Nigeria’s Independence movement started when she became a British Protectorate in 1901. The period of British rule lasted until 1960, when an independence movement led to the country being granted freedom. The Independence movement in Nigeria emerged first in 1920 under the influence of Herbert Macaulay who is considered the founder of Nigerian nationalism.
The nation’s independence was achieved by an act of the British parliament and she became an independent country within the Commonwealth on October 1, 1960.
Actually, in 1953, Anthony Enahoro, became the first to move the motion for Nigeria’s independence which was eventually granted in 1960 after several political setbacks and defeats in parliament. As a result of this, Enahoro has been regarded by academics and many Nigerians as the Father of Nigerian State.
When Nigeria was granted independence a new constitution established a federal system with an elected Prime Minister and ceremonial head of state. The NCNC was headed by Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe who had taken control after Macaulay’s death in 1946. He formed a coalition with Abubakar Tafawa Balewa’s NPC after neither party won a majority in the 1959 election. Balewa continued to serve as the Prime Minster, a position he held since 1957, while Azikiwe took the largely ceremonial position of President of the Senate. Following a well supervised referendum, the northern part of the Trust Territory of the Cameroons joined Northern Nigeria in June, 1901, while in October, the Southern Cameroons united with Cameroon to form the Federal Republic of Cameroons.
On October 1, 1963, Nigeria became a republic. Azikiwe became president of the country, although as prime minister, Balewa was still more powerful.
On October 1, 1960, Nigeria was conceived as it officially gained independence from the British colonial masters. A lot of things have changed in 61 years especially as regards the political landscape.
However, the labour of our heroes who made Nigeria’s independence possible can never be forgotten. From Tafawa Balewa, to Azikiwe, the country’s first elected President, they made the fight for Nigeria’s independence look like their personal struggle.
Ahmadu Bello was the first and only premier of the northern region who ruled from 1954 to 1966. As the leader of the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), he led the party to a majority victory in the pre-independent parliamentary election of 1959. As Sardauna of Sokoto, he was a formidable force behind the throne and was considered one of the most powerful men in Nigeria.
The historic 1959 general election, which effectively ushered in Nigeria’s Independence in 1960, saw an alliance between the NPC under Bello to forge an alliance with the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) under the leadership of Nnamdi Azikiwe, which resulted in Nigeria’s first indigenous Federal Government Ahmadu Bello chose to remain the premier of northern Nigeria and always preferred to be among his people in the north. His reign was cut short in the January 1966 coup, when he was assassinated by Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu in a coup which toppled Nigeria post-independence government.
Nnamdi Azikiwe was a leading figure of modern Nigerian nationalism who spent a better part of his life working to end British control of Nigeria, both as a journalist and a politician. He served as the last Governor-General of Nigeria from 1960-1963 as well as the country’s first elected president from 1963 to 1966 during the First Republic. He joined politics in 1944 and later co-founded NCNC after a successful stint as a journalist, he became active in politics in 1944.
The great Zik inspired the Zikist Movement, a radical revolutionary and multi-ethnic youth body which championed the Nigerian struggle against imperialism and the belief that Nigerians and indeed Africans should manage their own affairs. Back in the 1940s, Nnamdi Azikiwe championed Nigeria’s Independence from British rule and in 1943, joined other West African editors to sign a memorandum to raise awareness about political independence. They also called for socio-political reforms that would include a repeal of the crown colony system, installing a representative system in regions and granting independence to West African colonies under the British rule.
Tafawa Balewa was among those who fought for Nigeria independence. After the NPC won the pre-independence parliamentary election, Tafawa Balewa, being the vice president of the party, emerged Nigeria first prime minister. A position he held till January 1966, when he was killed in the coup. In the 50s, he was actually involved in the campaign for indigenous rule and discussions on constitutional reforms which ultimately led to independence in 1960.
Obafemi Awolowo, the first premier of the western region from 1954 to 1960, was another nationalist who played active role in the struggle for Nigeria’s independence.
Anthony Enahoro according to reports was the first politician to move the motion supporting Nigeria’s independence in the parliament in 1953, although ended up unsuccessfully. The early agitation for self-rule suffered setback and at a time, caused the northern members of parliament to stage a walkout from the legislative chamber.
Despite the fact that his motion suffered setbacks, it contributed to a new movement in the parliament that sustained the pressure on the British colonial masters for Nigerian independence. There were also similar motions from Balewa and former deputy premier of the western region, Remilekun Fani-Kayode, which all resulted in Nigeria’s independence in 1960.
As part of the struggle for Nigeria’s independence, women were not left out even as they confronted the British maladministration. Mostly, women from the southern part of Nigeria, carried out the Aba Women Riot. The women in a riot rebelled against economic and socio-political oppression on the colonial masters in Nigeria. Such things as the imposition of tax on market women and the dictatorial powers of the warrant chiefs who were in power. Following the introduction of indirect rule system of government. In November 1929, thousands of women assembled in Calabar and Owerri from where they took over major roads and streets in protests. Some of the warrant chiefs where forced to resign, following the riot, which was seen as the first major uprising against the British rule in Nigeria.
Margaret Ekpo of Calabar, led women in the eastern part of Nigeria during the pre-independence era while Funmilayo Ransome Kuti took control of the western part of Nigeria. Funmilayo Ransome Kuti organised and mobilised women to resist any colonisation during the pre-colonial era. That was when colonial masters refused to give permit for demonstrations in some parts of Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Independence Day came on the 1st of October 1960. Indeed, Nigerians at the time were joyful for being liberated from the hands of their colonial masters. Reports have that it was a symbolic day. Since then, the day had always been celebrated. A day Nigeria, which was amalgamated by joining the southern and northern protectorate by Lord Frederick Lugard got recognition. It was like people being granted their heart desire. Since Nigeria got independence, one can say that she has sustained it.
Nigeria’s independence was achieved through dialogue and negotiation rather than confrontation. Clubs and weapons were not used to achieve what we know today as independence. Since then, Nigerians have continued to govern themselves as a nation bound in freedom, love and unity.
Some of the elderstatesmen who ensured that Nigeria’s dream was achieved have passed on but their legacies still live on. Even as the nation celebrates independence annually, they are also remembered for the good works they did in their time.
When it was clear that Nigeria had attained Independence after series of constitutional proceedings with the United Kingdom, it was the night preceding October 1, 1960, that British Union Jack gradually descended from Nigeria’s parliament building and Nigerians Green-White-Green ascended. Princess Alexandra of Kent, who represented the Queen of England, handed over the constitutional instrument of Nigeria’s Independence to Tafawa Balewa. He became the prime minister
Independence day is significant as it is celebrated on every 1st October annually to mark Nigeria’s proclamation of independence from British rule. It is also important because it is used by Nigerians to decide on its economic, political and cultural fortunes. It is significant in that all states positions would be occupied by Nigerians and that the economy would be invigorated so that an egalitarian society would be created.
Achieving independence in Nigeria means that all the nations cultural practices would be restored and that anything foreign that did not respect their way of life would be jettisoned. As Nigeria became independent, it was assumed that people could exercise their franchise to choose and vote into power those they think will perform well as they vote them into power. But this is not the case as many have testified. Slowly, corruption has continued to rise.
Instead of helping Nigerians, some persons entrenched corruption. There are those who don’t care about the feelings of the masses. Whether Nigeria is independent or not, as far as they are concerned, the British can come back and let it be as if nothing worked since 1960. There are also people who lack faith in the survival of the country. As Nigeria marks 61st birthday, it is time to take stock and ask where we got it right or wrong. Nigeria after gaining independence in 1960 is not totally independent. The country still depends on importation of foods, power generation and supply and others. Other basic things of life are still being sought overseas like medicare.
If Nigeria is really independent, she should not import certain items for consumption. She should provide for her youths. Various systems should be strengthened. At 61, Nigeria should not still be grappling with leadership challenges.
As Nigeria commemorates her 61st birthday, hatred, mediocracy, tribalism, ethnicity and division in religious beliefs should be avoided. Bribery and corruption must stop to exist. Nigeria with her abundant human and material resources should be able to compete favourably with other countries. The issue of kidnapping, killings, banditry, armed robbery, insurgency to mention but a few should be discouraged.
By: Eunice Choko Kayode
Wike’s Pragmatic Offensive Against Illegal Bunkering
The revelations of that tour, have not only been mind-boggling in terms of the assemblage of sophisticated equipment and the operational dynamics of the illegal refineries, but sadly in the cumulative impact and overall long-term negative implications of the environmental, health and economic damages their continuous operations have inflicted and would continue to inflict on the people.
Wike’s pragmatic, on-the-spot assessment tour to the two local government areas, to dare the lions of illegal refineries in their own dens, was sequel to his radically precise 2022 New Year message to Rivers people, in which he unequivocally read the riot act to sponsors and operators of illegal refineries in the state.
He not only dropped the gauntlet by naming some of those behind the illegal operations, he boldly declared 19 persons wanted, and urged others who know themselves to report to security agencies on their own volition and discretion.
Wike equally directed all local government chairmen and community leaders to locate, identify such sites and report all those behind illegal bunkering and crude oil refining sites in their localities for prosecution.
And as a follow up to his trip through the track roads into the forest of Ogbodo community in Ikwerre Local Government Area and the forest of Ibaa community in Emohua LGA to uncover the illegal refining sites, Wike has now issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the 23 local government chairmen to provide a comprehensive list of illegal refineries and their operators within their jurisdiction.
The Rivers governor, who gave the ultimatum at a meeting with the council chairmen and heads of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police Force, the Directorate of State Service (DSS) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) at Government House on Friday, January 14, challenged the council chairmen to prove that they are not complicit in the dangerous business that has continued to threaten the health of Rivers people and the national economy.
While further demanding the redeployment of the DPO and NSCDC officers implicated in illegal refinery activities, the governor stated unequivocally that as a responsible government, it will be unwise for them to fold their hands and do nothing to safeguard residents of the state from the death that is forced upon them by criminally-minded operators of artisanal refineries.
Wike’s pragmatic offensive against illegal refineries had been driven by his deep worry and concern over the environmental pollution caused by dangerous black soot, which had practically covered the stratosphere of major parts of Rivers State, and had become even more life-threatening with the arrival of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, to compound the already menacing and precarious respiratory health challenges synonymous with the Coronavirus.
More significant to the Rivers governor’s courageous trip into the heart of the jungle where the operational hub of these illegal refineries throb with nefarious activity, is however, the widely believed notion that the Federal Government and its security agencies have either deliberately or otherwise, failed woefully to rein in those behind illegal oil bunkering and artisanal crude oil refiners in the state, whose illegal operation has become the number one health hazard in the state.
Wike, speaking on the black soot matter, in his New Year message, stated categorically that: “As a state government, we have drawn the attention of the Federal Government to this problem, and requested for its intervention to stop the activities of illegal bunkering and artisanal crude oil refiners, which have been identified as the main sources of the soot pandemic.
“Unfortunately, the Federal Government has remained inexplicably silent over our request, and even complicit to a large extent with the security agencies actively aiding, encouraging and protecting the artisanal refiners to continue with their harmful activities unabated,” the governor declared.
To fully comprehend and appreciate the enormity of the situation which confronts Rivers people with the continued operations of these illegal refineries unchecked, and which has now driven the Rivers governor to engage in this frontal, hands-on radical action to tackle the soot menace, one must necessarily reflect on the timeless Igbo adage invoked by the great Nigerian writer, late Professor Chinua Achebe, in the famous novel, “Things Fall Apart”, which says that: ‘a man who does not know where the rain began to beat him, cannot say where he dried his body’.
It is a well known fact that the illegal refining business is a multi-billion naira industry. It is something that is not hidden, it is very visible. Wike has, in several widely reported occasions, called out the heads of security agencies in the state, over their involvement in aiding and abetting the illegal operations.
Niger Delta analysts and Civil Society Organisations have also opined that a lot of influential political and military leaders referred to as ‘cabals’ or ‘cartels’ are all involved in this business, and so, it has become quite difficult to put a halt to it.
The result of this illegal occupation in Rivers State and on Rivers people is the black soot. Efforts to tackle this health hazard may have been cosmetic, especially following the 2016 and 2018 #StopTheSoot protests in Port Harcourt and other parts of Rivers State and Niger Delta.
The emergence of COVID-19 and the concerted agenda to control and manage the pandemic has even achieved a greater urgency now, as a result of the protracted air pollution crisis, caused by the black soot and exacerbated by the new Omicron variant, which is said to swiftly aggravate and accelerate respiratory failure.
A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that, outdoor air pollution causes 4.2million deaths each year across the world. Additionally, 99per cent of the global population is exposed to a high level of air pollution which puts them at risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other life-threatening medical conditions. Black soot, in particular, can be linked to a wide range of severe health effects, including acute bronchitis (an inflammation that causes coughing) and an aggravated breathing situation for asthma patients.
Wike recognised this in his impassioned directives to the Rivers State Police Commissioner, Mr Friday Eboka at one of the sites of the illegal refineries, to ensure that the sponsors and operators of these operations are brought to book, no matter how highly placed.
As at January 13, 2022, when Wike was in Ikwerre and Emuoha LGAs to assess the illegal refineries’ bases, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria amounted to 249,586. According to figures from the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the latest numbers show that Lagos State had total confirmed cases of 97,320 to top the list, followed by Abuja (27,782), Rivers (15,990), as the second and third highest number of cumulative cases, respectively.
It is common knowledge that Section 44(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); the Land Use Act, and Petroleum Act, vests the exclusive control, ownership, and management of oil and gas in the Federal Government and not to the state or local government where the oil and gas are situated (Exclusive List).
But there’s no doubt whatsoever that Wike’s pragmatic offensive against illegal refineries in the state is not only a step in the right direction in the collective effort, with civil society groups, to confront and defeat the continued production of black soot through the activities of these illegal operations, it once again exposes the distinctions between opportunistic service and the demands of the conceptual responsibility of service and leadership, geared towards protecting and preserving the well-being of the people.
Wike has never failed to stand on the side of the people and his ‘war’ against illegal refineries is just another manifestation of a leader who not only leads from the front, but will always put his people first, and step on toes to ensure that the people come first, no matter whose Ox is gored.
Political opportunists whose stock-in-trade is to politicise every genuine intention of Wike should bury their heads in shame this time around. The Rivers State Government is winning the war against the menace!
By: Paulinus Nsirim
Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State.
As Bonny Monarch Marks Milestone…
King Edward has now reigned as Bonny monarch for 25 years and people of the Kingdom stopped at nothing to celebrate their great ruler, starting with a special church service where the King and his Council of Chiefs were rededicated to serve God and Bonny people. It was a reenactment of the foundation laid by King George, the great grandfather of Edward sometime in the 1880s.
The humility of the King and his Council of Chiefs and the declarations they made before God on that fateful day was enough to give hope to every indigene of Bonny Kingdom in that service.
Before God and the people of Bonny Kingdom, the King made commitment saying: “In the name of the Lord and to the best of my abilities, I will continue to be a faithful monarch to this Kingdom. I will continue to share with us those gifts which God had entrusted to me. I shall daily strive to lead, teach and equip us for service. I shall love my people and have faith in them. I faithfully continue as one among them as we strive to better the lot of all who dwell both within and out outside the walls of this Kingdom. I shall seek to lead by example with God as my strength, Jesus Christ as my example and the Holy Spirit as my Guide”.
The Council of Chiefs, led by its chairman, Se – Alabo Dagogo Suoala Claude Wilcox made a commitment to God, the King and the Kingdom saying: “As Chiefs of this Kingdom and in the name of God, we make this commitment. We will, with God’s help, and to the best of our abilities, seek to be supportive of you in monarchical services. We offer to you our support, our confidence, our encouragement, our patience, our trust, our giftedness, our wisdom, our love and our prayers. We will have faith in you. We will serve with you for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord and for the love of our native land. In this your re-dedication to godly services, we claim your family as our family and commit ourselves to respect, love, care and support them as we support do to you. We make this promise s through Jesus Christ our Lord”.
The content of these declarations have hope written all over them, especially when the King said he was going to be one among his people. Following through on these commitments is at the core of what true leadership is. In very simple terms, the King has committed to feel the pain of his people and celebrate their joy in the years ahead.
Actually, the import of the declarations can only be fully understood by an indigene of Bonny of Bonny Kingdom. In Bonny Kingdom, irrespective of who is the local government chairman, the Amanyanabo and his Chiefs take the blame for every form of failure. Bonny people always look to their King and his Council of Chiefs. The reason for this is not clear, but it could be adduced that the transient nature of political offices and the actions of politicians might be a major factor.
In the past 25 years, most of the development in Bonny Kingdom had been facilitated through an organ of the Kingdom called the Bonny Kingdom Development Committee (BKDC). The BKDC was instrumental in the conceptualisation and delivery of such developmental projects in power, human capacity (through the Bonny Vocational Center) and social impact projects as the Ibanise HIV Initiative that reduced HIV/AIDS prevalence in Bonny Kingdom.
The youthful generation that saw the coronation of the Amanyanabo in 1996 is now in their 40s and 50s. A few are Chiefs, some are title citizens, others form the core of the current crop of political class and the rest are professionals in various fields. The next 25 years is starting with a fresh crop of youths desirous of a sustainable and prosperous future. How will the King lead into the future? How does he surpass the successes of the past years? How will he, in consonance with the local government council and the security agencies in the Kingdom, bring drug and kidnapping to zero? How does he hold the Kingdom together as one man among many? Will he put on the cloak of burden for his people, making sure no one is left behind? These are the questions on the mind of every indigene and resident of Bonny Kingdom irrespective of age, house, creed or political affiliation.
There is every reason to hope because the King was prayed for and blessed by his people. God has favoured the King by preserving the eighty one year Rt. Rev. Gabriel Herbert People, Bishop emeritus of Niger Delta Diocese, Anglican Communion who crowned him in 1996 to rededicate in 2021 after 25 years. In rededicating the King, the Bishop charged him under God, “to be of good courage to hold fast that which is good; to strengthen the faint hearted; to render unto no man evil for evil; to help the afflicted; to support the weak; to honour all men and to love and serve the Lord.”
The second reason for hope is found in the significance of gifts given to the King during the service. Gifts of water, wine, a shepherds’ staff, olive oil, traditional wrapper and candle were given to the King; representing the peace the Kingdom desires to enjoy in the years ahead, wisdom and good leadership from the King, prosperity for the Kingdom and the candle as a symbol of light and truth that his majesty’s light may shine to the glory of God and the uplifting of Bonny Kingdom. The Bishop also handed the King a copy of the Holy Bible, charging him to lead the kingdom under God, with Christ as an example and the Holy Spirit as guide.
The future of Bonny Kingdom is a blank page in which anything could be written; and the Amanyanabo understands his role as that pencil in the hand of the Creator. He should bear in mind that the strategies that worked for the Kingdom and brought him safely to his 25th Anniversary would not take him and the Kingdom into the promised land of a sustainable and prosperous future, especially in an uncertain political and economic environment as Nigeria. He must now surround himself with men of bold ideas capable of lifting everyone in Bonny Kingdom out of poverty; men who rather think of the GDP of Bonny Kingdom and fight its emergence as an economic power house in spite of oil and gas. Men who can design a 25-year development plan, with concrete deliverables every five years and to give their lives, if need be, for the sake of posterity.
The Chiefs must return and rebuild every stratum of their Houses – Gburusu, Asawo, Erawo and youths. In the same token, each House must domesticate the 25-year plan after it has been approved by the Ibanise Assembly. Every sleeve must be rolled up for the work ahead; the King’s strength is in his people. The political class must know they only exist to serve the people in a democracy. Therefore, they must reorient themselves to fulfilling their duty of creating an enabling environment for growth by being transparent and accountable. In this regard, Dame Hon. Anengi Barasua, the current Bonny LGA boss, has a rare opportunity to show the men folk have to lead by rising with concrete achievements.
In my interactions with some title citizens and youths, the general consensus is that the Kingdom stagnated in the last five years despite the euphoria of the signing of the new MoU with NLNG, SPDC and ExxonMobil in 2015. They were of the opinion that the parochial interest of a select few denied the Kingdom desperately needed resources for almost six years. They prayed and hoped that the occasion of this coronation Silver Jubilee would mark a turning point for the Kingdom’s new vehicle for development – the Bonny Kingdom Development Foundation (BKDF). Bonny people must know that the best time to turn her fortunes around was in 2015, but the next best time is now. No one is exempt; everyone has a role to play in bringing the Kingdom across the Jordan and into the promise of the future.
In a chance meeting in 2018, I got a rare opportunity to hear from the King, the history and purpose of the BKDF and a possible future for Grand Bonny Kingdom. With the aid of a video, his Majesty explained how Bonny Kingdom was to transition from a monolithic economy to a diversified one. I left the meeting in tears and a heart full of hope, knowing that the future of Bonny Kingdom was assured and the thought that there are still visionary leaders in Nigeria. There have been delays of all kinds, however, my hope and belief in Bonny Kingdom and its people has not diminished.
Bonny Kingdom is blessed beyond imagination, and it has everything it takes to transform into a type of Dubai on the Atlantic. The people must know that no one will build Bonny Kingdom but Bonny people. Every son and daughter of the kingdom both at home or in the diaspora must on this occasion of the coronation Silver Jubilee rededicate themselves to an upliftment of the Kingdom. The King and the Council of Chiefs need a deep introspection on avenue to our core values and identity as a distinct people. In a sense, Bonny Kingdom needs to remain ancient in the things that set it apart and modern in its approach to matters of the economy, politics and social cohesion. The Ibanise Assembly must be revived to meet at least quarterly; an annual Bonny Kingdom home and abroad conference should be instituted to be held every Fungu (Mid August) with a day set aside for every House to hold their annual general meeting.
Prof. Pat Utomi once commented that the future of Nigerian is so bright that it can’t be viewed with the naked eyes. But, I want to submit that the future of Bonny Kingdom is even brighter. Nigeria and the rest of the world is waiting for Bonny Kingdom’s contribution to the blue economy, ICT, health, pharmaceuticals, education, sports and tourism. The world is waiting for Edward I to lead Bonny Kingdom into the promise land, but every indigene must stand to be counted.
By: Raphael Pepple
Dakuku Peterside On A Wild Goose Chase
In the said publication, Dakuku Peterside laboured in futility to magnify his vicious and mischievous attacks aimed at demeaning the person of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and his nationally celebrated administration that can be compared to none in the present democratic dispensation.
We sympathise with Dakuku Peterside who is still licking the wounds of his woeful political escapades in 2015. Obviously devastated by the colossal loss in that election, due to unpopularity, he has since won the toga of a serial liar, even though well meaning Rivers people often dismiss his public views with ignominy.
Worrisome is the degree of amnesia always exhibited in his illogical vituperation whenever he attempts to exert resources trying to denigrate the glaring and incontrovertible developmental strides of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike in virtually every sector of Rivers State economy.
Although the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had spitefully dumped Dakuku Adol Peterside as a choice to fly the governorship flag of the party in the 2019 general election, only a kindergarten politician like Dakuku Adol Peterside will blame Governor Wike for the internal crisis that led to the failure of the APC to field candidates for all elective positions in Rivers State.
There is no gain saying the fact that Dakuku Peterside’s persistent vociferous opposition to the good works of Governor Wike is born out of his desperate meandering to secure the nod of his boss, the Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi, to bear the 2023 governorship flag of the already depraved APC in Rivers State.
It is disheartening to note that despite all efforts by informed persons to explain the true meaning of democratic governance, Dakuku Peterside has deliberately decided to continue in his mischief to sell bunch of fabricated lies about the state institutions rendered moribund by Governor Wike’s predecessor, such as the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency, RSSDA, Rivers State Traffic Management Agency, TIMARIV, Rivers State Housing and Property Development Authority amongst others.
Dakuku Peterside, on a wild goose chase, can not feign ignorance to the fact that the Amaechi’s administration left all those institutions mere shadows of themselves with huge debts of unpaid salaries and allowances.
It is on record that TIMARIV was disbanded because of the inability of Amaechi to sustain the agency he created. And as at the time it was disbanded the Amaechi’s government was owing eight months of salaries to the workers.
We may like to remind Dakuku Peterside once again that as a concerned Rivers man he should first of all seek public enquiry into N70 billion ditched monorail project, the nonexistent $39.9 million Karibi-Whyte hospital, the $300 million Gas Turbines sales still unaccounted for, amongst others, used as conduits to siphon Rivers State Government money.
Contrary to the despicable assumption expressed by Dakuku Peterside, Governor Nyesom Wike has clearly redefined governance in Nigeria through massive infrastructural development of Rivers State, which received early acknowledgement by the Vice President, Prof. Yomi Osinbajo, who gave Governor Wike the sobriquet, “Mr. Project”.
Governor Wike has not only sustained that nickname but has added speed to his projects delivery capacity by completing and commissioning six out of nine flyover projects awarded by his administration within a space of two years. This is outside the massive construction and commissioning of several roads within Port Harcourt and the other 22 local Government areas of the State.
Governor Wike’s administration has also embarked on several developmental projects in the health sector, education sector, social sector and the sports development, Today, Governor Wike is priced as the Nigeria’s face of democracy.
We need not re-ephasise the fact that men of sound mind across the political divide and indeed Nigerians are overwhelmed by Governor Wike’s unprecedented achievements in putting in place signature projects that have transformed Rivers State for rapid socioeconomic growth within six years.
Amazed by Governor Wike’s results oriented leadership style, particularly at this period of global economic downturn occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigerians refer to him as “face of democracy” and “Mr Quality Project.” Major stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party refer to Governor Wike as the pride of PDP.
Only recently, former Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, while commissioning the Rumuola flyover project, has proved himself worthy of his sobriquet “Mr. Project!”
Mimiko asserted that those who feel unsettled by Governor Wike’s words and actions cannot take away the fact that he conceives projects, plans projects, delivers projects because he loves projects.
“Some see governance or being in government as an end in itself, you have deployed your limitless energy, by these accomplishments to demonstrate that governance is a means to an end; the improvement of the lives of our people,” Mimiko spoke about Wike.
While inaugurating the GRA flyover project, legal luminary and human rights activist, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, said Governor Wike has demonstrated transparency and accountability in the management of the resources of the State through the execution of numerous infrastructural projects.
“Governor Wike has shown that it is not enough for a governor to get his monthly allocation from the revenue account under section 162 of the Constitution but without showing evidence of what you are using that money for,” he said.
Ozekhome commended Governor Wike for showing that investing in human capacity is the best way to live in the heart of the people. “He has shown that he possesses the capacity to develop the people, not just in terms of infrastructure, but in terms of their education and human capacity building.”
On his part, Adamawa State Governor, Rt Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, alluded that he has always known Governor Wike as a man who has instituted a culture of commissioning projects in Rivers State for the use of the people.
“It is from Rivers State, under Governor Wike that we have all learned that one can deliver on multiple projects and dedicate a whole month to commissioning them.
“As recent as April this year, so many projects were commissioned in the State and today, instead of receiving his birthday gifts from Rivers people, he has decided to celebrate his birthday in a grand style by giving Rivers people a carnival of commissioning,” Fintiri said.
Enugu State Governor, Rt Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who was also in the State this week to commission the Tombia road extension project described Governor Wike’s leadership style as a fulfilling experience on his previous visit to Rivers State in January, 2021 to commission the then newly dualised Saakpenwa-Bori Road project that serves the Ogoni heartland.
“It was a fulfilling experience and I returned to the coal city State with good tidings of exciting progress and great hope for infrastructural development in Rivers State, the treasure base of the nation.
“Today’s experience evidences a quantum leap in the great State and I dare say that my brother, the Governor of Rivers State is truly Mr. Project,” Ugwuanyi declared.
These are a few of the long list of wonderful testimonials from the spectators of Governor Nyesom Wike’s unique and highly results oriented governance style which provides strong evidences that are incontrovertible. Governor Wike has set the pace for others to follow in rendering the actual dividend of democracy.
By: Amieyeofori Ibim
Ibim, Special Assistant, Media to Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, resides in Port Harcourt.
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