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Wike’s enduring legacy berths at Opobo

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Wike. Photo: TWITTTER/GOVWIKE

After 150 years of its existence, the ancient kingdom of Opobo, an island in Rivers State, can now be accessed comfortably by road, following the inauguration of Opobo axis of the Unity Road by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.

The road was commissioned on Saturday, July 3, 2021 by a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Board of Trustees and former Minister, Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri.

Waziri observed how excited the people are to have a road of such high quality to drive on and hailed Wike for bringing humanity to governance.

The 11.15 kilometres long and 7.3m wide road, with five bridges along the Opobo axis of the super highway, has a minimum fill height of two meters, with a maximum height of 8 meters at some points.

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It was built through swamps, mangroves and some of the most difficult terrains for road construction and has a 1.5m wide shoulder on either side. It also has 18 culverts and 5 bridges with a shoulder of 1.5 metres on either side.

The road, which is an ambitious project initiated by former Governor, Dr. Peter Odili has connected the Island of Opobo to the rest of the state.

With the commissioning of this axis of the Unity Road, an important campaign promise, which Wike made to the people of Opobo has been fulfilled.

It is also important to note that with this official commissioning, the great land of the legendary King Jaja, will now become a post modern, coastal tourist attraction with viable economic opportunities open to the global community.

The avalanche of encomiums which have poured in from Opobo indigenes, Rivers residents and indeed many of those who either watched the live pictures from the commissioning or saw the still photographs of the glistening stretch of endless shiny nylon tar all the way into the heartland of Opobo kingdom, speaks volumes.

The amazing import and impact, both historical and existential, which this completed legacy road project represents for all and sundry is better imagined than described.

Governor Wike, prior to the inauguration of the Opobo/Nkoro axis of the Unity road, had often teased, in campaign language mode, that the people of Opobo town had never driven home with their vehicles for the past 150 years, until his intervention to complete the road for them.

Typically, the confused and attention seeking opposition had swallowed the well laid bait set by Wike and filled volumes of Newspaper pages and the entire social media space, with their desperate campaign to locate themselves in the glory circle.

They attempted to woefully undermine the unparalleled accomplishment of the Rivers Governor in delivering the road and then dubiously misled the public with contrived contributions of the immediate past administration to the actualization of the project.

Of course, His Majesty, the Amanyanabo of Opobo, King Dandeson Douglas Jaka, Jeki V, a King who exudes imperial majesty and regal wisdom, understood Governor Wike perfectly and it will now be written and etched forever in the annals of Opobo folklore, that it was during his reign that his people actually drove home comfortably for the first time on this super highway.

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The Amanyanabo who is also Chairman, Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, captured the historical dimensions of this legacy project, when he declared that his people will remain eternally grateful to Wike for the courage, compassion and visionary acumen he has brought to leadership.

He also appealed to the Governor to initiate another land reclamation project in Opobo, to provide more land for the increasing population of her indigenes.

Governor Wike, while addressing the ecstatic crowd at Opobo, declared that the completion of the road and its inauguration is a dream come true not only for the people of the area, but especially for his administration, adding that he feels happy to have fulfilled his 2014 campaign promise to the people of Opobo.

To appropriately accord honour to whom it is due and equally address all the unnecessary and self-seeking innuendos flying around, now that the project has finally been completed, Wike expressed appreciation to the administration of Odili for conceiving the Unity road project.

Wike equally stressed that without the foresight of Dr. Odili, it would have been difficult for his administration to complete the Opobo axis of the Unity Road.

To further add a well deserved icing on the Opobo cake, Governor Wike directed his Special Adviser on Special Projects, in prompt response to the appeal of the King, to liaise with the Amanyanabo and leaders of Opobo on where they desire a new land to be sand-filled and reclaimed for them.

Wike also urged the Surveyor General of the State to commence the process of land mapping and survey of the already sand-filled land in the area to enable Opobo indigenes to begin allocation of spaces among themselves.

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It has often been said that one of the defining attributes of good leadership is the visionary discernment to provide what the people need more in their peculiar environments, rather than cosmetic, white elephant projects.

Wike has exhibited an uncanny and astute visionary leadership by boldly delivering enduring projects where they will have meaningful impact  instead of  inaugurating projects just for  cheap publicity.

The Urban Renewal Programme in the capital city, including the flyovers, the internal roads construction with drainages and streetlights, amongst others, have gradually returned the capital city to its  garden city status.

It is this same astute  leadership that has led to the highly acclaimed  construction of some of the life changing projects like the Sakpenwa-Bori-Kono super highway, the first phase of the trans-Kalabari road, the  reclamation of land in Abonnema, Obonoma and Okrika as well as the location of three new University campuses across the State.

The Mother and Child Hospital, Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diagnostic and Treatment Centre, the Rivers Cassava Processing Company and Real Madrid Football Academy also stand out for mention.

These indeed are some of the legacy projects of the Governor Wike administration and they will remain indelible and ensure that his name is etched in the sands of time for posterity.

Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State

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