For better part of the years 2009 into 2010, Port Harcourt the Rivers State capital provided me the much needed sanctuary when the operatives of Imo State government were after me. Because these operatives were consistently on my tail, I was mostly holed up in private outfits only coming out at night. These night outings provided me the opportunity to voyage into the garden city a town I left in 1988 after graduating from University of Portharcourt. What I saw in the those quick tour of Port-Harcourt and its environs reminds one of the saying of Napoleon Hill which states that “whatever the mind can conceive and believe that it can achieve with utmost ease, Indeed, Mr Amaechi’s concept of a working Rivers State has today transformed a once slum environment into a city of reference the first time since its creation in 1967. Interestingly, Mr. Amaechi’s transformation of Rivers State is not a happen stance, rather it came through planned voyage, uncommon and painstaking strategies only known to bookmakers. This is salutary especially because men and women who desire to make the difference in the life of their people are consistently confronted with thorns and thistles laid by men which only the brave and courageous can dismantle. In the area of road Construction for instance the ambitious programme of the Amaechi administration has seen the opening and dualisation of several roads like Elikahia, Rumuola, Ikwerre roads as well as the expansion of popular Aba Road. That’s not all, the crushing of shanties and squalors which dotted the streets of Port Harcourt and its environs have also attempted a regain of the garden city almost to what it is used to be in the 50’s and 60’s. Instructively, Port-Harcourt is not only the beneficiary of the road expansion network, mini cities like Ahoada, Buguma, Okrika, Elele, Eleme including its environs have also had their fair share of road transformation in the last three years. Aside Road network, other infrastructure like water and Light projects are also commanding the attention of the youthful Governor. Perhaps an area that the Amaechi administration must be applauded is that of Resource optimization which had seen the administration utilize all available resource optimally and for the benefit of the citizenry while also plugging leaking holes. To date all earnings accruing to Rivers state including investments and Liabilities are public knowledge while white elephant projects which gulps money unnecessarily have all been yanked off the shelf, saving Millions of Naira. The internally generated revenue which has seen better figures and proper accounting lately is one more achievement the Amaechi administration enthroned to make Rivers state self sustaining and less dependent on Federal allocation. Observes also say the greatest achievement of the Amaechi administration is in the area of crime control and enthronement of safety modules. Today the state is safe both to blacks and white, Christian and Moslems while the issue of cult group activities and kidnappings are almost becoming a thing of the past while Investors and certain grades of workers who left the state in the wake of militant and criminal activities then are trooping back, the private sector economy is booming again especially in the area of oil and gas and mechanized agriculture. Undoubtedly, the improved private sector economy has opened up job opportunities for youths who hitherto got themselves mined in the kidnapping ring, that’s not all, the less endowed among the ex-cultists have been fully integrated, at Aluu near Port-Harcourt where they will be trained in various skills. His zero corruption stance another feat of the Amaechi administration has made people in government respect public money, what we now have is an era where there is no free money to dole out to patrons. Aside the gains recorded in checking corruption, Anti graft agencies like EFCC, ICPC, Code of Conduct are all excited that the man in Rivers State is leaving above board, something that is alien in Nigerian political class. But the beauty of his anti-corruption stance is that it is not restricted to the office of the Governor but has also trickled down to other two levels of Government including of course the organized private sector. Not also forgotten as an achievement of the Amaechi administration is the general sense of belonging given to people from several tribes who have made Rivers State their home even before Nigeria gained independence in 1960. It is difficult as I write to know who is Ibo, Efik, Ikwerre, Ibibio, Kalabiri, Yoruba or Hausa in Rivers State. Apart from the above, these people have unfettered access to the Governor and several Government officials even as they are non indigenes. In this area therefore, the Amaechi’s administration have scored first as one detribalized administration which sees no black or white, no Ibo or Yoruba but a people bound by collective will to improve their environment under a non discriminating principal. Also public governance especially as regards to co-operation of the three arms of government have also is taken as a serious issue by the Amaechi government thus rather deploy state resources to buy support of the legislature as is the case elsewhere, the administration rather uses the policy of co-operation and not confrontation and most times that of seamless assimilation all aimed at providing good governance in the garden city. Already several Rivers people rich and poor, young or old educated or illiterate have continued to salute the gubernatorial skills of Mr Amaechi describing his government as one whose time has indeed come. One of them Dr. Long John Emmanuel described the government as God ordained. “We are once again having the best of our time with the Amaechi administration yes the last we had something like this was during the Alfred Diette Spiff administration some forty years ago”. A repented critic of government Hon. Nyeche Godwin revealed that he and other Rivers professionals initially dismissed the Amaechi government as a continuation of the previous administration but we now know better. “He is indeed an epitome of hard work, bravery, courage and determination to succeed where others failed. I want Rivers people to encourage and support this man because he means well”. Analysts say those who are at loss as to the transformation of Rivers State since 2007 that Mr. Amaechi took power would do well to take a second look at his inaugural speech after his swearing in. Hear him, “I will serve you with humility and above all with fear of God, I will listen to your opinion and will be guided by your views and together we will make Rivers State great again”. Needless to say here that the average Rivers man including unrepentant critics and opponents are now agreed that indeed Mr. Chibuike Amaechi has achieved a Q1 performance as Governor and therefore deserves extra years to sustain the good work started in 2007. The ball therefore is in the Court of Rivers people and indeed others who live or work in the oil state to take advantage of their sovereignty come 2011 and sustain the good things that has now taken root in Rivers state in the last three years. We need not say more.
Maximus Uba Publishes Weekend Mail Newspapers in Abuja.