By Simeon Nwakaudu
From the very beginning, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike set out to transform the state into the nation’s centre of infrastructural development, economic prosperity, democratic freedom , good governance and deployment of Rivers resources for common good.
This commitment to development belittled the depth of rot that Governor Wike inherited from his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi.
At the time Governor Wike took over the reigns of leadership, his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi had so damaged the structures of governance that he was ashamed of writing a hand over note. On May 29, 2015, Amaechi fled Rivers State and was sighted at the Eagle Square playing talking drum and dancing to strange music.
Before Amaechi left, he had earlier captured the damaged nature of Rivers economy in his now notorious proclamation at the Obi Wali Cultural Centre on May 27, 2015.
Amaechi told stunned Rivers people: “I’m not joking, we have no money anywhere. In Rivers State, no money. I think Nyesom Wike is coming, we are waiting. He will look for money for salary; there is none.
” So, he will have to manage. But when he pays out salary, we will see if any of them can do what we did in this state: whether they can build the schools, the roads, even to get a loan”.
The defeated Rivers State APC laid developmental landmines for Governor Wike. They set traps everywhere and created a route to failure. Having squandered over N3trillion in eight years, Amaechi and his cohorts wanted to trap the state in a developmental cesspit of failure.
On May 29, 2019, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike took over the reins of leadership and started the most comprehensive development programme in the nation’s recent history.
In a deliberate and calculated projects delivery mechanism, Governor Wike has touched all the 23 Local Government Areas of the state. Wherever Governor Wike made a promise, he has delivered. He has redefined the governance process, setting a new template for development in the country.
For 33 months, Governor Wike has been in the business of wiping away the tears of Rivers people, who experienced first-hand the evil of wastage during the ill-fated administration of Rotimi Amaechi.
There has been a sustained revival process, impacting positively on every sector of the state. The administration has revived the state bureaucracy, the road infrastructure, health, education, marine transportation, administration of justice, special projects and improvement of security.
It was on this premise that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as Acting President pronounced Governor Wike as Mr Projects in view of his outstanding developmental strides. This is inspite of the fact that Governor Wike is of the main opposition, PDP.
The then Acting President who was in Rivers State to consult leaders on critical development issues, inspected the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park (under construction at the time), the State Ecumenical Centre (also under construction at the time) and performed the ground-breaking for the construction of the doctors Quarters at the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, Port Harcourt. The Port Harcourt Pleasure Park and State Ecumenical Centre have since come on stream .
Professor Yemi Osinbajo’s assessment of Governor Wike has since been accepted nationally and internationally. The world in appreciation of the goodworks of Governor Wike has joined the Vice President to called Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, “Mr Projects”.
Vice President Osinbajo also commissioned the Chokocho-Umuechem-Ozuzu road and Chokocho -Igbo-Etche-Rumuokurushi Inter- Change in Etche Local Government Area . He lauded the Governor Wike for embarking on pro-people projects.
Governor Wike has created a niche for himself as the king of the delivery of roads in the country. There is no state where more road projects have been delivered than Rivers State.
All the three Senatorial Districts of the State have benefited from the road delivery scheme of the Wike administration.
Over 350 kilometres of roads have been delivered by Governor Wike. Several other roads are under construction at different stages of completion. Flag off and commissioning of road projects have become the order of the day in the state. Every forthnight, a road is either commissioned or flagged of in a community in the state.
Some of the roads completed or under construction are key to the rapid development of the benefitting communities.
The dualisation of the Sakpenwa-Bori Road that cuts across Tai, Gokana and Khana Local Government Areas and links neighbouring Andoni and Opobo Local Government Areas, remains the greatest post independence gift to the Ogoni People.
The road is also a key facilitator of economic activities. Even the milestone completion already attained has improved the fortune of the people.
The Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road is one of the most important roads since the creation of Rivers State, 50 years ago. This road links the prominent riverine communities of Andoni and Opobo Nkoro Local Government Areas to the rest of Rivers State, through Khana Local Government Area.
It is a road with economic and social significance to the riverine populations. The people of Andoni and Opobo Nkoro have shown their deep appreciation to Governor Wike for translating the vision of this road to reality.
The Woji-Akpajo Bridge recently completed by the Wike administration is a story of the commitment of Governor Wike to completing key projects abandoned by the immediate past APC administration in the state, but which are relevant to the development of Rivers people. Earlier in the life of the administration, the governor completed the Abuluoma -Woji Road and Bridge, also abandoned by that administration.
Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has worked towards creating a comprehensive healthcare that caters for the needs of Rivers people. The administration has invested in the improvement of health facilities and services across the state, while taking care of the welfare of professionals in the sector.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, was in Rivers State to lay the foundation for the construction of an ultra-modern doctors quarters at the Braithwaite Specialist Memorial Hospital. This project is progressing satisfactorily. The Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital is being reconstructed for better service to the people.
Training of Health Professionals
The administration established a College of Medical Sciences at the Rivers State University and also started the setting up of the State Teaching Hospital with the signing of the bill to actualize it.
Support for Private Medical Practitioners
In order to guarantee that more residents of Rivers State have access to quality healthcare, the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike flagged off a private hospitals loan scheme (PHLS).
Unprecedented Rehabilitation of Secondary Healthcare Facilities
Prior to the advent of the Wike administration, secondary healthcare had collapsed across the state. These General Hospitals suffered criminal neglected during the leadership of the immediate past APC administration in the state. Therefore, Rivers people in rural communities were denied access to quality healthcare.
In line with the vision of the Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to create access to quality healthcare for the people of Rivers State , the Wike Administration commenced the total rehabilitation of 13 General Hospitals .
The following are the hospitals being rehabilitated : General Hospital Omoku, General Hospital Nchia , General Hospital , Abua , General Hospital Isiokpo, General Hospital Abonnema, General Hospital Okirika , General Hospital Opobo , General Hospital Bodo, General Hospital Ngo, General Hospital Buguma, Psychiatric Hospital , Rumuigbo , General Hospital Emohua and General Hospital Eberi.
Aside the development of physical infrastructure in health facilities across the state, the Wike administration has recruited qualified medical professionals to help the state government strengthen access to quality healthcare.
Also, facilities at the Braithwaite Specialist Memorial Hospital (BSMH) have been improved by the administration. Governor Wike has released $4million for the purchase and installation of modern equipment at the BSMH.
In addition, the administration has released funds for the completion of the Ultra-modern Mother and Child Hospital in Port Harcourt. The hospital will be ready by the third anniversary celebrations of the administration , following the termination of the joint ownership agreement with the Niger Delta Development Commission.
ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
The creation of Access to Justice is considered the most important achievement of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. As at 29th May, 2019, the Amaechi administration had closed the courts in Rivers State for over two years. Governor Wike opened the courts, swore in the State Chief Judge and President of Customary Court of Appeal and granted financial autonomy to the judiciary.
Deliberate steps have been taken to improve judicial infrastructure in Rivers State .
The Wike administration has rehabilitated several courtrooms
across the State, including the High Court complex, the State Customary Court of Appeal complex and other customary courts in Etche, Omuma, and Okrika.
The Rivers State Government has also built and commissioned an Ultra-modern Law Centre for the Port Harcourt Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association.
Federal High Court Complex, Port Harcourt
This complex was initiated, built and donated the Federal High Court by the Wike administration. This is to ensure that litigants have access to justice in the state.
The ultra-modern purpose-built facility with very spacious, adequately furnished courtrooms, chambers and sanitary facilities for the comfort and convenience of judges, lawyers, litigants and members of the public.
National Industrial Court (Ongoing Construction)
The National Industrial Court under construction by the Rivers State Government is a five storey building occupying a total floor area of 920 square metres, with four court rooms, judges’ chambers, car parks, lifts and all other facilities that fully guarantee the comfort, functionality and safety of the court and its personnel.
Reconstruction of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division
This is one of the key projects embarked upon by the Wike administration in the justice delivery system. The Wike administration is upgrading facilities at the Court of Appeal, which were in a sorry state of disrepair.
The reconstruction of the courtrooms and other facilities at the Court are nearing completion.
Rivers State Judges Quarters (Ongoing Construction)
The Wike administration has started the construction of the Rivers State Judges Quarters, which consists of 20 units fully detached five bedroom duplexes, service quarters in planned and landscaped serene environment.
PROMOTION OF QUALITY EDUCATION
Governor Wike has taken profound steps to resuscitate the education sector in the state. From primary to tertiary education, sustained investments have led to marked improvements.
The administration has reintroduced boarding secondary education in the state. This has led to the total rehabilitation and expansion of facilities at selected schools in the three senatorial districts.
The schools that have been rehabilitated are: Government Girls Secondary School, Rumuokwuta, Government Secondary School, Ogu, Birabi Memorial Grammar School, Bori and Nyemoni Grammar School, Abonnema.
The Rivers State Government has commenced the total reconstruction, re-modelling and upgrading of the Government Secondary School, Abua, Western Ahoada County Grammar and Government Secondary School, Okarki.
The State Government will introduce boarding education in these schools.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike through the Ministry of Education has supported over 238 secondary schools in Rivers State with science laboratory equipment and N200,000 each for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations, SSCE.
The equipment were distributed as part of the government’s efforts to reposition education in the state.
The governor had released over N47.6 milion intervention fund as subsidy to aid the registration of students in public schools for the 2016/2017 SSCE.
State-wide rehabilitation of public primary schools
The rehabilitation and equipment of Primary Schools in Rivers State have taken place in all 23 local government areas of the state and this project is being driven by the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).
Rivers State University
Through dedicated funding, well crafted policies and proactive engagement with the university, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has been able to fast track development at the Rivers State University and stabilise the development process in the institution.
The RSU was one of the first beneficiaries of Governor Wike’s massive intervention in the education sector of the state. In his inauguration address at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium on May 29, 2015, Governor Wike re-instated lecturers of the Rivers State University sacked by the immediate past administration in the state. The governor also paid the outstanding emoluments of the sacked lecturers.
The governor completed the Dr Nabo Graham Douglas Ultra-modern Faculty of Law building, which has enhanced the teaching of law in the school. This faculty building was abandoned for close to two decades.
During the 28th Convocation ceremony of the Rivers State University, Governor Wike initiated the College of Medical Sciences of the institution and flagged off the construction of the College Building.
The RSU College of Medical Sciences has admitted her first set of students while the construction work at the College of Medical Sciences building has reached an advanced stage.
INVESTMENT IN SECURITY OF LIVES AND PROPERTY
Today, Rivers State stands as one of Nigeria’s safest destinations for business and leisure. It has turned out as Nigeria’s centre of conferences, international meetings and religious programmes because of the secure environment.
This secure environment is the outcome of the high level investments in the relevant architecture by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
Governor Wike initiated and signed into law the anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Cultism law passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly. The law gave the security agencies the legal instrument to tackle kidnappers and cultists . The governor has proposed the amendment of the law, prescribing death penalty for offenders.
To strengthen the security architecture of the state; Governor Wike in the course of the last 31 months, has distributed over 200 security vans to all the security agencies in the state to fight crime.
The Wike administration has also procured six armoured personnel carriers, while 50 broken down armoured personnel carriers have been rehabilitated by the Rivers State Government for use of security agencies.
The administration has restored and sustained monthly subvention to security agencies. This is significant because the immediate past APC administration in the state failed to release funds to security agencies for over three years.
To improve marine security, Governor Wike procured and handed over 8 Security Gunboats to the Nigerian Navy. The process of the acquisition of 13 more security vans for the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Police has been activated by Governor Wike.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has embarked on some special projects with the aim of improving quality of life in the state.
These projects stand out. They include; The Port Harcourt Pleasure Park, the State Ecumenical Centre, the Rumuokoro Market, Produce House, Waterlines and Bus Park and the Diete Spiff Civic Centre and Mile One Market.
These projects have improved the lives of the people and created employment opportunities. At the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park, Governor Wike , the state government is expanding facilities with the construction of Cinemas and restaurants.
The Ndoni Shore Protection programme
For two years, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has invested in the development sports, sports facilities and the empowerment of Sports professionals.
The administration upgraded and completed facilities at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium for the hosting of international football matches. The State hosted the U-23 National Football team qualifying matches, hosted the Super Eagles against Niger National Team and the Ivory Coast National Team versus Sierra Leone.
Polo and golf have received the deserved attention, leading to the growth of these sports. The West African Tour held at the Port Harcourt Club, Golf Section, from May 12 to 15 in 2016.
The 2017 Major Polo Tournament held in Port Harcourt in January with the support of the Rivers State Government. In April 2017, the Rivers Golden Jubilee Polo Competition was sponsored by the Rivers State Government.
Governor Wike merged Sharks and Dolphin Football Clubs to form Rivers United. Rivers United became an instant success.
In 2016, Rivers United won a ticket to represent Nigeria in the CAF Champions League. Today, Rivers United is representing Nigeria in the CAF Confederation Cup.
The State Female team, Rivers Angels, won the 2015/2016 Nigeria Women Premier League and the 2016 Women Federation Cup.
The first ever Nyesom-Wike Wrestling Competition was held in Port Harcourt in 2017 with Team Bayelsa squaring it with Team Rivers. Rivers Golden Jubilee Wrestling Tournament also entrenched the sport across the state.
The administration is rehabilitating Sports facilities and hostels at the Diete Spiff Civic Centre. The Olympic size swimming pool is being revived for professional swimmers.
Governor Wike sees sports as a tool for the empowerment of youths, hence the investments.
REAL MADRID ACADEMY IN RIVERS STATE
By March 2018, the foundation for a Real Madrid Football Academy will be laid in Port Harcourt by officials of the Real Madrid Foundation in conjunction the Rivers State Government.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike met with the leadership of the Real Madrid Foundation in Madrid as part of the requirements to establish a Real Madrid Affiliated Football Academy in the state.
Officials of the Real Madrid Foundation were led Managing Director, Julio Gonzalez and International Area Manager, Rosa Roncal Gimenez.
The meeting at the Real Madrid Foundation Office at the Santiago Bernabéu witnessed both parties concluding discussions on the areas of partnership.
Governor Wike said that the Academy will help the state harness the opportunities inherent in football as it will empower the upcoming generation.
He said: “This is the concluding part of the process of establishing a Real Madrid Academy in Rivers State. It is our dream to empower our youths through football.
“Today, you know that football is big business and one of the ways to improve the economy.
“This meeting is the height of our deliberation to get the Academy Started. We are happy that this has gone on satisfactorily. Rivers youths will reap the benefits of the Academy “.
To promote safety on the state’s waterways, Governor Wike initiated the reconstruction of key jetties in the state. The ATC Jetty has been completed and commissioned at Okirika.
Total reconstruction of the Nembe/Bonny Jetty has reached an advanced stage.
The administration has also revived the school bus system with the rehabilitation of buses by the State Government.
Economic Empowerment/ Job Creation
Official data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, a Federal Government parastatal , indicate that the economy of Rivers State has bounced back and is functioning effectively for the people of the state. Internally generated revenue is growing, businesses are flourishing, while the people are empowered economically.
For every single project that has been awarded by Governor Wike, the administration always insists on the community empowerment component. A specified percentage of employment is reserved for the youths and women, while community entrepreneurs are given sub-contracts to supply materials for the high profile projects.
In the 2017 budget, a cumulative sum of N12billion was allocated to the relevant line ministries to implement various youth and women development and empowerment schemes
The administration has created over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs through the statewide execution of projects , empowered families for the good of the majority.
FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT
One of the most strategic foreign direct investment in Nigeria today is the GreenGas LNG Facility being developed by the Greenville Nigeria Limited in Rumuji, Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The N140billion project is critical to any plan to revive the nation’s economy.
Rivers Elder Statesmen on a tour of the N140billion GreenGas LNG Facility being constructed by Grenville Nigeria Limited in Rumuji, Emohua Local Government Area on Friday, Governor Wike said that the State
Silverbird Man of the Year, 2017
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike emerged as the Silverbird Man of the Year 2017 after he garnered the highest number of votes online following his nomination by the Silverbird Group.
The Governor emerged because he has been excellent by all standards with his works visible across the state.
Sun Newspaper Governor of the Year, 2017
For the first since the introduction of the Sun awards, Governor Wike is the first to win the Governor of the Year back to back, having won it in 2016. The Sun Management declared that they are impressed with the continued delivery of projects and programmes by the Rivers State Governor.
New Telegraph Newspaper Man of the Year, 2017
Governor Wike emerged as the New Telegraph Newspaper Man of The Year 2017.
The award was in recognition of the governor’s outstanding achievements.
Independent Newspaper Political Icon of the Year 2017
This award was conferred on Governor Wike for his political intelligence and his contributions to the revival of the PDP. He was recognised for becoming the political conscience of the country.
Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contribution Award
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, (CON, GSSRS) won “Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contribution Award ” at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
This award is for the governor’s investments in the development of urban renewal programmes, housing and projects that improve the living conditions of less privileged persons.
The “Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contribution Award ” is organised by Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements Awards (SCAHSA). The group is supported by the United Nations Environment.
Under this dispensation, Governor Wike has proved to be a performer and the undisputed “Mr Projects ” of Nigeria . From 29th May, 2015, he has religiously kept his promise to transform Rivers State and entrench the process of development, peace and national growth.
As a result of the governor’s superlative performance, he has been honoured by several groups.
The Rivers State Christian Association of Nigeria conferred on him the “Apostle of Peace ” award in recognition of his exemplary efforts in the peace of peace building and maintenance of security.
He emerged as the “Sun Governor of the Year, 2016”, “Independent Newspaper Man of the Year, 2016” and “Authority Newspapers of the Year, 2016” for his outstanding achievements in the areas of projects execution and service delivery.
Without equivocation, Governor Wike is Nigeria’s best performing governor. He has changed the face of governance in the country, by placing performance on the frontburner.
But the joy of the entire scenario is the fact that Governor Wike is still firing on all cylinders. Rivers State is enjoying the best era of development. A New Rivers is in the making.