The tragedy of politics and development in Rivers State
Sir: Since 1999, every governor of Rivers State has spent hundreds of billions on infrastructural development. From Independent Power Projects to road projects to hospital and healthcare centres to city modernisation projects and so on. Each of them has won National and International Awards, real or arranged, for the work they all claimed to have done in Rivers State.
Yet, Rivers State is not the most developed or advanced state in Nigeria. Rivers State, like many other states in the country, continues to suffer horribly from epileptic electricity supply in spite of the fact that more than N200 billion has been sunk into a Rivers State Independent Power Project which was eventually sold out to investors.
Rivers State cannot even make a claim to having the best network of roads in spite of the fact that almost more than a trillion naira that has been sunk into road construction in the state. Rivers State cannot boast of top-ranking medical healthcare facilities in spite of the fact that hundreds of billions have been spent on revamping healthcare facilities in the state since 1999.
Rivers State still remains an educationally disadvantaged stage in spite of the fact that hundreds of billions of naira have been pumped into the educational sector since 1999.Where did these governors all go wrong? After what many would consider a stellar first term, they often became consumed and enamored of the lure of national politics, at great expense to the resources of Rivers State which should have been better committed to improving the quality of lives of Rivers people. And so they spend the first four years telling Rivers people that they are building or fixing infrastructure .and then the next four years making plans to further their own political survival after their sojourn as governors.
Tens of billions of naira which should have been committed to bringing prosperity to families in Rivers State ends up being diverted to the chase of vain national politics. Rather than invest so much billions in national politics, the governors of Rivers State, past, present and future, should begin to commit such resource to improving the quality of lives of the Rivers man, woman and child.
It is shameful to see that 19 years after Nigeria began a fresh democracy, Rivers State has nothing to show in terms of true and real development, just because those who were selected to govern suddenly became more enthralled by the lure of national politics rather than the zeal to serve Rivers people.
Enough is Enough.
•George Kerley wrote from Port Harcourt.