On Friday, May 29, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State marked the first year of his second term in office. It was a time to take stock of the past year.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor did not make it a day for celebration.
“In the last six months, the coronavirus has wrought nothing but pain, sorrow and destruction on humankind. And it is most unfortunate that the speed and vigour of our emergency response measures have not succeeded in stopping this virus from spreading in our state. The reality, therefore, is that we must all accept to live with this virus and its consequences until an effective vaccine is discovered,” he said in a broadcast.
“One year into our second term, we are happy and proud to say that God has helped us to fulfil most of the promises that we made in our inaugural address,” said the governor. “The urban renewal programme in the capital city is progressing as the restoration works, including underground drains, sidewalks, green areas and streetlights on most of the roads in both the old and new government reservation areas are at very advanced stages of completion.”
Construction of the three multi-billion-naira flyovers at Rebisi, Okoro-nu-odo and Rumuogba is progressing simultaneously and work on the construction of the fourth flyover bridge across GRA Junction and accompanying dualisation of Ezimgbu (Mummy B) Road are also underway. Also, the dualisation of Tombia Extension, GRA, to link Ikwerre Road is progressing satisfactorily, and will be delivered on schedule, according to the governor.
All over Rivers State, the governor has made it a priority to offer a lifeline to the people. For instance, the dualisation of Kira-Sapkenwa-Bori-Kono road, straddling three local government areas in the Ogoni heartland, has reached 92 per cent, while construction of Oyigbo (Mbano Camp) to Iriebe, linking Oyigbo and Obio/Akpor LGAs of the state, has been completed.
Also completed, virtually, are Alesa-Agbonchia-Oyigbo road linking Eleme and Oyigbo LGAs and the Rumuakunde and Isioudu communities’ roads in Emohua LGAs. Similarly, the second phase of Isiokpo community internal roads in Ikwerre LGA has been completed.
“Construction works on the 16.85-kilometre Rumuji-Iba-Isiokpo Road in Emohua and Ikwerre local government areas have reached 90 per cent completion, while the dualisation of the 23-kilometre Omoku–Egbema Road in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area has progressed beyond 50 per cent.”
“Also, the 21.3-kilometre Odufor/Akpoku/Umuoye Road in Etche Local Government Area has crossed 70 per cent construction level, while the Aker-base road in Obio/Akpor Local Government, the Ula Ehuda-Odioku-Anwunugboko-Ubeta-Ihuechi-Odiereke road, the Odiokwu internal road network in Ahoada West Area, as well as the Abonnema ring road in Akuku Toru Local Government Area, and the Umuma Road in Omuma Local Government Area, the Sime-Eteo-Nonwa Road connecting Tai and Eleme local government areas, have all progressed to between 80 and 85 per cent completion,” he said.
Long abandoned roads in the coastal communities of Opobo and Andoni in Opobo/Nkoro and Andoni LGAs of the state are nearing completion, with appreciable work already done on the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo (Unity) Road.
Said the governor: “I feel highly elated and fulfilled to have led the government that actualised the age-long yearnings of the indigenes and residents of these local government areas to connect and access the rest of the state by tarred road. Apart from roads, we also made significant progress in the last one year on the progressive delivery of healthcare and education infrastructure and services.”
The Mother and Child Hospital has been completed, equipped and is only undergoing necessary tests and preparations for inaguration. Also completed is the Comprehensive Health Centre in Odiokwu, Ahoada West LGA.
Governor Wike said his government had fully built, equipped and converted the former Braithwaite Memorial Hospital to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital.
“It is reckoned as one of the best in the country. The regional referral hospitals in Degema and Bori in Degema and Khana local government areas, respectively, are presently being furnished and equipped.”
He said also: “All across the state, our strategic intervention in the restoration, upgrade and expansion of secondary schools continues to deliver remarkable results and improvements in the quality of public education system. To this end, funds have been released for the comprehensive restoration and upgrade of scores of dilapidated secondary schools across the state.”
On agricultural development, the governor said: “We are on the verge of completing the Datco Cassava Processing Plant, with guaranteed off-taker opportunities for over 3,000 local cassava farmers, and inspiring capacity to stimulate the cassava revolution in the state and related industries and create thousands of direct and indirect jobs for our people.
“In the last one year of our second tenure, we have kept our promise, worked hard and achieved more with less resources, provided first-class socio-economic infrastructure and kept our state and businesses safe, secure. As we continue on this progressive trajectory into the second year, we can only promise to recommit ourselves to work harder and deliver greater development to our people,” he said.
Meanwhile, elders in Rivers State have commended Governor Wike for his consistent delivery of critical projects amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Chairman of Greater Port Harcourt Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Alabaraba, said everybody within the state could attest to the fact that construction of critical road projects and the three flyovers had continued despite the global scourge.
He told newsmen in Port Harcourt: “He has taken all necessary steps to ensure that the disease does not spread and also to ensure that the people are protected. People have criticised him, but we know that he is doing the correct thing. He has also been giving palliatives to all local governments. The governor is working for the interest of the people.”
Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Onueze Okocha, sued for patience, understanding and cooperation from all Rivers people who desire good governance.
Said he: “We are celebrating, even in these very troubling times. We doff our hats for the man who we elected to govern Rivers State. His first year in the second tenure has been successful, and I hope and pray that the succeeding years that he has in office till May 29, 2023, will also be happy years.
Speaking in the same vein, Chief Emmanuel Anyanwu of Etche Local Government noted: “We believe in him and are happy with his success in office. The entire elders and the state are behind him. Let people say if he had not managed infrastructural development very well, including humans beings. Governor Wike is in touch with his people as a grassroots leader.”