By Odimegwu Onwumere
It is becoming glaring everyday that Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State is turning a new leaf. Unlike in his first tenure he didn’t and was not caring about the common citizen, entirely. This time, he is making sure that the wealth of Rivers State ends up evenhandedly on the area of facilities. With his incessant power supply and sundry concerns in majority of the areas in the state, it could be deduced that he is trying in making sure that the common man has a sense of belonging in his state.
Today, the residents are happy in calling themselves citizens of this state, unlike before it was so unbearable and difficult to even ply most of the roads in the state. We can infer that most of the roads we were shouting on top of our voice have been fixed, but he has to warn the defiant contractors. At least, with the fixing of the roads, the poor are also enjoying. This shows that nothing lasts forever. The frivolous politicians in the state should also be cautioned. Without calling them to order, their habit can anger the poor in the state to commit suicide.
Rivers State today has known peace, even when people talk that corruption is like a sport among the Nigerian political mobsters in public offices and that Nigeria will never know any peace until when the right people are voted into office. Amaechi is now exhibiting a sane human mind, which exhibits that the residents should expect good governance from him. Something new is happening in the state. He has stopped composing tales by the moonlight, where he gave promises upon promises. He is now marching his words with action. He is not again, dribbling away on insubstantial things.
We have observed that Amaechi was not settling anybody, but the state. Rivers State is now a serious state, not in a serious state. Without any doubt the state has woken-up from slumber and is no longer operating like one under a curse. Amaechi has woken up to show the state that it is naturally blessed by God and the wickedness of the people will never bring her down. Again, the State Government has assured that the Mile One Market in Port Harcourt is completed because it said that it’s released the entire fund for the job and stores apportioned to traders, who were relocated to a temporary site in 2007 when the project started.
But while Amaechi is projecting these, we advise that his Commissioner for Works or the authorities concerned should be rational in delivering the market and their duties between the indigenes and non-indigenes. The government should always be fast with projects, especially, the new site of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Omagwa. In the area of human capital development, Amaechi should ensure that he delivers properly than we read on the newspapers.
The special overseas scholarship programme which we heard is basically the Governor's vision should not fail in delivering more and quality human capital development for the state. He must make sure that the oil multinationals in the country he has urged to relocate their headquarters to states that produce the oil did not fail, in order to create employment and development opportunities for the people in our state.
His promises to assist, after sympathizing with victims of the fire incident in Igwuruta that claimed the lives of six persons and destroyed property worth about N150m, should not be swept under the carpet. He should make sure that the petroleum tankers that ply the roads are checked regularly to ascertain their workability capacity. Some of them are in bad shape, and it could be one of such, which crashed at Igwuruta Roundabout, spilling its content in the process. It is not always the presumed carelessness of the drivers that cause the accident most time.
Amaechi should also remember that while describing the Igwuruta Roundabout section of the road as a federal road, he promised to rebuild it in order to guarantee the free flow of traffic and prevent similar occurrence in future. The same is applicable to other roundabouts and roads in the state even when some of them in bad shape could be federal roads as well. But the residents don’t know the difference from state roads and federal roads. So, he should intensify efforts that whether it is Shell, Agip, Elf, Mobile, NDDC roads that the authorities concerned work them. Because: “We must reduce the level of irresponsibility of some road users…,” Amaechi had said.
We believe the governor in totality when he said that if anybody wants to discuss issues on Niger Delta, the person must also put on the table the fact that 60 to 80 per cent of the oil companies are located outside where they extract the oil from, and they have no business having their headquarters outside the Niger Delta.
Moreover, Amaechi should remember his own words: If we are going to address sustainability of development, before you talk about good governance, you must talk about food. We must focus on providing food and providing food is not going from house to house and say take food from us, we are not socialists, it is providing an economic environment that allows a man to exploit his natural resources and his ability at seeking employment and get same.
Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV)