COMMENTARY: New Rivers: The Award Winning Revival Capacity of Nyesom Wike

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By Simeon Nwakaudu

From the very beginning, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, set out to transform the state  into the nation’s centre of infrastructural development, economic prosperity, democratic freedom , good governance and deployment of Rivers resources for common good.

This commitment to development belittled the depth of rot that Governor Wike inherited from his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi. Before Amaechi left, he had earlier captured the damaged nature of Rivers economy in his now notorious proclamation at the Obi Wali Cultural Centre on May 27, 2015. Amaechi told stunned Rivers people: “I’m not joking, we have no money anywhere. In Rivers State, no money. I think Nyesom Wike is coming, we are waiting. He will look for money for salary; there is none. So, he will have to manage. But when he pays out salary, we will see if any of them can do what we did in this state: whether they can build the schools, the roads, even to get a loan”.

The defeated Rivers State APC laid developmental landmines for Governor Wike.  They set traps everywhere and created a route to failure. Having squandered over N3 trillion in eight years, Amaechi and his cohorts wanted  to trap the state in a developmental cesspit of failure.

On May 29, 2019, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike took over the reins of leadership and started the  most comprehensive development programme in the nation’s recent history.

In a deliberate and calculated projects delivery mechanism, Governor Wike has touched all the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.  Wherever Governor Wike made a promise, he has delivered.  He has redefined the governance process, setting a new template for development  in the country.

For 33 months, Governor Wike has been in the business of wiping away the tears of Rivers people, who experienced first-hand  the evil of wastage  during the ill-fated administration of Rotimi Amaechi.

There has been a sustained revival process,  impacting positively  on every sector of the state. The administration has revived the state bureaucracy, the road infrastructure, health, education, marine transportation, administration of justice, special projects  and improvement of security.

It was on this premise that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as Acting President pronounced Governor Wike as Mr Projects in view of his outstanding developmental strides.  This is inspite of the fact that Governor Wike is of the main opposition, PDP.

The then Acting President who was in Rivers State  to consult leaders  on critical development issues, inspected the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park (under construction at the time), the State Ecumenical Centre (also under construction at the time) and performed the ground-breaking for  the construction of the doctors Quarters at the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, Port Harcourt.  The Port Harcourt Pleasure Park and State Ecumenical Centre have since come on stream .

Professor Yemi Osinbajo’s assessment  of Governor Wike has since been accepted nationally and internationally.  The world in appreciation of the goodworks of Governor Wike has joined the Vice President to called Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, “Mr Projects”.

Vice President Osinbajo also commissioned the Chokocho-Umuechem-Ozuzu road and Chokocho -Igbo-Etche-Rumuokurushi Inter- Change in Etche Local Government Area . He lauded the Governor Wike for embarking on pro-people projects.

ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE

Governor Wike has created a niche for himself as the king of the delivery of roads in the country.  There is no state where more road projects  have been delivered than Rivers State.

All the three Senatorial Districts of the State have benefited from the road delivery scheme of the Wike administration.

Over 350 kilometres of roads have been delivered by Governor Wike.  Several other roads are under construction  at different stages of completion.  Flag off and commissioning  of road projects have become the order of the day in the state. Every forthnight, a road is either commissioned or flagged of in a community  in the state.

Some of the roads completed or under construction are key to the rapid development of the benefitting communities.

The dualisation of the Sakpenwa-Bori Road that cuts across Tai, Gokana and Khana Local Government Areas  and links neighbouring Andoni and Opobo Local Government Areas, remains  the  greatest post independence  gift to the Ogoni People.

The road is also a key facilitator of economic activities.  Even the milestone completion already attained has improved the fortune of the people.

The Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road is one of the most important roads since the creation of Rivers State, 50 years ago.  This road links the prominent riverine communities of Andoni and Opobo Nkoro Local Government Areas to the rest of Rivers State, through Khana Local Government Area.

It is a road with economic and social significance  to the riverine  populations. The people of Andoni and Opobo Nkoro have shown their deep appreciation to Governor Wike  for translating  the  vision of this road to reality.

 

The Woji-Akpajo Bridge recently completed by the Wike administration  is a story of the commitment of Governor Wike  to completing key projects  abandoned  by  the immediate past APC administration in the state, but which are relevant to the development of Rivers people. Earlier  in the life of the administration, the governor completed the Abuluoma -Woji Road and Bridge, also abandoned by that administration.

 QUALITY HEALTHCARE 

Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has worked towards creating  a comprehensive  healthcare that caters for the needs of Rivers people. The administration has invested in the improvement of health facilities and services across the state, while taking care of the welfare of professionals  in the sector.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, was in Rivers State to lay the foundation for the construction of an ultra-modern doctors quarters  at the Braithwaite Specialist Memorial Hospital. This project is progressing  satisfactorily. The Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital is being reconstructed for better service to the people.

Training of Health Professionals

The administration established a College of Medical Sciences at the Rivers State University and also started the setting up of the State Teaching Hospital with the signing of the bill to actualize it.

Support for Private Medical Practitioners

In order to guarantee that more residents of  Rivers State have access to quality healthcare, the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike flagged off a private hospitals loan scheme (PHLS).

Unprecedented Rehabilitation of Secondary Healthcare Facilities

Prior to the advent of the Wike administration, secondary healthcare  had collapsed across the state. These General Hospitals  suffered criminal neglected during the leadership  of the immediate past APC administration in the state.  Therefore, Rivers people in rural communities were denied access to quality healthcare.

In line with the vision of the Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to create access to quality healthcare for the people of Rivers State , the Wike Administration commenced the total rehabilitation of 13 General  Hospitals .

The following are the hospitals being rehabilitated : General Hospital Omoku, General Hospital Nchia , General Hospital , Abua , General Hospital Isiokpo, General Hospital Abonnema, General Hospital Okirika , General Hospital Opobo , General Hospital Bodo, General Hospital Ngo, General Hospital Buguma, Psychiatric Hospital , Rumuigbo , General Hospital Emohua and General Hospital Eberi.

Aside the development of physical  infrastructure in health facilities  across the state, the Wike administration  has  recruited qualified medical  professionals  to help the state government  strengthen  access  to quality healthcare.

Also, facilities at the Braithwaite Specialist Memorial Hospital (BSMH) have been improved by the administration.  Governor Wike has released  $4million for the purchase and installation of modern equipment at the BSMH.

In addition, the administration has released funds for the completion of the Ultra-modern Mother and Child Hospital in Port Harcourt.  The hospital will be ready by the third anniversary celebrations of the administration  , following  the termination  of the joint  ownership agreement with the Niger Delta Development Commission.

ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE

The creation of Access to Justice  is considered the most important achievement  of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.  As at 29th May, 2019, the Amaechi  administration had closed the courts in Rivers State  for over two years.  Governor Wike opened the courts, swore in the State Chief Judge and President of Customary Court of Appeal and granted financial autonomy to the  judiciary.

Deliberate steps have been taken to improve judicial infrastructure in Rivers State.

The Wike administration has rehabilitated several courtrooms

across the State, including the High Court complex, the State Customary Court of Appeal complex and other customary courts in Etche, Omuma, and Okrika.

The Rivers State Government has also built and commissioned an Ultra-modern Law Centre for the Port Harcourt Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association.

Federal High Court Complex, Port Harcourt

This complex was initiated, built and donated the Federal High Court by the Wike administration.  This is to ensure that litigants have access to justice in the state.

There is an ultra-modern facility with very spacious, adequately furnished courtrooms, chambers, and sanitary facilities for the comfort and convenience of judges, lawyers, litigants and members of the public.

National Industrial Court (Ongoing Construction)

The National Industrial Court under construction  by the Rivers State Government  is a five storey building occupying a total floor area of 920 square metres, with four court rooms, judges’ chambers, car parks, lifts and all other facilities that fully guarantee the comfort, functionality and safety of the court and its personnel.

 

Reconstruction of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division

This is one of the key projects embarked upon by the Wike administration in the justice delivery system. The Wike administration  is upgrading  facilities at the Court of Appeal, which were in a sorry state of disrepair.

The reconstruction of the courtrooms and other facilities  at the Court are nearing completion.

Rivers State Judges Quarters (Ongoing Construction)

The Wike administration has started the construction of the  Rivers State Judges Quarters, which  consists of 20 units fully detached five bedroom duplexes, service  quarters in planned and landscaped serene  environment.

 PROMOTION OF QUALITY EDUCATION 

Governor Wike has  taken profound  steps to resuscitate the education  sector  in the state. From primary to tertiary education, sustained  investments have led to marked improvements.

The administration has reintroduced boarding secondary education  in the state. This has led to the total rehabilitation and expansion of facilities at selected  schools in the three senatorial districts.

The schools that have been  rehabilitated  are: Government Girls Secondary School, Rumuokwuta, Government Secondary School, Ogu, Birabi Memorial Grammar School, Bori  and Nyemoni Grammar School, Abonnema.

The Rivers State Government has commenced the total reconstruction, re-modelling and upgrading of the Government Secondary School, Abua, Western Ahoada County Grammar and Government Secondary School, Okarki.

The State Government will introduce boarding education in these schools.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike through the Ministry of Education  has supported over 238 secondary schools in Rivers State with science laboratory equipment and N200,000 each for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations, SSCE.

The equipment were distributed as  part of the government’s efforts to reposition education in the state.
The governor had released over N47.6 milion intervention fund as subsidy to aid the registration of students in public schools for the 2016/2017 SSCE.

State-wide rehabilitation of public primary schools.

The rehabilitation and equipment of Primary Schools in Rivers State have taken  place in all 23 local government areas of the state and this project is being driven by  the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).

Rivers State University

 

Through dedicated funding, well crafted policies and proactive  engagement with the university, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has been able to fast track  development  at the Rivers State University  and stabilise the development process in the institution.

The RSU was one of the first beneficiaries of Governor Wike’s massive intervention in the education sector of the state.  In his inauguration address at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium on May 29, 2015, Governor Wike re-instated lecturers of the Rivers State University sacked by the immediate past administration in the state. The governor also  paid the outstanding  emoluments of the sacked lecturers.

The governor completed  the Dr Nabo Graham Douglas Ultra-modern  Faculty of Law building, which has enhanced the teaching  of law in the school. This faculty building  was abandoned for close to two decades.

During the 28th Convocation ceremony of the Rivers State University, Governor Wike initiated the College of Medical Sciences of the institution and flagged off the  construction of the College Building.

The RSU College of Medical Sciences has admitted her first set of students while the construction work at the College of Medical Sciences building has reached an advanced stage.

 INVESTMENT IN SECURITY OF LIVES AND PROPERTY 

Today, Rivers State stands as one of Nigeria’s safest destinations  for business and leisure.  It has turned out as Nigeria’s  centre of conferences, international tings  and  religious  programmes  because of the secure environment.

This secure environment  is the outcome  of   the  high level  investments in the relevant  architecture  by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.

Governor Wike  initiated and signed into law the anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Cultism law passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly. The law gave the security agencies the legal instrument  to tackle  kidnappers and cultists . The governor has proposed the amendment of the law, prescribing death penalty for offenders.

To strengthen  the security  architecture of the state; Governor Wike  in the course  of the last 31 months, has distributed over 200 security  vans to all the security  agencies in the state  to fight crime.

The Wike administration has also procured six armoured personnel  carriers, while 50 broken down armoured personnel carriers have been rehabilitated by the Rivers State Government for use of security agencies.

The administration has restored and sustained monthly subvention to security  agencies.  This is significant  because the immediate  past APC administration in the state  failed to release  funds to security agencies for over three  years.

To improve  marine security, Governor Wike  procured  and handed over 8 Security Gunboats  to the Nigerian Navy. The process of the acquisition  of  13 more security  vans for the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Police has been  activated  by Governor Wike.

 SPECIAL PROJECTS 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has embarked on some special projects with the aim of improving quality of life in the state. These projects stand out. They include; The Port Harcourt Pleasure Park, the State Ecumenical Centre, the Rumuokoro Market, Produce House, Waterlines and Bus Park and the Diete Spiff Civic Centre and Mile One Market.

These projects have improved the lives of the people and created employment opportunities. At the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park, Governor Wike said the state government is expanding facilities with the construction of cinemas and restaurants.

The Ndoni Shore Protection programme

 SPORTS DEVELOPMENT

For two years, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has invested in the development sports, sports facilities  and the empowerment  of Sports professionals.

The administration upgraded  and completed facilities at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium for the hosting of international football matches.  The State hosted the U-23 National Football team  qualifying matches, hosted the Super Eagles against Niger National Team and the Ivory Coast National Team versus Sierra Leone.

Polo and golf  have received  the deserved attention, leading   to  the growth of these sports. The West African Tour held at the Port Harcourt Club, Golf Section, from May 12 to 15 in 2016.

The 2017 Major Polo Tournament  held in Port Harcourt  in January  with the support of the Rivers State Government.  In April 2017, the Rivers Golden Jubilee Polo Competition  was sponsored  by   the Rivers State Government.

Governor Wike  merged Sharks and Dolphin Football Clubs to form Rivers United.  Rivers United became an instant success.

In 2016, Rivers United won a ticket  to represent Nigeria in the CAF Champions League.  Today, Rivers United is representing  Nigeria in the CAF Confederation Cup.

The State Female team, Rivers Angels, won the 2015/2016 Nigeria Women Premier League and the 2016 Women Federation Cup.

The first ever Nyesom-Wike Wrestling Competition  was held in Port Harcourt  in 2017 with Team Bayelsa squaring it with Team Rivers.  Rivers Golden Jubilee Wrestling Tournament  also entrenched the sport across  the state.

The administration is rehabilitating  Sports facilities and hostels at the Diete Spiff Civic Centre.  The Olympic size swimming pool  is being revived for professional swimmers.

Governor Wike sees sports as a tool for the  empowerment  of  youths, hence the investments.

REAL MADRID ACADEMY IN RIVERS STATE 

By March 2018, the foundation for a Real Madrid Football Academy will be laid in Port Harcourt by officials of the Real Madrid Foundation in conjunction  the Rivers State Government.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike  met with the leadership of the Real Madrid Foundation in Madrid as part of the requirements  to establish a Real Madrid Affiliated Football Academy in the state.

Officials of the Real Madrid Foundation were led Managing Director, Julio Gonzalez and International Area Manager, Rosa Roncal Gimenez.

The meeting  at the Real Madrid Foundation Office at the Santiago Bernabéu witnessed both parties concluding discussions on the areas of partnership.

Governor Wike  said that the Academy will help the state harness the opportunities  inherent in football as it will empower the upcoming  generation.

He said: “This is the concluding part of the process of establishing  a Real Madrid Academy in Rivers State.  It is our dream to empower our youths through football.

“Today, you know that football is  big business and one of the ways to improve the economy.

“This meeting is the height of our deliberation to get the Academy Started. We are happy that this has gone on satisfactorily.  Rivers youths will reap the benefits of the Academy “.

Marine Transport 

To promote safety on the state’s waterways, Governor Wike  initiated the reconstruction of key jetties in the state. The ATC Jetty has been completed and commissioned at Okirika.

Total reconstruction  of the Nembe/Bonny Jetty has reached an advanced stage.

The administration has also revived the school bus system with the rehabilitation  of buses by the State Government.

Economic Empowerment/ Job Creation 

Official data  released by the National Bureau of Statistics, a Federal Government parastatal , indicate that the economy of Rivers State  has bounced back and is functioning  effectively  for the people  of the state. Internally generated revenue is growing, businesses are flourishing, while the people are empowered  economically.

For every single project that has been awarded by Governor Wike, the administration always insists on the community empowerment component.  A specified  percentage  of employment is reserved for the youths and women, while community  entrepreneurs  are given sub-contracts to supply materials  for the high profile projects.

In the 2017 budget,  a cumulative sum of N12billion was allocated to the relevant line ministries to implement various youth and women development and empowerment schemes

The administration has created over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs through the statewide execution of projects , empowered families for the good of the majority.

FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT 

One of the most strategic foreign direct investment in Nigeria today is the GreenGas LNG Facility being developed by the Greenville Nigeria Limited in Rumuji, Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The N140billion project is critical to any plan to revive the nation’s  economy.

Rivers Elder Statesmen  on a tour of the N140billion GreenGas LNG Facility  being constructed by Grenville Nigeria Limited in Rumuji, Emohua Local Government Area   on Friday, Governor Wike said  that the  State.

 AWARDS

Silverbird Man of the Year, 2017

The Rivers State  Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo  Wike emerged as the Silverbird Man of the Year 2017 after he garnered the highest number of votes online following his nomination by the Silverbird Group.

The Governor emerged because he has been excellent by all standards with his works visible across the state.

Sun Newspaper Governor of the Year, 2017

For the first since the introduction of the Sun awards, Governor Wike is the first to win the Governor of the Year back to back, having won it in 2016.  The Sun Management declared that they are impressed with the continued delivery of projects and programmes by the Rivers State Governor.

New Telegraph Newspaper  Man of the Year, 2017

Governor Wike emerged as the  New Telegraph Newspaper Man of The Year 2017.
The award  was in recognition of the governor’s outstanding achievements.

Independent Newspaper Political Icon of the Year 2017

This award was conferred on Governor Wike for his political intelligence and his contributions  to  the revival of the PDP. He was recognised for becoming the political conscience of the country.

Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contribution Award 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, (CON, GSSRS) won   “Global Human Settlements  Outstanding Contribution Award ” at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

This award is for the governor’s investments in the development of urban renewal programmes, housing and projects that improve the living conditions  of less privileged  persons.

The “Global Human Settlements  Outstanding Contribution Award ” is organised by Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements Awards (SCAHSA). The group is supported by the United Nations Environment.

Under this dispensation, Governor Wike has proved to be a performer and the undisputed “Mr Projects ” of Nigeria . From 29th May, 2015, he has religiously kept his promise to transform  Rivers State and entrench  the process of development, peace and  national growth.

As a result of the governor’s superlative performance, he has been honoured by several groups.

The Rivers State Christian Association of Nigeria conferred on him the “Apostle of Peace ” award in recognition of his exemplary efforts in the peace of peace building and maintenance of security.

He emerged as the “Sun Governor of the Year, 2016”, “Independent Newspaper Man of the Year, 2016” and “Authority Newspapers of the Year, 2016” for his outstanding achievements in the areas of projects  execution  and service delivery.

 MOVING FORWARD

Without equivocation, Governor Wike is Nigeria’s best performing governor.  He has changed the face of governance in the country by placing performance on the frontburner.

But the joy of the entire scenario is the fact that Governor Wike is still firing on all cylinders.  Rivers State is enjoying the best era of development.  A New Rivers is in the making.