By placing the card on the table for all to see, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State appears to have touched the lives of the people through the many projects he completed within the last three years of his administration.
BY GODFREY AZUBIKE
For almost two months, Rivers State government concentrated in inaugurating projects completed in the state in the last three years of Governor Nyesom Wike administration. The period was also used to either flag off, or lay foundation for the commencement of some other new projects.
The beauty of it all was that these projects cut across the twenty three local government areas of the state. This spread in project delivery also put paid to possible allegation of one sided concentration in the distribution of the projects. There is no doubt that the volume and quality of work so far done by the governor earned him the nick name, “Mr Project”.
In all, about thirty one completed projects were inaugurated; five new projects were flagged off, while the foundation stone to two other new projects were laid. Recall that there have been projects completed between his first and second year in offices that had since been inaugurated before now. But some of the recent projects so completed and inaugurated this time include; Woji Elelenwo Road in Obio/Akpo LGA, Elele Alimini internal roads in Emohua LGA, Okochiri internal roads in Okrika LGA, Abonnema internal Roads in Akuku Toru LGA, Isiokpo Internal Roads in Ikwerre LGA, and Omoku Internal Roads in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA. Others are; the Industrial Court Complex and Court of Appeal Complex, all in Port-Harcourt, as well as the Traditional Rulers Secretariat Complex also in Port-Harcourt LGA, among many others.
Eminent personalities from within and outside the state took part during the projects inauguration in the state. some of them include Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President, Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto State, Sa-ad Abubaker, Sultan of Sokoto, Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President, among many others.
Unlike some governors, Wike did not abandoned projects started by his predecessor. To him, the essence of those projects is to touch the lives of the people, and to abandon them would not only amount to huge economic waste of the resources of the state, but also denial of the people the right to amenities that can come from the government to enhance development. This stance of the governor no doubt endeared him to the people.
From the time he assumed office in May 29, 2015, Wike has faced serious running battle from the major opposition in the state, the All Progressives Congress, APC The reason is obvious. Wike snatched power from the ruling APC government in the state then led by his bosom friend, brother and boss, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and both of who are from the same Ikwerre ethnic nationality.
The strained relationship of the two came to open shortly after Wike assumed office as Minister of State for Education in th last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. Prior to this he was the Chief of Staff to former Governor Amaechi. After the first tenure, Amaechi felt that the best way of distancing Wike who he felt was becoming too powerful for him, was to send him out by nominating him a minister. Sources had it that the then governor lied to him that he was going to do away with the office of Chief of Staff. But shortly after Wike assumed office as junior Minister in Abuja, Amaechi appointed a Chief of Staff. This among others infuriated Wike who felt he was now sent on Siberia.
However, due to dint of hard work, Wike endeared himself to former President Jonathan and the wife Patience. This was also coming when former Governor Amaechi has antagonized Jonathan and joining forces with a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, nPDP, who eventually pitched tent with the All Progressives Party, APC.
When Wike resigned as minister to contest the governorship of Rivers State, many saw him as a joker because they thought it was impossible for Amaechi to hand over power to someone from the upland area of the state, against the riverine/upland unwritten agreement in leadership in the state. This is more so when the former governor and Wike are from the same the Ikwerre ethnic nationality. But all the permutation was demystified by Wike, who after all the battle, emerged as governor of the state.
Sensing it was not going to be easy after allegedly snatching the power that would have gone to the riverine area of the state, Wike felt the best thing to do was to embark on massive projects that would shut the mouth of the opposition against him. Hence, immediately he descended from the podium where he was sworn in as the state governor at the then Liberation Stadium, Elekahia, Wike declared; “As a sign of our commitment to hit the ground running on our march to meaningful progress, please join me and the Deputy Governor, Her Excellency Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo as we proceed from here to the UTC junction and two other sites to flag-off the operation zero potholes in Rivers State. We wish to assure you that hope has returned and Rivers State shall once again be the pride of our nation”.
Today, the government has been able to show case what it has done so far to the admiration of many within the state and beyond. During the recent inauguration of his completed projects, Wike brought into the state distinguished personalities from all walks of life from within and outside the state who came, saw and applauded the governor for job well done. About 31 completed projects were inaugurated; five new projects were flagged off, and foundation stone was laid for two projects.
As the 2019 election draws nearer, the governor though yet to declare intention, appears to have done more than half of his campaign through the work he has so far done in the state. All this does not mean that the opposition in the state is sleeping; they have continued to find one reason or the other to puncture whatever achievements Wike has recorded. It only takes discerned mind not to be confused by the negative rhetoric of the opposition against the governor.
For instance, Maureen Tamuno, APC Chieftain and former member of the State House of Assembly said the governor has not done enough to beat his chest. According to her, “brushing the roads we did before and installing Street Light does not put food to the table of the growing masses, especially those in the rural areas”. The former legislator said what the people need is programme that would change their lives’
Tamuno noted that programme like agriculture has been relegated to the back door. Pointing out that the kind of agric investment put in the Ogoni axis by the previous administration had been abandoned. “Something must be done to address the economic life of the people”, she stressed.