The immediate past Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State and Secretary-General, Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI), Mr Samuel Nwanosike in this interview speaks on improved security situation of the oil-rich state.
Nwanosike who is currently the Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State spoke on various issues including governance and dividends of democracy so far in the state.
Let’s look at the security situation in Ikwerre Local Government Area, especially since your assumption of office as chairman? I ask this question because your area used to be one of the flash points in Rivers State.
As far as we are concerned, God Almighty Himself has come to solve the security situation we have in Ikwerre Local Government and Rivers State at large. All the successes you heard, it was God that gave the power to the security agents to fight day and night to see that they restore the peace and tranquility in our environment. Security agents have paid huge sacrifices. They have sleepless nights, they have grave injuries. They have lost their lives. They have taken pains to work round our forest. If you know Ikwerre Local Government, you will know that 75 percent of our landscape are agricultural forest. Very deep in nature! So, for you as security agent to enter this forest and clear hoodlums, these criminals from the thick forest, it is a Herculean task. It is a task that can only be imagined until you come on ground. You know, when people talk about Ikwerre Local Government Area, they look at it as one small area. We are an exit LGA; people enter and leave through Ikwerre Local Government to Rivers State. The security situation, I can say, is handled by God Almighty, using the security agents to bring back peace and tranquility in this area. We have never seen it this good. We are praying to God Almighty to continue to sustain this peace moving forward because the celebration and joy in the heart of our people in the last Yuletide season is something that we have not experienced for a very long time. In fact, for the past 15 years, we have not witnessed such peaceful celebration. We want that peace to return in our communities; where our people would celebrate, go to each other, share gifts, watch our traditional dances, masquerade display, wrestling festival. It would shock you that virtually all the communities had parties. There was no disruption or any violence anywhere. We did not record any bad report and that is where we want to remain. We give God Almighty all the glory and thank security agents for saying enough is enough to criminality in the land. I want to use this opportunity to call on Mr. President, who is the Commander-In-Chief, to please, start recognising and honouring security agents. When people work for you and you don’t thank and appreciate them, it does not encourage them to do more. We would have a situation where these hoodlums will take the life of a security agent and impoverish their families. It is not something we should be hearing in this country. When such people give their all in service, they expect that their families will rejoice, in case if anything happens to them. So, I am calling on Mr. President to, please, look for a way to recognise, honour and appreciate by providing better welfare for security agencies at all levels, whether DSS, Military, Police, Civil Defence, even the Peace Corps. Everybody is involved in the war against insecurity and they should all be rewarded. Mr. President should, please, create better welfare package for them, so that they can give their best and return the peace we need in our society.
Looking at the state level, what is your assessment of Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration?
Governor Nyesom Wike has broken all the records. As far as we are concerned, I have never seen who to compare with him. I have seen governors, civilian governors; we have seen military governors. I don’t know one, whether living or dead, that can say that the records he or she has have not been broken. Virtually all the governors; Spiff was a military governor; he has said publicly that Governor Wike has surpassed his record. Sir Peter Odili, our leader, our political mentor, has publicly said that Governor Wike has broken all his records. Governor Omehia, who was a predecessor to Amaechi, has publicly said that Governor Wike has broken all his records. So, what are we going to say, than to say that God Almighty should give Wike the energy, good health and provide all the resources and impart on him more wisdom, same as He gave to Solomon in the Bible to be able to do more great things. This morning, I was driving along GRA and I asked myself whether I am in New York. You need to go and see the quality and standard of job done for the people of Rivers State. It shows that this man has his peace at heart. He is here to work for Rivers people and to make sure he leaves his name in the sands of time.
What is the secret behind infrastructural development spread across the state?
Good planning by a man who has capacity and was prepared to govern his people. It’s quite unfortunate that some people are engineered to come into office unprepared. It’s like saying I “dash you this office”. Any political leader that enters office unprepared, is bound to fail because he would have no focus. The governor of Rivers State came into office fully prepared to govern the state. And that is the secret behind the transformation you are witnessing in the state. The infrastructural development on ground is an indication that a blueprint was prepared for the state by Governor Wike. When he was seeking the vote of Rivers people in 2015, he launched a book, the New Rivers Vision. If you open that book, he has achieved 75 percent of the promises he made as contained in the New Rivers Vision. This cuts across the 23 local government areas of Rivers State. In fact, I would say, he was prepared and God Almighty saw his heart. I thank God because he (Wike) has not failed Rivers people so far. As a governor, he has laid a leadership foundation for other governors to follow.
You were the former spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, what is the general political situation in your state?
Rivers State is politically peaceful. If you look at our state critically, you will agree with me that Rivers State is politically peaceful. All those who have been causing crisis, protests here and there and criticisms in the state, do you hear about them anymore? This is because the people have realised that we are one people. Look, let me tell you, Rivers State is a mini Nigeria. This is the only state, where boundary people don’t hear their neighbours’ language. An Abua man will not hear an Emohua man’s language; yet, they share the same boundary and they have been living peacefully thousands of years. An Etche man will find it difficult to hear an Ikwerre man. Yet, they share the same boundary, and they have been living peacefully. An Okrika man shares boundary with an Ikwerre man. But, they don’t hear each other and they have been living peacefully several decades. This shows that Rivers State is unique. And, when you notice that the people have now come to say, “look, we are not interested in fighting ourselves, we are no more interested in destroying ourselves just for mere political gain, we want to work together. The other day, I saw people from Orashi region, when they paid a courtesy call on Governor Wike. Members of other political parties were in attendance. Chieftains of other parties were present. Senator Wilson Ake from APC was in attendance. It has never happened like that before. The other time, Senator Magnus Abe went with his Ogoni Ethnic Nationality to pay a courtesy call on the governor. Abe is a leader in APC. All these show that we are politically together. Just now, IPAC, an umbrella name for all the political parties recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) came to my office to give me an award, as the “Best Performing Chairman in Rivers State”. It shows clearly that all the political parties have realised that there is no need to destroy the peace in Rivers State. If you destroy the peace in Rivers State, where will you go to? So, politically, we have stability in the state. The Rivers State Governor is running all-inclusive government. He is not biased. He would face an issue the same manner he would use to administer governance to a man, who is in PDP, and the same manner to an APC man. And he has repeatedly said that Rivers State comes first. Anything that will promote the interest of Rivers State, that is what his government stands for. We (PDP) are happy that God gave us such a man as a political leader.
In this second tenure of the governor, what do Rivers people expect from Wike?
In his second term acceptance speech, after his oath of office, he said this is the time to develop the agricultural sector. This is the time to create jobs for our people, to reduce the tension that unemployment has created. And he has galvanized issues to say that there would be a massive agricultural boom in the state. Check the budget; the budget of this year, Ministry of Agriculture has over N40 billion. It has never happened before. And apart from that, he is bringing in investors from China, America, all over the world. They are coming for rice; they are coming for rubber plantation, palm oil and many other things. As we speak, Train 7 that Federal Government is building through the Bonny Terminal, is going on. Things would be happening there. People would be employed. When a man has a job, he would not have time for any wrongdoing.
As council chairman, looking at the projects on ground, what do you promise your people?
As for me here in lkwerre Local Government, I have told my people that I am here to serve them. By the grace of God, I am doing my best with the little resources available to me. And I continue to do my best. And I want you, the media, to go and check and assess. Don’t forget, I came with a five-point agenda. I said I would assist my people to go back to school; I will provide job opportunity for my people; I will build infrastructure; I will fight insecurity and I will improve in their healthcare. Virtually all my five cardinal points, I have attended to all. And I will keep attending to them to make sure we achieve them and to better the welfare of our people. I swore an oath to protect the lives and property of Ikwerre people and to improve in their welfare. And that is the original idea of governance. Any man, who wants to make excuses should not come to manage the resources of the people. It is a social contract. When you make promises to the people, to give you support through their votes, they give you support. You are obliged to keep to your own promises by doing those things you promised them when you were campaigning. And that is my stand. God Almighty has been the secret behind my successes so far.