Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Barrister Emma Okah has said that the Rivers State Governor Barrister Nyesom Wike deserves the Sun Newspaper Governor of the Year 2017 and Silver Bird Man of the Year 2017 awards.
Speaking in an interview in Port Harcourt, the commissioner stated that the approach of Governor Wike to development was distinct.
“The awards relate to fulfillment of promises made by a sitting governor to his people during the campaign and those promises are being fulfilled one after the other. The results are there for everyone to see. They are things you can touch and see. Nigerians are hearing how Gov. Wike is transforming the landscape in Rivers State. Before 2015, there was a near collapse of our infrastructure. Salaries, allowances and pensioners were unpaid. There was this general lack of trust on public officers. Governor Nyesom Wike came on board and set the state on a path of transformation. He has shown remarkable leadership. He has promoted oneness and unity amongst Rivers people. He is trying to bridge the gap between the contending political parties to the point where the new mantra is that Rivers people should put Rivers state first. The governor is trying to diffuse political tension. He is trying to open the door for every Rivers man and woman to find expression in the fact that they are Rivers people irrespective of the political party they belong to. Look at what happened the day Senator Magnus Abe held his thanksgiving ceremony together with those other APC colleagues. Look at what happened when the governor went there. It is unprecedented for a governor of another political party to attend an event organized by elected officers from another political party and received that kind of tumultuous ovation from people. It was as if Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers state is a member of APC or the gathering there that day were members of PDP. You could see the joy and relief”, he said.
He further said that unlike his other colleagues who would not have used contractors patronised by their predecessors, Gov. Wike is using them because it serves the interest of the state.
“In trying to go about the various abandoned projects that he inherited, Gov. Wike chose not to antagonize any of those contractors except a few of them who showed manifest incapacity in discharging their responsibilities. So, he adopted the option of not visiting those contractors with any form of hatred or enmity contrary to what used to be in the past. He embraced them and that is why within a very short time, it was easy for a lot of the projects, particularly the road projects to be completed. This is a very strong act of leadership and that is what has helped in rapid completion of the projects that were abandoned”.
Continuing, he said, “The governor is on his toes 24 hours to inspect the extent of performance and quality of work done on awarded contracts. So, you don’t just come as a contractor, collect government’s money and go home and sleep. The governor will follow you up to your bedroom and that is one of the reasons why we have been able to record some of these significant achievements in project execution. Go to the health sector, some of the hospitals we’ve not been to, are still there for people to see so they will be able to know what we’re talking about when we said that there was a total collapse of the general hospitals in Rivers state. Today, the story is different. Emohua is undergoing renovation. There is hospital project in Abonnena and Buguma. In Degema, we have a zonal hospital. Quite a lot of them are receiving significant attention. I’m sure a lot of Rivers people today will not be in a hurry to forget what the road infrastructure was when we got into office. Look at the Borikiri axis of Rivers state as at 2015; it was like the people who live in that axis have been forgotten completely. Look at the Eneka- Rukpukwu road, Igwuruta- Chokoto road for instance. You can go on and mention all these roads that were commissioned at various points. The Andoni-Opobo road is ongoing and the governor has promised that before the end of this year, the Opobo people will drive vehicles to Opobo town. Look at schools. Go to Rivers State University. The law faculty is completed; faculty of Environmental Sciences building is completed; Management Sciences is ongoing, Technical education is ongoing. Don’t forget for the first time, Rivers state University is having a School of Sciences since it was established in the 80’s. All these are very remarkable. What of the secondary schools. Go to Government Secondary School, Rumuokota, Nyemoni Grammar School, Abonnema, KNC, Buguma. Go to Ogu town. The secondary school that was brought down by the former administration and abandoned and left Ogu without a secondary school is ongoing now. Quite a lot of schools are receiving attention.UBE schools over 105 of them are receiving facelift and that is coming from a governor and government that truly care. And concerned Nigerians are watching and they are saying indeed this man means well. He is living to his bidding. He is keeping his promises”.
Speaking further, the commissioner stated that the state government was working to resuscitate ailing and abandoned companies in the state through private partnership.
He said that the idea of engaging good private companies with expertise in management was based on the fact that government in this part of the world has not been running business enterprises well.
“You will appreciate that the government is not a good businessman. Experience over the years across the nation has shown that industries and business concerns owned by the government have nearly all collapsed particularly in the state. So, from day one, the governor took the position that it would be better to provide enabling environment for businesses to thrive and allow private sector injection of funds and participation in the economy to drive the economy. Recently, the governor went to Trans Amadi to see the Next supermarket, one of the largest supermarkets in West Africa that is coming up in Rivers state. If the environment is not there, nobody will come. Look at the natural gas plant that is coming up in Emohua LGA. That is a very significant one. It is going to be second to NLNG. I’m talking about mega dollar investment. If they feel they are not comfortable with Rivers state, nobody will bring one naira to come and put here. Look at the Pleasure Park for instance. It is a major boost in the tourism and a revenue earner for government”.