“We allow people without character, without proven competence to run around, saying that they want to be governor, they want to occupy public political offices. People that should never be allowed anywhere near power, are running around, wanting to decide the future of our already beleaguered people”.
My fellow Rivers people,
There was a time in our beloved Rivers State when our society was very caring, when the institutions of state were strong and supported the aspirations of citizens. Helping them to realize their dreams.
Public schools were functional at all levels and were largely accessible. Public healthcare system worked at the urban and suburban levels. Port Harcourt had a functional public water supply network.
There was a time when the Trans-Amadi Industrial Area was a beehive of activities and created lots of jobs. These were beside the unprecedented liberal scholarship scheme, the security of lives and property and the strong parental and community control, over deviant tendencies among the youth.
There was massive infrastructural development and Rivers State was the envy of Nigerians.
Yes! Children went to public primary and secondary schools. They went to public university and became lawyers, doctors, engineers, historians, social scientists etc.
Parents didn’t have to be rich for their children to go to school, have good education and become responsible persons in society. That was in the 70s and 80s.
But those of us who live in our state today and those who grew up in the state in the last twenty-three years, since 1999, are faced with a different experience. Rivers State is now a shadow of its glorious past. The institutional framework that held society together and supported the citizenry has since given way.
Like the late afrobeat king, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti said “everything is upside down”. Our people are now exposed to the vagaries of life, unsupported.
Today, a large percentage of our children are out of school. The number of street children is increasing. The elderly are uncared for. There is gross unemployment and underemployment. Civil servants are not promoted. The State Secretariat Complex is let to rot. Retirees are not paid pensions and gratuities. Our health system is priced beyond the reach of the average person.
Our people groan under the weight of high house rent, many live in temporary shelters and some don’t even have anywhere to lay their heads. Parents watch their children go to bed hungry, they watch their children cry and point at akara and bread vendors.
Things have fallen seriously apart in the lives of our people. Our garden city has become a garbage city. Safety of life and property is no more guaranteed. Poverty, hunger, crime and insecurity now define us as a people. Life has never been this harrowing. Life has never been this low.
But in the midst of the failure of the structures of governance, in the midst of the near total collapse of the institutional support system, in the midst of the insensitivity of the political leadership, our people are strangely silent.
We allow people without character, without proven competence to run around, saying that they want to be governor, they want to occupy public political offices. People that should never be allowed anywhere near power, are running around, wanting to decide the future of our already beleaguered people.
Guess what! We are busy complaining without doing anything.
Persons who live amongst us and whose antecedence we know very well, are running all over the place, hiding inside the so-called big political parties, doing everything to ensure that they get power and continue to enslave our people.
Yet our people, the very victims, are clapping and cheering them on.
Our elites have thrown their consciences away, enjoying at the expense of the people.
Street children are increasing every day and it’s not an issue. We see them on the streets and simply move on.
Retirees are dying without receiving their entitlements and it’s not an issues. We simply look out for yet another bad news. We move on.
People are kidnapped and some even killed, cult fights occur here and there and it’s not an issue. We simply move on and pray that we don’t become victims.
What kind of people are we?
We sit the whole day complaining about how things are not working. But we do nothing. We instead fight ourselves on social media in support of the same politicians who brought this calamity on us.
By doing nothing, we are enslaving not only ourselves but our children, our grandchildren and our great grandchildren. We are allowing people who should ordinarily have nothing to do with governance to determine the future of our people.
This is the time to stop and think!
This is the time to sit down for a moment and ask ourselves how we got into this dilemma. This is the time to ponder why our people are going through all these. It is the time to make our situation an election issue.
Yes! It’s time to make our situation an election issue.
This is the time to come together and say enough is enough.
It’s time to put our hope and faith into action.
With hope and determination, Rivers State can reclaim the dreams of our founding fathers. The institutional structures that guaranteed the wellbeing of all can be reinstated despite these years of neglect.
This is the time for an elite consensus to stem the drift and redeem our state.
This is the time to stop and think!
It’s time to get involved!
Now is the time to act!