Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said that The Sun Governor of the Year award would spur him to do more for the people of the state.
Speaking yesterday, when the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Eric Osagie, led a team to formally present a letter notifying him of his award, Wike said: “This award is not for me; it is for the entire state. If the state did not give me the opportunity and mandate, it would have been difficult for me to be given The Sun Governor of the Year 2016 award. So, I dedicate the award to the Almighty God and the people of the state.
“I assure you that for us, it is our duty to make a difference. With whatever time we have, we will continue to put in our best. We will not disappoint The Sun newspaper for the choice you have made.”
The governor gave assurance that the infrastructure development programme of his administration would be sustained in 2017 and beyond, saying that the 2017 budget of the state would have 75 per cent of funds set aside for capital projects, while 25 per cent would be for recurrent expenditure.
On security, the governor expressed regrets that the issue has been politicised in the state, which does not augur well for the citizens.
Said Wike: “For us, we cannot politicise crime; crime does not know the political party you belong. I just read in the newspaper about the arrest of somebody who beheaded a DSP. In the course of that, the person owned up that he was sponsored by a former commissioner, who is, of course, a member of the other political party.
“I remember that on that Election Day, this boy and four others were arrested and an order came that they should be released immediately. Now, look at the mayhem caused after they released them. They were arrested with the former commissioner. They were released that same day.”
The governor also disclosed how a politician in the state was arrested on Election Day dressed in military uniform, with AK 47 rifles, but was released because he is a prominent member of the ruling political party.
“When we have descended to this level, you know the implication tomorrow. They are covering things by chasing irrelevant things,” the governor said.
Governor Wike explained that the state had witnessed improvement in security because of the success of the state’s Amnesty Programme. He said the government implemented the Amnesty Programme because of the high level of insecurity it inherited from the previous government in the state, while expressing regrets that the police High Command refused to support the Amnesty Programme, as a request to the Inspector-General of Police to detail his Special Squad to help fight kidnapping in the state was not approved.
Earlier, Osagie, said The Sun Board of Editors voted Governor Wike as The Sun Governor of the Year, after rigorous debate, because of his outstanding achievements in the areas of infrastructure development, education, health, agriculture, rural development and security, among others.
He explained that The Sun Governor of the Year award is one of the most prestigious in the country and Africa, as it “is bestowed annually on state governors whose quality leadership, achievements and priceless contributions to national development have generated dividends of democracy as well as inspired hope for a better Nigeria.”
The Managing Director stated that what Wike has done in office was inspirational, emphasising: “At the last count, more than 80 roads aside bridges and jetties have been rehabilitated, reconstructed and constructed. Work is ongoing on the construction of about 35 new roads spread across the three senatorial districts of the state.”
According to him, Wike’s achievements, in 19 months set him apart from other governors, noting: “It is for these uncommon but silent efforts of your government to improve the quality of living among your people that The Sun has deemed it appropriate to celebrate Your Excellency.”
Osagie also underlined what the government has done in the area of security, listing the support to security agencies and the state’s Amnesty Programme as some of the efforts.
“Also to your credit is a move to secure Rivers State. You set up an amnesty programme that made armed militants and cult members surrender their arms. Your immense support to security agencies with funds, vehicles and equipment, in a bid to secure the state, is applauded,” he said.
He noted that owing to the confidence people have about security in the Rivers State, “big orgnisations, like the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) and Rotary International, among others, held their annual conferences in Rivers State this year.”
The Managing Director urged Governor Wike to personally attend and receive his award on February 18, 2017, in Lagos.