2023: LET US GIVE WIKE A CHANCE! – By Dan Amor

Experienced, honed and a consummate player, H. E. Barr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, CON set sail from the word go, with a legitimate vision: “To build a State that is truly United, secure and prosperous with boundless opportunities for everyone who lives in it to peacefully pursue their goals and realise their full potentials in dignity and happiness.” On the face value, this appears a tough call. Indeed, it is, and has indubitably brought out the best in him.

Since assumption of office on May 29, 2015, as the sixth democratically elected governor of Rivers State, Wike has dwelt on his large vision and totally devoted himself to the total transformation of the state and well-being of his people. This is informed by a deep belief and conviction that what affects Rivers State affects South South and Nigeria – for good or ill. A renowned lawyer with a distinguished career, Governor Nyesom Wike has brought his savvy courtroom skills and persuasive powers to bear on the management of the state.

Anchored on 14 critical governance fronts, Wike has indeed, redefined what administration ought to mean in a human development-hungry milieu, in a third world country. Some of the critical sectors under reference include: Citizens Engagement, Agriculture, Economy, Land Administration Reforms, Education, Environmental Protection, Healthcare, Housing Development, Judiciary, Road/Transformation Infrastructure, Power, Security, Water and Waste Management.

Specific development data often glossed over by many of his peers affirm the passion, sincerity, focus and discipline of the man, especially coming on board at a critical period in the history of the state administration and major changes on the political chess board of the nation. Hitting the ground sprinting, Wike quickly reopened Rivers State courts for business and restored public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.

He restored the state’s fiscal integrity by clearing the arrears of salaries owed to workers and pensioners and simultaneously launched to rehabilitate, reconstruct and expand the state’s broken infrastructure. Indeed, since he assumed office in 2015, Wike has turned Rivers State to a construction site.

In fact, a particularly novel approach to governance is his inclusivity and citizen engagement strategy which ensures that government decisions are guided by the knowledge, experience, views and values of the citizens. Between 2015 and now, a period of about six and a half years, Wike has injected over 60 per cent of the state’s income in capital projects to the funding of roads and other critical infrastructure. It is unprecedented in the history of state administration in Nigeria.

His Excellency’s investments in education, reform in land administration, environmental protection agenda, healthcare footing, housing development, and strengthening of the state judiciary, speak to his passion-driven energy and sense of urgency. Within the period under review, his administration has rehabilitated and reconstructed numerous roads. He has canalized all dangerous proclivities in the state including the 150 year old Opobo community which he recently gave a befitting road, the first since their origin.

In the area of security, Governor Wike has ensured the amendment of Rivers State Kidnap Prohibition Law N0. 3 of 2009, to provide additional penalties including confiscation of assets derived from kidnapping and other related heinous activities and instituted a cash reward for any person that gives useful information to the arrest and prosecution of kidnappers, armed robbers and other homicidal criminals in the state.

He also procured and distributed many patrol vehicles fitted with communication gadgets to security agencies. This has enhanced their operations considerably. On water/power provision, sport development, and waste disposal, Wike has excelled, abinitio. It is against this backdrop that we at THIS NIGERIA present this courageous and ebullient man, an outstanding lawyer and exemplary administrator, an astute politician with nobility of outlook and a five-star performer, whose place in history is doubly assured, as our star Awardee for 2021. It is not about his political party. But Wike has the capacity to return Nigeria to the status quo before Buhari came in 2015. He can banish insecurity, poverty and hunger from Nigeria.

Born on December 13, 1967, to the family of Reverend & Mrs. Nlemanya of Rumuepirikom Community in Rivers State, Wike is a grassroots politician. He holds degrees in Political and Administrative Studies as well as Law. After a brief stint with private legal practice, he was elected twice as the Executive Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area. He served his two terms in office from 1999 to 2002 and from 2004 to 2007, when he distinguished himself as the best Local Government Chairman in Rivers State. He also served as Deputy President of Association of Local Governments in Nigeria, ALGON in 2004. He also became ALGON National President and represented Africa as a member of the Executive Committee of Commonwealth Local Governments Forum.

Between October 2007 and May 2011, Barrister Wike served as the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt before his appointment as Honourable Minister of State for Education in July 2011. In September 2013, he was appointed Supervising Minister for Education. A holder of several traditional Chieftaincy titles, Chief (Barr.) E. N. Wike is happily married to Justice (Mrs.) Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike, a High Court Judge with the Rivers State Judiciary, and the marriage is blessed with three wonderful children: Jordan, Joaquin, and Jazmyne. Wike is a wonder-boy who can turn Nigeria around. Let us give him the chance to be our president.

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