Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that his administration has over the last two years made unprecedented investments in the development of infrastructure which have engendered growth in the service sectors leading to economic boom in the state.
In a state address at a town hall meeting and accountability forum to mark the second year anniversary of his administration on Monday , Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike stated that his administration has placed the state on the path of rapid development after the failure of the immediate past governor.
The governor said that moribund businesses are gradually re-opening shops in the state, while new local and foreign investments have been attracted to the State.
He said that the administration has also eliminated multiple taxation to ensure that businesses thrive to the benefit of the people.
Governor Wike said: “We are also supporting the growth of indigenous entrepreneurs through contracts as well as encouraging small and micro-enterprises with financial support to revitalize local economies.
“It is clear from emerging indices that the state of our economy is improving and it can only get better in the days, months and years ahead until we are able to deliver economic security to our State on sustainable basis.”
The governor said that his administration has prioritised the provision of infrastructure, education facilities, health and projects that promote access to justice.
The governor said: “From inception our administration has taken up this challenge by prioritizing the provision of infrastructure across the State. In the last two years we have invested over 145 billion to construct roads, bridges, pedestrian walkways and underground drainage systems.
” As we speak, several road construction works are either underway or completed in Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor, Abua/Odual, Ahoada East, Ahoada West, Akuku Toru, Degema, Etche, Andoni, Opobo/Nkoro, Ikwerre, Emohua, Khana, Gokana, Okrika, Ogba/Egbema/ndoni, Oyigbo, and Tai Local Government Areas of the State.
“For the first time in our history, rural and peri-urban areas are receiving fair attention in the provision of roads and bridges thereby breaking down the barriers of isolation and neglect hitherto associate with rural areas.
“We are also improving the quality of education by enabling our educational system to produce the graduates of the 21st century with innovative skills and knowledge to drive our development.”
Governor Wike said that critical investments have been made in the health sector to ensure that the people have access to quality healthcare across the state.
He noted that 13 General Hospitals in thirteen different Local Government Areas, including Ahoada East, Ahoada West, Akuku Toru, Andoni, Asari Toru, Eleme, Emohua, Gokana, Ikwerre, Obio/Akpor, Opobo/Nkoro, Omuma, Okrika and Port Harcourt are undergoing comprehensive reconstruction, furnishing and retooling, with most of them already completed, awaiting furnish and commissioning.
He added: “We are also completing the regional hospitals started by the immediate past administration located in Etche and Degema Local Government Areas, as well as the Mother and Child Hospital in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area to serve as regional referral centres for secondary and tertiary healthcare.
“In addition, we have released over $4 million USD to equip and maintain the Braithwaite Memorial Hospital to international standards and enabled it to serve as the teaching hospital to the Rivers State University Medical School pending the construction of the proposed University Teaching Hospital.”
He added that investments in the area of security have led to the stability of the state, noting that his administration has given out over 150 patrol vans to security agencies, while gunboats have been handed over to the navy to protect Rivers waterways.
He, however, lamented that the Nigerian Navy has refused to put the gunboats to use. He urged the navy to utilise the gunboats for the protection of Rivers people or return same to the Rivers State Government.
“Our administration’s amnesty programme has been quite successful. Over 22,430 cultists accepted the amnesty and surrendered over 911 assorted arms, 7661 assorted ammunition and 147 explosives.
“The recovered arms have since been shredded and the explosives destroyed, while the programme’s success has resulted in reducing the menace of cultism and associated bloodletting among youths in some of our communities.”
The governor informed that 300 primary schools are being rehabilitated and equipped across the state, while infrastructural development at the Rivers State University have been funded for the accreditation of courses. He said the administration has rehabilitated major secondary schools in the three senatorial districts to reintroduce boarding education.
Governor Wike called for fiscal federalism where all the states can have complete control of their resources and develop at their pace.
He regretted that the resources of the state are used to develop resources in other parts of the country, while Rivers State is economically strangulated.
Governor Wike used the town hall meeting to declare that Rivers State has made remarkable progress in her 50 years of existence.
“Fifty years ago, General, Dr. Yakubu Gowon, GCFR, created Rivers State together with eleven other States. That singular act changed the course of history for Nigeria and for the people of Rivers State for the better”, he said.
The governor answered series of questions from the people of Rivers State from all walks of life, assuring them of sustained good governance and accountability.
Governor Wike called for reconciliation amongst the political class to create a better platform for the State to develop faster.
He said: “We must find ways to forgive one another, open avenues of co-operation and join hands and together, defeat the smacks of poverty, inequality, and lack of meaningful progress preventing majority of our people from enjoying the good life that we all desire and aspire for”.
Chairman of the occasion and Former Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Iche Ndu lauded the governor for his outstanding performance.
Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Hon Kenneth Kobani stated that the Wike administration has made giant strides in the course of the last two years.
Highpoint of the occasion was a vote of confidence passed on Governor Wike by the people of Rivers State.