By Bennett Oghifo
Former Rivers State Governor and Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi yesterday said that security of lives and property of Rivers people and human capital development were his key achievements as governor of the state between 2007 and 2015.
Amaechi also said he did not sleep, fighting insecurity so that the people could sleep with their two eyes closed.
Amaechi made the disclosure in an exclusive interview in his Abuja residence.
He recalled that as at the time he assumed office in 2007, the security situation in the state was so bad and terrible that residents lived in palpable fear of their lives even as there was heavy Military presence which forced people to raise their hands while they walk on the streets of Port Harcourt.
Amaechi said: â€œDonâ€™t forget when I became the governor; the people were living in fear. There was curfew. I had to make sure that the curfew end. Killings, kidnappings and all forms of criminality was everywhere in the state. There was a heavy military presence and people were walking with their hands raised up. I took away the soldiers from the streets because I provided social and physical security. I enhanced the wage bill of the Police Force by paying special allowances, and all that was to protect the citizens and I created opportunities for people to get employed.
â€œSo, I confronted those insecurity challenges and brought back hope and sanity to the state. I worked tirelessly with the security agencies and ensured that people could move freely and do their businesses without fear or molestation. Businesses started springing up again in all parts of the State and people could go to night clubs and live free, peaceful lives. I stayed awake and fought insecurity to a standstill for Rivers people to sleep.
â€œI also focused on what I call social security. Social security includes creating employment for the people. I had said to people, the responsibility of government is to provide legitimate economy. The day you donâ€™t provide legitimate economy for the people, they will provide for themselves illegitimate economy. What is illegitimate economy? It is armed robbery, kidnapping, theft and other evils.â€
Amaechi said contrary to the successes achieved by his administration in Rivers State, the present security situation in the state is no longer good.
Amaechi further explained that though his achievements in Rivers State were numerous ranging from free health care, free education construction of roads etc, of note to him also is human capital development as both indigenes and non-indigenes residents in the state were beneficiaries of his administrationâ€™s Overseas Scholarship programmes and training.
â€œI feel very excited when people walk up to me and say, Sir, I am James, I studied A,B,C in the U.K. or US due to your scholarship programme. The first tool to a successful society is human capital development, thatâ€™s why I didnâ€™t take education lightly. I had about 28% budgetary allocation for education. So, I did all those things to ensure that we reduce crime,â€ said the former Rivers State governor.