(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – The Governor of Rivers State, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike came to office 29 May, 2015, and in close to three years, he has changed the inherited narratives of lawlessness and non – payment of salaries and pensioners’ entitlements; deplorable infrastructure across the state; abandonment of projects and highhandedness in governance.
To the pleasant surprise of Rivers people, at the May 29, 2015 inauguration of his government, Governor Wike restored the glory of the humiliated Judiciary by ordering the immediate re-opening of the courts that were closed down at the peak of the conflict between the immediate past administration of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi and the National Judicial Council over the appointment of the Chief Judge of Rivers State. He also gave life to the Legislative arm of government by allowing them to return to their complex for legislative business, thereby guaranteeing both the Rule of Law and principle of separation of powers. In a hurry to fulfill his electoral promises, the governor also appointed Justice Daisy Okocha as acting Chief Judge, and Justice Christy Gabriel- Nwankwo as President of Customary Court of Appeal of Rivers State.
On the same day of his inauguration in 2015, Governor Wike flagged off Operation Zero Potholes; and in weeks, all the roads in Diobu, old Port Harcourt township and other parts of the state were re-constructed by Julius Berger and other reputable construction companies in Nigeria.
Understandably, Governor Wike’s swift responses to correct the errors of the past enlivened the state. It also restored the confidence of Rivers people in government, especially those residing in Iwofe, Rumuagholu, Ogbogoro and other locations that were cut off from the rest of the state by very deplorable and impassable roads. Consequently, many residents who were relocating in droves because of the neglect of roads leading to their houses were relieved and have since returned to their homes.
Ironically, while some other political leaders were struggling to rationalize their inability to fulfill the legitimate expectations of their people, the Chief Executive of Rivers State was busy fulfilling his electoral promises to the electorates. Barr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike has not only been delivering on projects initiated by his administration, he has also been busy completing some of the projects inherited from the immediate past administrations that are found to be useful to Rivers people.
Today, there is peace, unity and celebrations across the land, and Rivers people are saying it loud and clear that performance, and not primordial sentiments should be the criteria for choosing their leaders. From Kula in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area where reclamation and other projects are ongoing, to Kala-Ibiama and other communities in Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area where water project was flagged off recently and the Unity road nearing completion, the people are overjoyed because Governor Wike has broken the inherited ethnic and other divisive tendencies in Rivers by ensuring that no one section of the state is left behind in government projects and appointments.
At the time of going to the press, schools and hospitals rehabilitations as well as road projects are at different stages of completion across the state, while tourists are daily visiting the world class Pleasure Park initiated and completed by Governor Wike’s administration, to enjoy the ambience and the peaceful environment of Rivers State.
Expectedly, in appreciation of his sincere commitment in developing the state, the entire Rivers East senatorial district were at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, recently, to urge the governor to declare his intention to seek re-election, assuring him of their votes. Similarly, women of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, ONELGA; KAGOTE, apex Ogoni leadership organization among others were also in Government House to identify with the forward looking administration, and at the meeting they urged the governor to seek re-election, having justified the use of power and the confidence of Rivers people.
All over the state, the citizens are happy because Wike’s administration has been responsive to their yearnings and aspirations. In Rivers State, the citizens have made their choice to move away from politicians who have no respect for the rule of law, and who cannot be trusted to fulfill their promises. However, for making deliberate efforts to fulfill his electoral promises, Governor Wike has won the hearts of Rivers people and they are eager to renew their mandate in 2019 so he can take the state to greater heights.
Interestingly, a key official of the opposition All Progressives Congress and Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who was visiting Port Harcourt at a time, openly nicknamed Governor Wike as Mr. Project, after seeing the uncommon transformation taking place in Rivers State.
It would be recalled that over one and half years ago, prominent former members of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State acknowledged the good works of Governor Wike and boldly decided to join the award winning governor. One of such politicians is the present Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters and Strategy, Chief Emeh Glory Emeh.
Chief Emeh, who is severally described as a political strategist moved into the Wike political hemisphere with several years of tremendous political experience, having served as commissioner for transport and aviation as well as chief of staff, Government House, Port Harcourt.
Since after his return to the PDP, which many described as a home coming, Chief Emeh has opened the way for avalanche of high quality defections from the APC. At a well celebrated rally at the Sharks Stadium in Port Harcourt, over eight thousand former members of the APC declared support for Governor Wike.
Since then, it has been defection galore, either on the platform of Grassroots Development Institute, GDI, or Wike Solidarity Movement, WSM, and there are strong indications that the warm reception accorded them by Governor Wike is igniting a new wave of defections unprecedented in the history of Rivers State.
As it stands today, and given the avalanche of endorsements, and awards from home and abroad that Governor Wike has received from several groups in appreciation of his uncommon performance in governance, it is obvious that, there is no alternative to Wike in Rivers State in 2019.