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2nd Anniversary of Second Term: Governor Wike Launches Plethora of Projects

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By Michael Effiong

In many states in Nigeria, Chief Executives begin to wind down after their first four years, but not Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.

He is determined to work till 000 hours of his administration which is reason he has laid out an ambitious and tasking schedule, spanning three months to launch a plethora of projects to mark the second anniversary of his second term.

For some, his sobriquet Mr. Projects would have been enough for him to rest on his oars but Wike ‘s strength and success are rooted in his hand’s on leadership style, his fierce commitment to grassroots development, never-give-up spirit and herculean work ethic which is resonating now more than ever especially in Nigeria of today that many insist is in a state of inertia.

From roads to healthcare, education, agriculture to industries, the projects for launch are not only diverse but also spread across the three Senatorial Districts of the state. Truth be told, Governor Wike is truly working-and the evidence is there for even his fiercest critics to see.

Little wonder that the Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele during his speech just a few days ago urged Governors of other states to emulate Governor Wike by investing in projects that will boost the economy and create job opportunities for youths and the community.

Governor Wike epitomises the saying that leadership is not what is easy but what is right. His courageous and purposeful style shows in the kind of audacious projects he has embarked on since he took over the mantle of leadership.

For this second anniversary of his second term which kicked off on May 27, 2021, the projects listed for launch include: Commissioning of River State Cassava Plant, flag-off of  Bori-Kono Road (Phase Two), Flag-off of Aluu-Omagwa Road,  Flag off of Emohua Campus of Rivers State University, Flag off of Etche Campus of River State University, flag off of Ahoada-Omoku Road, Commissioning of National Industrial Court Judges Quarters, Flag Off of  projects at Nigerian Law School , Yenogoa, Bayelsa State,  Commissioning of Rivers State University Senate Building, Foundation laying ceremony of College of Medical Sciences Building, Rivers State University, signing of agreement and flag off of Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostic and Treatment Centre, Commissioning of Mother & Child Hospital, Flag off of Government Secondary, Kpor, Gokana, Flag off of Ogbunabali/Eastern Bye-Pass Road,  Foundation laying ceremony of Haemodialysis and Renal Centre at RSUTH and flag off of Ogbakiri internal roads.

Governor Wike epitomises the saying that leadership is not what is easy but what is right. His courageous and purposeful style shows in the kind of audacious projects he has embarked on since he took over the mantle of leadership.

Others are: Flag off of Rumuepirikom Flyover, commissioning of Odufor-Umuoye Road, Commissioning of Isiah Odoli/Omerelu Street, Commissioning of Herbert Macaulay and Nzimiro Streets, Commissioning of Trans-Kalabari Road, Commissioning of Community Secondary School, Obiagu, Oyigbo, flag off of Omerelu Internal Road, Commissioning of Community Secondary School, Eteo, Commissioning of Omueze-Umuogberi-Eberi Road, Flag off of Abonema/Obonom Sandfill, Commissioning of Pabod Breweries and Oginigba Roads, Flag off of Mgbuitanwo Road, Flag off of Woji-Aleto-Alesa Road, Commissioning of Rumuigbo and other old GRA RoadsCommissioning of William Jumbo/ Ernest Ikoli Street, Eleme and other adjoining streets, Flag off of Okrika Sand-fill, Flag off of Okochiri Internal Roads, Commissioning of Opobo/Nkoro Road, Commissioning of NURSS Secretariat, Foundation laying ceremony of University of Port Harcourt Convocation Arena and Flag off of reconstruction of Government House Jetty.

Interestingly it is after he has done all these that Governor will deem it fit to give his account of stewardship and will affirm that indeed Rivers State is moving in the right direction as he promised when he took the oath of office after a resounding victory at the polls.

On that auspicious occasion 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  partnership to move Rivers State and Nigeria forward.

He said: ” But we are not a conquered people and we will never surrender our freedoms to any body 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 autonomous State entities and co-building blocks of the Nigerian federation”.

The Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele during his speech just a few days ago urged Governors of other states to emulate Governor Wike by investing in projects that will boost the economy and create job opportunities for youths and the community.

Governor Wike thanked the good people of Rivers State, especially the voters, for their  trust and support  that led to the mandate to serve the state for another  four years.

He thanked leaders of the state, political leaders,  Traditional Rulers,  the clergy, women and youth groups for their unwavering support.

He said: “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-energize, 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 , Governor Wike pledged to consolidate on his first term achievements and make Rivers State, the greatest state in  the country.

He said: “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, prioritization 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 organized 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-years Marshall Plan for economic transformation and development to guide and accelerate the future development of our State”.

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

He said that the administration in his second term will continue with the provision of quality road network,  bridges and  prioritize the development of more social amenities, schools, health facilities, water and sanitation, electricity, land reclamation and preservation of natural resources.

For some, his sobriquet Mr. Projects would have been enough for him to rest on his oars but Wike ‘s strength and success are rooted in his hand’s on leadership style, his fierce commitment to grassroots development, never-give-up spirit and herculean work ethic

“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”, he said.

Governor Wike particularly announced that his administration will construct fly over bridges at Rumuokoro,  Garrison and Artillery in Port Harcourt.

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

He said: “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 footballing careers at home and abroad.

He began the second anniversary of the second term project’s launch with the commissioning of the River State Cassava Plant where he had Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono as Special Guests.

Truth be told, Governor Wike is truly working, and the evidence is there for even his fiercest critics to see

The Processing Plant located in Afam, Oyigbo Local Government was initiated and abandoned by the last administration but Governor saw its potential and has now completed it.

In his speech at the occasion, the elated Gov. Wike said he was delighted that the hitherto abandoned project was now up and running and will create 150 direct jobs and impact 3,000 farmers whose produce will serve as raw materials for the plant.

To increase the impact of the facility on the community, he said government will offer seed capital to genuine persons who wish to enter the Cassava farming business.

He also hinted that though the state currently has 70% equity of the company, his vision is to sell its stake to the private sector to ensure sustainability of the enterprise.

In his speech, Mr Emefiele commended Rivers State and said this project was in line with President Buhari’s vision for the economy.

He revealed that a N1.5 billion fund was available for any investor interested in the food industry to access.

Mr. Igo Weli, who represented, Mr Osagie Okunbor, the Managing Director of The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria was full of praise for Governor Wike.

Mr Okunbor noted “I join the good people of Rivers State to commend you for your untiring effort to advance the economic fortunes of the state, even in the face of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“Experts have said that the local value addition to cassava and processing could potentially unlock about $16m in taxes to the government.

“It is in recognition of this and the far reaching impact for the good people of Rivers State that Shell decided to make the social investment”

“Today, we have the Rivers Cassava Processing Company Limited that will process Cassava into high quality Cassava flour via a unique split processing technology”

There were also speeches by Kola Adesina ( Sahara Energy)a and Tony Attah ( NLNG). They both urged corporate organisations to see the Afam Community as a hub for new businesses since power was constantly available.

Mr. Ruben Giesen, MD of the company disclosed that the plant would produce about 45,000metric tons of cassava flour daily, while it would need 12,000metric tons of cassava tubers.

Minister Nanono   said he was impressed with the quality of Gov. Wike’s leaderhip as exemplified by the project. As his support, he said the Ministry will  provide 10,000 high-grade seedlings for farmers linked to the project.

After his speech, the Minister officially cut the tape to the delight of all present and joined by other dignitaries, toured the impressive facility.

The next port of call was the flag off of the construction of the Bori-Kono Road (Phase Two) located in the heart of Ogoniland.

In deed, Governor with the flag off, made good his promise to the Ogoni people who had suffered for many years with poor road network.

Governor Wike who was honoured with a traditional title of Mene Kwalemu 1 of Ogoniland on account of his development projects in the area, performed the flag off with the assistance of Senator Lee Maeba.

Giving a background of the project, Hon. Elloka Tasie Amadi, the Commissioner of Works stated that upon completion, the road will be a 17.2km long , 22.3m wide dual carriageway.

“Each lane will be 10.65m wide separated by a 2m wide concrete median. It will have 2 bridges , 570 Streetlight poles,.1140 streetlight fittings, 6  stations to power the lights and approximately 5km of drainage.

Gov. Wike said he was delighted that the hitherto abandoned Cassava Plant was now up and running and will create 150 direct jobs and impact 3,000 farmers whose produce will serve as raw materials for the plant.

He noted that to guarantee timely, uninterrupted completion of this project within 14 months as desired by Governor Wike, the project is funded and backed by an ISPO which means that contract payments are automatically charged against the states accounts every month on a set date and  paid directly to the contractor.

In his speech, Governor Wike said he was delighted to be back to Ogoniland to make good his promise of completing this road which he said would not only open up the area but will boost its economy.

He urged the Contractors to work under the rain and sunshine to ensure that the project is completed and delivered on time.

Special Guest at the occasion was ason of the soil, Senator Lee Maeba who thanked Governor Wike for his immense love for the Ogoni people.

According to him ” marginalisation of the Ogonis by previous administrations have come to an end. You promised that the Ogonis will not play second fiddle again, and you have made good that promise. We the Ogonis are happy with you”.

Senator Maeba stated further “The real celebration will not happen today, it will be the day this road is concluded at Kono Waterside”.

After his moving speech, Senator Maeba, Governor Wike, traditional rulers, respected sons of Ogoniland including activist Ledum Mitee then flagged off the new road to wondrous applause by the hundreds of indigenes who had stormed the venue.

Governor Wike has promised that he would not only complete all projects he embarks upon, but he will pay for them in full and not leave any debt for his successor.

From the evidence of his performance so far, there is no shadow of doubt that Rivers is on the rise.

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You’ve Nothing to Offer Nigerians, Only Insults, Akwa Ibom Gov Slams Tinubu

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Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, on Monday, replied the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, saying that he (Tinubu) always resorts to abusing and insulting people during campaigns because he has nothing to bring to the table for Nigerians.

He also said that despite being insulted by the former Lagos State Governor, he would prefer to allow peace to reign by ignoring him and focusing on helping install good governance to rescue Nigerians from their present woes.

Emmanuel spoke on Monday evening at Government House, Uyo while inaugurating newly appointed Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen and Members of Boards and Commissions, as well as a Transition Committee to ensure the smooth transition of power to the next administration.

Recall that Tinubu had during his rally in Uyo Monday afternoon, reportedly said, “Akwa Ibom, that boy wey bring Atiku here, wey de call himself Governor, tell him enough is enough! He lives in my backyard in Lagos, If no be say we be one, I would have driven him home. You see that mansion he is living, I would just use lizards, pigeons and scorpions to put him inside.“

But reacting few hours later, the Akwa Ibom State Governor said, “for the country to remain in peace, one party must ‘play saint’ and that is why he would refrain from replying Tinubu.

Emmanuel who is the Chairman of the PDP presidential campaigns said, “I also go to other states, and if you watch our campaigns, my principal (Atiku Abubakar) has never spoken about any Governor, he has never spoken openly about Asiwaju before.”

He added that it was unfortunate that Tinubu, who was granted state-owned facilities such as the airport, security, stadium, and a good atmosphere to come in and sell his manifesto, ended up coming to insult the integrity of over 7.9 million Akwa Ibom people.

The Governor wondered if it is possible for any Akwa Ibomite to go to Lagos that Tinubu stays or the actual state that he hails from, to insult Tinubu in like manner and still be allowed to safely return home, “but here our people at the stadium including some state governors just laughed and applauded him.”

“What makes him think he will govern Nigeria? If I reply him now, people will call me and say, haba oga you are not like that. But I will reply him one day. There is nothing like ‘emilokan’ (it is my turn) here, Nigeria is in God’s hands.”

He maintained further that despite being the highest revenue contributor to the federation account, Akwa Ibom State has not gotten a single kilometre of road from the APC-led Federal Government for nearly 8 years adding that the poor response from the Federal Government also caused the delayed commencement of the seaport in the state.

Meanwhile, the governor thanked the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries for accepting the onerous task of service, and urged them to see themselves as ambassadors and work towards raising the bar of leadership which would encourage productivity and promote good working relationship with subordinates in the service.

“This is one thing I promised Akwa Ibom people that appointment of Permanent Secretaries shall be totally on merit and not by mercy, let those that can do the work be given the opportunity. Permanent Secretary is not a promotion, it is an appointment on merit.

Governor Emmanuel also reiterated his commitments towards enhancing efficiency within Civil Service, noting that during his administration civil servants have been promoted on yearly basis.

He assured that before he exits office more Permanent Secretaries would be appointed into the service to fill vacant positions left by the ones who retired.

Addressing Chairmen of Boards and Commissions, Governor Emmanuel who described them as pillars in government, acknowledged their commitment particularly, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection & Waste Management Agency, Prince Akpan Ikim, for winning laurels for the state through his outstanding performance in keeping and making the state the cleanest in Nigeria for five consecutive years from 2018 through 2022, and tasked others to create an impact that will stand them out.

In the same vein, the Transition Committee members were handed the task of ensuring a seamless transition of government to an incoming administration, and also verify all projects executed by the present administration.

The newly appointed Permanent Secretaries are; Mfon Inuaesiet Edemekong Esq., Dr. Stephen Effiong, Atim Chelly Okoko, Iquo Okon Abia Esq., Uwem Sunday Andrew-Essien, Isaiah Robson Ntekim and Emaeyak Nyong Akpan as Auditor-General for Local Government.

The Transition Committee has Mrs. Ekereobong Umoh -Chairman, Uko Udom SAN, Prof Augustine Umoh, Dr. Ini Adiakpan, Mrs. Nsemeke Daniel, Dr. Nathaniel Adiakpan, Mr Elijah Udoiyak, Mrs. Esther Inyang, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien, Mr. Isaiah Ntekim, Mr. Effiong Ekpenyong and Mrs. Bella Akpanya as members.

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PDP Condemns Attack on Buhari in Kano, Blames Tinubu, Ganduje

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The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council, has blamed the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attacks on the convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari, during a visit to the state on Monday.

The spokesperson of the campaign council, Dino Melaye, who shared one of the videos from the reported attack, wrote, “The fight between Tinubu and Buhari is entering a new dimension. The attack in Kano was properly coordinated and funded allegedly by Asiwaju.

“The meeting to push Buhari to submission or face sponsored attack in the north was said to be hatched in Bourdillon. Me, I am busy with Atiku.”

A political activist, Deji Adeyanju, who shared another video of the reported attack, said, “They are showing Buhari and APC Shege in Kano and many northern states.”

Similarly, the PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, on Monday also blamed Tinubu and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attack.

According to the party, the attack was designed to undermine the Presidency, cause confusion, trigger violence in the country, disrupt the conduct of the 2023 general elections “and derail our democracy having realised that he cannot win in a peaceful, free and fair electoral process.”

The statement read in part, “The PDP invites Nigerians to note how Governor Abdullahi Ganduje attempted to abridge President Buhari’s movement and even tried to stop him from visiting Kano State.

“More disquieting is the fact that the APC Presidential Campaign sought to humiliate and harm President Buhari while performing his official duties in Kano.

“It should be noted that the APC presidential candidate has been displaying open aversion and making inciting statements against President Buhari since Mr President’s declaration, in line with democratic best practice all over the world that Nigerians should freely vote for any candidate and party of their choice in the 2023 general elections.

“The apparent frustration of Asiwaju Tinubu to resort to encourage or condone violence is fueled by his entitlement mentality, that it is his turn to be President, despite his numerous ineligibility and disability baggage.”

Ologunagba reminded Nigerians about Tinubu’s infamous statement in London where he declared to his supporters that “political power is not going to be served in a restaurant, it is not served a la carte.”

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Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu Battles for Freedom, Appears in Court Tuesday

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A former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, will on Tuesday appear again in court in the United Kingdom where he has been accused of human trafficking.

The lawmaker was in June 2022 arrested at Heathrow Airport in London after Staines Police Station received a report from a young man claiming to have been trafficked into the UK.

The young man, who made the report shortly after arriving in the UK from Nigeria, also alleged that he was made to undergo some medical tests, none of which he consented to.

Ekweremadu was immediately arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court for bringing a child into the UK to harvest his organs.

While the lawmaker had been in custody since June 23, his wife, Beatrice, who was arrested with him, was granted bail by a criminal court in London shortly after their arrest.

Monday (today) makes it 221 days since Ekweremadu was placed in the custody of UK authorities.

The case against the lawmaker which had been slated for May was later scheduled for January 31.

The 60-year-old, who denied the allegations against him, will again appear before High Court Judge, Mr Justice Johnson.

His daughter, Sonia, had on November 7, 2022, appeared in court to defend the accusation of trafficking a homeless man into the UK to harvest his organs for herself.

According to Daily Mail, the 25-year-old, who is battling a kidney-related illness, pleaded not guilty to the charge level against her when she appeared again in court on January 13.

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