Wike and Ogoniland: Love Beyond Rhetoric

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Simeon Nwakaudu
For eight years, All Progressives Congress held sway in Rivers State, but the party’s leaders were never moved to develop Ogoni land. They preoccupied themselves with mere words, sweet words. At the end of eight years on May 29, 2015, with over N3 trillion accruing to Rivers State, they had little to show for their sweet words about their love for the Ogoni people.

Indeed, Senator Magnus Abe, one of the principal actors and a prominent Ogoni personality, not only failed to attract projects to his people, he frustrated the construction of the Kpopie-Bodo Road. He abandoned the road in a state of disrepair. He left his people to suffer untold hardship.

But as a pragmatic leader, when Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike came on board, he resolved to ensure that the long-suffering Ogoni people, especially farmers, who use the Kpopie-Bodo road, were treated with the respect and love they deserve. He pledged to complete the Kpopie-Bodo road. The governor kicked off the project and it is currently nearing completion. The first class contractor, Dantata and Sawoe, are doing a marvellous job there.
The road is now motorable and the process for the erection of modern streetlights on it has been started.

The dualisation of Sakpenwa-Bori road is another masterpiece that is progressing as scheduled. The Chinese contractors, CCECC, are changing the face of the road with high quality civil engineering processes.

All the way from Sakpenwa to Bori, the contractors have worked all through the rainy season, using sharp sand as Wike directed, to ensure that they deliver a quality road that will finally open up the Ogoni heartland to the rest of the world.

Remember, this road cuts across Tai, Gokana and Khana, and connects Andoni-Opobo-Nkoro local government areas. It leads to Akwa Ibom State. It is a profound gift to a people neglected by the immediate past APC administration in the state.

At the time Wike flagged-off the dualisation of Sakpenwa-Bori road, Abe went to town, claiming the governor brought a contractor that will not perform. Today, CCECC, one of the major contractors in Nigeria, has forced the APC leader to eat the humble pie.

Like the Kpopie-Bodo road, the Wike administration will install streetlights from Sakpenwa to Bori. This is another love gift beyond rhetoric.
As you enter Bori, there is the Birabi Memorial Grammar School that has been completely transformed. It was a dilapidated and abandoned infrastructure that degenerated into an eyesore. Wike promised to fix it.

Take a drive to Bori and spare a few minutes to inspect the concluding aspects of work at this iconic school. It is a love gift from Wike to Ogoni people.
The General Hospital in Bori, neglected by the APC leaders for eight years, is witnessing an upgrade in facilities and equipment .

The people of Gokana Local Government Area are in a celebration mood. Wike is rehabilitating the General Hospital in Terabor and General Hospital, Bodo. This is unprecedented.

Wike at the flag off of the rehabilitation of the General Hospitals in Terabor and Bodo, noted that the projects being executed in Ogoni land were aimed at economically empowering the people and setting the stage for faster development in the area. He said, “The dualisation of Sakpenwa-Bori road will open up Ogoni land to the development desired by the people over the years. Investors will come in their numbers and the people will benefit.

“Even now that the Sakpenwa-Bori road and the Kpopie-Bodo are on-going, Ogoni youths have been engaged at different levels by the contractors. The empowerment process has started. I promised that I will change the story of the Ogoni ethnic nationality and that is what I am doing. I live by my promises.”

Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Chief Kenneth Kobani, a prominent Ogoni son, said the Ogoni people were happy with Wike for fulfilling his campaign promises.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Finance, Dr Fred Kpakol, said the Ogoni people will continue to support Wike for showing them love and giving the people a sense of belonging.

The Peoples Democratic Party candidate for Khana /Gokana Federal Constituency, Mr Dum Dekor, noted that Wike had shown in practical terms that his administration will continue to be profitable to Ogoni land. He commended the governor for transforming the landscape of Ogoni land.

Wike’s love for the Ogoni people is manifesting practically. He is doing what others failed to do for the Ogoni ethnic nationality. He is transforming communities abandoned by prominent Ogoni sons. Wike is showing the way for the desired development of Ogoni land.

The era of empty promises is gone. Wike has introduced the era of talk and do. That is the new standard. Those lacking in capacity have no place in the new order. Rivers is new.
–Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media, writes from Port Harcourt.