By Oraye St. Franklyn
Any Governor of Rivers State, Nigeria, by virtue of being so, based on the prevailing character of Nigerian politics becomes a person of national interest, with bolting immediacy, upon assumption of office. Reasons adduced for this are varying but the most common is that the State is the fatest breast from which the succulent, juicy and moreish milk that keeps Nigeria afloat, flows.
It is the same reason, the Governorship election in Rivers State is beyond being combative. It is war. War of attrition. War of words. Opposition warfare mostly devoid of developmental ideas. From graduating to Political-cum-economic warfare down the line, we are now seeing the injection and conjecture of daylight State-sponsored-terrorism by agencies of Federal Government under the command and control of compromised apparatchiks. Whether these actions have President Buhari’s nod is not known for certain but that they are the reality of the present Nigerian malady under his direct watch, is incontrovertible fact.
“Rivers State must be conquered by the ruling Party at all cost or the State must be run aground by every possible means,” appears to be the single-item manifesto of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Rivers people, since May 29, 2015 when the current Governor of the State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) was sworn-in, have not only been plagued by the worst forms of State-sponsored terrorism but have endured the most despicable acts of dehumanization by agents of the Federal Government, itself.
With such gloomy daily reality and strategic distraction, coupled with the grinding national cash crunch epitomised by “Recession” in Nigeria, the Nyesom Wike-led Government was programmed to be a crashing fatality. It is a miracle that Rivers State is succeeding the sheer magnitude of bombardment that the Wike-led Government has received, soaked in and contained.
The Government was supposed to fail. Wike ought to be going from pillar to post giving excuses, as it obtains at the national level and across many APC controlled States, of why he couldn’t deliver on his promises. He would have had credible reasons to support those excuses and the people of Rivers State would have understood, after all, the plague was brought upon us by our detractors. Come to think of it, some would have accepted that failing was not so bad since it didn’t change his status as Governor. And indeed, if simply being Governor was the objective, what was the beef with underperformance under austerity? But no! That’s not Wike.
With every pressure to fail, he held steady. With every assault, he unleashed his divine defenses. With every pull to bring him down, he held stronger to his Maker: the Giver of his mandate, the Assurer of his hope and the Perfector of his faith. God never fails.
Wike’s passion was beyond simply being Governor. He desired to develop Rivers State beyond the rhetoric of politics. Besides, as Chairman of Obio Akpor local government area, he had proven his competence in driving development and placing it on a higher pedestal to the fleet flow of partisanship and politics. He wanted the best for Rivers State; and whether there was repression, recession or depression, no excuse would have sufficed to derail his bid to better the governmental and developmental experiences of Rivers people. His mind was made up.
One shaky step after each, he moved on. He won many small battles. One after each, they become an accumulation of big victories for our people. His steps have since solidified. Every single part of Rivers State bears testimony of his die-hard approach to development. Money or not, aggressive work to rapidly transform Rivers State in the shortest possible time, is already in progress, to the point that the opposition themselves endorsed his christening as ‘Mr. Project.’ What more could have been a better confirmation of Proverbs 16:7, that “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”?
That endorsement by the opposition is not just fait accompli that Governor Wike has made a remarkable success of his first term but most instructively negates any argument by them concerning how he has performed as Governor. Let’s leave that for now. We are talking development, at this time, not politics.
It is interesting to note that Governor Wike has also been recognised as managing the most self-sustaining economy in the country going by the recently released State of the States fiscal index report by BudgIT, a civic organization that applies technology to intersect citizen engagement with institutional improvement, to facilitate societal change in Nigeria.
As if that was not enough confirmation of Governor Wike’s managerial sagacity, frugality and dexterity, he has now also been recognised as a global brand in development at the 12th Global Forum of Human Settlements holding at the United Nation’s headquarters in New York, USA.
Governor Wike’s investiture of the “Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contribution Award” is on the heels of his developmental achievements in expanding the frontiers of human settlements and sustainable cities in Rivers State.
Given the massive infrastructural development in Rivers State to connect communities and towns and the robust dredging and sandfilling of new areas across the State to expand human settlements, the Global Forum on Human Settlements and the United Nation’s Environment Programme along with the many other UN affiliate organizations involved in this decision and award could not have been more right.
Governor Wike, as the first African recipient of the award, merits its investiture, which, I dare say, and is common knowledge, is a product of hard, tasking and dangerous but determined work in an era of prevailing national recession.
How Governor Wike has managed to weather the vicious storms of his administration and continues to come out shinning brightly and soaring high with vigour and brilliance like the mythical Phoenix that’s self-regenerating, is itself, a complicated mystery, save for divine intuition.
Is it not a beautiful thing that the very man pounded and plundered, the very State left for broke and dead, the very people defamed, dehumanized and assaulted, all stand together today, represented by the success of one man, are being sung, not as dirge, but sweet melody on the global stage?
Governor Wike’s work continues to put Rivers State out there on the world map for the very best reasons; something that brings pride and acceptable arrogance to Rivers people. This is exactly what success means. Governor Wike is truly a success and we thank God for his drive and resilience.
People of God, a biblical passage comes to heart at this time as representing the true essence of the good that’s now happening to and in Rivers State because of one man against the evil brought upon her also by one man, another.
It says, and as we surely believe, that, “When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.” Job 22:29. God helps Wike because he relies on Him, has a good heart and noble motive for the best interest of Rivers people, whose mandate he is privileged to hold. As a people, we, too, cannot but join hand-in-hand to defend our forte and ensure that our dear Rivers State continues to make real and sustainable progress.