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Opinion: Rivers State In Need Of Fresh Air

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Governing is a serious matter. Those who desire to rule need to have demonstrated competence in the field before they are thrust into responsibility for governing. Plato’s pupil Aristotle said it this way “if therefore, there is anyone superior in virtue and in the power of performing the best actions, him we ought to follow and obey, but he must have the capacity for action as well as virtue”. Truth be told, Gov. Chibuike Amaechi by the “k-legged” circumstances that threw him up as governor of Rivers state, was fired into genuine action right from his first day in office. It is on record that he assumed duty as governor right at the State Secretariat where he visited almost all the Ministries and Department to encourage and motivate the civil servants whose morale at the time were at the lowest ebb as a result of the confusion in the state. And within the first 100 days in office, very tangible feats in terms of projects/ programmes were recorded. Remarkable infrastructure development projects were initiated and kick-started and some even completed within the first one month he presided over the affairs of the state. Who did not know that Amaechi rose up to the then hydra-headed problem of gangsterism and cult violence in the state orchestrated by the politics of supremacy tussle among the different criminal gangs? And within one month, he restored the breath of fresh air as he reversed the harrowing state of insecurity that hitherto blanketed the entire state. Seven years after whatever way you choose to look at the political quagmire in Rivers State, it is obvious that June 12 1993 crisis and its attendant consequences are being replicated in Rivers State.

For the record, the Government of Chief Rufus Ada George was doing well until the Military took over. In Rivers State, the politics and politicians have the understanding unwritten political arrangement of maintaining upland and riverine dichotomy of political parties fielding candidates based on this understanding not necessary base on competence in order to engender equity, justice and fairplay in the polity and among the different ethnic nationalities/senatorial units. The Government of Dr. Peter Odili that the Christian Community played vital role in its emergence was doing well until his desire to aspire to govern at the centre put governance in the state at abeyance. In 2011 when Gov. Amaechi was seeking for second term l wrote: “Three major reasons why the Christian Community in Rivers State are supporting Governor Amaechi for second term” – “Why the cap fits Governor Amaechi for second term is based on one, Character two, Competence (capacity) and three, contribution. Like Plato identified in his writing: politic, the place of capacity for action as well as virtue (character). In addition, contribution (the power of performing the best actions) to development of society”. In another article entitled: “Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s Regime as Working Government” I agreed with Chief Chukwumeka Eze’s submission in his press release that Governor Amaechi is “an icon and epitome of excellence and service, a man who has redefined governance in Nigeria and we are ready to support him to provide more of such a glaring and visible leadership to our people come 2011. For a man to resolve to build a total new city comparable with any modern city in Europe, initiate the construction of a monorail the first of its kind in Africa, save on a monthly basis for the future of our state the sum of N1B without tampering with it the first of a such a move by any government in Nigeria, offer scholarship and free education to our children from primary to secondary levels, construct and equipped 24 model Secondary Schools distributed and sited in all the LGAs of the State, constructed 260 functional Health Centres, constructed 350 model Primary Schools, offer of University scholarship to our people both in Canada, India, Ireland, Singapore and UK, engaged in the construction of 800km of roads across the State, construction of 10 major and 20 minor bridges, land reclamation/shore protection projects at Andoni, Opobo, Buguma, Abalama, Olobie/Owukiri, Oba Ama, Okirika, construction of two major markets, a shopping mall and two fly-over/interchange, arrested the precarious insecurity in the State, built and distributed 60 quality projects to 60 Communities in 60 days a move that can only be watched in a movie but a reality only to be achieved by Amaechi, attract foreign investors, build roads on the Sea to link communities that don’t know how cars or roads look like, reclaim lands from the seas, redefine governance, If Gov Amaechi could achieve these much within three years then we can only imagine what Rivers State will look like if he is given another opportunity of extra four years.”

Does this testimony hold today in light of ongoing in Rivers State with governance taking backstage with politics of sentiments, strife, defection, arrogance, threats, intimidations, violence, and lack of accountability, transparency, corruption and opposition to Federal Government under President Goodluck Jonathan? What alienated the good government of Dr. Peter Odili at the tail end of his government from the people was when he substituted God’s mandate with his desire to serve at the centre. Today Governor Amaechi derailment started when he wanted to be relevant after his tenure. Subtly under cover, seeking the office of Vice President to a northern candidate against President Jonathan. The politics of sentiments came into play. Governance suffered. The people of Rivers State suffers. While the polity are factionalized along political parties, ethnic groups. The ensuing crises have impacted all sectors of the polity including legislative and judiciary arms negatively. Bloodletting, cultism, militancy, hardship and insecurity that were things of the past have now become order of the day.

Instructively, prior to the defection of Gov. Amaechi to APC with PDP mandate under him the Peoples Democratic Party, the State Chapter of the party was split along several powerful lines with each gladiator holding tenaciously to his sphere of influence and none willing to give an inch to the other. Indeed, it was an era of tension, mutual suspicion, and cosmetic displays of respect when they accidentally meet in public and scheming to gain the upper hand in the affairs of the state chapter of the party. Each passing day a new crisis. Within PDP these selfish politicians are at it again with the politics of endorsing candidates along group, personal and ethnic interest not minding the constitutional and understanding among the diverse interests over the year in Rivers State. It seems to me, some politicians won’t stop at nothing to work against the interest of the people just to satisfy their parochial interest. Where is justice and equity, in some supporters of Chief Nyesom Wike endorsing and advocating he contest for governorship against known fact that it will not work and l assert under God that no political juggernaut can take the Christian Community in Rivers State for granted again. We shall do more than pray as it was in the time of Dr. Peter Odili and Chief Ebenezer Isokrari in 1998/99 elections. No occultic force be it Ogboni fraternity, Freemason, Amorc, Olumba Olumba Obu, etc can stand what is about happening. Rivers State need breathe of fresh air, uncompromising responsive, accountable and committed servant leadership with the fear of God. It is my belief that the Rivers State can reach its full creative potential. This is only possible when practitioners embrace new thinking, new approach and new direction. More or also when we all respect the binding interest of us all, work by the rule and treat others as we will want to be treated.
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Written By Dr. Lewis Akpogena… Email: akpogena@yahoo.com

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