Nyesom Wike, Rivers State Governor, yesterday extended an olive branch to his political opponents and urged them to join hands with his administration, to deliver dividends of democracy to the people.
He also called for reconciliation among the political class, to create a better platform for the state to develop faster.
Wike made the call during a Town Hall meeting in Port Harcourt, where the governor unveiled his two years scorecard.
“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.”
Wike listed his achievement in the last two years to include road construction, education, health, agriculture, among others.
He explained that his administration, in last two years, had made unprecedented investments in the development of infrastructure, which, according to him, “have engendered growth in the service sectors, leading to economic boom in the state.”
Wike said his administration has placed the state on the path of rapid development and that moribund businesses are gradually re-opening while new local and foreign investments have been attracted to the state and revealed how his administration eliminated multiple taxation, to ensure businesses thrived for the people’s benefit.
“We are also supporting the growth of indigenous entrepreneurs, through contracts, as well as encouraging small and micro-enterprises with financial support to revitalise 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,” he said. The governor said his administration gave priority to the provision of infrastructure, education facilities, health and projects that promote access to justice.
“From inception, our administration has taken up this challenge by prioritising provision of infrastructure across the state. In the last two years, we have invested over N145 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.
“For the first time in our history, rural and semi-urban areas are receiving fair attention in the provision of roads and bridges thereby breaking down barriers of isolation and neglect hitherto associated with rural areas. We are also improving quality of education by enabling our educational system to produce 21st century graduates with innovative skills and knowledge to drive our development.”
He explained that 13 general hospitals in 13 councils, 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.
“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 council, to serve as regional referral centres for secondary and tertiary healthcare. In addition, we have released over $4 million to equip and maintain the Braithwaite Memorial Hospital, to international standards and enabled it to serve as a teaching hospital to Rivers State University Medical School…”
pending the construction of the proposed University Teaching Hospital,” he added.
According to him, investments in security had resulted in stability of the state, noting that his government had given out over 150 patrol vans to security agencies while gunboats were given to the navy to protect Rivers waterways.
He, however, lamented how the Nigerian Navy failed to put the gunboats to use and urged the navy to start using the gunboats for the protection of Rivers people, or return them to the government.
On the state amnesty programme, he said: “Our administration’s amnesty programme has been quite successful. Over 22,430 cultists accepted the amnesty and surrendered over 911 assorted arms, 7,661 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 blood-letting among youths in some of our communities.”
The governor said 300 primary schools were 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 had 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 were being used to develop other parts of the country, while Rivers State is economically strangulated.
The governor said the state had made remarkable progress in its 50 years of existence.
“Fifty years ago, former military head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, created Rivers together with 11 other states. That singular act changed the course of history for Nigeria and for the people of Rivers State for the better,” he said.