By Ngozi Nwoke
The executive chairman, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Mr. George Ariolu, a lawyer, has described workers, particularly those in Obio/Akpor council, as the engine room for the progress and development of any given society, as he thanked them for their diligence and productivity in the development of the council as well as achieving the council’s vision and goals.
He made the statement as he pledged his continuous commitment towards the development of the council, adding that it was the relentless efforts and contributions by the workers that were responsible for the remarkable achievements recorded within the short period of his assumption of office.
He said: “Workers are the powerhouse of any organisation. This is why this present administration is concerned about investing in human capacity development. It is our mantra to impact positively on the welfare and livelihood of our workers, which is why we are doing all we can to provide a conducive working environment for workers in the council because we understand the pivotal role they play in the development and achievement of the council’s vision and goals.
“The contributions and efforts of Obio/Akpor workers are responsible for the achievements we have recorded so far within this short period of our tenure in office. So, we do not take them for granted.”
He further appreciated the workers and the people of Obio/Akpor for supporting his administration, as he promised to ensure that social and infrastructural development remains the key focus of his administration. He pledged to reward them by building their capacity through training and empowerment schemes.
“As part of our vision to improve human capacity development and effect infrastructural change, we are giving out scholarship grants for master’s and PhD students who are already undergoing the programme.
“We are also supporting youths and women who engage in small and medium enterprises and need to grow their businesses. All these are ways to improve and enhance human capacity. No effort would be spared to harness the potential embedded in the council for the progress and success of the people. We want to cultivate our youths, positively engage them and channel their energies for productivity,” Ariolu stated.
He further disclosed that, as part of the mandate of the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration, creation of infrastructural projects and human empowerment were compulsory obligations that must be put in place in the council: “The executive governor of the state has also proved that human capacity development is the best investment any responsible government can do, with the ongoing projects in the state. He also gave it as a mandate that all local government area chairmen must carry out meaningful development projects and outstanding performance.
“So, if a governor of a state would have such agenda that would benefit the people he governs, we, as local government chairmen, must emulate his strides towards development. The mandate of the Rivers State government is to ensure that its citizens live well in safety and comfort.”
While commending the council chairman on his commitment to transforming the council, Senator Noble Chukwumati said he was grateful to God for giving him the opportunity to be alive and witness a turnaround in Obio/Akpor LGA. He said: “We are, indeed, proud of him and we believe that he will continue to make the people of Obio/Akpor proud, by the grace of God. It is not a surprise that the executive chairman was appointed the vice chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Rivers State Chapter. People do not understand that it is these tasks they consider as minor that they are assessed with during their tenure. Looking at his achievements so far, you would agree with me that his administration is resolute to grant the desires and needs of Obio/Akpor people and promote youth engagement.
“With the landmark he has started on, one can tell that his administration is making conscious and deliberate efforts to develop positive change and productivity in the state council. We can only support him with prayers and words of encouragements.”
Interacting with some of the council workers, who applauded the council chairman for his achievements, one of them, Mr. Sunday Igwe, had this to say: “The people of Obio/Akpor are lucky to have a vision-oriented man as a chairman. He is a grassroot man, who illustrates the passage of the Bible that says when the righteous rule, the people rejoice. I am highly impressed with what I have seen his administration is doing in terms of human empowerment so far and we are ready to give him our full support and prayers in actualizing his vision. He has provided the council with a gigantic generator to guarantee uninterrupted power supply. He has also rolled out a scholarship programme for masters and PhD students. We will ensure our total support to him and his team.”
Another indigene of Obio/Akpor, Miss Joy Wokeh, described the achievements of the council chairman as exemplary and laudable. “To be honest and fair in assessing the executive chairman’s achievements, I would say that this is the first time Obio/Akpor LGA is witnessing a remarkable change for over 60 years of my age in Rivers State. This is not to discredit the efforts of other council chairmen, but the present administration has proven that accountability and transparency is the success of any leadership.
“Over the years, traders and motorists have suffered incessant, unlawful extortion and destruction of their goods by illegal task force roaming the state in the name of collecting tax.
“The people of Obio/Akpor have experienced hardship due to the illegal task force, but immediately the chairman came into office, he arrested them and destroyed their illegal office. Since the dissolution of the illegal task force, we haven’t experienced any form of harassment and unlawful extortion. If not for any other thing, I give him and his team credit for this one thing they achieved,” she noted.