18.6 C
Thursday, July 7, 2022

Amaechi’s unfinished tasks

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

An oil spill. Inset: Amaechi

CHUKWUDI AKASIKE writes that Governor Rotimi Amaechi needs to pay more attention to certain unfinished tasks

The year 2013 means different things to many people, especially the politicians who are occupying one position or the other. In Rivers, not much has been heard of Governor Rotimi Amaechi, concerning his next step after governing the state for eight years. While some conjecture that the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forummany seek a Senate slot after 2015, the Ikwerre-born politician had during an event in Port Harcourt, said he would go back to school.

From his first term in office till date, there is no doubt that a lot has been achieved in the areas of health, education, power, agriculture and roads. But more still needs to be done to ensure sustainable development in the state and give quality service to the people. The New Year is expected to offer an opportunity for the governor to look into sectors that appear not to have enjoyed adequate attention in the last few years of Amaechi’s governance.

The housing, water resources, transport and rural development sectors have hitherto not enjoyed the level of attention given to power, education, agriculture and health care. For example, the government’s housing scheme, which was expected to solve the housing needs of the residents, has yet to make an impact on the lives of the people as most civil servants spend huge amounts of money on accommodation. In Port Harcourt, a one-bedroom apartment goes for between N250,000 and N300,000 while a three-bedroom flat goes for between N500,000 and N750,000, depending on the area.

While shylock landlords have continued to hike the rent of some of the houses built nearly 30 years ago, the state government appears to be slow in dealing with the problem of outrageous rents.

In the area of water resources, a lot still needs to be done by the current administration as the absence of pipe-borne water in Port Harcourt, the state capital, has become worrisome. Since the state government promised to provide potable water, not much has been seen to be done to achieve this as Port Harcourt residents rely on boreholes for their drinking water.

For the transport sector, the commercial buses owned by the state government are old and fast depleting. There is the general opinion that the state government could do well to provide new buses for the people. Speaking on the governor’s unfinished projects in Rivers State, the acting National Chairman of the defunct African Renaissance Party, Chief Jackson Omenazu, agreed that though Amaechi had established many model secondary and primary schools across the state, it would be necessary for him to put them to use.

Omenazu observed that some of the model schools have yet to be operational, while some road projects need to be completed before the end of Amaechi’s tenure. He maintains that the governor’s promise on pipe-borne water should be fulfilled in 2013. He pointed out that Amaechi made a provision for employment and urged him to implement his approval on the recruitment of more Rivers people into the state civil service.

“The Port Harcourt environment should have pipe-borne water. We are aware that the state government has put in place some model primary and secondary schools and also health centres; some of these projects have not been put into use. The year 2013 is a progressive year and if the government does not put most of these projects into use, the purpose of establishing them may be defeated.

“We are happy that he (Amaechi) has promised to complete some of the ongoing road projects. Some of the governor’s aides are only working for themselves and not for the state and their principal. Commissioners, who are found to be sabotaging the interest of the government, should be removed if the governor wants to get it right in 2013. Again, the governor should be pragmatic in his spending and reduce the rate at which he travels so that he can have enough time to concentrate on governance,” Omenazu advised.

Also, a human rights activist and public analyst, Mr. David Ezekwe, says Amaechi has laid the foundation for the continued development of Rivers State. In Ezekwe’s view, the governor should ensure that most of the ongoing projects are completed in 2013.

He urged the governor to embrace the enthusiasm with which he governed the state during his first term in office and remove the remaining potholes and gullies on some of the roads, especially in Port Harcourt. According to him, youth empowerment, housing, security of lives and property and education should top the list of areas the governor should give more priority in 2013.

“There is no doubt that 2013 is a special year. By 2014, most of the governors, except the ones from Ondo, Edo and three other states, will either be fighting for a second term or to win elections into other elective positions. Some of the governors will see next year as a time to enlist their support for godsons, who would succeed them,” Ezekwe added.

The immediate Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, Mr. Celestine Mbere, expressed optimism that Amaechi would complete all ongoing projects before the end of his tenure.

“This government will definitely complete all ongoing projects. A lot has been done to ensure that Rivers State is on a steady growth. Though he (Amaechi) has slowed down in embarking on new projects, he is mopping up funds that will be used to complete ongoing projects. The governor will not hand over much burden to the person that will succeed him,” he said.  

But the former National Vice-Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, South-South sone, Chief Asukewe Iko-Awaji disagreed with the state PDP publicity secretary, maintaining that the Amaechi administration had not made any impact in the state. Iko-Awaji added that not all the model schools built by the state governor are functioning. He, however, challenged the governor to a debate on his (Amaechi) performance in the state since assuming office as a governor, even as the former ANPP chief urged the state chief executive to make an impact in 2013.

“If we have to be sincere to ourselves, the governor has not done well and a lot is expected from him. In Anambra, if the governor there builds one road, the government in Rivers State is expected to build two. Take a look at the model schools, some of them are not functioning yet and they cannot contain more pupils,” Iko-Awaji noted.

Reacting, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, explained that the people of the state had agreed that the current administration had surpassed their expectation in the area of providing infrastructural facilities. “We have completed 260 of the model schools and the children are going to school, taking their lessons and doing everything in a hundred of them. The model secondary schools have taken off and if you go to Eleme, you will see the children there.

“Ask the 300 children who have been going on scholarship every year and over 390 that have already graduated from the best schools in the UK, Canada and in Singapore if Amaechi has changed their lives,” the commissioner said. She added that with the free healthcare delivery in the state and the establishment of many health centres and model hospitals, the current administration had made an impact on the lives of the people of the state. The commissioner maintained that the governor would complete every project the administration had embarked on, including the Trans-Kalabari Road, which would cost N21bn. “The Ogoni-Andoni-Opobi-Nkoro Road will be completed before the end of the year,” she added.



- Advertisement -
Latest news
Related news