Across ethnic divides, political leaders troop to Rivers state, South – South Nigeria to commission roads built by Nyesom Wike, Governor of the state who is popularly known as ‘Mr Projects’.
By Clarice Azuatalam,
Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State has continued to live up to his nick name, ‘Mr Projects’, since December 2020. He invited a number of political leaders, across ethnic and political divides, to commission roads which he completed in various parts of the state under his urban renewal programme.
Details of the sequence of the first set of the program was provided in a statement signed by the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsiri..The statement read in part, “On Monday, December 21, Emeyal, Elelenwo, Ndoni and General Diriyai Streets will be commissioned by the Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri.“The dualized Tombia Road and Amaji Street will be commissioned on Tuesday, December 22 by the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom. It will be the turn of Woji Road and Obagi Street on Wednesday, December 23, with the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, as Special Guest of Honour.”
Among leaders who has so far come to commission Wike’s projects within the past two months also include: Governors of Enugu, Abia and Bauchi States. Senators Ali Ndume from Borno State, Rochas Okorocha from Imo State and former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi also commissioned roads in the state.
Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi, Governor of Enugu commissioned the 16.06 kilometres dual carriage Sakpenwa-Bori Highway in Bori, Khana Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers State . During the ceremony, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike used the occasion to lampoon the ruling APC government in Nigeria, for not doing much in service to the people of Nigeria. He charged Rivers State people, particularly the Ogoni, to spot the difference between the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) to know which party is delivering democratic dividends to the masses.
Using the Ogoni clean-up exercise as a case in view, Wike lamented that the federal government has been playing politics with the Ogoni environment remediation programme recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The governor noted that since Ogoni has played a pivotal role in the economic development of Rivers State and the country at large, it deserves more than what is currently being offered to the area.
Wike urged Ogoni people to stop believing those who use Ogoni clean up exercise at the turn of election year to deceive them and wondered why clean-up never happens when elections are over. “I am not like Federal Government. They promised you they will do Ogoni clean up. Has it been cleaned? I promised you road, have I done it? So you can see the difference between our party and their own party. The difference is clear.
Speaking further, Wike said: “When election comes in 2023, they will start another clean up. You people don’t even ask question. Why is it that a year to election that Ogoni clean-up will always commence? Now that there is no election are they doing clean up now? Watch from next year they will start clean up.”
Wike said it has remained undisputed that only the governors of the PDP are delivering development projects to their people. He challenged those who feel uncomfortable with his public declarations to also showcase their projects and invite persons of repute to commission them as he has done since last December .He stated that because of the existing mutual trust between his leadership team and the people, sufficient progress have been achieved in Ogoni land and in the entire state in terms of project delivery.
He further used the occasion to announce the commencement of the phase two of the newly commissioned road, which will now be from Bori to Kono which will also be awarded to the same construction firm, CCECC. “Let me tell you, I will dualise from here, Bori to Kono. It will be handled by the same contractor to maintain the same standard.
“So, when I finish and go, I will tell Ogoni people that it was in my tenure that you got road; dualised road, from Saakpenwa to Kono with street lights. This is what we call development. You can leave Port Harcourt and come back home any day, any time. This is what makes a city.
“When I say PDP governors are doing well, people are angry. If they are doing well, let them call us. Is it hidden? . PDP governors, we are challenging others, tell us what you’re doing. It is not to take money to go and buy one governor. That’s not it. We are talking about governors that are interested in the development of their people. We are commissioning projects.”
Wike recalled that he promised to deliver good road to the people and within the specified period, he has achieved that to demonstrate that his party is different from the other that is associated with failed promises.
Speaking while inaugurating the road project, Enugu State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi acknowledged that many projects have been inaugurated by Wike, including the Saakpenwa -Bori road which was a campaign promise that has been fulfilled.
Ugwuanyi said: “Today’s event is significant as it epitomises the desirable fellowship among colleague governors while providing opportunity for experience sharing and other discourses on service delivery. I congratulate your Excellency, Governor Wike on the accomplishment of this infrastructural milestone among many others which will undoubtedly make life more meaningful for the people of Ogoni land
Further, Ugwuanyi said: “I understand that this strategic road project was a campaign promise that has been truthfully fulfilled. Expectedly, it gladdens the hearts of Ogoni people and reinforces their faith in our constitutional democracy. I enjoin the good people of Ogoni land and entire Rivers State to continue to support Governor Wike with their prayers and wise counsel as he takes Rivers State to the next level.”
In their good will message, former President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Ledum Mitee said several governors used the road as point of political campaigns, but all failed to fulfil such promises. Mitee said if the money wasted on the abandoned monorail by the immediate past administration was properly channelled, more flyovers and roads would have been achieved in the State.
Similarly, the President of Kagote, Hon Emma Deeyaah said that Wike has wiped away their tears and solved the nightmare situation that the road caused the people.
President of Gbokabari, Senator Ben Birabi noted that such quality of roads are hardly delivered in Ogoni land adding that Wike has re-energised the spirit of freedom in the state as well as performed above expectations despite the lean financial resources.
In reaction too, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Mr. Elloka Tasie-Amadi, said that the Wike administration has demonstrated commitment in delivering long term service projects that will enhance socio-economic life of the people. He gave greater insight about the quality of the road work which the Wike administration did. He explained it thus:
“This project is a 16.06 km dual carriage highway, with a 2m wide concrete median, an overall road width of 22.3m, drainage network of 12.02 Km, 480 double arm streetlight poles complete with transformers and generators to power the streetlights.
“It used to be a deplorable 7.3m wide road but what we have today is three times wider than it was then. If we were to stretch this road into a single carriage way it would stretch from here all the way to Kono, a distance of about 36 km from Sapkenwa.
“This is excluding the added mileage we would achieve by converting the concrete median and street lighting to asphalt pavement.”
Just before the Christmas, many other political leaders also commissioned roads in Rivers State. Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state Commissioned the reconstructed Aker Road In Port Harcourt while Peter Obi commissioned a network of new roads in Isiokpo, the headquarters of Ikwerre Local Government Area,.
The Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Fintiri was also in Port Harcourt to commission three roads, namely: Emeyal, Elelenwo and General Diriyaĺ Streets, all located in the New GRA Phase 2 in Obio/Akpor LGA of the state.
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State was also in the state to inaugurate Tombia road, Ndoni Street and Amaji Street also in GRA, Phase 2 of Port Harcourt metropolitan.