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We welcome constructive criticisms devoid of politics, says Wike

By Innocent Anoruo
25 June 2020   |   4:18 am
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has fought many political battles as governor of his state. On his way to Brick House, Port Harcourt, he had contended with the All Progressives...


Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has fought many political battles as governor of his state. On his way to Brick House, Port Harcourt, he had contended with the All Progressives Congress (APC). When he was Minister of Education under the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he had to contend with then Governor Chibuike Amaechi who preferred Dakuku Peterside for the top seat. Amaechi and his group later moved to APC and lost the election.

Five years on, he has fought the federal authorities on many fronts. At home, his demolition of hotels in his bid to enforce compliance with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-induced lockdown of the state brought him stiff opposition.

But three years to the expiration of his mandate, he seems to have found his rhythm. In his statewide broadcast to mark the first anniversary of his second term in office as Rivers’ governor, Wike said he was open for constructive criticism.

He said, “As a government, we welcome constructive and frank criticisms devoid of politics and mischief, because they serve to make us better performers.

“At any rate, this is time for governance, not politics, and we welcome everyone onboard to enable us to create an environment that promotes balanced economic growth, thriving private investments and good jobs; to build a state of shared prosperity; a place of boundless opportunity for all residents; and a state we can truly call our native home, our pride, our heritage, while looking into the future with optimism.”

According to him, nothing matters now than Rivers State, its people, their interests and resources and how best to serve them as governor. Already looking ahead at the next 12 months, Wike said his performance was inspired by the people’s continuous support and prayer, adding that some of the achievements he has made include his release of funds for the comprehensive upgrade of dilapidated secondary schools across the state.

His words, “Across the state, our strategic intervention in the restoration, upgrade and expansion of secondary schools continue to deliver remarkable results in the quality of public education system.”

The health sector also reportedly felt the tough-talking governor’s touch. “We fully built, completely equipped and converted the former Braithwaite Memorial Hospital to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH), which is reckoned as one the best in the country, leading to the accreditation of the programmes of that facility for the training of students by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).”

To attest that the governor is not playing the usual political games in taking pleasure in self-adulation, Rivers elders have commended him for a job well done. Some of them expressed delight over Wike’s brand of leadership. The elder statesmen recounted how the broken walls of development and brotherliness were mended in his first tenure and how they were carried into his second tenure without any lapse.

Chairman of Greater Port Harcourt Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Alabaraba, said everybody within the state could attest to the fact that construction of critical road projects and the three bridges continued despite the COVID-19-induced socio-economic crisis.

Being human, some lapses are expected from Wike. But stakeholders plead for patience with the governor.

Chief Onueze Okocha, who sued for patience, understanding, and cooperation from all Rivers’ people that desire good governance, urged them to remember the inglorious past when the state was on its knees from where the governor took it up. He berated the security agencies for allegedly sabotaging restriction on movement in the face of coronavirus, noting that beyond such betrayal, Rivers’ people celebrated another successful year of the Wike administration.

“His first year in the second tenure has been successful and I hope and pray that the succeeding years that he has in office will also be happy years for which we will celebrate and thank God that at this point in time a man called Nyesom Ezenwo Wike was our governor,” he enthused.

Another elder, Chief Emmanuel Anyanwu, recalled how Wike reconnected Etche Council by road to Port Harcourt with the construction of Chokocho/Rumuokwurushi Road and Chokocho/Ozuzu Road that were impassible.

“We believe in him and are happy with his success in office,” Anyanwu said. “The elders and the state are behind him. Let people say if he had not developed infrastructure and human resources? Wike is in touch with his people as a grassroots leader. Without him, there would not be PDP in Nigeria. He has supported people in leadership to succeed in all areas he had served.”

However, a chieftain of All Progressives Congress, who did not want his name in print, said the PDP government in the state was having an easy ride because internal wrangling in APC has so weakened the party that it does not stand as opposition to Wike so as to put him on his toes. He berated the leadership of APC that is focused on playing politics in Abuja rather than at home for the parlous state of the party in Rivers State.