By Vincent Namieboka
The world must have missed out on the prophesy that should have attended the birth of the Executive Governor of Rivers state, His Excellency, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, “Out of his regime shall flow rivers of living projects. He will be brave and strong willed; and the opposing camp shall give him a new name. They will call him Mr. Projects; for he worketh wonders”.
Governor Wike‘s success story in Rivers state is, put simply, amazing. It is still a big wonder how he manages to find energy to embark on the numerous projects which his administration is doing.
When Jesus said, “… Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”, he was merely sending the message about the overriding importance of the state of “goodness”- the idea of ‘born again’.
Governor Wike’s idea of ‘New Rivers State’ is akin to rejuvenation of sorts – a new administration purposely coming to impact meaningfully on the citizens. It is all about being “good” in every ramification of it. In terms of behavior, character, attitude, and, even, service to mankind.
It is about turning a new leaf – a better and more acceptable way of human living that would radiate love, peace, and, possibly, purity of heart. ‘Living water’ is an outflow of general goodness; and this is what is currently going on in Rivers state.
In Governor Wike’s case, his leadership position releasing good administrative policies and initiatives has connected ‘living water’ into the ‘flow’ of ‘living projects’. This describes the avalanche of developmental infrastructure which the Rivers state government is bringing to the state – right into the rural communities. It is all about making life and living good and easier for the people.
“New Rivers” is a catch phrase connoting a ‘revived’ state where good governance has translated into a “Productive Executive/Legislative Partnership for State- wide Development”. The promise and energy of “New Rivers” have led to the production of a bi-monthly magazine, focused on strengthening this new bond of peace and brotherliness between the organs of government. It goes without saying that Governor Wike’s brand of leadership has brought about a new lease of live to the people.
In a state where some past era of governance of deliberate severance from the people had seriously emasculated the citizens and brought about loss of faith in the purpose and objective of government, the project- laden administration of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has revitalised and reinvigorated hope, faith, and trust in the capacity of leaders to appropriately identify with the needs and yearnings of the indigenes. This is about a government which makes the people happy, and feeling good about their leader.
In the past, people asked certain rhetoric question like, ‘What do your leaders do with your state’s money?’, because there existed a strong juxtaposition of the huge resources of the state and brazen lack of infrastructural development staring every on looker in the face, even in the ‘garden city’. Then some areas in Port Harcourt wore such dilapidated and decay looks that involuntarily displayed lack of care. Either of the two, or both, it still reflected ‘disability’ of governance.
Governor Wike’s determination to give his best to the people of Rivers state was recaptured in his speech during the budget presentation for the year 2018 as follows, “For us, our State deserves meaningful development and we must, as a government, continue to do our best to deliver to our people. That is why we are offering a realistic budget for 2018, which takes a balanced and pragmatic approach towards solving the developmental challenges of our State and take it to the next level of transformation”.
The big- heart Governor had mapped out a budget of Five Hundred and Ten Billion Naira for the year 2018 appropriation. Very interestingly, for a workaholic governor who achieved above seventy-five per cent budget implementation success in 2017, on the 70/30 percent ratio in favour of capital (developmental) projects, he is looking forward to achieving same feat, if not a better one, for the 2018 budget – yet spread on another ‘ambitious’ ratio of 75/25 percent in favour of capital projects.
Just like Governor Wike has always said in his usual humorous manner, “it is by the grace of God that I happen to be governor of Rivers state; and it is only by God’s power that we have been able to do as much”. Truly, it must be God at work!
Elsewhere in the USA, the Donald Trump administration has revealed that there was infrastructural decay and institutional dilapidation all over the country. As much as he is focused on rebuilding the country, there has been avalanche of opposition and banter- throwing from those who left the White House just the other day. It is always the case.
As much work as Governor Wike has committed his administration to achieve in Rivers state, he has received the most castigation from those who are afraid of his success story. No one is ever happy to fall short in compares.
However, his detractors fail to understand that when it concerns the general ‘good’ of the people, personal feelings and considerations should be thrown aside for the people and the state to ‘move on’. Whatever one’s disability- whether moral, spiritual, or character – which hinders one from performing well, should not stand in the way of another who is on the right track to get things done the right way. Between two good cooks, there would still be a better cook.
Governor Wike is a man of quality leadership experiences – having risen from grassroots Local Council Chairmanship leadership position, through some other very important positions in government, to a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, before becoming the Executive Governor of Rivers state. He did not become the Rivers state governor by ‘arrangement’ or ‘accident’. He was fully prepared for the job and he worked hard to get there; even in the midst of thick conspiracy and very unfriendly circumstances. With the rate of infrastructural development and speed of accomplishment of projects – including those abandoned or left halfway by his predecessors, Governor Wike has restored hope and faith in governance.
During his inauguration as the Executive Governor of Rivers state, he had made reference to his campaign promises in these words, “As we reiterated in several fora during the campaigns, our blueprint is an agenda of hope. We pledge to offer a New Rivers Vision based on a new thinking. …”
He is visionary and impressively proactive. He has amazing power of information; and most of the things he alerts the public about have always come to happen. However, being a leader with strong character, he is not a man to be easily deceived.
He is a humanist. His determination to get to the root of the Omoku New Year eve killings made him pledge the sum of two hundred million naira on the heads of the perpetrators of that heinous crime.
Quite recently, he told Rivers state leaders and communities who urged him to contest for a second term in office to assure him that they were ready to protect their votes or he would not yield. He alerted that with the woeful performance of the ruling party and their desperate desire to cling unto power, there was every possibility that the APC would resort to ‘writing’ the votes of the next election.
He is bold and frank. This is why he is popular- enjoying wide admiration. The many awards and recognitions he has received in office are testimonies of his good work. He has been awarded ‘Man of the Year’ of many national newspapers.
He is called ‘Mr. Projects’ not just as a nick name, but as an accolade from the very ruling opposition party and from none other personality than the serving Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo. This is a thing no one can take away from Governor Wike.
Just like in “Acts of The Apostles” the Jews being well aware of the good work done by early Christians, in spite of themselves, had admitted, ‘… and we cannot deny it’. (Acts 4:16).
The Governor’s detractors should learn that his mission in Rivers state is like a moving train – no one should stand on its way. The obstinate Jewish leaders were to find out that sending the Apostles away so as to weaken their popularity. (Acts 4:17) did not help their matters.
God is humanist in nature. It makes God happy when people are treated well and are in happy mood. That is what Wike has done in Rivers state. Is it usually said that the voice of the people is the voice of God? Almost all the ethnic nationalities in Rivers state have come out en masse to urge Governor Wike to declare for second term in office. The people of Ekpeye Kingdom, Etche Ethnic Nationality, Kengema Unity Forum, Degema Grassroots Development Forum, Former Rivers state Lawmakers forum, Traditional Rulers’ Forum, etc. have all endorsed Governor Wike for a second term in office.
Governor Wike is a Bible believing Christian. He is well aware of the concept of “Rivers of living water”. Good governance deliver is springing forth from his ‘administrative belly’. The good road networks, the connecting bridges, the industries, the agricultural projects to boost food production, the educational facilities, the scholarships, the care of traditional institutions, the care of the elderly pensioners, etc. all speak for themselves and bear testimonies of the Governor’s good intentions.
Recently, the people of Rivers East Senatorial zone gathered together, united in one spirit and mind to accord him a rousing reception, pledging their loyalty and support to him for a second term in office. “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes his enemies at peace with him”.
Writes from Abuja.