By Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze

The Rivers State Social Development Institute (SDI) located at Okehi in Etche Local Government of Rivers State on Thursday, 23rd September, 2010 held the graduation ceremony of the second batch of repentant militant beneficiaries of the rehabilitative efforts of the state government. The state governor Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi who was special guest at the occasion received an unexpected surprise at the occasion when in his speech, the best behaved student in the batch Mr. Iyalla Jack on behalf of the graduating students, announced their unanimous decision to formally endorse Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi as the preferred candidate in the 2011 gubernatorial election and used the opportunity to urge him to go for a second term in appreciation of his commitment to developing Rivers State and for also embracing wholeheartedly the rehabilitation of the repentant militants and by so doing giving them hope that a new lease of life is possible regardless of their deviant past.

In his speech, Governor Chibuike Amaechi whilst expressing his appreciation for such a vote of confidence by the graduates used the opportunity to reiterate his administration's commitment to ensuring that the state remains an enabling environment for all and sundry. He also urged them to put to good use the training they had acquired while in the Institute and shirks any form of criminality as the law will not spare anybody who runs foul of it. He reminded the gathering that during the graduation of the first batch of repented militants there was no building to host the event, but he was happy to note that the hall that was earmarked for construction at the end of the first event was completed ahead of the graduation ceremony of yesterday, which in itself confirms the premium his administration places on the growth and development of youths especially the reintegration of the graduates back into the main stream of society.

The governor also commended the activities of the institute and expressed his admiration of the vocational expertise of the graduates which were on display. He used the opportunity to also announce an increase in the annual budget of the Chief Albert Horsfall led committee from N500M to N1B to make room for further infrastructural and human capital development.

Chief A. U Ake, State Chairman of PDP, Hon. Daemikunyai Akpanah, member representing Akuku Toru/Asari Toru Federal House of Representatives, Prince Tonye Princewill, members of the State House of Assembly and the State Exco members were among those that accompanied the Governor to the event. Chief A.U. Ake and Prince Tonye Princewill distributed awards to some of the outstanding students at the event.

Chief A. K. Horsfall the Chairman of the Social Rehabilitation Committee in his remarks commended the Governor for his initiative in this regard as this formed the model through which the Federal Government derived its current rehabilitation programs for the militants at Obudu in Cross Rivers State. “We as a committee can proudly say that we have been able through the Social Development Institute at Okehi turn around the infrastructural components of an abandoned local Teachers Training College (CTC) in the middle of what looked like a thick forest and successfully turned it into a vibrant a institution and in the process improved the Okehi landscape and environment. We have also turned around the lifestyle of about 600 former militants, cultists, etc who we are confident will remain useful well-behaved, potentially responsible citizens of this country and indigenes of this State. But by and large within the space of just over one year we have been able to produce approximately 600 youths, male and female and turned them out into the mainstream of the economy by making them employable and thereby adding more skilled manpower not only for local economy of Rivers State but beyond the State itself.”

Before the Okehi event, Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi met with Prince Tonye Princewill and his political associates in the Government House in Port Harcourt where he formally received Princewill and his associates into the Rivers State PDP family. He expressed joy that Prince Tonye Princewill and his associates have taken a very wise step in joining PDP at this time ensuring that the party will provide a level playing ground for him and his supporters. The State Chairman of PDP Chief A. U Ake in his remarks stated that the Prince foray into PDP signified the collapse of the opposition in the state.

Prince Tonye Princewill in his remarks stated that in he and his associates will do everything possible to contribute their quote in building a vibrant and virile PDP in the State. Those formally accepted back into the PDP fold include Dr. Davies Ikanya, Commissioner for Special Duties and the State Chairman of the Princewill Political Associates; Bar Osima Ginah, Commissioner for Urban Development and Secretary of PPA, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, LG Coordinators and thousands of other supporters.

Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,
Media Consultant, PPA.