For two days, the entire country took note of the transformational revolution taking place in Rivers State. The recognition of the country came in the form of two priceless awards –The Silverbird Man of the Year 2017 and the Sun Newspaper Governor of the Year 2017.
On Friday, February 23, 2018 and February 24, 2018, well-meaning Nigerians across party lines and professions, gathered at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos to honour a distinguished administrator who has redefined the governance process. In a country where development has been relegated to the backwaters by a non-performing APC Federal Government, the entire country resolved to honour a man who believes that development is the right of the people. The essence of the two awards was to encourage other non performing governors, especially those of the APC to rise up to the challenge of leadership. The two awards from the two leading media organisations followed international best practices.
Silverbird Man Of The Year 2017
Following the nomination of Governor Wike and other eminent Nigerians, the Silverbird Group opened an online voting process.
The voting portal was open for the entire country to monitor proceedings. After weeks of online voting, Nigerians overwhelmingly voted for Wike.
The decision was quite easy for the voters. Governor Wike has deployed the resources of Rivers State to improve road infrastructure, health facilities, educational institutions, training of health and educational professionals, development of key special projects and improvement of security.
They also voted for Governor Wike for attracting foreign direct investment, developing Rivers State as a sporting destination and ensuring the pride of the Rivers person.
Chairman of Silverbird Group, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce said the Rivers State governor emerged the Silverbird Man of the Year on the strength of votes by the people.
“This award was voted by the people of Nigeria. In other words, it was earned. I am honoured to know a man called Governor Wike. He is a terrific governor, Mr Projects”, he said. Senator Murray-Bruce said Governor Wike focuses on the development of the state through delivery of projects and programmes.
Accepting the award, Wike declared his commitment to the sustained growth of the state. The governor maintained that the rapid transformation of the state remains his ultimate focus. He said that his administration was inaugurated during a period of financial crisis, but he chose to be different, instead of giving all manner of excuses like the APC Federal Government. The governor said: “We could as well advance all sorts of excuses for non-performance as the current Federal Government is doing in justification of its massive failure to deliver on its promises.
“ But, we decided to be different and we’ve been quite different in our approach to governance. While we refused to be daunted by the level of rot we met, we also believed that promises are sacred and that with prudent and targeted management of available resources, we can deliver much more for our people.
“ Today, the testimony is everywhere that in Rivers State where we govern, things are working and working very well for our people, especially in the area of road, education and healthcare infrastructure” He dedicated the award to the people of Rivers State and his wife.
Sun Governor Of The Year 2017
Governor Wike made history as the first governor to win the Sun Newspapers Governor of the Year back to back.
His second victory emphasised the quantum of quality infrastructural development taking place in Rivers State. The Publisher of The Sun Newspapers, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, an APC Chieftain informed the audience how he attempted to stop the epoch making award, but the editorial board of the newspaper insisted that it was a merited award. Presenting the Sun Newspaper Governor of the Year award to Governor Wike, the Publisher of the Sun Newspapers said the Rivers State Governor deserves the award in view of his performance.
Nobody who has the opportunity to visit Rivers State will ignore the quality and number of interventions going on across the sectors. There is no single local government area thet has been left behind in the projects galore. Governor Wike has made every local government area to enjoy a sense of belonging.
Receiving the award, Wike assured that his administration will continue to deliver quality projects and programmes for the benefit of the Rivers people. He stated that he is determined to always make Rivers people happy by sustaining his performance. The governor said: “We will continue to deliver quality projects and programmes for the good people of Rivers State . We will not lower our performance. “All local government areas of Rivers State have been touched by the administration. It is either a school or hospital or road. Every Local Government Area has one project or the other”
After the Governor of the Year 2017 award, leaders from the six geo-political zones gathered in a hall at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island to celebrate Wike and his commitment to the development of Rivers State. Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio said Wike will be re-elected on the basis of his outstanding performance and not on the basis of party consideration.
He said former Governor Odili took Rivers State to Nigeria, while Governor Wike has taken the state to the world. He said: “We came here to celebrate a son of the Niger Delta and a humanist who believes in development”.
National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus described the Rivers State governor as a genuine development expert who has touched all areas in Rivers State.
He said one of the miracles of the Wike administration is the fact that road has reached Opobo and other communities. Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education, Mr Zakari Mohammed said Governor Wike is a shinning star that delivers on critical areas that improve the living condition of the people.
Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chibudem Nwuche said the award to the Rivers State governor is for the entire people of the state.
He said that in all the decisions that leaders take, they must always factor in the interest of the people. Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Ikuinyi Ibani and the Head of Service of Rivers State, Rufus Godwins praised the governor for providing the right leadership that has improved the fortunes of the state.
Like Governor Wike told the esteemed guests at the Eko Hotel and Suites, the two awards will only spur him into delivering projects. After receiving the awards, Wike flagged off the construction of Odufor-Akpoku-Umuoye Road in Etche LGA, the Eleme-Oyigbo that runs two local government areas and the Oyigbo-Market to Afam Road in Oyigbo Local Government Area. These three key roads that span over 50kilometres will provide over 2000 direct jobs and 10, 000 indirect jobs.
Several other road and education projects will be flagged off in the coming few days across the state. Construction works are ongoing at the project sites flagged off by the governor.
The recognitions from the leading media organisations have reinforced Wike’s commitment to the development of the state. He has refused to rest on his laurels and is working by the minute to redefine development in Rivers State.