Paul Obiajunwo, PortHarcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that the inability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct free and fair elections is the most potent threat to the unity of Nigeria.
The governor also declared that the repeated use of the security agencies to rig elections will endanger the unity of the country more than the agitations of different ethnic groups.
“The most dangerous threat to the unity of the country is not the agitations by different ethnic groups, but the inability of INEC to conduct free and fair elections.
“Unless security agencies agree for free and fair elections to hold, the unity of the country may come under severe threat. “
He, however, declared that Rivers people believe in the unity of the country.
He charged Ikwerre people across the globe to rise up and resist every attempt by treacherous Ikwerre politicians bent on truncating the political ascendancy of the Ikwerre Ethnic Nationality in the politics of Rivers State and Nigeria.
In a keynote address at the 20th National Convention of the Ogbakor Ikwerre USA at the Crowne Palace Atlanta Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday afternoon, Governor Wike said: “As 2019 approaches, we must eschew politics of hatred, bigotry and acrimony, bloodletting, blackmail and falsehood and allow our genuine leaders to take us in the direction that best serves our collective interest.
”Most importantly, we must resist every attempt by any Judas among us to truncate our ascendancy and make us play second fiddle in the evolving politics of the State and the nation because of their selfish interest.”
The governor explained that the state is effectively on the path of growth, after his administration revived critical sectors of the economy and governance structure despite inheriting a state without basic infrastructure as the immediate past administration failed after eight years in office.
He said: “For eight years the government was clearly wasteful, purposeless and irresponsible. Under their watch, our economy crumbled and public infrastructure, such as roads, schools, hospitals and sporting facilities were in their worst and horrible state of disrepair. The economy deteriorated to a point that the government was no longer meeting its financial obligations to civil servants, contractors and international donor agencies.”
The governor said that his administration came into government prepared, hence it confronted the developmemtal challenges it inherited by kick-starting an unprecedented statewide development process in the state.
According to the governor: “ Two years down the line we are happy to report that our State is substantially back on track and progressing in the right direction; our economy is reasonably strong and growing; while lives and property are relatively more secure and safe.
“Under our watch all the three arms of government are functioning effectively and working harmoniously towards the common good of our people and for the first time in a long while our people are now enjoying the positive effects of having a government that listens, cares, and consults with the people through their representatives before taking any steps. In terms of the tangibles, we have substantially delivered on our campaign promises to the State and our people. We have a pan-Rivers mandate. And so we are bound to spread development to all parts of the State. This is what we are doing to foster balanced development.
“ We have spent over 140 billion naira in the last two years under our strategic infrastructure development plan to deliver several roads, bridges and jetties in not less than 15 local government areas across the three senatorial districts of the State. For the first time in our history rural roads are receiving considerable attention. Indeed, our unprecedented investments in infrastructure has invigorated growth and created thousands of jobs in the economy.”
The governor added: “State. For the first time in our history rural roads are receiving considerable attention. Indeed, our unprecedented investments in infrastructure has invigorated growth and created thousands of jobs in the economy.We have also directed resources towards improving education and healthcare delivery. Part of our plan in this direction is to reintroduce boarding system in public schools. Accordingly, we are reconstruction and equipping a number of secondary schools across the three senatorial districts to pilot this programme.
“ In the same vein we are supporting and repositioning our universities to produce 21st century graduates with appropriate skills, innovation and creativity. Accordingly, academic infrastructures are being upgraded in all the State’s tertiary institutions. We have also upgraded the College of Arts and Science, Rumuola to a full-fledged polytechnic as well as introduced faculty of medical science in the Rivers State University. When we came in secondary healthcare had virtually broken but we are gradually reversing the situation. As we speak, we have completed the renovation of 13 General Hospitals across the State, which we shall soon furnish, equip and commission.”
He informed the Ikwerre in diaspora that his administration is improving facilities at the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, while an International Specialist Hospital will be constructed. He also stated that his administration has completed the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park, the State Ecumenical Centre and the Rumuokoro Market and Park .
“Within two years we have transformed our judiciary to be one of the best in the country in terms of leadership, infrastructure and quality of service. We are also getting closer towards realizing our policy of making Port Harcourt a regional judicial hub with our interventions in upgrading federal judicial structures located in the State.For us, business is the foundation of prosperity. We have therefore reformed our fiscal, commercial and land policies to improve the cost and ease of doing business in the State,” the governor said.
The governor fielded questions from the Ikwerre professionals in the United States and Canada, assuring them of his commitment to develop all the communities of the state. He commended the Ogbakor Ikwerre USA for their roles in the development of Ikwerre homeland, saying that remittances to Nigeria have been beneficial to many families.
President of Ogbakor Ikwerre USA, Dr Fortune Worlugbum praised the governor for his developmental projects, assuring him that the association will partner with his administration for the rapid development of the state.
Also in attendance at the Ogbakor Ikwerre USA National Convention were: Former Rivers State Governor, Sir Celestine Omehia, Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Austin Opara, President General of Ogbakor Ikwerre Worldwide, Professor Simeon Achinewhu, Chairman of Ikwerre Chiefs and Elders Forum, Prince Wonodi, Former Chief of Staff, Government House, Chief Emeh Glory Emeh, Chief Tom Aliezi and other notable Ikwerre Leaders.