By Simeon Nwakaudu
There was nothing to show that a government existed in Rivers State between 2011 and 2015 as far as roads are concerned.
The immediate past APC administration in the state allowed almost all roads in the state to degenerate to the level of village footpaths. Very deplorable.
Governor Wike inherited this rather disturbing situation. The roads in the urban centres of the state were so bad that they were used to mock the Rivers people.
This was a sad commentary as the Amaechi/APC administration had the rare privilege of accessing over N3trillion in eight years. The highest to accrue to the state since the return to democracy in 1999.
Beginning May 29, 2015, Governor Wike outlined his double-barrelled approach to fix the roads in the state and rebuild her state’s economy for the benefit of the people.
The governor’s road construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation programmes are built around the State Ministry of Works and the Rivers Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Agency.
The State Ministry of Works have delivered over 150 kilometres of roads in the last 15 months of the administration of Governor Wike. These over 100 roads are spread across six local government areas of the state. Several of these roads were commissioned during and after the governor’s first year in office. Others are ongoing.
New roads in the other 17 local government areas are being processed for award and execution. The governor explained that he started with the urban centres because of the need to address the traffic needs of the larger communities, where majority of Rivers people reside and do business.
The Rivers Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Agency transformed by Governor Wike has made more roads motorable in the urban centres of the state than at any other time in the history of the state.
This agency has delivered more than 130 roads in the last 15 months of the Wike administration. Dilapidated Roads in Port Harcourt City, Oyigbo, Eleme, Obio/Akpor and Ikwerre Local Government Areas have been rehabilitated to the delight of the people.
Majority of the roads that have either been rehabilitated or maintained by the agency were completely neglected for over two decades. Therefore, they degenerated beyond imagination.
Upon assumption of office as Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike repositioned the agency, equipped it and ensured that it is appropriately funded to serve as an interventionist agency to address the challenges faced by the state regarding road infrastructure.
For the most populated suburbs in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas, the Rivers State Road Rehabilitation and Maintenance have rehabilitated the worst roads and created access to neglected communities.
This agency has also intervened on failed portions of Aba Road, a major Federal Road that is critical to traffic in Oyigbo, Obio /Akpor and Port Harcourt City Local Government Areas. This road is also critical to traffic from the South East and Northern parts of the country into the treasure base of the nation.
Today, motorists are happy that the Oyigbo junction on Aba road and Rumuola Flyover have been completely rehabilitated by the agency.
Road Rehabilitation has been been democratised under the leadership of Governor Wike. Residents report the road situation in their communities to the Rivers State Road Rehabilitation and Maintenance Agency via the social media and text messages .
The agency then sends her technical officials to conduct feasibility studies on the reported roads. Upon the completion of the feasibility studies, the roads are then rehabilitated . This practical approach to project implementation has been quite successful.
Executive Chairman of the Agency, Chief Okey Okah since his appointment by Governor Wike has made outstanding contributions to the governor’s mission to road repairs and rehabilitation.
Since May 29, 2015, there is no single state in the entire that can match Rivers State in terms of road construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation. This achievement is not a function of the availability of funds. It is public knowledge that the Federal Allocation like those of other states have nose-dived.
If it had to do with access to finance, the immediate past APC /Amaechi administration in the state would have fixed these roads since it received on the average N20billion from the Federal Allocation. This is excluding the regular loans that failed administration accessed.
The outstanding success in the rehabilitation of existing roads in Rivers State flows from the careful planning of Governor Wike, diligent application of scarce resources and high level supervision of projects. All projects are wired to succeed as failure is not an option.
The delivery of about 250 roads in the areas of new construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation across different communities in Rivers State is the reason why Rivers State has been confined to irregular and incoherent statements. They would have remained quiet, but they need to issue press statements to justify stipends from their Abuja paymaster who stole Rivers State blind.
Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, Electronic Media.