· Eze says his people waited for 60 years
By Ignatius Chukwu
Kenyan distance runners are known for one thing; they run fastest toward the end of a long race. This is when other runners are barely managing to limp on their feet.
At a time most governors are limping to the governance finishing line, Gov Nyesom Wike is working hardest, commissioning ongoing or finished projects and also starting new ones.
Gov Nyesom Wike has laid the foundation for the construction of the Eze Epara Rebisi palace in Port Harcourt.
The governor regretted that the construction of the palace was taking place 30 years after the Rivers State government issued the Certificate of Occupancy for the project.
Gov Wike made these remarks at the foundation laying ceremony of the Eze Epara Rebisi in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
“I believe the right thing should be done and today, we are going to do the right thing. Since 1990, some of you will understand the history. In here was to be built the Eze Epara Rebisi palace by the Government of Rivers State. If you check the C-of-O (certificate of occupancy), it was given by the Rivers State Government, but for one reason or the other, nobody was able to take the courage (to build), but I will do it.”
The Rivers State governor wondered why past administrations did not consider it expedient to build the palace in order to accord the Eze Epara Rebisi the honour and respect the throne deserves.
Gov Wike, who disclosed that the project would be completed within the next 10 months, assured the people of Rebisi kingdom that the money for the construction and completion of the magnificent palace has been set aside by the Rivers State government.
The governor commended the Eze Epara Rebisi XII and paramount ruler (King) of Port Harcourt, HRM, Eze Uchechukwu Isaiah Elikwu, for his steadfastness in galvanising support for his administration since 2015.
“I tell people that leadership matters a lot. When you see leaders who are neither here nor there, they bring nothing home. But when you see people who stand and say look this is the position we should take, and tell their people to do that, it doesn’t matter the consequences, such are the leaders you must follow.
“Eze Epara Rebisi stood firm for us and so we cannot be ashamed to identify with you. God has time for everybody and it is in your time that this palace should be built. If there is nothing you have achieved, you’ve achieved this.”
Gov Wike has, meanwhile, directed that Kaduna Street in Port Harcourt should henceforth be referred to as Eze Epara Rebisi street. To this end, he has directed the chairman of Port Harcourt Local Government Area, Allwell Ihunda, to immediately effect the change.
The Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Charles Amadi, commended Gov Wike for actualising the aspiration of the people of Rebisi to have a benefiting palace for the Eze Epara Rebisi.
The Eze Epara Rebisi XII and paramount ruler (King) of Port Harcourt, HRM, Eze Uchechukwu Isaiah Elikwu, explained that it has been the dream of the people of his kingdom in the last 60 years to have benefiting palace.
The king, who was overwhelmed by the commencement of construction work at the site allocated by then military government of Rivers State for the palace, said Gov Wike, by this gesture, has touched the heart of the people of Rebisi kingdom.
On his part, the chairman of Port Harcourt Local Government Area, Allwell Ihunda, said Gov Wike has further demonstrated that governance is really about the people.