Every leader has his style. It is his style that sets him or her apart from others and this often determines how successful he could be in executing his vision. Raw determination to succeed is Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike’s middle name and it is easy to know. Look into his mindset, his past and his activities, and you won’t be wrong.
Governor Wike understands governance. He was executive chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Rivers State, twice, chief of staff, minister, and now governor. In all these positions, he wielded and still wields enormous influence.
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I always ask people to look at his budgets, which are always biased in favour of capital projects. Even at that, he made three key areas focal points: education, health, and works and housing. That is to say, he does not want to be ‘Jack of all trades and master of none.’ This is how great minds work: pick your battle, choose your style, strike. Even if many enemies confront a warrior, it pays better to choose some and strike than to attempt to face everybody at the same time.
If you look at these sectors, you would see the huge impact. This does not mean that other sectors were shut down. He has focused on the three areas hoping they would multiply and impact other areas. The appreciation by people is loud and far.
However, I feel very sad that a lot of people seem to forget where we met leadership, development and infrastructure in Rivers State. It is like a pregnant woman who gives birth and in about two years she is ready to go back to the maternity ward as if she has forgotten the pains of the last labour. We are not such people; we know what we met, we know what we have done, we know what next we want to do and where it would take Rivers State.
Thus, Governor Wike is reversing the ugly trend in infrastructure decay, touching places many did not believe he would touch. Who would believe that Governor Wike would touch projects started by his predecessor when his predecessor had a different mindset? He (Chibuike Amaechi) never touched anything that Governor Celestine Omehia started. That was why the mall on Aba Road remained abandoned; that is why Forces Avenue Road in Old GRA has not been touched.
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Many may argue that some Omehia projects, such as Eleme Flyover, Mile 1 Market Phase A, Agip Flyover, etc, were completed by Amaechi, but Omehia paid for them ahead. They, therefore, became impossible to reverse.
So, leadership requires you to do things distinctively well and in your own way to get particular results. The common saying is: you cannot be doing the same thing and expect a different result, but here we do the same thing and expect different results. No, here, we do different things to expect different results. Check out the quality of contractors from day one. It tells you that, yes, inasmuch as we would try to help the local hands, we will not compromise quality and world standards. That is why you now see construction giants, such as Julius Berger, CCECC of China, Rauffaul, etc, doing projects. Then, go and check the quality of jobs out there; they are top-class.
Look at the schools in Rivers State! If the photos of decay were not shown, who would believe that in this 21st century those kinds of schools still existed in Rivers State? Yes, new ones were built but priorities were not well set. You do not allow old schools and hospitals serving multitudes to rot away while you start many others that would not be ready soon to take over. At the end, neither the new nor the old was useful. That was a disaster in planning.
On the national turf, Governor Wike carries burdens for Nigeria: conferences, sports, etc, as well as laundering the nation’s image. Look at the African Wrestling Championship; the Super Eagles were playing matches in Port Harcourt at our cost. The wrestling championship was staged here in Port Harcourt, not because the state is APC but because it is Nigeria that takes the credit.
Look at the security agencies here in Rivers State. They are full of praise for the support they receive from Governor Wike. Even when we had infractions with a section of the police, the governor never ceased funding the police. He is not petty. That is how he sees leadership. When it is politicking, he politicks, when it is governance, he governs effectively. That is why he stands tall today.
Nigerians are not unappreciative. When you do well, they acknowledge it. Look at awards all over the place, nationally and internationally. I can beat my chest and tell you that not one was solicited. Of course, you know the governor well; you dare not open your mouth and suggest an award. He would tell you that you want to make money out of him. We are even turning back awards from organisations. People say this governor is commissioning projects; he is flagging off new ones, etc. People are talking. When they open the pages of newspapers, they see the same things they see on television and the various other media platforms. They know that this man is cut out to make a difference in this state. The awards are from the heart.
That is where we are. I am sure a lot of people will not be in a hurry to forget how certain roads were in this state. For instance, what are you going to tell the Omuma people? I won’t forget the day we went to flag-off a road called Douglas Road in Omuma LGA, which was opened during the colonial era. Since that time, not a drop of tar has been put on that road. It remained a laterite road since the time of the colonial masters, yet we had administrations that got N30 billion per month but would not touch such roads. So, when Governor Wike goes to touch such roads, how do you expect the people to feel about him? That is why anywhere he goes, the people turn out in a thunderous way in applause, wanting to appreciate, commend, and thank him. He cannot freely go to the markets now because they would fall over him. This is because they cannot believe the kind of things they are seeing.
Go to Mile 1 Market and see. Who would believe what is going on there now? That market was burnt in 2013, and there was a government here. If you want to boost the economy of the poor, you boost their major source of income; market is one such. It is one of the biggest infrastructures. If you construct a market, you can count on the number of people you have removed from hardship and mouths you can feed. So, if you can’t take care of a market, you can as well go home and tell the people that you cannot govern Rivers State.
After the Rumuokoro Market that is world class, look at what he is doing in Mile 1, Creek Road, Bille Jetty Waterside. These are infrastructures that should have been taken care of before now, when Rivers State had money. If those things, especially roads in Port Harcourt and Obio/ Akpor, had been taken care of when Rivers State had money, there is no way Governor Wike would have come back to tar a road that had been tarred. He would have faced other areas.
Look at what is happening in Saakpenwa-Bori Road. Look at Bodo General Hospital. Look at BMGS, KNC Buguma, Nyemoni Grammar School, Abonnema, etc. The Wike government is building schools n Ahoada, Ogu, Abua, Ubima and many other places. He is everywhere.
Governor Wike has done well. He has style, which produces desirable results. When he assumed office, there was hostility, no handover, no previous policy direction, no funds to start, many unpaid bills, especially salaries and pensions. He was not deterred. He hit the ground running. He convinced the people that he could do it and make a lot of difference. He did it. And the result shows.
Today, he is winning more supporters every day. It is the product of success.