Wike takes oath for second term, promises holistic approach to development

To deliver 3 flyovers at major traffic flash points

GOVERNOR of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, on Wednesday, took the oath of office for his second term of office promising to adopt a holistic approach to the development of the state.

This is as the governor promised to build three flyovers at three traffic flashpoints of Garrison Roundabout, Artillery Junction and Rumuokoro Roundabout.
Wike said he in realising this strategy he would partnership with relevant national and international agencies and expertise to initiate and implement a 25-years Marshall Plan for economic transformation and development to guide and accelerate the future development of the State.

He said: “The next four years are therefore pivotal as we consolidate on the progressive foundations of the last four years to take Rivers State through a greater era of achievements and progress because making Rivers State the greatest State in Nigeria is a task that must be accomplished.

Our economy is great but it should be greater and made more beneficial to all. And so we will continue to grow our economy, expand our tax base, provide a friendly business environment and attract foreign and local investments to create more jobs and empower our people.

We will continue on the economic trajectory of fiscal discipline, prudence, prioritisation of capital projects over recurrent and giving value for money spent in the delivery of services.”

The governor reaffirmed his commitment to continue to deliver on the journey to sustainable progress and prosperity for the state and the people assuring: “We will not take this second term as a chance to warm the seat of governance but to continue to take the tough decisions and give our all to the task we have ahead of us every single day of the next four years with courage, commitment and compassion.”

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“We know we are developing, but it’s better and more result-oriented if approached in an organised and strategic form.”

“We are already doing great to close the existing deficit in infrastructure but the need to deliver more roads, bridges and modern jetties to connect our cities and communities, improve our economy, accelerate our development and improve the general wellbeing of our people. This we will do with greater vigour and commitment,” he stressed.

Declaring his love for the state Wike said: “we will continue to prioritise their development for sustainable living with more social amenities, including paved roads, schools, health facilities, water and sanitation, electricity, land reclamation and preservation of their natural resources.”

“For too long, we have relied mostly on a single vanishing revenue source to fund our development. The reality is that we cannot continue in this economic folly lest we remain forever vulnerable to the ripples, uncertainties and miseries of the mono-product based national economy.”

He observed that apart from oil and gas, Rivers State also has a vast agricultural potential, which has remained largely untapped for decades saying it was about time “we embraced the green revolution as a strategic measure for achieving economic diversification, job creation and food security for the State and our people, and we are just ready to do that.”

He added “Our role in this regard will span from granting interest-free loans to providing training, land preparation and logistical support to our willing youths to invest in commercial agriculture and allied businesses.

“We will also establish regional agricultural development belts in partnership with private firms to advance commercial farming in cash and other crops and invest in the establishment of agro-allied industries and processing plants across these belts.

“We will complete and privatise the multi-million-naira cassava processing plant at Afam, sell off all State-owned farms and agricultural companies, including the Okomoko Rubber plantation and company, and release all idle State farmlands to private sector investors for commercial cultivation.

“We will revive the school-to-land programme and leverage on the incentives from the Federal Government and the Central Bank to promote and sustain the development of agriculture across the value chain by our youths so that they can proudly earn their living, be employers of labour and contribute to the development of the State.

Wike described youths as the most valuable human assets saying that their destiny shouldn’t be defined by their circumstances or station in life.

“We cannot, therefore, as parents, government or as a society, continue to make excuses for the difficulties that are stunting their hopes for a better life.

Let me, therefore, reassure our young ones that we care about you; we feel your despair and frustrations; the poverty and the violence that continue to chew meaning out of your existence.

But, we’ve got good news for all our youths this time around as we will dedicate much of the next four years to Youth Development by tackling the challenges that continue to keep you behind.

As a starting point, we’ve resolved to give our youths some significant positions in our government and provide viable economic opportunities to spark hopes of a better future in their eyes.”

“Let me also assure you that those who need education will get quality one; those who want life-skills will be trained; those who want to do business will continue to get our interest free loans; and those who have sporting talents will have quality sporting facilities and encouragement from us; and for those interested in making a career out of football, we have provided the Real Madrid Academy to prepare you for life-transforming professional footballing career at home and abroad.

On security, the governor regretted that the Federal Government politicised the provision of security in Rivers State and thus exposed it to preventable security challenges, setbacks and injuries in the last four years.

He said: “While they readily funded special security operations against intense banditry in some parts of the country, they refused our requests for similar interventions and operations when we wanted and even offered to bear the cost to stem increasing kidnapping and cult-related violence across the State.

What’s more, they have refused to accord adequate security attention to Rivers State in spite of the unprecedented support they receive from us in terms of provision of operational vehicles, armoured personnel carriers, gunboats, communication gazettes, fuel and overheads to the security agencies.”