By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze
Preamble. At every slightest opportunity given to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to stand before the microphone, the only gospel on his lips and which sinks deep into the hollow brains of his gullible and depraved followers is the sermon of talking down on his former boss and benefactor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi; painting him in every negative picture. It is based on these boastful, unwarranted and unguided utterances by one of the major beneficiaries of Amaech’s political ingenuity that necessitated the need for this brief reminder.
Follow me accordingly and judge for yourself if what Wike has been posturing and presenting are in order.
In October 2007, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, successfully sailed through the turbulent waters of legal mechanics and acrobatics and landed safely on Canaan side after the apex Court, in a landmark judgement, declared him governor of the oil-rich Niger/Delta state.
Upon assumption of office, Rotimi Amaechi embarked on a holistic overhaul of all critical sectors of the economy and his frantic efforts driven by the trailblazing desire to trigger a multi-sectored development translated into a massive fillip in public treasury and an improved standard of living for Rivers people.
Amaechi and His Feats in Rivers State
Captured below are some of his achievements as Rivers Governor:-
1.160 Model Primary Health Centres
Three years into his administration, health facilities and services were provided and made within the reach of Rivers people. Rotimi Amaechi built and furnished over 160 model Primary Health Centres. He upgraded facilities at the BMSH (now Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH)), reconstructed the Maxilo-Facial Hospital and constructed and furnished to taste, the Prof. Nimi Brigss Hospital at the former RSUST now Rivers State University.
If Amaechi was a rabble-rouser, imagine how many days it would take to commission 160 model health centers, going by one commissioning per day as is the case in Rivers State today. And imagine the billions of taxpayers money that would be wasted on mere project commission.
- 250 Model Primary Schools
Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi constructed and furnished 350 model Primary Schools with state-of-the-art facilities such as – ICT, sick bays, offices, libraries etc. Each school is fully air-conditioned with a standby power source and has the capacity to house 500 pupils. His administration ran a free and compulsory education policy backed by law and under his watch, every child enrolled in school was entitled to free school uniforms, footwear, books, bags, socks and other essential materials needed for learning.
Had Amaechi been a bag of loathsome garbage like the current occupier of that office, just imagine how many Governors, Ministers and other dignitaries that would be invited to commission 250 model schools, one per day. Commissioning primary school projects would have taken 250 days.
- ESI – Model Nursery Schools
Through the Empowerment Support Initiative, (ESI) a non-governmental organization and a pet-project of the wife of the then Rivers Governor, Dame Judith Amaechi, over 40 model nursery schools were built and completely furnished in different parts of Rivers State with free enrollment for every Rivers child.
- 24 Model Secondary Schools
Under Rt. Hon. Amaechi, 24 model Secondary Schools were built (one in each local government area) with the capacity to accommodate over 1000 students with the following facilities: modern laboratory, state-of-the-art library, full boarding facilities, spacious and well-equipped auditorium, sporting facilities, teachers quarters etc. Today, some of those secondary school campuses have been converted into satellite university campuses by the current administration.
- New Rivers State University of Science & Technology
His administration commenced the process and laid the foundation for a new Rivers State University of Science and Technology at the Greater Pot Harcourt area.
- Songhai Farm
Sufficiency in food production was one of the chief concerns of the Rotimi Amaechi-led state government. Over 150 young men and women of Rivers origin were sent on training at the Songhai Farm in Benin Republic and upon their return, a replica of the facility was established, i.e. the Songhai Farm located in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State with over 1000 workers in its workforce.
Unfortunately, under the current administration, that huge investment in agriculture has gone under and workers laid off.
- Oil Palm Estate & Banana Plantation
The government also built a 10, 000 hectares oil palm estate as well as a banana plantation through a Public Private Partnership project which provided jobs for hundreds of Rivers residents.
Again, under the current administration of Nyesom Wike, the banana farm has been consigned to history and workers thrown back into the labour market.
- Buguma Fish Farm
The Buguma Fish Farm is one commendable project of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi in the Agricultural sector. The farm had tens of Rivers people under its employ. Today, the farm is dead, fishes looted and workers rendered jobless sent home under Gov. Nyesom Wike.
- Empowerment (Fishermen)
Rotimi Amaechi provided fishing boats, nets and other necessary fishing tools for small farmers across the riverine communities and coastal areas in a bid to enhance household income and sufficiency in food production. Today, fishermen can only reminisce about the good old days of the Amaechi era.
- Floated a State-OwnedCompany
His administration floated a state-owned company – Treasure Energy Resources Limited. Active engagement in the oil and gas sector was the core ‘object’ of the company. Hundreds of jobs were created from this initiative. The government also established tank farms for the storage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas for domestic consumption in the state. Under Gov. Wike, the company has gone under.
- Improved Power Supply
Rt. Hon. Amaechi’s administration is known for many firsts: under his watch, Rivers State became the first state in the country to undertake an independent Power Production Initiative which translated into a massive power supply network with gas turbines in Omoku, Trans-Amadi and Eleme.
- Women Empowerment
The administration of Rotimi Amaechi organised the state first ever women summit, and as a result, a plan of action for women empowerment was drawn and implemented with thousands of widows across the 23 local government areas as primary beneficiaries.
- Support For Women In Transportation
Through the Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI), Rivers State government under Rt. Hon. Amaechi provided hundreds of taxis for women in a determination to enhance family income. Such initiative is unheard-of under the current Wike/PDP administration.
- Vocational Skills Acquisition
Women and young persons were trained in different skills and vocations such as: computer, carpentary & joinery, bricklaying & masonry, painting & decoration etc. This was made possible by the Rivers State Government through the Empowerment Support Innitiative (ESI). Alas! Such opportunities are afar off from Rivers people under Gov. Wike.
- Foreign & Local Scholarships
Through the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA), an interventionist agency, hundreds of Rivers Students were given scholarships on merit to study in different parts of the world and in Nigeria. This initiative was aimed at providing relevant manpower in different sectors of the nation’s economy. Unfortunately, Gov. Wike came onboard, and buried RSSDA, returned Rivers students in foreign scholarships but sent his children to study overseas with Rivers money.
- City Landscaping & Beautification
Under Chibuike Amaechi, the environment remained a major concern to the government and thus, the administration embarked on an aggressive greening program; landscaping, beautification, tree planting and flood management in erosion prone areas and watersheds.
- Waste to Wealth Project
The government of Chibuike Amaechi also gave thoughts to other projects relating to the environment which include inter alia; the waste to wealth (compost) project, scrap to wealth project, plastic recycling plant project. He also launched the state green book and carbon profiling scheme for the regulation of air pollution in the state. The grammar under this heading is even too hard for Wike and co to comprehend.
During his reign as governor, Rivers State was home to arts and culture. There was the Garden City Literary Festival and there was Caniriv – with activities lined up all through the month of December when it was usually held. Under Amaechi, Rivers was the place to be for tourists and for those looking for where to take a break.
- The Greater Port Harcourt City Project
The Greater Port Harcourt City Scheme is the brainchild of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi. Developed as a response to the congestion of the state capital, the new city spans from the Port Harcoury International Airport Junction across to Prof. Tam David West Road and extends to Igwuruta.
The new city houses the over 40, 000 capacity Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, another giant footprint of Chibuike Amaechi. The stadium is part of the facilities at the world class sports (Games) Village built by the Chibuike Amaechi led state government.
- Rivers Monorail
The Rivers State Monorail Project was the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa. Conceived to ease transportation in the city, the project was delimitated in phases with the final phase extending to the Greater Port Harcourt City. The first phase was over 95% completed with the speed train already installed before Amaechi left office.
Recall that under his watch as Governor, Port Harcourt was declared World Book Capital by UNESCO. This was possible because education gained paramount attention.
Amaechi built flyovers, employed 500 Doctors and gave them cars, employed 13,000 teachers to man primary and secondary schools and even non-indigenes resident in the state got the jobs. He built thousands of kilometers of roads in the nooks and crannies of Rivers State. He took development to the rural communities.
The list of projects executed under the golden administration of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi remains inexhaustible and unbeatable.
Rotimi Amaechi is a performer. Posterity will be kind to him.
Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt and can be reached on email@example.com