The Gov. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike-led Administration in Rivers State will clock exactly eight years in office on Monday May 29, 2023, following his landslide victory at the 2015 Governorship Poll and consequently, his assumption of office on May 29, 2015.
But as he leaves office, many Rivers residents would remain grateful to His Excellency, Chief (Barr.) Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for the social changes he promoted and implemented, and for the promises he made and fulfilled over the past eight years of his administration.
Everywhere you go in Rivers State, there is a tendency that the works of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike will touch you. It is inevitable that the foundations that he laid that transformed Rivers State to modernity would not escape you, no matter your business or activity in the State.
You may recall that Gov. Wike had during his campaigns ahead of the 2015 governorship election assured that his administration would bring development to all the nooks and crannies of the state. It is glaringly clear that the governor has not only kept those promises but has also performed beyond expectations.
Governor Wike has given every Riversman and woman a sense of pride. Our state has been rebranded and we can now proudly showcase our identity as Rivers people, to the admiration of others.
Gov. Wike’s name has become a household name and rings an immediate bell in the ears, within Nigeria and beyond. As a pragmatic politician, Wike will continue to remain relevant even after he leaves office on May 29, 2023 owing to his accomplishments as well as his towering political clout and robust humanitarian inclinations.
His eight years as governor of Rivers State will continue to elicit raving adulation and accolades as a result of his visionary administration and its impact on the people.
He has also exhibited the courage and boldness to speak truth to power, challenge national policies and decisions which tended to exploit the people, thus standing out as the most articulate, fearless voice of the opposition.
Due to the inclusive nature of his administration and his God-given political wizardry and endowments, many people, from the affluent to the hoi-polloi, crowded his country-home at Rumuepirikom for political solutions.
Not given to vain-glory, his impressive accomplishments, political mastery, and humanitarian proclivities, history will continue to recognize him as a champion for human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation. Indeed, he is a man of uncommon grace and compassion, for whom abandoning bitterness and embracing adversaries is not just a political strategy but a way of life.
On the roll call of good men, Gov. Wike is indeed very outstanding, and he brings Christian clemency and brotherly charity to a profound appreciation and significance. Across private and public spheres of influence, he makes himself the soothing balm to people’s pain.
The eight years of Governor Wike’s administration have flown by with astonishing speed, but one enduring constant in the passing years has been his bold, firm, courageous, determined and unwavering commitment to selfless and patriotic service to the people.
With a sterling accomplishment as former Local Government Council Chairman, former Chief of Staff, Government House, and former Minister of State for Education in Nigeria, Wike is known to be richly blessed with good vision, courage, candour and determination. These attributes have in no small measure contributed to the success of the eight years of his administration
Without doubt, these attributes made him well-equipped for the challenges of governance and have resulted in eight years of unprecedented achievements in many sectors in Rivers State.
The roadmap to kick-start the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Rivers State had been laid down in the inauguration address on May 29, 2015 and in the typical charismatic, all-action fashion which has defined his administration, the Rivers Governor, who was appropriately christened with the sobriquet “Mr. Projects” by none other than Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, less than two years into his administration, has not only shamed his critics, he has silenced the opposition and transformed the landscape of Rivers State in the eight years of his administration.
To tackle the excruciating traffic congestion in Port Harcourt and its environs, Wike, within the eight years of his reign, constructed and reconstructed quality roads, dual carriageways and 12 flyover bridges. He is reputed to have constructed or upgraded more roads in the history of the State than all his predecessors.
The Phase 1 Trans-Kalabari road project, which connected several riverine Kalabari communities to Port Harcourt main town by road for the first time in over 150 years history of the communities, is described as a dream come true for the Kalabari people due to its huge economic impact on the communities, specifically and the state in general through increased trade and tourism.
The construction of the Trans-Kalabari road and other numerous projects spread across the entire Kalabari Kingdom by the Nyesom Wike-led administration is an eloquent testimony of his interest and love for the Kalabari people. We are therefore grateful for the bold and giant step on the landmark project.
In a bid to enhance economic growth of the State and boost further investments, the administration of Governor Wike conscientiously invested huge resources in infrastructure development.
Within eight years of the outgoing administration, so much has been achieved in all sectors, and encapsulated into what has been generally referred to as the unparalleled transformation of our dear State. This has been made possible by properly channeling the resources of the state to areas of critical needs.
One admirable factor which has remained constant in the eight years of his reign is that Governor Nyesom Wike is still greatly loved, admired and adored by the people of Rivers State as their champion today as he was in 2015, 2019, and in 2023 when he took on the opposition, both within and externally, battled them to a standstill, defeated them on all fronts and won the three elections convincingly, carrying the hopes and aspirations of Rivers people on his broad shoulders.
The great philosopher, Aristotle, said: “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines destiny.” This quote aptly describes the personae of Governor Wike. The love extended to him by Rivers people is not by accident. It is a love he earned by his display of unparalleled maturity and leadership style.
The scorecard of his eight years administration has been replete with outstanding achievements, ground breaking events and the initiation of legacy projects, which have not only transformed the landscape of the state impressively but has attracted an avalanche of awards and chieftaincy titles from within and outside, to add to his ornamented gallery of plaques and silverware.
Wike, who is outstanding in turning Rivers State into Oasis of Development through the delivery of landmark people-oriented infrastructural projects, was honoured with Distinguished Award in Infrastructure Delivery by Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.
A dispassionate summary of Governor Wike’s administration will confirm that virtually every sector in the state has been positively impacted since May 29, 2015. That, in itself, is a true testament of a promise made, a promise fulfilled.
On the audacious promise to deliver the Dr. Nabo Graham Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School, the Federal Government who commended the efforts of the governor, described him as a true promise keeper for matching words with action on the project, describing the saw School as the best, in record time.
Governor Wike himself puts it succinctly:
“You can see the happiness radiating in their faces, that makes us happy that the people are happy with us. That means when government or leaders have made promises they should be able to fulfill their promises.
“I think we can say with all good authority, we are happy and we can go home satisfied that we have not disappointed our people. That is the major thing for me, that you’re going home not disappointed that you made promises to the people and you didn’t fulfill the promises.”
It is often said that some were born great, while others achieved greatness. For Governor Wike, it is a combination of being born great and working hard to achieve greatness.
By entrenching core values of selflessness and integrity, Governor Wike has effectively earned the confidence and trust of Rivers people, his friends and foes alike.
He has redefined the concept of leadership and effective governance by effectively re-orientating the mindset of the political class to see politics as a call to service.
The German philosopher, Hegel, once said that the heroes of an epoch are the clear sighted ones, their words and their deeds the best of their time.
Governor Wike has without question emerged as one of the iconic political leaders and nationalists of contemporary Nigeria.
One unforgettable achievement worthy of mention is his landmark nous in successfully producing a successor, in the person of Sir Siminialayi Joseph Fubara (KSC), a technocrat who knows his onions so well and has learned the ropes of public administration and governance, rising to the pinnacle of an illustrious career in public service.
This feat alone, many see as a masterstroke, places the Governor well ahead of his predecessors as no Governor in the history of the State has ever succeeded in their attempts to ‘install’ the next governor.
In fact, it is believed that that milestone alone puts Rivers State on the pedestal to greater heights, like the Lagoses of Nigeria, where, through strategic and a well-coordinated succession planning, continues to promote the masterplan of the mega city, tapping from pre-stated development blueprint.
That is the essence of consolidation. There is a development dream for Rivers State developed pre-2015 and christened The NEW Rivers Vision; a vision whose foundations have been laid and nurtured up by Gov. Wike and fronted so well, it will almost be sacrilegious to abandon at this time; another reason Rivers electorates refused to jump ship or take the wrong turn in the last general elections.
Sim Fubara will undoubtedly build on the blueprint laid down, gains achieved and records set by the outgoing talisman, veteran statesman and virtuoso, Nyesom Ezewon Wike, and clinically deliver the second and a higher phase of the NEW Rivers Vision, thereby making the proponent and master proud wherever he will be.
Thank you, Your Excellency, for fighting a good fight and winning the wars for us all. We’re indeed proud of your achievements in these years of meritorious service to our dear Rivers State.
Long live the Doyen of Democracy in Nigeria!
Hon. Onengiyeofori George
Asari-Toru Local Government Area.
May 22, 2023