‘Amaechi transforming Rivers’

Source: REMI ADEFULU - sunnewsonline.com

Chief (Mrs) Oby Ndukwe was one of those who toiled with the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, while the legal battle to reclaim his mandate lasted .

Today, looking at the transformation that the state has witnessed with Amaechi in the saddle, Ndukwe is happy that the governor has not disappointed his followers.

'For me, Governor Rotimi Amaechi within a short period, less than two years in office has done creditably well. I have always said he has laid the foundat)on for a new Rivers State, where basic infrastructure is being provided and the state capital itself is beginning to come back to life.

Without even being told, you are here in Port Harcourt, so you can see what is really going on, even though it may be difficult for you to really go round. I can assure you that if you take your time, within two days, you will see that there is something that probably the people have not seen in the last 20 years or more. So many roads are being constructed, so many are being rehabilitated, so many are being maintained . You can see the Eleme flyover, you can see the AndOni-Opobo-Ogoni Unity Road, you can see the Trans Kalabari Road. You can see the flyover around Agip roundabout. These are mega projects. Of course, even internal roads linking up the place because of the traffic situation.

The influx of people into the state everyday is a confirmation that the economy is vibrant. . It is a confirrmation that people are coming here in search of greener pastures, which means that Governor Amaechi is doing well. The truth is that the population is increasing everyday, people are rushing into Port Harcourt, contrary to what some section of the media report. I think that is why the governor has embarked on the Greater Port Harcourt City Project, so that he can decongest Port Harcourt City, open up some of the local government areas close to the city, so that people can do things there. They may not really need to come into the main town to do their business'.

While enduring infrastructures are being put in place, Ndukwe disclosed to Saturday Sun that the governor is not unmindful of the need to give sound education to the teeming youth and also inject life into the health sector

'In the area of education, Governor Amaechi is building over 250 primary schools and some other schools. From what he is doing, I am sure, some of those in the business of private schools will run out of business very soon because confidence is going to be restored in the public schools.

This is what the government is doing. First of all, let us address the infrastructure to make them comfortable. They contain everything even the very big private schools don't have. The teachers are going to be trained and retrained, good teachers who have degrees. Even the curriculum they are going to use will be such that can compete with any private school in any part of the world.

In health, I can tell you that there is no local government without one or two health centers being constructed now and the good thing about what Amaechi is doing is that even at the councils level, they are also trying to copy what he is doing at the state level so you find out that there are three to four health centers. Some are being constructed by the state government and some by the councils. Some of our hospitals are well-equipped that people don't have to travel abroad anymore.

This is aside the new hospital that is coming, the one that is in partnership with a foreign partner. If you look at the design, the structure, it is a five-star thing. People can come for treatment there worldwide. Ours is a passion to really give the best out to the people.'

The resolve of the Rivers State administration to ban the use of commercial bike, Okada was initially greeted with indignation by the people and the okada riders. But today, they have come to terms with the government position and the initiative to improve on the transport situation in the state

'In the transport section, he had to ban the use of okada, though a lot of people kicked against it. May be before the ban, he should have provided an alternative means of transportation so that the effect will not be too much on the people. But don't forget that we have a challenge in the state, which is security, not just in the state, but the entire Niger-Delta region.

The government did its study and found out that most of the okada operators aide and abet crime. It's not about militancy, we are not talking about criminality. So, the government said okada for now you remain banned and encourage private investors. Now, Skye Bank is doing something with the Ministry of Transportation, to bring in more taxis, more buses. It has helped to reduce the security problem in the state. Even Imo, Enugu and some other states have followed suit. Now, most visitors who come to the state don't want to go again'.

Ndukwe told Saturday Sun that while Amaechi would not want to be distracted with scheming over second term, she is hopeful that the governor impressive performance would secure the second term ticket for him, in spite of rantings even from opposition flank within PDP.

'Well, when you say power brokers, what makes somebody a power broker? It is when you have power. When you are in control of power. When you are out of power, you aren't a power broker. We are not ruling out the fact that somebody who was once in power can't influence certain things, but don't rule out the fact that the power of incumbency also matters.

You can't be outside and fight a battle. I can tell you that Rivers PDP has no problem, though a few people may be on the other side. What is going to give Amaechi 2011 ticket is what he has done as serving governor. If he had 50 per cent support before he become governor, today he has 90 per cent because of what he has done and what he is doing. The Amaechi administration resolve to deal decisively with kidnappers has been lauded by the people. Ndukwe aligns herself with this, submitting that no responsible government would leave its people at the mercy of criiinals

'The truth is that anybody who engages in such crime must be seen to be heartless and will be treated as such. If the milit`ants are truly fighting for juspice, they should see that the struggle has been hijacked by criminals. So, it is also their responsibility to protect what they have. Let them first chase away the criminals and now come to talk to government. No responsible government will fold its arms and watch criminals take over a city. You fight crime with force'.