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Empty Speech-making In Rivers

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Our briefs are not based on sentiment and should not be a surprise to anybody. Not because I am Igbo, some Rivers indigenes should stop seeing through their nose the policies we are helping Rivers State with, through our numerous articles, as playing a war between Ebonyi, Abia, Imo, Enugu or Anambra States and Rivers State. But come to think of this, I wonder if these states in the South East are the only places where Igbo speaking people have villages and towns as their states of origin. No. Nonetheless, we are beyond such a dichotomist's crass mentality, as some people are wont to saying that I should go back to my state and leave their Rivers State alone for them. They wonder what we are so 'concerned' about in Rivers State. What they do not know is that from all the nooks and crannies of Rivers State (Government House inclusive), sound-minded Rivers indigenes and non-indigenes comparably, inform us that they value what we have been doing in helping the government, especially by pinpointing out issues that needed to be addressed.

Without mincing words, I lauded Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State voluptuously in the early hours of his leadership. That was when, like many other concerned residents of Rivers State and outside, I was fighting tirelessly to assist him gain ground, because we needed CHANGE in the state. (Remember his “K-leg” problem with the then Olusegun Obasanjo-led gorilla Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The records are there to substantiate my claim. Now that I feel he has gained the ground, it is the duty of any good friend to tell Amaechi-led government where it is erring and where it has navigated proper, and should not be myopic. It takes a good friend to look at his friend on the face and tell him or her where he or she is going wrong. But a bad friend will continue to eulogize, which will definitely be to the detriment of the friend. The later is one time when deifying becomes dangerous. I need to help Amaechi, and not be lionizing him and venerating him to his own disadvantage, while the citizens have become overnight mendicants, because of near syndrome leadership we have come to live with, in the state.

In the five South East states, there may not be an organization that is doing what we are doing to help Rivers State. We are CONCERNED about Rivers State because “the change we can see” should stop being bad roads, politically motivated bickering and tinkering during elections. We are concerned that the government and the people should be in harmony and not in hassles. We are concerned that the government should not be double-speaking and expertise on excuses. We are not saying that there are no so much going on right now in Rivers State, but let the people of today judge the positive impact of the “so much” on them and leave posterity out of this, because history could be re-written to favour the person who wrote it. Is it not better that we are telling Amaechi where we feel he should look at and improve on his governance, because we will not want to be praise-singers forever, who but become the first to condemn him when he will finally leave office?

Rivers State under Amaechi is supposed to surpass every other state in Nigeria, not just being The Treasure Base of the Nation in name, since he has boasted that he came to make a change. The state has achieved many developments only by mouthing, whereas some looked-down-upon states in Nigeria have left her behind in terms of infrastructure, just as America has gotten a hold behind Europe, yet Europe continues to mouth, and a few people are noticing this. This is what many people, especially some Rivers State indigenes, have not taken into cognizance. What they look for is one excuse or the other to oppose any progress like ours. It is high time people began to base their judgment on us on purpose and not on pictures they see on teevee and newspapers about the state.

How could they want us to believe that Amaechi is pretty exceptional, whereas he has not beaten the old Nigerian context, for us to give him distinction, as a governor believed to be doing something to make the people happy? The ebullient spirit he came with to work has died like the sunshine at dusk. Any doubt about this? And the hope of expediency to commend progress, he is now gasping to take breaths.

Tell us one thing people are happy with in this government! No need to pretend. Today, we are being forced with sugarcoated stories to see “the change we can see” in those structures and not possibly the actual cost and the positive effects on the common citizen. We can bet here that after Amaechi, these structures will also be under construction, because we have seen successive governments building roads and clinics that ended up as those constructed before they did.

It is better Amaechi realized the fact that his government has a maintenance and management problem without many systems that work to counter those problems. For example, majority of the roads in the state just got bad at a go, while the government is busy building where train will run in the air. What a pity!

Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV). Mobile: +2348032552855 (or) +2348057778358. Email: [email protected]

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Articles by Odimegwu Onwumere