By Eric Elezuo
“We must demonstrate our unflinching commitment to giving our people a truly modern Rivers State…” – Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State
You only need to take a short trip to Rivers State, especially the capital, Port Harcourt, to fully come to grasp the magic the Governor of the state, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike is performing. It will never be an exaggeration to say that the outspoken governor has not only handed over the dividend of democracy to his people within his six years spell as governor, but has done it with much panache and fanfare, giving glory to God for all he has been able to do.
The governor, without mincing words, is not on the same page with the Federal Government, which he has accused of insensitivity in the affairs of Nigerians.
“I regret that the yearning of Nigerians for better life, better education, health care system, basic infrastructure, have remained illusive because of the insensitivity of the incumbent Federal government,” he tweeted
Between December and date, the governor, who has been significantly and justifiably nicknamed Mr. Project, has commissioned projects running into tens, not to mention hundreds of others still under construction. some of these projects include but not limited to Rumuekini-Aluu Road, Dualized Saakpenwa-Bori Road, Bolo Internal Roads, Internal Roads In Isiokpo, Ikwerre LGA, Isiodu Road In Emohu LGA, Eleme-Afam (Oyigbo) Road, GRA Phase Two Roads, Rebisi Flyover, Government House Clinic, Port Harcourt Pleasure Park, Ecumenical Centre, cinema and restaurant.
The new Government House Clinic is fully equipped with state-of-the-art operating theatre, top anaesthesia ventilator, ICU Room, Endoscopy Suite, MRI Machines, Laboratory, Pharmacy and 24 hours ambulance service to serve elder statesmen, Government House personnel, judges and legislators. The clinic is endowed with a host of other equipment that perfectly conform to international standards.
The governor, whose followers have given various names depicting his zeal to deliver, including Action Governor, has carried alone his colleagues from across the states in the federation, while making the projects see the light of the day as well as giving it the desired transparency the process demands. As a result, he has invited either a sitting governor or ex-governor to commission the projects. Some of the governors or former governors who have been privileged to be commissioners of some of the projects include former Lagos State governor and present Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola SAN, Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal; Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu; former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, and former Governor of Kwara State and immediate past President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.
Wike has maintained that he will not politicise the development of the state, and so the touch of class has been extended to all the parts of the state. This, is testified by all and sundry, including the regular citizens of the state
While signing the contract papers for the award of the GRA Junction Flyover in Port Harcourt, in August 2020, Wike assured that his commitment to providing quality infrastructure that would enhance the development of the state is unshakeable, adding that this is so because the people of Rivers State deserves the best.
“Today, we have signed the papers for the award of N15.8 billion contract for the GRA Flyover and also the dualization of the Ezimgbu Link Road up to Stadium Road, and from Genesis Eatery Axis of Tombia Road up to Ikwerre Road.
“It is unprecedented that a state can dream, commence and complete construction of five flyovers within a year.
“We will pay Julius Berger Nigeria Plc 70 per cent of the contract sum upfront. This will make them to keep to the terms agreed on delivering the job within 12 months.
“The rains cannot be used as an excuse because we are going to pay them. I trust the capacity of Julius Berger and I believe that Rivers State deserves the best,” Wike maintained.
One beauty of his projects is the underlying fact that he is not known to owe his contractors. That explains the cordial relationship he has been enjoying with construction giants, Julius Berger. For every project, the governor releases an unprecedented 70% payment upfront before commencement, and completes payment before completion of the project. Julius Berger sees him as a competent ally.
The Managing Director, Julius Berger Nigeria PLC, Dr. Lars Ritchter, in responding to the personality of Wike, assured that the company is delighted to be part of the success story in Rivers State.
Though most of his detractors have complained that Wike is concentrating developments in the state capital to the detriment of other parts of the state, the allegations have been proved to be untrue. The governor has dismissed such comments.
“We are providing infrastructure and roads in all the 23 local government areas. We are also at the point of constructing a road from Woji town connecting Aleto-Alesa up to Port Harcourt Refinery junction.
“That road will help the people of Okrika to access Port Harcourt within 10 minutes without going through the East West Road,” he allayed the fears of critics.
Wike, without a doubt is one of the few Nigerian governors, who came to office with a game plan, and hit the ground running immediately after taking the oath of office. In the judiciary, the governor, who himself is a lawyer rolled out drums to pull the sector out of comatose. It would be recalled that the courts in the state have been on lockdown for 12 months prior to Wike’s assumption of office. The governor reopened the courts, and appointed Hon. Justice Daisy Wotube Okocha as the acting Chief Judge on June 1, 2015; the true mark of one who has a positive agenda.
In addition, he put in place the following within 24 months in office:
- Embarked on massive renovation/construction of the High Court Complex (Block A, B and C) the Magistrates Building and the ten Outstanding High Courts, the Customary Court of Appeal Complex, Obio and Judges quarters, all the Magistrates Courts in the thirty –eight(38) Magisterial Districts and all the 32 Customary Courts in the twenty-three (23 Local Government Area of Rivers State;
- Purchased and provide 57 Honda Cars for 57 Magistrates of the judiciary by His Excellency these were commissioned.
- Remolded and upgrading the central law library of the high court
- Archived the High Court /Magistrate Court and Customary Court of Appeal Registry.
- Constructing a new High Court Building (Block E) comprising of two storey building, court complex of 4 Magistrates’ courts, judicial service, commissioned office, Multi-Door court house, Family court, Gym and Cafeteria for judges and Creche for staff/Nursing mothers.
- Purchased and provided thirty-five(35) posh Ford Vehicle/Jeep (Explorer) for all 35 Judges of Rivers State Judiciary.
- Appointed three judges Hon. Justice B.N.L. Demua (CCA), Hon Justice C. D. Green (HCT) and Hon. Justice C. Nworgu (HCT) into the service of State High Court;
- Sponsored all the judges and magistrates of the state’s judiciary for Local and International Conferences and workshops;
- Introduced computerized identification card scheme for judiciary staff and public enlightenment unit
- Established the Rivers State Multi-Door Court House (ADR Centre) and the family Court.
- Granting financial autonomy to the judiciary and making it to be self-accounting in the administration of released funds from the consolidated revenue fund.
- Rehabilitated and furnished the Chief Judge’s Quarters;
- Renovated the State’s Customary Court of Appeal Complex and other Customary Courts across the State
- Constructed, furnished, commissioned and donated an ultra modern court building to the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court
- Started the construction of the Port Harcourt Division of the National Industrial Court to be donated to the Federal Government;
- Approved the recruitment of Judicial staff to fill existing vacancies and strengthen the workforce for effective delivery of judicial services;
- Expanded and equipped customary court of Appeal Clinic which is now serving the host community
His loggerheads with the government at the centre notwithstanding, Wike built and handed over a new Federal High Court Complex to the Federal Government.
Within the same period, the Wike administration had either completed and rehabilitated or initiated new road construction projects, the number of which is innumerable.
Wike has also not left anything to chance in the sport sector, with the biggest step being the collaboration with Real Madrid of Spain to establish Real Madrid Football Academy in Rivers State, which is geared towards helping the young to showcase their talents and build a rewarding future. The academy is sports and academic oriented.
On security, Wike took it upon himself to turn around a once hot zone to a haven of social and economic activities.
In the first place, the governor embraced the amnesty programme at the inception of his administration as part of his strategy to consolidate peace and security. He created the enabling peaceful environment for people to move freely in their localities and engage in their legitimate businesses. The programme promised amnesty and rehabilitation for repentant cultists in exchange for arms.
At the end of the 60-day timeline, which lasted between September 16 2015 and November 2016, about 22,430 cultists accepted the amnesty while 911 assorted arms, 7661 assorted ammunition and 147 explosives were surrendered.
The recovered arms have since been shredded and the explosives destroyed, according to the governor’s website, while the programme’s success has resulted in reducing the menace of cultism and associated bloodletting among youths in some communities.
“Today, Rivers State is enjoying peace,” Wike is always known to say.
WHO IS NYESOM WIKE?
Simply put, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike
An Ikwerre man from Rumuepirikom in Obio-Akpor, Rivers State, Wike was born on December 13, 1963. He is an astute politician, irrepressible lawyer and undaunted hard worker, who is the sixth and current Governor of Rivers State. He is a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and had his university education at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology after passing through De-General E-Processing Center and Government Secondary School, Eneka at various times.
Wike defeated Dakuku Peterside of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Tonye Princewill of the Labour Party in the April 11 gubernatorial elections to emerge as governor. His election was nullified by the Trubunal and the Appeal Court, but as a child of destiny, the Supreme Court upturned all rulings and returned his mandate.
Again, on April 3, 2019, INEC declared Nyesom Wike winner of Rivers State governorship polls to begin another four years tenure.
A lover of education, Wike made elaborate plans for educational reform. He declared public primary and secondary education free. This he did shortly after he took the oath of office to start his second term, and refused to bulge even as complaints trailed his decision.
In 2019, Wike through the State Ministry of Education announced free registration for participating locals of the state in the annual JAMB examination.
He was considered a superman when he kicked-off the construction of three (3) major flyovers simultaneously in Port Harcourt. The location of the flyovers are at Garrison, Rumoukoro and Artillery. These are all completed today, commissioned and in use.
Wike is married to his beloved wife, Eberechi, a high court justice, and they are blessed with three adorable children.
In his words: “I can walk around the entire Rivers State today without security because my administration and the PDP have fulfilled their promises to transform the state for the benefit of all.
“I have not disappointed the people of Rivers State and I have not disappointed the party that gave me the privilege to contribute my own quarter to the development of the state.”
Many people refer to Wike as stubborn, fearless and unbridled, and of course he is not far from any these by the way he conduct his affairs to ensure the people of Rivers State have the best of administration, and that no one is cheated.