BY SIMEON NWAKAUDU
On May 27, 2015, the immediate past failed Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi made very disheartening comments about the incoming administration of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike .
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. But when he pays out salary, we will see if any of them can do what we did in this state: whether they can build the schools, the roads, even to get a loan”.
He had looted Rivers State dry. Raped her accounts beyond measures and crippled the finances of the state. Amaechi was so ashamed of his looting that he could not prepare a hand-over note.
After the prophecy of doom above, he ran to Abuja to await news of the collapse of Rivers State. He was sighted at the Eagle Square happily playing the talking drum in anticipation of the failure of Governor Wike.
Since May 29, 2015, Amaechi has been waiting in vain. Rather than hear news of despair, he is hearing daily reports of celebration. Rather than hear tales of woe, he has been hearing stories of endless commissioning of projects.
The Third Year Anniversary Celebration of the Wike administration has become a major headache to the immediate past failed Rivers State Governor. Since May 23, 2018 Governor Wike has been rolling out key projects across the three senatorial districts.
As a statesman, Governor Wike has made it a point of duty to invite leaders from all political divides and interest groups to commission projects as part of the Third Year Anniversary Celebration. Former President Goodluck Jonathan, Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto, Obi of Onitsha, Oni of Ife, Former Plateau State Governor, Jonah David Jang, Former Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara top the list of those who have commissioned major projects in the five weeks.
At the weekend, a frightened Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi received a chieftaincy title at Elele. This time, his testimony has changed.
From Wike is doing nothing to Wike is commissioning projects that he (Amaechi) has executed up to 90percent. I like to see the positive side of everything, even the lies of a failed politician.
At least, Amaechi has admitted that Governor Wike has been paying monthly salaries and pensions, including the four months arrears of salaries and six months of pensions that he used in sponsoring the APC National Campaign.
For the first time, he admitted that Governor Wike is working, even though he tried in vain to belittle the work.
Amaechi’s gnashing of teeth on the Woji-Elelenwo Dual Carriageway and Bridge commissioned by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara is uncalled for. He abandoned the bridge at less than 30percent and the contractor fled the site because the contract was not funded. This was acknowledged by Governor Wike during the commissioning of bridge and road.
Let me rehash a background of the all-important Woji-Elelenwo Dual Carriageway and Bridge that is giving Amaechi sleepless nights.
For two years running, the Nigerian Guild of Editors held their Annual General Conference in Rivers State. They were opportuned to see the different stages of the Woji-Elelenwo Dual Carriageway and Bridge first hand.
The Guild of Editors were opportuned to witness significantly, the progression of this major Inter-Change, abandoned at less 20 percent completion by the immediate past failed Amaechi administration .
On July 30, 2016, Governor Wike led the Guild of Editors to inspect work on the Woji-Elelenwo Bridge. At this time, though the contractor had worked under the supervision of Governor Wike for over 9 months, the bridge was yet to get halfway.
From the point where the contractor had reached at the time, Governor Wike and the editors looked across the river into the virgin land and houses on the other side. It appeared as if the project will never be completed.
Aside the Nigerian Guild of Editors, another group that witnessed the progression of the Woji-Elelenwo Dual Carriageway and Bridge was the Nigerian Bar Association. During their 56th Annual General Conference held in Port Harcourt in August 2016, Governor Wike took them on a tour of projects. The Woji-Elelenwo Dual Carriageway and Bridge was one of the projects that was visited.
Still on that stretch is the Abuluoma-Woji Bridge which was abandoned by the previous administration at 30 percent, but completed by Governor Wike. Both projects overwhelmed the immediate past Rivers State Governor because of their scoop.
All through the last quarter of 2015 when Governor Wike consolidated the process for the completion of Woji-Elelenwo Dual Carriageway and Bridge, the reason why the Amaechi administration fled the site was obvious. The project required commitment, strict supervision, dedicated funding and patience. That failed administration lacked all these qualities.
The Woji-Elelenwo Dual Carriageway and Bridge was awarded by the previous administration in 2009 at N3billion. The same immediate past failed Amaechi administration revalued the road to N11billion.
It refused to fund the project after three years of inconsistency. As a result, the contractor fled the site. Nothing much was done, even though the Inter-Change was critical to free flow of traffic.
Governor Wike personally supervised the paving of the new road which links Woji-Elelenwo through to Akpajo in Eleme Local Government Area. The governor debated with the contractors at different times, insisting on the best for Rivers people.
From 2015 to 2018, the administration of Governor Wike worked round the clock to deliver this all-important project.
The project is now an architectural masterpiece. A beauty to behold and a golden manifestation of quality projects delivery. It is furnished with streetlights, flyover, under-pass, 750 meter bridge and a link road.
On June 8, 2018, the Rivers State Government delivered this brand new road to the good people of the state. It was a celebration of performance as men of goodwill gathered irrespective of party affiliation.
The Woji-Elelenwo Dual Carriageway and Bridge was commissioned by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara. He was overwhelmed by what he saw. His joy was written on his face. The relevance of the project transcended party politics.
He saw first the hard work of a leader committed to the welfare of Rivers people. This spurred Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara to make very profound declarations.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara described the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike as a refiner’s fire and a fullers’ soap, who has diligently transformed Rivers State.
He said: “This governor is a consummation of excellence. He is a representative of a refiner’s fire and a fullers soap. A refiner’s fire separates impurities from the gold and leaves the gold intact .
“Refiner’s fire brings out the best. A fullers soup removes dirts and leaves the cloth sparkling clean. I am exceedingly proud of what Governor Wike has done “
He congratulated the people of Rivers State for the luck of having Governor Wike who is thriving in excellence.
The Speaker noted that though he belongs to the APC, as a parliamentarian, the entire country is his constituency. He noted that only tribalists are restricted to their tribes and political parties.
According to him, democracy has no place for tribalists, because they don’t value performance.
“I wonder why someone will look at this project and say nothing exists. If that is the case, the person is a tribalist. As citizens, we celebrate excellence and we must celebrate Governor Wike”, the Speaker said.
He said that in some other states, projects of the nature of Woji-Elelenwo Dual Carriageway would be celebrated for weeks.
At the commissioning ceremony, Governor Wike explained why he invited the Speaker of the House of Representatives to commission this massive project.
“I don’t want to invite my party person to commission this project. If I do, they will say I am playing tricks. That is why I invited a leader from another party to commission it. We are committed to the welfare of Rivers people “, he said.
The Former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi deserves our heartfelt sympathy. He set the stage for Wike to fail, but Wike jettisoned failure and is now Nigeria’s best performing governor.
He is in deep national crisis because the performance of Governor Wike is in the public domain. The appreciation is genuine and the state-wide acceptance is unprecedented.
In the face of national failure, Governor Wike has established a template for success and good governance. He has reached out the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State without discrimination and continues to develop projects in hitherto neglected communities.
From Ikwerreland to Ekpeye-land through to Kalabari communities down to Ijaw, Etche, Ibani, Abua-Odual, Ndoki, Okrika, Andoni, Ogoni and others, no ethnic nationality in the state has been abandoned.
That was why Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike during the flag off of Kira-Nonwa-Barayira-Sime-Eteo Road in Tai Local Government Area boldly declared:
“This is just three years and we have reached the 23 Local Government Areas. Let anyone come from any local government area , come forward to say that we have not executed project in his council.”
Rather than dwell on daily lamentations on the overwhelming success of Governor Wike, Amaechi should be honourable enough to apologise to Rivers people for stealing their resources to sponsor the worst Federal Government since the nation gained independence.