Being a full text of the first 100 days in office broadcast of Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State on Wednesday, September 6, 2023.
My fellow people of Rivers State.
It is my pleasure to formally mark the first 100 days of our government in office, a compelling milestone for us to reflect on the activities and achievements of the Government so far since we took the oath of office on the 29th of May 2023.
In my inaugural speech, we promised to consolidate and continue the new Rivers Vision by committing to sustaining the momentum of development set by our immediate past Governor, and now Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, *His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike*.
We also called on our people to work with me to implement our blueprint on security, infrastructure, education, healthcare, economic growth, job creation, and many more, and take our lovely State to greater heights of sustainable progress and human security.
Now, after 100 days, I am proud and humbled to report that we have not wavered from this course. Taking one step at a time, we have kept our eyes focused on this goal, made steady gains, and delivered on every one of the bold promises we made on the campaign trail despite the economic challenges of the times.
As a government, our priority is to secure the lives and property of our people and we have kept faith in this responsibility by working with the security agencies to keep Rivers State relatively peaceful, safe, and secure for lives, businesses, and property.
We are up to date in the payment of salaries and pensions to civil servants. We have also continued to gradually clear the backlogs of gratuities to beneficiaries and restore water in the State Secretariat complex.
On 17 July 2023, we flagged off the construction of the single largest infrastructure project by a State Government in this country – the Port Harcourt Ring Road project as part of our comprehensive infrastructure development master plan for the State.
The 50.15 km dual carriage ring road, when completed in a record three years, will connect and strengthen economic progress and integration in not less than six local government areas and open a vast gateway for new local and foreign direct investments in real estate, agriculture, hospitality, and industrial ventures into the State, transform the communities on and around its alignments, into thriving cities and create jobs and economic opportunities for so many of our citizens.
Since we took over, the wheels of progress have never stopped turning in our State. After 100 days, we have funded, completed, and delivered 21 road projects the many we inherited from the previous administration, and added approximately 68 kilometres to the State’s Road network.
Consequently, the following completed road projects across eight Local Government Areas of the State will be commissioned from tomorrow 7th September 2023 as part of activities to mark our 100 days in office:
• Oyigbo – Okoloama Road in Oyigbo Local Government Area;
• Alode – Onne Road in Eleme Local Government Area;
• Botem-Gbene – nu-Horo road in Tai Local Government Area;
• Mgbuodohia internal Roads in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area;
• Ogbo – Ihugbogo in Ahoada East Local Government Area;
• Odiemudie Road in Ahoada East Local Government Area;
• Omoku – Aligwu – Kreigani Road in Ogba/Egbma/Ndoni Local Government Area;
• Eneka internal Roads in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area;
• Ogbakiri internal Roads in Emohua Local Government Area; and
• Omagwa internal Roads in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
Furthermore, having prioritized road construction as part of our strategy to accelerate socio-economic growth and development, we have awarded contracts and concluded plans to flag-off the construction of the following roads spread across five local government areas of the State as part of our 100 days in office activities:
• Omuakali – Eberi Road in Omuma Local Government Area;
• Aleto-Ebubu-Eteo road in Eleme Local Government Area
• Igbu-Ehuda internal Roads in Ahoada East Local Government Area;
• Elelenwo internal Roads in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area;
• Bori City internal Roads in Khana Local Government Area; and
• Emohua – Ogbakiri Road in Emohua Local Government Area.
To improve the quality of basic education we have in the last 100 days completed the acquisition of over a million copies of relevant educational resource materials, including basic textbooks, dictionaries, and encyclopedias, to be distributed to all primary and secondary schools across the State to enrich their libraries and improve the standards of teaching and learning experience in our school system.
Also, besides paying WAEC and NECO fees for students in all public schools, we have within this timeline, completed the reconstruction and furnishing of six secondary schools with 124 classrooms, modern furniture, science laboratories, ICT, library, administrative block, assembly halls, dormitories and staff quarters spread across six local government areas of the State: These are:
• Government Comprehensive Secondary School, Borikiri, Port Harcourt Local Government Area;
• Government Secondary School, Eneka, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area;
• Government Secondary School, Emohua, Emohua Local Government Area;
• Government Secondary School, Okehi, Etche Local Government Area;
• Comprehensive Secondary School, Alesa-Eleme, Eleme Local Government Area; and
• Government Secondary School, Ataba, Andoni Local Government Area.
As promised, we have started implementing our agenda to improve access to quality healthcare delivery in the State. In the last 100 days, we have given a marching order to the Primary Healthcare Management Board to step up efforts to revamp and ensure effective access to primary healthcare services in all our communities.
In response, the Board has renovated not less than ten primary healthcare centres across the three senatorial districts of the State located at Elekahia, Rumuodomaya, Okehi, Oyigbo, Gokana, Opobo, Ahoada, Mina-ama, Okwuzi, and Okochiri communities.
On our part, we have completed the reconstruction, upgrading, and equipping of two secondary healthcare hospitals: the Kelsey Harrison Memorial Hospital and the Dental, Maxillofacial, ENT, and Ophthalmology Hospital, to further strengthen the State’s capacity for the provision of affordable and quality healthcare services to all residents.
These important hospitals with a combined 150-bed spaces and state-of-the-art equipment are due to reopen their doors to provide quality healthcare services to the public soon after they are inaugurated in a few days.
Additionally, the Dental, Maxillofacial, ENT, and Ophthalmology hospital has been designated as an annex of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital and used for medical research and the training of medical students at Rivers State University.
Under the Ministry of Special Projects, we have delivered the 10,000-seating capacity convocation arena for the University of Port Harcourt.
This is one-of-a-kind physical edifice that will provide academic and social services to the University community and the public, which aligns with our commitment to support all federal institutions in the State as much as we can to enable them to deliver effective and efficient services to our people, who are the primary beneficiaries of their services.
It is for this reason that we recently acquired and donated a firefighting truck for the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria to enhance and restore to operations of international flights at the Port Harcourt International Airport.
Over these first 100 days, we have taken quality steps to advance the well-being of our people in the face of the economic hardship caused the sudden withdrawal of fuel subsidies, unemployment, and rising inflation.
We are happy to note the palliatory effect of the free bus transport scheme we have put in place since July to cushion the high cost of living for ordinary citizens. I assure you of our intention to sustain these and other mitigating measures, including the distribution of food to the vulnerable population, for a considerable time.
I also wish to inform residents that we have since set up an intergovernmental flood management committee with the responsibility to respond proactively to the looming flooding that may affect the inhabitants of the lowlands and flood plains of our State as predicted by the National Emergency Management Agency.
With the launching of the flood mitigation road map, I can assure all residents that we are on red alert to respond to any imminent flood challenge in the State and provide safety and relief to those who will be affected.
I, therefore, appeal to corporate bodies, well-meaning individuals, and non-governmental organizations to be ready to materially support the Committee to succeed in this critical assignment to rescue our vulnerable people.
To stimulate economic growth, enhance job creation, and reduce poverty we have concluded plans to create a four billion (¦ 4,000,000,000.00) naira Enterprise Fund in partnership with the Bank of Industry to facilitate the development of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the State.
With this Fund, owners and intending MSME entrepreneurs will have ready access to credit to fund or start their enterprises at single-digit interest rates with a maximum of a five-year repayment period.
In addition, we are also making efforts to establish the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Trust Fund to help create an enterprise culture and stimulate sustainable interest in entrepreneurial activities among our youths to advance self-employment and job creation.
We have concluded plans to establish the State’s Investment Promotion Agency to advance local and foreign investments and the industrialization of the State.
For us, as we move to the next 100 days and beyond, there is nothing more compelling to our government than to continue to focus on protecting our people, growing our economy to provide a high standard of living, investing in human capital development to uplift the youths, and building our infrastructure to attract investments and create jobs.
As we can see, we have already accomplished a lot in our first 100 days and we are determined to achieve much more in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
I thank every citizen, including our traditional rulers, chiefs, elders, men, women and youths the business community, civil society organizations, professional groups, and the religious community for your support, cooperation, and prayers, which have sustained us through the last 100 days of our administration.
I thank the security agencies for their commitment and sacrifice to protecting lives and keeping Rivers State safe and secure for everyone. I assure you we will not relent in our commitment to support you in discharging your security responsibilities to our State and the nation.
I also thank the State House of Assembly for their cooperation and support in passing the supplementary appropriation law, which enabled us to secure the funds for the Port Harcourt Ring Road project.
Finally, we recommit to working with all stakeholders to transform our State and advance the well-being of our people with good governance and responsive leadership.
Thank you and may God bless our dear State.
Fubara’s First 100 Days: quando principium est bonum
Fifth Columnists And Battle For The Soul Of NDDC
Desperation drives irrational thoughts and actions, even as some analysts see it as the raw material of drastic change. One thing is certain though, never underestimate the desperation of people bound by a common ulterior motive as they will stop at nothing to achieve their aim.
It is sad and heart rending to observe the desperation being exhibited by some acclaimed elders from the Niger Delta region, apparently in a morbid quest to destroy the hard-earned reputation and character of a shining light in a most wicked attempt to take control of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
In a stretch of a miserable link associating the futile plot for the balkanisation of the Commission to the highest political leadership of the South-South region, it becomes gloomy for the region to be subjected to the whims and caprices of one man who has arrogated supreme powers to himself just because providence has placed him in a position of leadership in the South-South region.
In the last two weeks, the news media has been awash with reports of a purported petition to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, by a self-styled group under the aegis of the Niger Delta Elders for Good Governance (NDEGG), calling for the removal of Chief Samuel Ogbuku ( PhD) current Managing Director of the NDDC.
The presumed leader of the pseudo group which has no known address, His Royal Highness, Chief Donald Ewere, in the said petition spewed inanities and absolute falsehood against Dr Ogbuku, thinking in their deceitful minds that the Presidency will be swayed by their untruth.
In a failed effort to dent the image of Dr Ogbuku, the group went as far as trampling on his goodwill and reputation to prove that he is a corrupt and bad person. The petitioner threw caution to the wind in a bid to so deceive and outlandishly alleged that Dr Ogbuku has mismanaged the sum of Three Hundred and Fifty Billion (N350billion) Naira.
Chief Ogbuku only assumed duties as the Managing Director of the NDDC, on January 5th, 2023, he has barely been in office for about seven months. The records at the commission shows that the Commission has not received such amount as claimed by the group.
By speculating that there is a rift between the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume and the Chief of Staff to the President, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamala, over the position of the Managing Director of the commission, the group is only attempting to sow a seed of discord between the government functionaries.
Over the years, Senator Akpabio has been embroiled in the affairs of the NDDC in a negative way. Senator George Akume may be taking the wrong step if he aligns with Senator Akpabio to fight against the reappointment of Dr Ogbuku into the incoming Board of the NDDC. The ground swell of opinion holds that the current MD is doing extremely well and should be allowed to continue as the Managing Director of the commission.
To every discerning mind, it is trite law that the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation, reserved the right to appoint persons that will work with him, there is a clear divide between the functions of the Executive and Legislative arms.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu can never abdicate his responsibility by according the Senate President the right to absolutely decide who gets appointments in the South-South region as canvassed by the group being the number three citizen and leader of the Niger Delta region even as the Constitution is very clear on the powers of the President of the country.
It is a height of disrespect to the office of the Present of the Federation for the leadership of the group to assume the function of Mr. President and presume an anger and frustration against President Tinubu for ignoring their call for the removal of Dr Samuel Ogbuku and institute an interim government which the people of the region has consistently rejected.
By: Nsoyoh Okokon
Who Shall Tell The President?
Notwithstanding the amount of wasted opportunities and years, Nigeria’s modernisation, though difficult, but not impossible still.
Foreign Policy: the world is in transition, tilting recklessly and dangerously, no futurist can say with certainty where the pendulum would swing. It is, therefore, incumbent on PBAT to adopt “Ambiguity” foreign policy to survive and thrive in today’s geopolitics murky waters, his Cotonou Declaration was factual but not expedient. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli longest serving Prime Minister is one of the smartest leaders in the world today: Bibi has unbreakable friendship with America, iron-clad relationship with Russia, robust friendship with China and he is at the same time, India Prime Minister’s bosom friend, and yet he diplomatically cuts 3a.m. big deals in Ukraine. PBAT has to learn, like BIBI, how to swim with the international SHARKS (they are more vicious than Nigeria’s ‘’national sharks’’ which BAT roundly outwitted these past 30 years) without being eaten alive! With what is going on in West Africa (Sahel) today, a Parity may soon be achieved in ECOWAS between the number of civilian presidents and military Head of states! A case of Esau’s hand, Jacob’s voice. Enough said!
Homeland Security: PBAT should do what Deng did: criminalize factionalism and set a deadline of October 1st, 2023 to eliminate factionalism within the security ecosystem. Establishing a new security architecture tagged: Homeland Security Council (HSC)- consisting of military and para military chiefs meeting weekly: NSA, DHQ, CGs of Customs, Immigration, Prison, Civil Defence, DSS, Army Chief, Navy, Airforce, etc with a view to restoring order in the NE/SE/NC of Nigeria. Without internal order, PBAT’s hope of achieving food security and boosting revenue would remain an illusion. In addition, with a view to strengthening the bond of comradeship among the various security agencies, I recommend the setting up of Security Federal Government’s League. The fiasco advertised recently where the DSS and Prison teams clashed over who should house brother Emefiele was a monumental national embarrassment. Europe used football and other sports to solve the problems of disunity which gunboat diplomacy could not resolve for 200 years of wars of brothers against brothers. Therefore, DSS FC vs Customs FC, Immigration FC vs Army Fc etc yearly competition would go a long way in trust building.
Food security: Agriculture should be decentralised immediately. Food is local, not national. Abuja’s role is to provide direction, data and sundry support. Consequently, PBAT should have a FOOD SECURITY STRATEGY SESSION with all the 774 local government chairmen immediately. Each local government should have targets of selected crops they would cultivate to feed their communities respectively. Deng did this in China, it worked. The strategy of transporting tomatoes, pepper, carrots from Kano to Ibadan or Onitsha is inflation-prone. Nothing says tomatoes, pepper, carrots etc cannot be successfully cultivated in other parts of Nigeria. Nigeria lacks cost-effective logistics to transport food inexpensively from North to South of the country. Consequently, every local government should be encouraged to plant what they eat.
Education. The UNESCO benchmark says countries should invest between 15%-20% of their yearly budget in education as against Nigeria’s 5%-7%. Sadly enough, Nigeria has one of the lowest literacy rate among the major oil exporting countries at 77%, compared with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Russia etc with almost 100% literacy rate. I learned it costs an average of N10 billion (conservatively) to run a federal university per year. For the 50 federal universities, I recommend that the government should continue to fund them for another two years, which will cost about 1 Trillion. My point is that the government must come to equity with clean hands. Unlike the issue of fuel subsidy removal that was included in the campaign promises, ‘’indirect school fees’’ was not. Nigeria’s focus now should be how to comprehensively overhaul the obsolete university curricula with a view to making our graduates globally competitive, every day we lose to students and lecturers’ strikes draw us back by one year.
Re-industrialisation. The ideal strategy is to set up eight regional industrial Parks immediately and woo about 300 manufacturers globally and nationally with irresistible incentives with a view to converting our natural and mineral resources to finished products here on our soil, leveraging AfCFTA and global markets. Spending $8B on furniture importation from Turkey, China and Europe in 2022 was not a smart economic decision. Edo state can produce better furniture if we establish Benin Furniture Finishing School (BFFS) equipped with modern furniture making technology. With about $10million, a modern factory will be in place. (Inclusive of 20% signatures commission. I joke!). Re-industrialisation is one sector where our strategy is not to ‘’copy’’ but to ‘’leapfrog’’ China, UK, America, using advanced AI-POWERED ROBOTS from Japan or South Korea. What do we do with millions of our unemployed youths, when we introduce robots? We should re-train the youths for new Business Process Outsourcing, agriculture and service economy opportunities. More importantly, Monopoly has to die for Nigeria to make progress. Has anyone ever pondered at what cost do we have ten Nigeria business men and women on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people yearly? The opportunity cost of retaining ten Nigerians on the Forbes list is the 140 million multidimensional poor people who are permanently on 0:1:0 meal formula 24x7x365 days. We need to come up with stronger Antitrust & Competition Laws, the China way. That the richest Chinese man on earth (Jack Ma, Ali Baba Founder) is back in Hong Kong University today as a teacher bears eloquent testimony to China’s commitment in building shared prosperity, because they have since learned the hard way from history that unbridled wealth accumulation by a few monopolists was what corrupted, crippled and eventually destroyed China’s first civilization!
Revenue Generation without TEARS:
There is the Old Money and there is the New Money.
NNPC is old money with plenty of blood left in its veins, but Nigeria needs to hire a set of first class Cardiologists, neurologists, pulmonologists and nephrologists as all NNPC vital organs need surgical operations starting from the heart, brain, lung and kidney. Or how else can you describe a corporation that is supposed to be the nation’s cash cow but which has only declared profits twice in 45 years? NNPC can generate over $30Billion yearly net revenue if we hand it over to Norway or Aramco to help manage it. Two, we should sell all the four moribund refineries immediately. One each to South Korea, China, Singapore and India. Within 12 months the four dry bones will rise again and refine petroleum for national consumption and export. This is one stone that will kill four birds: refine oil in Nigeria to strengthen the value of naira Two, break the monopoly of one single line refinery. Three, liberate cash from assets that are idle or performing sub optimally. Four, create quality jobs for the Nigerian youths.
New Money: There are more Nigerian skilled workers outside of Nigeria today than within Nigeria. And they are 1000% better paid than their counterparts in Nigeria. What would PM Sunak do with this reality, if he were in PBAT shoes? He would creatively build a new economy around this demographics shift and set up a customised virtual Overseas Nigerians Workers Bank (ONWB) to handle Nigeria’s overseas workers financial transactions with special incentives which will be mutually beneficial. The benefits are enormous, ask the Philippines government with OF Bank.
The King of New Money will come through the implementation of data fusion and generative artificial intelligence technologies. Small and medium businesses are not the clog on the wheel of revenue generation. The SMEs that borrow money at 40% interest rate are living hand-to-mouth struggling with salaries and diesel payments. If PBAT and his team want to triple the national revenue from 2024 they should target the Elephants in the room using a combination of data fusion and generative artificial intelligence technologies. With an investment of about $50million, the Lebanese, Indians, Philippines, Europeans, and even Nigerian elephants would have no hiding place- they have to pay appropriate revenue to the respective government agencies.
Crushing Corruption: Nigeria’s past 15 governments failed to crush corruption, rather corruption crushed them. Why can’t Nigeria’s 16th President borrow a leaf from either China, Singapore, Israel or Saudi Arabia on how to sanitize and modernise a society without sacrificing the masses welfare?
Once, I asked my friend, a former Prime Minister of Israel: ‘’why are the Israeli elites and public embarrassing Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife for overshooting her ice cream budget despite Bibi’s humongous sacrifices for the prosperity and continued survival of Israel’’? He calmly told me: ‘’Tim, it is not about an individual, it is about the future of Israel. It was the rapacious greed and corruption of a few elites that rendered the Jewish people stateless for over 2000 years. Therefore, in Israel today there is no small corruption, and no big man or woman. The rule of law is supreme!’’.
All told, who shall tell Mr president that for the sake of national stability and enlightened self-interest, the 5th bottle containing the ‘’King of Bitters’’- Andragraphis Paniculata Bitters should be recorked? Andragraphis Paniculata Bitters is highly intoxicating and inflammable, once forced down the throats of students in public universities. Asking the federal government universities to fend for themselves from September, is a euphemism for jerking up fees. There is a sea of’ heat waves blowing worldwide as I write, making everyone to sweat profusely. However, the Nigeria’s heat waves are not caused by climate change from air stagnation. The Nigeria heat waves are caused by cash stagnation and empty stomach and empty fuel tank. The whooshing noise coming out from the nation’s aeroplane, a symptom of stalling and yawing needs to be quickly extinguished. Consequently, the angle of attack must be reduced below the stalling angle. Nose-down pitch control must be applied and maintained until the wings are un-stalled to prevent incipient spin.
In a word, Mr President needs to produce or invent “SUGAR” to bring down the rising temperature.
Good luck, bon voyage, Mr President!
By: Tim Akano
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