Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has stated that Nigeria will only experience peace and development when the several lies affecting her functionality are dismantled.
He also called for immediate reforms where states are treated as federating units and not departments of the Federal Government.In his acceptance speech after receiving the award as the Sun Governor of the Year, 2016 in Lagos on Saturday night , Governor Wike said that all efforts must be targeted at inclusive governance, which will cater for all sections of the country.
He said: “There are too many lies in the Nigeria’s structural arrangement we must dismantle, including the over-concentration of absolute power and resources at the centre, in order to guarantee sustainable peace, good governance and development.
“For heaven’s sake, we must come to terms with the fact that States are federating units, not departments of the Federal Government. State Governors are elected by their people, and therefore superior in every respect to appointed officers of the federal government.
“It is a constitutional fiction to refer to Governors as Chief Security Officers. But, even at that, nobody can claim to be more concerned about insecurity in our States than the Governors.”
He said despite the challenges posed by the imbalances, he has worked deliberately to support security agencies and improve security in Rivers State.
The governor said: “In Rivers State, our administration treats security as number one priority. We have invested millions of naira to provide support for the security agencies, including patrol vehicles, communication and surveillance equipment, gunboats and other logistics.
“Even as I speak, we have procured six armoured personnel carriers to be delivered to the police force. You must also be aware of the two armoured helicopters partly funded by the previous administration, which we brought into the country and voluntarily offered to the Nigerian Air force to use in providing aerial security surveillance for the State.
“Unfortunately, our commitments and support for the security agencies, especially the Police and the DSS appear fruitless given the prevailing disenchantments over their poor operations and relationship with the government and our people.
“Worse still, the politicization of security agencies and services in Rivers State, which started with the frequent and impulsive replacement of Police and DSS bosses, is becoming entrenched and even taken to irrational levels.”
On his award, Governor Wike explained that he will remain committed to the delivery of quality projects and programmes across the state for the good of the people.
He noted that the successes recorded in road infrastructure, health infrastructure, security of lives and , education, empowerment, youth development, urban renewal and agriculture.
He said: “As a government, we refused the temptation to politicise project implementation. It is for this reason that we embarked on the ambitious completion of the projects abandoned by the previous administration provided they have direct bearing on the lives of our people.
“And because we recognized the direct relationship between the quality of infrastructure and the State’s growth potential, we completely insulated road construction from political considerations and ensured that all such contracts are given only to tested and reputable contractors.
” This policy saw the quick return of construction giants like Julius Berger, CCECC, Setraco, Dantata & Sawoe, Reynolds Construction Company, and others.
“It is also instructive to note that our infrastructure revolution is not limited to roads. We appreciate the essence of achieving holistic development of the State, which can be impeded without the simultaneous development of social infrastructure.
“Accordingly, we also rebuilding the schools to improve the quality of education and rehabilitating and re-equipping the general hospitals to enhance healthcare delivery. As I speak, 13 general hospitals are undergoing comprehensive rehabilitation while the Vice President on his recent visit flagged off the construction of senior doctors’ quarters at the State-owned Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital.”
Governor Wike added: “Also, we are constructing a world-class pleasure park to enhance tourism development, reconstructing the Bille/Bonny Jetty, completed and commissioned the Okrika Jetty to improve water transportation and providing potable water for some of our communities. In appreciation to God, we are building the Port Harcourt Ecumenical Centre to uplift the spiritual lives of our people.
“Rivers State is now a huge construction site and this is deliberate. In 2016, we spent not less than 60 per cent of our budget on capital projects. In 2017, we have increased it to 70 per cent to enable us deliver on our unmet needs for more social and economic infrastructure.”
While thanking the Sun Newspapers for the award, he assured that he will continue to perform in such a way that he will continue to win the award.
The Sun Governor of the Year Award was presented to Governor Wike by the Former Commonwealth Secretary General, Chief Emeka Anyaokwu who lauded the governor for his outstanding performance.
The award ceremony was attended by political and business leaders across the country.