Editors who converged on Port Harcourt penultimate week for the 12th edition of the All Nigeria Editors’ Conference, after touring several projects, came up with an impressive verdict on Governor Nyesom Wike. Davidson Iriekpen writes
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State penultimate week received commendations for the level of security and infrastructural development in the state from the Nigerian editors who gathered in Port Harcourt for four days for the12th All Nigerian Editors Conference (ANEC) 2016.
For the over 300 frontline editors from all mainstream and online media organisations across Nigeria, they could not believe that despite the series of attacks on the state government, massive developments were going on in the state and people were at peace with themselves.
The editors’ stay in Port Harcourt, their tours of projects and the expressions of the faces of everyone they came across in some parts of the state they visited left them with one impression: Rivers is safe contrary to the impression by members of the opposition political party.
The four-day conference afforded the ultimate gate-keepers the opportunity to see the reality of the creation of a new state. They saw for themselves the unfolding development of an amazing state where the resources of the people work for them.
“Based on careful observation of the state of affairs in Rivers State, the Guild commended the government and people of the state for the level of security and infrastructural development as well as for the steps being taken to promote agriculture in the state,” the editors stated as part of the communiqué they issued at the end of their stay in the Garden City.
Wike used the opportunity to showcase all that he had done in the last 14 months for which other eminent Nigerians such as the outgoing President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Augustine Alegeh (SAN), former Senate President David Mark, PDP National Caretaker Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi and Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, he had previously received commended him on.
The governor’s tour of projects with the editors was basically aimed erasing the negative impression sold to a majority of them that nothing was happening in the state and that it was a no-go-area and put in them a perception of the development process in the state. After the tour, the editors were pleasantly surprised at the level of projects delivery in the state and the quality of work done so far by the state government in the last 14 months.
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 project sites spread across seven local government areas of the state namely Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor, Ikwerre, Eleme, Khana, Gokana and Etche Local Government Areas. And 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 list of the projects visited include: 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 are: 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.
The editors equally experienced in reality Wike’s street credibility. Everywhere the governor and his entourage went to inspect projects, the people trooped out in their large numbers to sing his praises. His popularity and acceptance among the people played out before the editors. They understood the political strength of the governor and why it would be impossible for the APC to win any 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 the governor.
Flowing from the street credibility the governor 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, Mrs. Funke Egbemode and other members of her group were in the state for days without security details and saw for themselves the security architecture being funded and organised by the state government for the people of the state.
For the four days that the over 300 frontline editors from all mainstream and online media organisations across Nigeria stayed in several hostels in Port Harcourt there was no report of insecurity or attack on anyone as being circulated by the opposition that the state is unsafe. The 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 as the editors had the privilege of appreciating the security that oil companies, schools, expatriate staff and other professionals enjoy in the state that make them to want to return to the state at every opportunity.
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.
The editors who visited six local government areas in the state to inspect projects alongside the governor and top government officials, were appreciative of the governor’s efforts. They never minced words as they celebrated the governor’s development efforts.
For instance, Egbemode praised the governor for working to revive the 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 of resources to promote development in the state.
If there was any major impression the tour of projects by the editors achieved, it was that contrary to the views being circulated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the state APC, the state remains safe for the conclusion of the rerun elections in constituencies cancelled by the commission.