(By Iheanyi Ezinwo)-Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, one of Nigeria’s founding fathers made so many profound statements during his life time. One of them is that, freedom from fear and freedom from want are two basic freedom which the citizen expects from those who are to lead them. He also said that substitution of indigenous tyranny with alien rule is not the meaning of independence which they fought for but only amounts to desecration of the cause of human freedom and betrayal of the citizens.
In Rivers State, the level of political awareness is on the increase, and the people, like other Nigerians are demanding improved quality of life from those who preside over the distribution of their common wealth.
In three years, Governor Nyesom Wike has proved to be a faithful steward in the management of the resources of Rivers state and the evidences are there in the 23 Local Government Areas for all to see. Even respected personalities from other parts of Nigeria, have on their visits to the state confessed that they have not seen it like this elsewhere. The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, professional organizations and even prominent officials of the national government who visited the state in the last three years have gone away with satisfaction that Rivers State is in safe hands under Nyesom Wike. It was for the same reason that the governor was nicknamed Mr. Projects by Nigeria’s vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and also honoured with awards both locally and globally by respected organizations.
The popularity of Governor Wike is not a fluke: it is based on verifiable achievements which have changed the physical and conceptual environment of the state. We might not have gotten there yet but Wike has made very significant progress in infrastructural and human resources development to take Rivers to a position of pride among other states in Nigeria. The roads, uncommon transformation in the health, sports, educational sectors as well as demonstrated capacity in ensuring security of life and property in the state has put Wike in a very good stead in the eyes of Nigerians and the international community in the last three years.
Unlike others who made promises but were unable to keep them, Governor Wike, in 2015 made friends with his promises and hopes to keep them in 2019 with his performance. Interestingly, his friends are not limited to members of the Peoples Democratic Party and other people who live and do business in Rivers State, they extend to other Nigerians and Africans who have visited and seen for themselves the difference his administration has made in three years as well as dignitaries from advance democracies who are also witnesses.
On Monday, May 28, the governor flagged off the Real Madrid Academy with a foundation laying ceremony which was performed by the President of Confederation of African Football, Ahmad Ahmad and witnessed by global sports personalities and officials of Real Madrid FC of Spain. The purpose, according to the governor is to guarantee a future for Rivers youths through sports, and to demonstrate his commitment, Wike promised that the project, which is a collaboration with Real Madrid FC of Spain would be completed in seven months.
Imagine this: The Rivers State governor did not only go on to remodel the Government House, he has transformed old and abandoned buildings in the state, including the former Produce House, now renamed Emmanuel Aguma House. Wike did not stop there, he has given floors in the magnificent edifice to international organizations, namely the European Union and the World Bank. And coincidentally, the commissioning of the Aguma House was performed by the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ketil Karison, who was highly impressed and commended the governor for showing a good example of good governance.
For some time, there have been rumours that some persons plan to forcefully oust Governor Wike from office in 2019 using federal forces. However, it will be important that such people go back to history to learn what happens when a handful, without popular support, attempts to subvert the expressed will of the people. In the last three years, Governor Wike, through his deliberate policy of inclusive administration, has ensured that no section of the state, including the non indigenes is left behind in appointments and projects, including the proposed loan scheme that is kicking off by the end of May. As a matter of fact, the governor has directed that the loans be extended to any one who meets the conditions of being a registered voter, with evidence of a Voter’s Card and assurance that the person will vote in Rivers State, irrespective of party affiliations.
Wike’s style of administration has obviously won him many friends within and outside the state and that explains the clamour for his re-election in 2019. So far, our checks shows that his re-election is a fait accompli because he has exceeded the expectation of the electorate who gave him the mandate to superintend over the affairs of the state three years ago. There is therefore no doubt that truth will walk on the streets of Port Harcourt and other towns and communities in Rivers State in 2019, in favour of the man who have justified the use of power.
Any one desiring to oust Governor Wike in an unlawful manner in 2019 will have to prepare to contend with vast majority of Rivers people who are not in the mood to tolerate indigenous tyranny and violation of their rights to chose those who control and distribute their resources. The rumoured invaders should also be informed that their alibi will not make sense to distinguished personalities and organizations who have visited the state from at one time or the other and seem that Wike is working as well as the international community who are committed to ensuring that Rivers people freely elect those who manage their resources and determine their future.