By Paulinus Nsirim
Rotary International operates a time-tested Four-Way Test: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? and Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Rotary Club is very particular, especially when giving out its awards, that whoever has been endorsed by its directors for recognition and decoration must be seen to have excelled in upholding the tenets of the Four-Way Test, when such a person is put to public scrutiny and assessment.
Having been deemed to have passed the Four-Way Test in his leadership of Rivers State for the past six years, therefore, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, on Friday, May 7, 2021, received the 2019/2020 Good Governance Award for his sustainable projects, from the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt.
Presenting the award to Governor Wike, vice-president of Rotary Club of Port Harcourt, Rotarian Obiageli Ejezie, said that the Rotary Board of Directors had approved and endorsed Governor Wike as best suited for the 2019/2020 Good Governance Award, for his very laudable sustainable projects for Rivers people, especially in urban renewal and excellent infrastructure delivery.
Most importantly, she said, Governor Wike was proactive, firm and determined in the way he handled the COVID-19 pandemic and saved the lives of many indigenes and residents in the state.
“Many laudable and sustainable development projects of your government are scattered across Rivers State and we note particularly, your projects and achievements in the areas of urban renewal, road maintenance, construction of flyovers, education, health care and others.
“The proactive manner Your Excellency has managed the COVID-19 pandemic has been serving the desired purpose of saving the lives of a considerable number of residents.”
She also informed the governor of the intention of the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt to build a skill acquisition centre in Trans-Amadi, Port Harcourt, where youths and widows will be trained.
For the record, Rotary Club started with the vision of one man, Paul Harris, the distinguished attorney from Chicago in the city of Illinois, USA, on February 23, 1905, and the primary purpose at that time was to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service, promote integrity and advance understanding, goodwill and peace around the world through its fellowship of business, professional and community leaders.
Those who are conversant with the operations of Rotary Club will attest to the fact that it is a cautious and conservative group, which tends to avoid things that are political and is one of the most highly principled and respectable non-political and non-religious organizations in the world.
Everything about its activities and operations, including the conferment of awards, is done with painstaking investigation, comprehensive assessment and resolute conviction, devoid of any ulterior or self-aggrandizing motives.
It is against this very internationally-acclaimed reputation and impeccable operational backdrop that one must assess and appreciate the decision and endorsement by the Rotary Board of Directors to confer the 2019/2020 Good Governance Award on Governor Wike.
No doubt, this award ranks as one of the most prestigious in the burgeoning gallery of awards which Governor Wike has been confered with over the years, for the incontrovertible fact that it underscores the suggestion that the great work the governor is doing resonates quite impressively with a solid and reputable organization like Rotary Club.
It also underscores and consolidates the resounding national tribute and eloquent testimony, which have come from all walks of life, including peers and even the opposition, recognizing Governor Wike as indeed, one of the truly great leaders of this generation.
Receiving the 2019/2020 Good Governance Award, from Rotarian Obiageli Ejezie, who led others leaders of the association to Government House, Port Harcourt, Governor Wike used the opportunity to comment on the burning issue of national security, a matter that is very dear to his heart and quite central to the objectives of Rotary International, in their mutual desire to advance understanding, goodwill and peace in Rivers State and Nigeria.
Addressing the delegation, Governor Wike, who wondered how long the APC federal government will allow the needless killings and abduction of innocent Nigerians to continue, said: “There can’t be good governance without security and this is based on rule of law. All of us are living witnesses in 2015 when it was alleged that the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan could not perform, so Nigeria needed a change. What has happened to the change? They have taken Nigeria back by 50 years,” he lamented.
While stressing that it was no longer acceptable for Nigerians to wake up daily to such ugly news of killings because they expect the government to guarantee security, Governor Wike assured them, however, that his administration was doing everything possible to secure life and property of all residents in the state.
“But thank God that in our state we are doing everything we can to protect life and property. For us, we believe that everybody has a role to play in this country. This is because when Nigeria is bad, Rivers state will be bad since we are all component units of the country. But as a government, we will continue to partner with voluntary organisations like Rotary club to improve the wellbeing of our people.”
Governor Wike then lauded Rotary Club of Port Harcourt for the initiative to build a vocational centre to train Rivers’ youths and widows in different skills, which is quite in tandem with the Youth and Women empowerment initiatives of his administration and announced a donation of N65 Million to support the scheme in Rivers State.
Governor Wike is not a man who seeks or is easily swayed by awards, but when a universally renowned institution like the Rotary Club, decides to honnour you with an award, it then becomes obvious that you must be doing the right thing, at the right time and in the right place, to ensure the promotion of peace, goodwill, enduring development and harmonious co-existence for your people.
Governor Wike is indeed working and Rivers people, including the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt, are seeing it, clearly, boldly and without any prejudice or propaganda.
•Nsirim is Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State