Few months back, Rivers State was the home of negative news, attracting all the negative commentaries by paid commentators who knew nothing about the state, except what their paymaster told them. These negative reports and commentaries damaged the reputation of the state and her people.
The negatives that defined the state in those dark days were deliberately drafted by the immediate past administration to divert attention from her failures and the mass looting of state resources that took place at the time. At the close of that administration on May 28,2015, the state was left in debt, unpaid salaries and pensions, abandoned projects, failed infrastructure, growing insecurity, looted facilities, low investor confidence and a comatose economy.
The height of the failure of the immediate past administration was the public boast by the former governor that Governor Nyesom Wike would fail since there would be no funds for him to work.
Five weeks after the last administration was swept away by the people of Rivers State , the state has started working again. It has been moved into the fast lane of development, with a view to reversing the losses recorded during the propaganda driven administration that closed shop on May 28.
Almost all sectors of the state have been positively impacted by Governor Nyesom Wike. The efforts of the governor have been deliberately crafted to kick-start the state and empower the people.
At the risk of being repetitive, the courts in Rivers State are working. You may take this for granted at this point, but the courts were closed for about a year. The State Assembly is now one of the most vibrant in the country. Six weeks ago, Rivers State had a fractured legislative arm, with a group of lawmakers dinning regularly at the Banquet Hall of Government House. In essence, constitutional separation of powers is now in place.
The Operation Zero Potholes instituted by Governor Wike has taken off across Port Harcourt. Key roads totaling 33 kilometers are being reconstructed or rehabilitated by the administration. These roads are being handled by two construction giants. Governor Wike is personally leading monitoring and evaluation team.
The abandoned health sector is receiving unequalled attention. Governor Wike has started with the approval of the total rehabilitation and equipping of the Bori Zonal Hospital and the Elele-Alimini General Hospital.
Steps have been taken to boost the economy of the State. One of such steps is the framework to end multiple taxation. The other is the collaboration with the Federal Government to make the two sea ports in the state functional. Governor Wike has also concluded plans to host an international investors forum aimed at attracting foreign investors to the state.
Though the state is yet to get to her preferred destination in terms of security, steps taken by Governor Wike has improved the security situation of the state. Wike has sent a bill to the State House of Assembly to further discourage kidnapping, cultism and armed robbery. He has entered into partnership with the State Police Command to prioritise the fight against kidnapping, cultism and armed robbery. He believes that a safer state will give him the leverage to deliver on his campaign promises and also allow investors to thrive.
The abandoned Law Faculty building at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology is already being completed. Works on other educational projects are fully on course across the state.
The immediate past administration left without paying civil servants and pensioners. Many believe that this was a trap meant to pit Governor Wike against the workers and pensioners. The people’s governor has overcome this ugly challenge. He has paid the outstanding April and May salaries for civil servants which he inherited from the past administration and has also paid pension arrears for three months.
The action of the governor has drawn commendation from the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, NUP. The State NUP Chairman, Mr. Edward Festus-Abibo expressed gratitude to Wike for showing love to pensioners in the state.
He said: “the governor’s order that our three months pension arrears be paid is a very welcome development. This shows that he (Wike) has sympathy for the elders, who have spent most of their lives working for the state.
“The immediate past era in the state were the dark years and dark days of pensioners. Posterity will judge the immediate past administration. As I speak to you, some pensioners have died while most of them are hypertensive. The non-payment of their pension worsened their condition.
“We as a group will make out time to visit the governor to thank him for remembering pensioners and ordering that their pensions be paid at a critical time when it was reported that he (Wike) met an empty treasury,” the state NUP chairman said.
The State NUP chairman is not the only appreciative person in Rivers State. People from all works of life and political persuasion have appreciated the fact that Rivers State is now working again. On all platforms, they have called on the governor to remain resolute in his commitment to building a new Rivers State where everyone will benefit from the resources of the state.
Governor Wike in one of his inspection visits to a road project site stated that funding will not be a challenge in the state government’s commitment to rehabilitate and reconstruct key roads in Port Harcourt.
It is for this reason that the governor acting on behalf of the state with the approval of the State House of Assembly took a loan of N30 billion. The governor met Rivers State in a very bad shape and he is determined to change the story of the state. The beautiful results of his efforts are glaring. Rivers State is picking up by the day.
Governor Wike was prepared for the mission to rescue the state from under-development and failures of the immediate past administration; hence he hit the ground running. His experience and capacity have influenced his quality delivery. As we progress, the achievements will continue to stream in for the people. This is not a governor who gives needless lectures on why things cannot work. He is a proven performer. A man who lives by his words.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Rivers State is now working. With Wike, Rivers State will be the envy of other states. No wonder, Rivers people resisted all financial inducements and threats to vote massively for Wike on April 11,2015.
Nwakaudu writes from Port Harcourt