By Simeon Nwakaudu
In the midst of national retrogression and unparalleled economic stagnation, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has emerged as Nigeria’s leading light . An icon of development and good governance.
Governor Wike has proved that in the midst of national failure, a leader can re-define the developmental reality for his people and set them aside for greater things. He has proved that Nigeria cannot be all bad news. He has shown to the world that there are great performers in Nigeria. Men committed to development and uninterested in propaganda and distractions.
Under the leadership of Governor Wike, Rivers State has transformed into Nigeria’s Oasis of Development. A huge construction site, with a growing economy that works for the people.
In the recent past, Governor Wike has been a recipient of several awards on the account of his performance. He won the Independent Newspapers Man of the Year 2016, the Authority Newspaper Man of the Year, 2016 and Sun Newspaper Governor of the Year, 2016. He was also enthroned as Rivers State Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Apostle of Peace.
After over two years of total and rapid development of a New Rivers State , Governor Wike has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to sustainable cities.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has been nominated for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contribution Award “.
This award is for the governor’s investments in the development of urban renewal programmes, housing and projects that improve the living conditions of less privileged persons.
The “Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contribution Award ” is organised by Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements Awards (SCAHSA). The group is supported by the United Nations Environment.
In a letter of notification of the award to Governor Wike , Secretary of Global Forum on Human Settlements and Main Representative to the United Nations, Mr Lu Haifeng said that the award will be conferred on the governor at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on October 31, 2017.
The ceremony will be held as part of the 12th Global Forum of Human Settlements at the United Nations Headquarters in New York between October 30 and 31, 2017.
According to the Main Representative to the United Nations, Governor Wike is being recognised for his great commitment and contribution to sustainable cities in Rivers State.
The group further lauded Governor Wike for developing infrastructure in settlements in different parts of the state and ensuring that people have access to basic amenities.
Governor Wike was also applauded for constructing the Iriebe Medium Housing Estate, Rivers Quarters at the NNS Pathfinder, Quarters for Junior Staff of the DSS and facilitating the improved investment in housing by private investors.
The Rivers State Governor also received commendations for investing in land reclamation/sand filling in Asari-Toru, Degema, Akuku-Toru and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas.
JUSTIFICATION FOR THE AWARD
The centre-piece of Governor Wike’s development programmes have been to improve the living conditions of Rivers people, by developing infrastructure that will enhance their living standards in communities where everyone will be proud to live in.
The actualization of the goals of the administration is a work in progress. However, it is safe to declare that so much has been achieved within the period under review.
Governor Wike started his exemplary leadership with the development of critical infrastructure that improved the living conditions in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas.
On his very first day in office on May 29, 2015, the governor launched the “Operation Zero Potholes”. This project created access to densely populated suburbs in Diobu and Borokiri/Port Harcourt Township.
The road and drainage infrastructure across Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor have led to better housing facilities in different suburbs, improved security and other basic amenities.
Aside, the massive development of road infrastructure in Port Harcourt, Governor Wike has constructed inter and inter community roads in 13 out of the 23 Local Government Areas to create the required access to these areas . The creation of access to communities have created additional settlements and improved housing.
Land Reclamation and Sand-Filling of areas to create additional lands for housing and settlements have received the deserved attention of the Wike administration.
The land reclamation projects in Asalama (Asari-Toru) , Bakana(Degema) and Nkpogu/Ogbunabali (Port Harcourt City) are projects that will develop new settlements in the state. In the case of Asari-Toru and Degema Local Government Areas, the beneficiaries of the reclaimed lands would be less privileged persons.
Since May 29, 2015, Governor Wike has created the right environment for the development of affordable housing. The Iriebe Low Housing Estate completed and commissioned by the administration, accommodates 50 low income families , especially civil servants.
The administration constructed 50 one bedroom (self contained) houses for operatives of the Department of State Services working in the state.
There is the ongoing construction of the Nigerian Air Force Quarters, while the Rivers Quarters at the NNS Pathfinder has been completed and commissioned.
Private Housing Developers have been attracted to the state as a result of the programmes of the Wike administration. The Lekki Gardens Estate has been commissioned at the GRA in Port Harcourt.
Port Harcourt has been made more habitable with the installation and revival of street and traffic lights, the construction of Port Harcourt Pleasure Park and the improvement of security across the state.
Governor Wike’s improvement of educational and health facilities across the state have re-established the framework for a rewarding growth of Port Harcourt and other towns in Rivers State.
The global award to Governor Wike will serve as an encouragement to other states of the federation to pay more attention to infrastructural and housing development as means of improving the lives of ordinary people.