TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE HELD AT THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION & COMMUNICATIONS BY THE HONOURABLE COMMISSIONER, CHRIS FINEBONE, ON MONDAY NOVEMBER 7, 2022
Gentlemen of the press,
With gratitude I welcome you all to this maiden press conference since I assumed office last Monday following my appointment as Honourable Commissioner for Information and Communications by His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, GSSRS, POS Africa.
I spent the last one week familiarizing myself with the personnel and processes in the office and you would agree that it was absolutely necessary and important I did that before meeting with you.
As the Fourth Estate of the Realm, the media remains our very important partners in the business of governance. Held together by the singular objective of continuous improvement in the welfare and living standard of the people, we believe that both the government and the media ideally should have a shared vision. This meeting is to re-examine and consolidate that vision.
It is important to remind us all that this government has a little less than 7 months to leave office. That means that the government has effectively started to wind down. However, since government is a continuum and the protection of lives and property is the onerous task of government, it means that we are bound to continue serving the people to the very last minute of this tenure.
I am pleased to inform you, as partners, that the head of government in the State, His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, rightfully charged us at our swearing into office to ensure that this administration ends strong. This means that our purpose and driving force remain to help the government to ultimately wind up on a high.
Part of the strong ending is to ensure that a properly planned and executed handover process of all government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) is done. This will be at variance with the zero handover by the last administration in the State in 2015. This government cannot afford to repeat the kind of chaotic situation deliberately masterminded at the time by that administration. Instead, this government will like to end strong and help the incoming administration benefit from the momentum of performance and organisation entrenched and bequeathed by the Wike administration.
To demonstrate that the government of His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, is committed to delivering the dividend of democracy to Rivers people, you would recall that the governor last week approved a whopping sum of 78 billion Naira for the payment of various ongoing and new landmark projects. This is unprecedented in our country! The truth remains that no other state government has done this before at the twilight of its tenure. But if you think the governor was done, you may need to hear this: in the coming days more specifically from the 14th instant, the state government will spend the next 17 days commissioning further landmark projects which include the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostic and Treatment Centre; Nabo Graham Douglas Campus, Nigerian Law School, Port Harcourt, amongst several other landmark projects. The detailed commissioning programme will soon be announced.
Government is aware of several plots by some elements of the opposition and their friends to distract and possibly cause disharmony in the government through all sorts of plots. The government will continue to uncover, deconstruct and render all such evil plots impotent to allow for continuous development of Rivers State without hindrance as being demonstrated by the Wike administration in the State.
Recently, there were attempts by some persons to deploy disinformation and misinformation to tarnish the image of the governor before Nigerians. It is important to state that if a friend decides to turn an enemy, he or she has voluntarily relinquished all privileges friendship brings. You cannot call off your friendship and still expect the largesse that arises out of that friendship to still be available to you. Who does that? Similarly, if a wife decides she will no longer remain in her marriage, tradition demands that such a wife and her family return the bride price. She cannot call off her marriage and still keep or wait to be told to return the bride price. No amount of propaganda can upturn this fact. When the friend of a system suddenly turns a foe, the system naturally activates its defensive mechanism to ensure its self preservation.
Governor Nyesom Wike is the head of the government of Rivers State until May 29, 2023. It will amount to gross shirking of responsibility for the government to sit and watch any passerby throw punches of mischief at him without adequate, and quite possibly, an overwhelming response. This warning has become necessary after observing certain feeble attempts to tarnish the government by attacking the head of the government.
Permit me to implore you all media practitioners that whereas your platforms may be available for constructive criticism of government, please do not lend them to individuals whose only agenda is to engage in destructive criticism, lies and gross misrepresentation of facts driven by unnecessary and unwarranted bitterness.
It remains the responsibility and core mandate of the Ministry of Information and Communications to jealously protect and adequately project the positive image of the State government at all times. This onerous duty covers members of the government from top to bottom. This we will continue to do to the best of our ability knowing that government is a creation of the people and it belongs to all.
I specially thank every one of you!
Honourable Commissioner for Information & Communications
7th November, 2022