Rivers at 50: Celebration, New Vision, Sustained Growth

  • Posted on: 25 April 2017
  • By: editor

 

 

By Simeon Nwakaudu

 

It is no longer news that Rivers State  will be 50 on May 27, 2017. Everyone knows that Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has  set in motion  the process  to  celebrate  the  creation of the state, her achievements  so far and establish  the  foundation  for the construction of a new Rivers.

The celebration  is already in full  swing.  The logo was unveiled  by the governor, a fund raising  dinner held for key stakeholders  to  participate in the  sponsorship  of the Golden Jubilee, while the Golden Jubilee Celebration Committee has rolled out  a comprehensive  programme of events . Some key events have already taken place.

Even the fiercest critics of the state cannot say in all honesty  that there is nothing to celebrate.  Since 1967, several milestones  have been achieved from one administration  to the next.

Rivers State has served quite significantly  as the treasure base of the nation, religiously  supporting other states of the nation with her resources and ensuring that Nigerians  from other climes benefit from her  God-given  resources.

Funds from the state have played key roles in the construction  and  fertilisation  of the two Federal Capital Territories of Nigeria.  Despite the challenges of development, the state has been a critical  factor  in the overall  development  of  the  country.

The challenges  of development  that have confronted  the state since her creation are not enough to trivialise the need to celebrate  and chart a new direction.

 

While unveiling  the  Golden Jubilee Logo, Governor  Wike  captured the essence  of the entire celebration.

 

He said: "Over the past 50 years, we have travelled quite a marvellous journey. We have made some significant progress no doubt, but we have also made mistakes and lost valuable opportunities. However, this Golden Jubilee inspires a new direction to build a prosperous State we can all be proud of. This is the spirit of the New Vision."

Like Governor Wike explained, the celebration  offers the opportunity  for  stocktaking, which several critics and  analysts are already doing. But most importantly, it  offers the opportunity  to march forward.

 

There is no virtue crying bitterly  about the past when there are  better opportunities  going  forward.

 

One of the highpoints  of  the  Rivers State Golden Jubilee Celebration  will be  the launching of the 50-year strategic economic and social development plan for the state .

This plan will consolidate the gains of the different  development  programmes  and  projects implemented  by  successive administrations.

 

The framework  of  the  50-year strategic economic and social development has been  presented and approved by the Rivers State Executive Council.  This framework would then be  presented to the public with a committee  established  to drive the process between 6months and one year.

 

The committee will hold public hearings on the framework  with all stakeholders  expected  to  make their contributions. Public  debates would also hold on the framework , before  the 50-year strategic economic and social development plan is set in  motion.

 

Aside setting  on course the development process  for the next 50 years through  the launching of the 50-year strategic economic and social development plan for the state, Governor Wike  will take practical  steps to flag off the execution  of iconic  Golden Jubilee Projects.

 

Hear him at the unveiling  of the Golden Jubilee Logo: "On our part, the State Government is set to execute a number of landmark projects throughout the year to commemorate the Golden Jubilee, advance the promise of economic independence and improve access to public services as we set forth on the new pathways to create an unimaginable future of peace, unity and prosperity for our State."

 

All through May, 2017, the Rivers State Government  will commission several key projects spread across the three senatorial districts of the state.  This will be part of the Golden Jubilee Celebration.

 

A mini-investment summit tagged corporate Rivers forms part of the overall Rivers at 50 celebration.  This summit will bring development and economic  experts side by side other stakeholders  as Rivers State Government implements the New Rivers Vision Development Blueprint to ensure that the entrenchment  of the development process.

 

As a lover of youth development, the Rivers State Government will  in the course of the Rivers State Golden Jubilee Celebration flag off a youth empowerment  programme.  This programme  targeted at youths from the 23 Local Government Areas of the state will be implemented alongside  a major commercial bank.

 

The celebration of the achievements of the incumbent administration  in the state inspires hope that the state has commenced her sustained  journey towards development.

 

Governor Wike’s  outstanding performance since May 29, 2017 is the new beginning  he promised the people of the state. The new direction  to ensure  that the people  have benefits for their resources.

 

Basic amenities   denied the people of the state  in their  respective senatorial  districts by previous administrations are now springing  up. This will lead to the emergence of new towns that will support emerging  populations.

 

For 50years, Port Harcourt and her environs have not had the privilege of a functional public water supply.  That is about to change. The Wike administration  has concluded  the preliminary process for the Port Harcourt Water Supply and Sanitation Project.

The Port Harcourt Water Supply and Sanitation Project is a joint venture between the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the Rivers State Government.  This  project  will take care of water supply and sanitation in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas.

 

Under the project, water schemes will be constructed across Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas, backed with massive reticulation  infrastructure  in the city. Rambol Environ of Denmark who are the project management consultants have  been  in Port Harcourt  since 2016 reviewing the project design, engaging  stakeholders , embarking on approved study tours and training  critical technical  personnel  to drive the project.

 

It is clear that though the State Government  has kickstarted the Golden Jubilee Celebration, it is by no means a jamboree.  It is a well planned  programme to celebrate  the  history of the state, her people, culture and their   contributions to national growth. Heroes of the Rivers struggle will be recognised  and leaders of tomorrow empowered to take up the task of leadership.

 

Governor Wike summed it up thus: "Even as we are all excited by this milestone, we must also not forget that the Golden Jubilee presents both opportunity and challenge; an opportunity to celebrate our proud heritage and the challenge to harness our vast resources to fully realize our potential to be the best in Nigeria and secure enduring progress and wellbeing for our people."

 

At the risk of sounding immodest, it is pertinent to declare that Governor Wike  has ushered in the best era of the story of Rivers State.  He has redefined the development process, re-dedicated the people to the ideals of growth and  instilled self-confidence across the state.

 

Despite the sponsorship  of  negative  media propaganda  by opposition  politicians in Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike remains Nigeria's Best Performing Governor, recognised  by Leaders of all political divides.

 

Governor Wike's excellent performance stems from his  prudent management of scarce resources. The people of Rivers State are feeling the impact of good governance and such impact is beyond the understanding  of  opposition  politicians who only think about the next election. Of course a few "food is ready" politicians and armchair critics are unhappy  that Governor Wike  prefers to satisfy majority of Rivers people through projects execution  instead of being "a popular father  Christmas " to a few .

His programmes and  projects empower majority of the less privileged people.  Those who have no daily access to Government House.  Those who ply the countless roads, get treatment from hospitals, train their children  in revived public  schools, drink from water projects and carry on their legitimate businesses on account of peace and security  that flow from a successful amnesty programme.

Even Vice President Yemi Osinbajo  visited Rivers State and lauded Governor Wike  for  his outstanding achievements, confirming that the governor  is 'Mr Projects '.

 

There is no APC  governor or any governor for that matter who can compete with  Governor Wike  in terms of projects delivery. The  success of the  Wike administration  is  unprecedented.

 

Therefore, 50 years  down the line, Rivers people  have  every  reason to celebrate. The journey has been full of challenges, but the state has made remarkable progress. It has the second largest economy in the country with huge prospects  of rapid expansion.

 

When Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio declared that Governor Wike's projects delivery in two years  were beyond that of the Federal Government, he based his conclusion on empirical evidence.  Till date, nobody has disputed  this fact with empirical data.

 

Governor Wike has initiated the next phase of Rivers development through the implementation of a new vision. As the Golden Jubilee Governor of Rivers State, he has planted the seed of progress for the next 50 years. Governor Wike has returned Rivers State  to the people. He has  given them the keys to control their destiny at 50. That is why they have rolled out the drums to celebrate. They are assured of better days ahead.