By Simeon Nwakaudu
While many states are wallowing in regrets and numerous inexplicable excuses by their governors, Rivers State is basking in the euphoria of electing a well groomed and prepared governor. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, just like his promoters pledged, has started the process of planting Rivers State on higher ground.
At the height of the 2015 Governorship campaigns, then PDP Governorship Candidate, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike presented his blueprint for the creation of a new Rivers State to the people. One of the core promises embedded in that blueprint, “A New Rivers State, new vision, new thinking, better opportunities”, was the development of the state into a national economic hub where industrialisation, jobs and wealth creation will be guaranteed for the people.
Governor Wike promised to achieve the economic growth of Rivers State by creating an enabling environment for local and international investors to invest in the state. He further pledged to enhance security and build collaborative platforms for investors to find the state attractive.
On July 11, Governor Wike took one of the most positive initiatives in Nigeria to invigorate the economy of a state. He initiated a partnership with international investors and federal agencies in a move geared at making the Onne Port more productive and economically viable.
Using his legendary diplomatic skills he got the buy-in of the stakeholders to fix the portion of the East – West Road linking the Port. All parties agreed to jointly fund repairs of the road to attract millions of Port users from across the country to patronise the state.
The companies that expressed their commitment to work with the state government to repair the critical portion of the road include, Intels Logistics Services, Indorama Limited, West African Container Terminal and Port Harcourt Refinery Company. Others are: the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Free Trade Zone while the Federal Government was represented by the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta and the Federal Ministry of Works.
The funding plan for the project has been worked out by the stakeholders and the project will be delivered in two months.
Governor Wike explained that because of the importance of the road, it cannot be left to the dictates of official bureaucracy, necessitating the initiative to assemble all stakeholders to commit to the reconstruction of the portion that has degraded badly.
The poor condition of this section of the East – West Road has over the years discouraged port users from Onne Sea Port. The condition of the road encourages kidnappers and armed to throng the area. Therefore, Port users from the South East and the North who have used Onne take to the already congested Port facilities in Lagos.
The multiplier effect of Governor Wike’s initiative remains unimaginable. To begin with, the repair works on the road will create employment and empowerment in the short and long term. It will attract thousands of Port users especially from the neighbouring South East and the North East and North Central. More local and international investors will find the Onne Sea Port more attractive as their staff and patrons can easily have access to the facility.
All these would cumulatively impact positively on the economy of Rivers State. The security challenges being witnessed in the state flow from comatose condition of the economy occasioned by the failure of the previous administration.
With more youths involved in productive ventures being created by the Wike administration, in no distant future many would exit crime as they would be contributing to the development of the state.
The high level of the governor’s productivity is based on the fact that he has outlined his goals and how to achieve them. Therefore, he is not distracted by the noise of the opposition.
Recreating Rivers State after a propaganda driven administration mismanaged resources and left all sectors of the state crippled, is an enormous task that requires a leader like Wike.
The state cannot afford the joke that some states have been subjected to, where the people are compelled to listen to gubernatorial lectures with no productivity. In Rivers State, they are getting used to daily doses of productivity and their expectations are being met.