As Nigeria’s best performing governor in the current dispensation, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has never shied away from any opportunity to expose any false propaganda by the opposition All Progressives Congress in the state. The governor’s pro-people projects spread across the state are testimonies to deliberate planning and judicious application of scarce resources.
Those who are transparent and accountable to their people are always ready to showcase their accomplishments to encourage other leaders to deliver good governance to their respective states. Wike’s 14 months in office have been a turning point in the contemporary history of Rivers State, making the state a destination of interest to lovers of development. This explains why the state has witnessed an influx of professionals and guests from across the country.
The leadership and members of the Nigerian Guild of Editors were in the state for the 12th edition of the All Nigeria Editors’ Conference that held from August 3 to 7. The president and other executives of the guild had visited the state in the last week of July. The National Standing Committee of the Guild led by its president, Mrs Funke Egbemode, met with Wike during a breakfast meeting on July 30.
The Nigerian Guild of Editors joined a long list of groups that have witnessed first-hand the superlative performance of Wike in transforming the lives of the people of the state. In the last few weeks, the outgoing president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Augustine Alegeh (SAN), former Senate President David Mark, PDP National Caretaker Committee chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, and Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, have been impressed by Wike’s delivery of projects and good governance.
Despite the propaganda being funded by the leaders of the Rivers APC, the reports of the superlative projects delivery of the Rivers State governor have been in the public domain, nationally. The 12th All Nigeria Editors Conference afforded the ultimate gate-keepers the opportunity to see the reality of the creation of a new Rivers State. They saw for themselves the unfolding development of an amazing Rivers State where the resources of the people work for them.
Wike’s tour of projects with the members of the Nigerian Guild of Editors on Saturday, August 6 signalled a paradigm shift in the perception of the development process in Rivers State. The editors were pleasantly surprised at the level of projects delivery in the state and the quality of work done so far by the Rivers State government under the leadership of Wike.
The editors were happy with the governor for his impressive performance which most of them declared must be sustained to further advance the living condition of the people of the state. The tour of projects led the editors to 24 projects sites spread across seven local government areas of the state, namely, Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor, Ikwerre, Eleme, Khana, Gokana and Etche local government areas.
To achieve maximum exposure of the selected projects, the tour was divided into two teams; Wike led a team, while the Commissioner for Housing, Mr Emma Okah, led the second team.
The projects visited included the Law Centre, Civic Centre, Federal High Court being constructed by the Rivers State Government, Garrison-Akpajo-East West Road, Second Nkpogu Bridge, Dr Peter Odili Road, Abuluoma-Woji Road, Woji-Akpajo Road, Elelenwo-Akpajo Road, Sakpenwa-Bori Road, Rumukwurusi-Eneka Road, Igwuruta-Okehi Road, Rukpokwu-Eneka and Oroigwe Road.
Other projects visited were Industry Road, Njamanze Road (Diobu), Eagle Island Bridge –Agip, Rumuepirikom-Rumuolumeni Road, Rumuolumeni-Elioparanwo-Ogbogoro-Ozuoba Road, Ozuoba-Rumoosi Road, Alakahia-Rumualogu Road, Nkpolu-Rumuigbo-Rumuaholu-Obiri Ikwere Road and Aluu-Rukpokwu Road.
Nigerian editors experienced in reality Wike’s street credibility. Everywhere the governor and the editors went to inspect projects, the people trooped out in their numbers to sing the praises of the governor. The popularity and acceptance of Wike by the people of Rivers State played out before the editors. They understood the political strength of the governor and why it would be impossible for the APC to win election in the state.
From the Civic Centre, to the Law Centre, through to Elelenwo-Akpajo road down to Igwuruta-Okehi road, the people in one accord through their loud voices passed a vote of confidence on Wike. The lies of the Rivers APC evaporated into thin air. The governor led his editorial guests on long walks on the streets of Rivers State in carnival-like processions. Beyond the acceptance and popularity of Wike, the editors also experienced the unending energy of the chief executive of Rivers State to work for the people of the state. For three days running, he was at their beck and call to account for his development projects.
Flowing from the street credibility Wike exhibited during the tour of projects with the editors is the issue of security and safety of Rivers State. The president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors and other leaders of the guild were in the state for days without security details before they had a breakfast meeting with Wike on Saturday, July 30. They saw for themselves the security architecture being funded and organised by the Rivers State Government for the people of the state.
Between August 3 and 7, over 300 frontline editors from all mainstream and online media organisations across Nigeria stayed in several hostels in Port Harcourt without experiencing the false reports of insecurity being circulated by the opposition party in the state. These editors enjoyed the revived night-life in Port Harcourt, the warmth of the people, the friendship and humanity of Rivers people, the beauty of the Garden City, and the serenity of the Treasure Base of the Nation.
Throughout their stay, there was no untoward incident. Nigerian editors had the privilege of appreciating the security that oil companies, schools, expatriate staff and other professionals enjoy in Rivers State that make them to want to return to the state at every opportunity. As the saying goes, “Seeing is believing.”
Through critical security initiatives, Wike was able to resolve the security challenges that affected a few local government areas far away from Port Harcourt, restored the confidence of the people and set the entire state for greater development.
Of course, the Nigerian editors who visited six local government areas in Rivers State inspecting projects alongside the Rivers State governor and top government officials were appreciative of the governor’s efforts. They never minced words. They celebrated his development efforts.
President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mrs Funke Egbemode, praised Wike for working to revive Rivers State through the execution of high quality projects. Other leading editors like Mr Lawal Ado, Editor-in-Chief of News Agency of Nigeria, Mr Steve Nwosu, Deputy Managing Director of Sun Newspapers, and Juliet Njiohwor, Director of Publication of Tide Newspapers, commended Wike for his judicious application ofresources to promote development in the state.
By every definition, the 12th All Nigeria Editors Conference in Port Harcourt was a resounding success. The theme of the conference, “Economic Diversification: Agriculture as Option for a Prosperous Nigeria,” was exhaustively discussed by the editors, a collection of mainstream farmers, agribusiness financiers, policy-makers and captains of industry.
Prominent participants at the conference included Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; representatives of the governors of Bayelsa, Niger, Plateau and Bauchi states; veteran editor, Ray Ekpu; former Ogun State Governor, Chief Segun Osoba; president of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Mr Waheed Odusile; and the representative of Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, Comfort Obi.
All the stakeholders agreed that developing the agricultural sector was the best way to rebuild the Nigerian economy and empower the people. This also formed the premise of the communiqué at the end of the conference.
The All Nigeria Editors Conference provided stakeholders the opportunity to discuss various aspects of the country’s political development as they relate to Rivers State. Wike explained that contrary to the views being circulated by the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Rivers APC, the state remained safe for the conclusion of the outstanding rerun elections in constituencies cancelled by INEC. The governor also warned against the declaration of results in constituencies completely cancelled by INEC on March 19.
The fundamental takeaway from the 12th All Nigeria Editors Conference, certainly, is that there is a limit to which falsehood can be deployed against a people. No matter how well scripted, falsehood will fail in the presence of the truth. That is the situation of Rivers State. The impressive performance of Wike has led to a nationwide appreciation of his adherence to the tenets of good governance. People from all walks of life are now gravitating towards Rivers State, one of the few oases of development in the present-day desert of stagnation.
Rivers is the state with a new life, a community that serves as a tonic to others as they seek ways to escape from today’s reality. It is obvious that Wike is ever ready to share experiences with other leaders as a means of setting the country on the path of growth.
–Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media, writes from Port Harcourt.