From whatever angle you view the Rivers story, you will eventually come to the conclusion that Rivers State is on the right path, craved by the people when they first opted for Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, as their Governor in 2015.
As a reporter/observer who has witnessed this life-changing relationship between Governor Wike and Rivers people, I will take the next few weeks to discuss key aspects of this phenomenal drive to re-position Rivers State.
It is necessary to start this narration from the beginning. Governor Wike was drafted into the leadership race by Rivers people in response to the worst political and economic treachery against the people by the immediate past APC Administration in the state.
Rivers people co-opted Governor Wike to place a derailed state back on track. Between 2013 and 2015, the failed then outgoing administration had weakened the foundations of governance, destroyed the fabric of brotherhood and sold the soul of Rivers State to external political marauders . Rivers people needed a political tactician and warrior to save the state from total political slavery and economic damnation.
Therefore, the preference of Wike ahead of 16 other Governorship Aspirants was for the reason of rebuilding and re-positioning Rivers State from the ashes of failure imposed on the state by the immediate past APC Administration. From the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State, leaders opted to elect Governor Wike and entrench the PDP in the state. They fought against the huge financial war-chest of the immediate past APC Administration.
On December 8, 2014, PDP Delegates from all the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State unanimously voted for Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike as the party’s governorship candidate for the 2015 election in the state. On April 11, 2015, the good people of Rivers State overwhelmingly voted for Nyesom Ezenwo Wike as their governor. He polled 1,029,102 votes.
This was fundamentally the people’s project. It has always been driven by the people. That is why the entire structure is impregnable from within and without. True, some political engineering has been deployed, but the strength of Rivers people is deep and solid. It cannot be swept away easily.
Once the Rivers decide to flow, no quantum of machinations, no matter how well crafted can stop the flow. In the beginning, Rivers people set on a mission in one voice and they have remained undefeated ever since.
In the decision to create a new Rivers State, people came from the 23 Local Government Areas. They defied the riverine and upland divide and placed Rivers ahead of other reasons. They refused to hand their destiny into the hands of a treacherous few. Collectively, Rivers people became their own godfather. They handed over the state to God on the platform that: “the voice of the people is the voice of God “.
Despite the overwhelming victory in 2015, officials of the defeated APC moved from court to court shopping for illegal injunctions to stop the oath taking ceremony. Where ever they went, the hand of God frustrated
Governor Wike’s first duty after taking over the reins of governance on May 29, 2019 was to restore the institutions of governance and democracy destroyed by the immediate past APC Administration. This is one of the most vital actions taken to kick-start the process of development in Rivers State.
Governor Wike re-opened the courts and appointed an Acting Chief Judge and Acting President of the State Custumary Court of Appeal. The Judiciary which was castrated by the past administration was revived. The Rivers State House of Assembly which relocated to the Government House, Port Harcourt under the previous administration was duly proclaimed and given the rightful autonomy to carry out its legislative functions.
According to the Former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the State had collapsed irretrievably at the time Governor Wike was handed the mandate by Rivers people.
Amaechi said, ” I’m not joking, we have no money anywhere. In Rivers State, no money. I think Nyesom Wike is coming, we are waiting. He will look for money for salary; there is none. So, he will have to manage. But when he pays out salary, we will see whether they can build the schools, the roads, even to get a loan”.
Governor Wike inherited four months of unpaid salaries and three months of unpaid pensions. Governor Wike cleared these salary and pension arrears. The weakened economy was duly reflated, with mass economic activities set in motion.
Ever since, the Rivers economy has been on the ascendancy. It is a given that workers and pension welfare take precedence over other considerations .
Steps were taken to revive the state’s security architecture which was destabilised by the failure of the immediate past APC Administration to fund monthly financial obligations for security operations. With this, Governor Wike rebuilt the security infrastructure of Rivers State.
After reviving the state, Governor Wike set out to implement the New Rivers Development Blueprint. His careful implementation of this programme has seen Rivers State emerge as the country’s Headquarters of Projects and Progress.
The Wike administration ended the misery of Rivers people and set the people on the path of development.
He has used Rivers mandate to create an atmosphere of hope where the people genuinely yearn for more. In every community, Rivers people have keyed into the season of stability, prosperity , new vision, new thinking, and better possibilities.
Governor Wike has planted the process of
purposeful and rewarding leadership propelled by a dynamic team.
He has delivered on the social contract he entered with Rivers people in 2015. The people have renewed his mandate because they want him to Consolidate on the gains of his first term. We shall provide details of his outstanding accomplishments in his first term .