contest for the 2023 presidency.
“In case they do not announce to you on time, the PVC you have has expired,” Tinubu said.
“Take one family member, two family members, knock on all doors and make sure that the new registration… Because they may not announce to you on time. The PVCs you have have expired. Yes!
“You need to spread it to various local government and wards at each levels. No matter how difficult it is. To me, I look at it closely and you look at other elections being held, you will see that it’s diminishing because those cards (is) expired. It’s mandatory that you go and register to vote and achieve your aspirations. May God bless you and bless Nigeria.”
But reacting, the Chief Technical Adviser to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Bolade Eyinla, said those who have registered for election do not need to do so again because their cards are valid for future elections.
“This information is not correct. The PVC issued to all previously registered voters remains valid. This kind of statement will certainly push eligible voters to register more than once thereby creating the problem of double and multiple registrations,” he said.
In the same vein, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, said that Nigerians who already have their PVCs do not need to register again.
He warned, “In fact, double registration is an offence under our laws. Eligible Nigerians are entitled to register only once.”
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