Veteran Publisher, Comfort Obi whispered to me on Elelenwo-Akpajo Road: “They have so many good names for him”. She was talking about Nigeria’s Best Performing Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike who was with Nigerian Editors on a project tour.
This was on Saturday, September 23, 2017.
She asked the question after a taxi driver peeped out of his vehicle and called Governor Wike: “High Tension”. On the same tour, several women called him “Mr Project “, others shouted “Ekwueme ” (promise keeper), while another set called him “man way sabi “. Several danced in front of him, composing songs in different languages.
For the second time in two years, Nigerian Editors saw first hand that Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike is a man of the people. A politician who has changed the narrative of Rivers State through projects that meet the needs of the people.
He has proved that a politician can be honest with his people, changing their fortune through beneficial projects. In case you are not aware, Governor Wike is the only governor in the South-South who is never accompanied by soldiers. Governor Wike is at home with his people.
From Creek Road to Elelenwo, from Bori to Andoni, from Nkpogu to Abonnema, the editors saw the love and acceptance that Governor Wike enjoys. They saw his support base. They witnessed the massive investments in infrastructure, education , health, land reclamation and special projects. The Rivers story unfolded before their eyes, unadulterated.
The governor and the Nigerian Editors led by their President, Mrs Funke Egbemode inspected the Bonny-Nembe-Bille Jetty, Creek Road, Produce House, National Industrial Court and Nkpogu Land Reclamation Project.
They also inspected Woji-Akpajo Bridge, the dualization of the Sakpenwa-Bori Road, dualization of Elelenwo-Akpajo Road, Garrison-Trans-Amadi-Elelenwo Road, Nyemoni Grammar School, Abonnema, Abonnema Ring Road and the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road.
Also on Saturday, the State Information Commissioner, Mr Emma Okah led a different team of Editors of project tour in Rivers West Senatorial District and parts of Rivers East Senatorial District. The team visited Rumuokoro Market and Park, Mother and Child Hospital, Port Harcourt, General Hospital Abua and General Hospital, Buguma.
The third team led by the State Commissioner of Education, Dr Taminosisi Gogo-Jaja visited the Sakpenwa-Bori Road, the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road, Zonal Hospital, Bori, General Hospital, Bodo City and the Kpopie-Bodo Road.
Only a governor who is working will be courageous enough to invite Nigerian Editors for a second year running. This is a state where transparency and accountability are revered. Governor Wike seizes every opportunity to give an account of his steadwardship.
Governor Wike believes that the Nigerian Media from across the country should have direct information on the development efforts in Rivers State vis-a-vis the peaceful nature of the state.
In Rivers State, development has gone beyond the level of mere rhetoric. The State under Governor Wike has transited from the realm of pledges to the domain of actualization of promises.
It is true that every state has one form of security challenge or the other, but the reality is that Rivers State is one of the most peaceful states in the country. It has a vibrant economy, the treasure base of the nation. The country’s oil facilities are well secured, while micro, small and medium enterprises are thriving. This is one state with 24-hours functional transportation infrastructure—land, air and waterways.
If you notice a bad road, in Rivers State, it belongs to the Federal Government, the sponsor and purveyor of the false propaganda to de-market the state. If you see a dormant seaport or an uncompleted airport, it is a deliberate design by the Federal Government to frustrate the rapid economic progress of Rivers State. Unfortunately, the schemes of the Federal Government are promoted by indigenes of Rivers State, serving in the APC administration.
Under the leadership of Governor Wike, Rivers State is the example of good governance in Nigeria. It is the nation’s highpoint of the delivery of democracy dividends in an atmosphere of political witchcraft, promoted by agents of a non-performing Federal Government.
The 2017 All Nigeria Editors Conference presented Governor Wike the opportunity to lay before Nigerian editorial gatekeepers the need to take the required steps to protect the nation’s democracy by checking the excesses of sponsored propaganda merchants who are working for agents of the APC Federal Government.
The 2017 All Nigeria Editors Conference has placed on the editors the moral burden of ‘righting ‘ the editorial wrongs deliberately perpetrated against the government and people of Rivers State.
Rivers State is a success story of development. That it is in opposition does not mean that the positive trends in the state should be ignored. Throwing up the successes in Rivers State will encourage the majority of APC non-performing governors to rise up to the challenges of development.
Thankfully, the editors witnessed a full circle of certain projects. When they visited in 2016, projects like Port Harcourt Pleasure Park, Woji-Akpajo Bridge, Federal High Court, Sakpenwa-Bori Road, Birabi Memorial Grammar School, Government House Chapel of Everlasting Grace, Reconstructed Brick House, Igbo-Etche Road, Rumuokoro Market and Park and Bonny-Nembe-Bille Jetty were under construction. Most of them have been completed, while a few are nearing completion.
President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mrs Funke Egbemode pointed out two projects. The Woji-Akpajo Bridge and the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park. She expressed happiness that the projects progressed satisfactorily.
On the street celebration of Governor Wike, Funke Egbemode said: “Governor Wike is not a state capital Governor; he has spread projects across the state and the people- not those in asoebi or branded T-shirt- came out en masse to receive him everywhere we visited with him, in appreciation of what he has done for them.”
To Governor Wike, the outing with the editors and the spontaneous appreciation by the people will only spur him to greater works.
He said: “You can see that the people are happy with what we are doing. This is not propaganda. This is real appreciation for the people oriented projects that positively touch their lives. This government belongs to the people and we shall continue to work for them.
“The happiness of the people gives us the encouragement to consolidate on our development programmes. This tour is key as majority of Nigerian Editors have seen the peaceful nature of Rivers State and the development projects in all the senatorial districts.”
Governor Wike added: ” It is important to emphasize that we are not competing with anybody or any other State for laurels or for anything. We are simply doing our job as mandated by the good people of Rivers State and we are both grateful and encouraged by the outpourings of support and affection from our people”.
As the editors held their conference in Port Harcourt , so did the Bishops, Archbishops and laity of the Anglican Church. More than 1600 Senior priests and laity were in the Rivers State capital to discuss issues affecting Nigeria and the Anglican Church.
These two conferences held successfully without any untoward incident. Several others have been held in the state in recent past. In February 2018, 40 African countries will troop to Port Harcourt to participate in the African Wrestling Championship.
The Biblical Declaration: “When the righteous rules, the people rejoice” is applicable to Rivers State. Here, Governor Wike enjoys street credibility because he is building a New Rivers State where the welfare of the people is paramount.
This raw street credibility cannot be bought with money. It cannot be influenced by propaganda. It can only be attained through good governance, service delivery and sustained projects delivery.
In sum, Governor Wike told Nigerian Editors: “At the end, you return to your destinations with your personal observations, experiences and knowledge about the people, the environment, the opportunities and the challenges. Of course, nobody can educate you again on things you have seen with your own eyes or the impressions you have made from personal experiences.”
In the end, the message is simple. Rivers is PDP. The people believe in the efficient and effective leadership of Governor Wike. No matter , the sharp practices of the agents of the APC Federal Government, Rivers people have resolved to be with Governor Wike till 2023. This is a covenant with the people. They have confirmed this for the second time in the presence of Nigerian Editors.
The Bible says in Psalm 62: 11 ”
God has spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongs unto God” . Till 2023, this authority has been handed over to Nyesom Ezenwo Wike by Providence. It behoves those not ordained by God to retrace their steps and support the government of the day.