Davidson Iriekpen writes that Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has inaugurated projects that have a far-reaching impact on the lives of residents in the state
For the people of Rivers State, the last one year has not been a disappointment. For five days last week, besides the many projects in the Port Harcourt metropolis, the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, went from one local government area to the other, to inaugurate the developmental projects that have far-reaching impacts in the lives of the people of the state.
Prior to May 29, 2015, the state was in the news for all the wrong reasons. The provision of infrastructural facilities was put on hold by the immediate past administration. Every indicator of development was crippled. For two years, the courts were under lock and key to deny the people of the state access to justice. The closure of the courts led to the total collapse of security and the rule of law in the state. Inhabitants of the state suffered untold hardship as the immediate past administration ensured that they were denied the benefits of living under the rule of law.
It did not end with the state judiciary, the administration also crippled the State House of Assembly. A faction of the assembly loyal to the former governor, Chibuike Amaechi, relocated to the dining hall of the Government House, Port Harcourt from where they rubber stamped every of his bills.
The economy of the state was not spared by the maladministration; civil servants were owed for four months and pensioners owed for eight months. Different shades of athletes were also owed.
The poor performance and misapplication of resources by the immediate past administration in the state led to decayed infrastructure in all the 23 local government areas, dilapidated schools and disillusioned teachers, high rate of unemployment, abandoned health facilities, general insecurity, poor road infrastructure and general collapse of governance structures.
Faced with these developmental challenges and a bleak future, the leaders and people of Rivers State resolved to look inwards for a well prepared leader to rebuild the state, revive decayed infrastructure and set it on the path of growth for the benefit of the people. Today, stakeholders from all parts of the state, irrespective of their ethnicity, have agreed that the choice of Nyesom Ezenwo Wike is not by accident but a calculated effort to rescue the state from the doldrums. Today, no section of the state has been left behind as Wike is involved in pro-people governance steeped in consultations and respect for the contributions of all stakeholders. From road rehabilitation/construction, security, education, hospital and everything governance, the governor has put right in just one year.
Conscious of the fact that he was assuming the reins of governance at a time when the morale of the people was at an all time low, Wike from the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, venue of his inauguration, accompanied by his wife, Eberechi Suzzette Wike and the Deputy Governor Ipalibo Banigo flagged off the Operation Zero Potholes programme, an iconic road rehabilitation scheme that has revived the Garden City.
One year into the journey, this has proved to be the most valuable decision made by the Rivers people, as the state has metamorphosed into a huge construction site where values of good and accountable governance have been elevated as the pillars of the Wike-led administration.
In the last one year, the governor has lived up to the expectations of the people, emerging as one of the best governors in terms of projects initiation and execution, staff welfare, empowerment of the less privileged, enhanced security architecture, sports, education and employment generation.
One of the most outstanding areas of performance of Wike in the last one year is in the area of developing new road infrastructure in the urban centres of the state for the purpose of jump-starting the collapsed economy he met upon his assumption of office on May 29, 2015.
He also kick-started the completion of several roads abandoned by the immediate past administration. The governor’s urban renewal efforts have led to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of over 120 kilometres of roads in seven local government areas of the state. They include: Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor, Ikwerre, Eleme, Etche, Oyigbo and Akuku-Toru Local Government Areas.
Residents of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas are appreciative of Governor Wike’s urban roads renewal programme in the last one year. This is because the immediate past governor, who lived at Okarki Street (Mile 1), Chigbu Street Mile 3 Diobu and Anozie in Diobu and also stayed at Oro-Igwe road in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area deliberately failed to construct roads in these communities after serving as governor for eight years. Today, the roads in Diobu are wearing a new look with the economy properly re-focused.
Some of the completed projects are: Obonnema Link Road/Bridge (inaugurated), Eagle Island/Iloabuchi Road/Bridge (inaugurated), Abuluoma-Woji Link Road/Bridge (inauguated), Oyigbo Market Road (inauguated), Nkpogu-NLNG Road/Bridge (inaugurated), reconstruction of 33 kilometres of township roads under Operation Zero Potholes handled by Julius Berger and CCECC, reconstruction of Igwuruta-Chokocho Road, reconstruction of Eleme Junction to Onne Junction of the East-West Road, reconstruction of the Rumualogu/Alakahiah Road, and rehabilitation of the road under Mile 1 Bridge.
Others are: reconstruction of the Rumuolumini-Iwofe road, rehabilitation of Obi Wali Road, reconstruction of Elioparanwo Road, Reconstruction of Oro-Igwe road.
As residents of the major urban centres celebrate Governor Wike’s superlative road renewal scheme, those who stay in Diobu and Borikiri, two densely populated suburbs are most grateful. Their roads were completely abandoned and they suffered untold hardships. Today, they are singing a new song.
Going forward, Wike has started the process of fulfilling some key pledges he made on road construction. The governor in fulfillment of his pledge to the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye on the completion of the Obiri-Ikwerre Road to the airport has flagged off the reconstruction of the road.
The governor has flagged off the dualisation of the Saakpenwa-Bori Road in line with his campaign promise to the people of Ogoni.
His commitment to the revival of the Rivers economy led to the governor initiating the reconstruction of the federal government owned Eleme Junction to Onne Junction of the East-West Road to boost movement to the Onne Seaport. This project was funded in conjuction with private stakeholders in the area. The governor also initiated the reconstruction of the Federal Government owned NPA-Industry Road to the Port Harcourt port to improve the economy of the area.
One of the highpoints of the road infrastructural development by Wike in the last one year is the revival of the Rivers State Road Rehabilitation Agency. Wike boosted the technical, financial and equipment capacity of the agency to engage in regular maintenance of roads across the state. The successes of this agency can be best appreciated by the fact that the Amaechi administration left all the major roads to degenerate.
Some of the roads rehabilitated by the agency include: Bodo Road, Woji Road, Evo Crescent, Birabi by Presidential Hotels, Andrew Uchendu Crescent and Abacha Link Road. The governor has also commenced the revival of all dysfunctional street lights across Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas, to improve security and beauty at night.
The last one year has set the tone for the redefining and revival of Rivers State. The rebuilding of a new Rivers State, where all inhabitants of the state will be proud has started in earnest. No section of the state has been left behind as Wike is involved in pro-people governance steeped in consultations and respect for the contributions of all stakeholders.
As a result of the governor’s performance, the Rivers people have rewarded him with undiluted loyalty. They trooped out on March 19, 2016 during the rerun elections to declare their appreciation to a man who has kept his vow that a new Rivers State is the right of the people. Their support has created an enabling environment for Wike to recreate the landscape of the state and make it the envy of other states.
Speaking on his first year in office, Wike said despite the challenges faced by his administration, he performed creditably, ensuring that the people enjoyed the dividends of democracy.
He said the successes already recorded would be surpassed in his second year in office.