One dominant issue that has premiered the global space in recent times is the negative effect of the daring security challenges, not only on the rationale of citizens, but also on the reputation of the Nigeria nation and its consequent effect on the development of the country.
The devastating effects of escalating violent crimes such as terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, ritual killings among others on the country, since the inception of the current democracy in 1999, have done terrible damage to the reputation of the Nigerian nation in the global community.
According to reports by Statista 2021, as at 2019, Nigeria ranked second coming after Afghanistan as the terrorism most impacted country with a total of 1,245 fatalities. Afghanistan came first with 5,725 fatalities while Somalia came behind Nigeria with a record of 569 deaths.
The level of insecurity observed in the country has led to some countries such as the United States, United Kingdom and others, listing Nigeria as an unsafe place to travel to. This year, the UAE refused work permit applications from Nigeria because of the involvement of citizens in profile crimes.
Burdened by the negative impact of this daring challenges, the Rivers State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), at its 2021 conference cum annual general meeting held in Port Harcourt on September 23, elicited public discourse on Nigeria’s security challenges and to proffer solutions to the impact of the challenges on the reputation and development of the Nation.
The State chapter of the Institute, established in 1963 and chartered by decree 16 of June 1990, assembled stakeholders drawn from the public and private sectors in the Nigerian project within and outside the state, to brainstorm on a well thought out theme: “Nigeria’s security situation: a factor in reputation and national development.”
The thought provoking theme of the conference brought to the front burner the daring security situation currently bedevilling the Nigerian State and how it’s devastating effects on the reputation could be remedied for meaningful national development.
Welcoming participants to the conference, the Rivers State Chapter Chairman of the NIPR, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim told the audience that, as a responsive organisation to national development, the chapter had chosen the theme of the conference as its own contribution to the national discourse.
With great expectations, Nsirim told the gathering that the purpose for the conference was to set agenda for moulding public opinion.
“We are excited as a chapter that we will use this conference to begin to show a roadmap for security situation in Nigeria and national development.”
He urged participants to contribute robustly to the conversation with high expectations that the conference wasn’t going to end a talk shop but was going to produce a blueprint that would guide national discourse.
“It is our expectation that the fallout of the conference will re-engineer national security, re-engineer national development with the aim to put our country on the path of rapid growth,” the chairman charged participants.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who was special guest at the conference, noted that time had come for deliberate effort by image managers to begin to rebrand Nigeria considering the hydra-headed security challenges that are adversely affecting the nations socio-economic, political and security development.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, the governor stated that the survival of Nigeria’s sovereignty is presently burdened by security challenges and urged members of the NIPR to rise up to their challenging career of reputation management in addressing the nation’s challenges.
“We need to seat up to make our people and government realize that everyone must rise to the dare challenges of our country. As PR and media managers, you have crucial roles to play in terms of national development.
“I strongly recommend that all hands must be on deck, especially reputation managers such as members of the NIPR to call on the Government and all stakeholders to begin to act in ways that will help revive the battered image, security, and economy of our dear nation.
He assured that the Rivers State Government on its part, would continue to support security agencies to ensure a safe and secured environment for the economic prosperity of all. “We have set up the Rivers State Neighbourhood watch, Operation Sting and revived the C4i, as an effort to provide security, stimulate growth, development and prosperity of all”, he said.
He noted that the administration in implementing the NEW Rivers Vision blueprint, has also embarked on a deliberate infrastructural development and urban renewal effort to attract local and foreign investment to stimulate the economy of the state.
Earlier, Nsirim, who also doubles as the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, had disclosed that the relationship between the Rivers State Government and the State Chapter of NIPR has blossomed during the Governor Nyesom Wike’s administration.
The commissioner noted that Wike, as a visionary leader, had changed the landscape of the State infrastructure and various developmental projects that touch the life of the ordinary man.
“We are proud of being associated with the NEW administration and the giant strides he has recorded and continue to record until 2023, he said.
Taking his turn to address the conference earlier, the President of NIPR, Mallam Muktar Sirajo, noted that the issues of security were of urgent national interest that needed the attention of all Nigerians.
“You can agree that there was a country we all enjoyed living in without fear and looked at one another as brothers and sisters and without asking questions. You will agree with me the situation is no longer the same. As an institute that regulate the practice of public relations and at the core of its mandate is relationship building, we feel that it is a duty incumbent on us to build our bridges.
“It is unfortunate that we have come to this path… but we believe that the basis of coming together cannot be served if there is no communication between the component parts to fix the country.
A cerebral Public Relations practitioner and the keynote address presenter, Dr. Ike Neliaku diagnosed the topic as a worry by the NIPR about the security situation in Nigeria and its implication on the nation’s reputational capital and national development.
He majored his presentation on two issues at the core of the theme-Insecurity and Reputation, expected to land on their implications for national development. Therefore, simplified the topic of his presentation to, Insecurity, Reputation and National Development.
Speaking on insecurity, Neliaku observed that three critical issues have shaped and influenced the trajectory of the Nigerian State and the welfare of citizens in the last twelve years which he listed as insecurity.
He gave statistics of the security situation presents adding that insecurity caused over 70,000 deaths in Nigeria between 2012 and 2020.
“Since 2011, Boko Haram insurgency has led to 37,500 deaths, 2.5million displacement, and 244,000 refugees.”
He disclosed from statistics that in just two years, farmers-herder clashes claimed 10,000 lives and resulted in the displacement of 300,000 people. “Nigeria has one of the world’s worst kidnap-for-ransom with 685 kidnaps reported in the first of quarter of 2019 alone.”
He noted that between June 2021 and March 2020, Nigerians paid about $18.34million as ransom and that militancy in the Niger Delta has resulted in kidnapping, unrest, and economic distortion.
“Indeed, any part of the nation that appears safe, including military formations and the territory of our national sovereignty which are not spared, are considered rather an act of God’s benevolence and love for mankind than the efficacy of security agencies.
“The question that bugged my mind at some point was, what has not happened in Nigeria in the last 10 years? In my lifetime I heard about money been stolen, bicycle stolen, motorcycle stolen, small car stolen, big lorry stolen, ship stolen, human parts stolen full human beings stolen.
“In spite of all this, I may not have been as shocked when I heard that soldiers had been stolen from their barracks and other formations. Need we any further proof that we are really in troubled times where only the mercy of Almighty God can save us, Dr. Neliaku lamented.
He listed human rights violations by State armed forces and cybercrime as other vices that dragged Nigeria’s reputation into the mod and hindered development. “In December, 2020, the office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court concluded that war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed by Boko Haram and the Nigerian military and that Nigerian authorities had failed to investigate and prosecute these crimes, therefore warranting a full investigation.
He said 2018 report has it that commercial banks in Nigeria lost a cumulative sum of N15 Billion to electronic fraud and cybercrime. “Nigeria’s Consumers Awareness and Financial Enlightenment Initiative has projected a US$6 trillion loss by 2030 to cybercrime within and outside Nigeria. These crimes are committed mostly through phishing and identity theft.”
Neliaku traced causes of insecurity in Nigeria to include rising rate of unemployment, religious and ethnic differences, corruption, weak security apparatus, porous borders, marginalisation and inequalities in resource distribution, and bad governance and poor leadership.
The key note speaker also identified vicious attacks on the family unit which he said has led to near complete collapse of family values. “In the course of struggling for survival, parents have abandoned their responsibilities in raising quality ‘seeds’ to preserve the true heritage of what a responsible family should stand for.”
He blamed the increasing rate of drug addiction and other vices in society on the failure of the State to meet its expectation to the youths. “This is one of the things that have laid the foundation for massive acceptance of criminality by the youths.”
Neliaku listed Shoprite, Mr. Price Woolworths, Etisalat, HSBC and UBS, Tiger Brands, and Truworths as companies that have closed business in Nigeria in the face of escalating insecurity.
“Businesses are the vehicle for economic activities that would lead to national economic development. It therefore follows that businesses play a great role in the process of development and such role can be hampered in the absence of adequate security as we find in Nigeria,” he said.
He also observed that one of the greatest impacts of insecurity in any society is the creation of climate of fear and culture of uncertainty in the hearts of citizens.
“A high level of insecurity makes it difficult for citizens to plan effectively and make creative decisions and take effective control of their operating environment,” he asserted.
He finally submitted that the rising insecurity situation in Nigeria had impacted and would continue to impact negatively on corporate and national reputation, with concomitant consequences on individuals and national development unless the people have a rethink of their nationhood by rebuilding their relationship.
By: Amieyeofori Ibim
Ibim, Special Assistant on Media to Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, resides in Port Harcourt.
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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