Wike places Rivers first, calls for cooperation to achieve goals

• Governor Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, got the mandate of the people to govern them for another term of four years because they found him worthy of trust.

This is based on the unprecedented strides of development he has brought to every local government in the state within four years of his first term.

Notable Nigerians have attested to the reason why Wike got the appellation of “Mr Project”: through constant commissioning of numerous infrastructural projects to better the life of the citizenry.

However, he has determined to forge ahead in developing the oil-rich state as he starts his second and final term in office. During his inauguration on May 29, he declared that he will always place Rivers State first in all his actions.

He said: “For us, in all things, it is Rivers State first; Rivers State is the measure; Rivers State before others. This is the essence of the political mandate and burden that we will bear for the next four years and we will not disappoint you. We will continue to stand up for Rivers State and defend her interest, no matter the challenges or what comes at us.”

The governor said that his administration is not in opposition to the Federal Government, calling for a partnership to move Rivers State and Nigeria forward.

 “But we are not a conquered people, and we will never surrender our freedoms to anybody or entity, whether internal or external. We will, therefore, not accept to be subjugated to a headmaster and pupil power relationship; neither will we abandon the collective interest of Rivers State for the sake of political expediency.

“We are for the rule of law, democracy and mutual respect as an autonomous state entities and co-building blocks of the Nigerian federation,” Wike said, adding: “For us, everyone counts, and we must not allow ourselves to be divided between upland and riverine considerations but strive for common grounds, solidarity and work together towards achieving our common goals and aspirations.

“Our refrain at this time and, especially, in the face of the social and economic uncertainties in our nation should be: Ask what you can do for Rivers State instead of what Rivers State can do for you.

“The future of our State depends on us. It is up to us to renew, re-energise, and advance the Rivers dream, to fight for what belongs to us, and to defend our right to exist in freedom, security and peace in our own nation.

“And if we do cooperate, think and act among ourselves with tenacity and unity of strength, purpose and commitment, then there is no mountain we cannot level; no river we cannot cross, and no goal we set for ourselves that we cannot achieve.”

Outlining the direction of his administration for the next four years, the governor pledged to consolidate on his first-term achievements and make Rivers the greatest state in the country.

His words: “Our economy is great, but it should be greater and made more beneficial to all. And so we will continue to grow our economy, expand our tax base, provide a friendly business environment and attract foreign and local investments to create more jobs and empower our people.

“We will continue on the economic trajectory of fiscal discipline, prudence, prioritisation of capital projects over recurrent, and giving value for money spent in the delivery of services. We know we are developing, but it’s better and more result-oriented if approached in an organised and strategic form.

“We will, therefore, adopt a holistic approach to development by partnering with relevant national and international agencies and expertise to initiate and implement a 25-year Marshall Plan for economic transformation and development to guide and accelerate the future development of our state.”

Wike spelt out key areas that will witness remarkable improvements under his leadership during his second term.

He noted that the administration will continue with the provision of quality road network, bridges, and  prioritise the development of more social amenities, schools, health facilities, water and sanitation, electricity, land reclamation and preservation of  natural resources.

“For too long, we have relied mostly on a single vanishing revenue source to fund our development. The reality is that we cannot continue in this economic folly lest we remain forever vulnerable to the ripples, uncertainties and miseries of the mono-product based national economy. Apart from oil and gas, Rivers State also has a vast agricultural potential, which has remained largely untapped for decades.

“For us, therefore, it is about time we embraced the green revolution as a strategic measure for achieving economic diversification, job creation and food security for the state and our people, and we are just ready to do that.

Our role in this regard will span from granting interest-free loans to providing training, land preparation and logistical support to our willing youths to invest in commercial agriculture and allied businesses.”

Governor Wike assured that youth development will take centre stage during his second term.

“We’ve got good news for all our youths this time around, as we will dedicate much of the next four years to youth development by tackling the challenges that continue to keep you behind. As a starting point, we’ve resolved to give our youths some significant positions in our government and provide viable economic opportunities to spark hopes of a better future in their eyes.

“Let me also assure you that those who need education will get quality one; those who want life-skills will be trained; those who want to do business will continue to get our interest-free loans; and those who have sporting talents will have quality sporting facilities and encouragement from us; and for those interested in making a career out of football, we have provided the Real Madrid Academy to prepare you for life-transforming professional foot-balling career at home and abroad.”

Wike called for cooperation from all groups of the state, irrespective of the political, ethnic and economic interests to join hands with his Administration for the development of the state.

He pleaded: “We all need each other because everyone counts. We need ideas and contributions from everyone, irrespective of ethnic, party or religious affiliations and, together, we can consolidate, target new heights and build the Rivers State that we all want to see now and in the future.

“We may be from different social, economic or political background, but the bottom-line is that we are all Rivers people with common aspirations and challenges; and when we reflect on our shared values and responsibility to the state and our people, we will discover that we all stand to win by repudiating the politics of division, hatred and self-interest that constitute a drag on our collective progress.”

His outstanding performance in office, no doubt, led to the clamour in some quarters that Wike should seek higher political office after his second and final tenure as a state governor. On the other hand, there has been a campaign of calumny against his yet-to be-declared future ambition.

But in a recent statement, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) warned detractors not to pitch the party against Wike ahead of scheming for 2023 power contest.

The national publicity secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, acknowledged the huge contribution of the Rivers State governor to the party.

Ologbobdiyan said: “As a party, we are also working with our respective state governors and legislators across the country as they work hard, in line with the manifesto of our party, to improve on the welfare and development of Nigerians.

“Moreover, it is also imperative to counsel, without any equivocation, that enemies of our party, who feel threatened by the rising profile of Governor Nyesom Wike, should have a rethink on their incessant attacks on the governor.

“The PDP appreciates the contribution of Wike, as well as all our governors, to the growth of our party and urge all members and supporters to ignore those seeking to cause disaffection in our ranks.”

Wike was born on March 13, 1963. He hails from Rumuepirikom in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area, Ikwerre land, Rivers State. Educated at Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Wike is the sixth and current governor of Rivers State. He was appointed Minister of State for Education on July 14, 2011 and later named the Acting Minister of Education. He resigned before completing his term to enable him campaign for the governorship of Rivers State.

In 2014, he won the Rivers State PDP gubernatorial primary and chose former Secretary to the State Government, Ipalibo Banigo, as deputy governor. He was re-elected in March 2019.

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