Editorial: What will be Nyesom Wike’s legacies?

In Nyesom Wike second tenure, things are taking terrible shapes. This was not what the governor promised residents of the state during his inauguration on May 29.

First, boys wait for you to rob you once it is dark. At precisely 5 pm, people rush home to avoid the marauding SS3 boys. Every empty land in Port Harcourt and Obio-Akpor has now become homes to people running from conflicts in communities. In some of these shanties, you find as much as 100 persons living there.

Some of these shanties dwellers are retired civil servants who were evicted from their homes because they could not pay their rents. One, Mrs Iniete, in her 70s, said she worked in the government house and retired from there. Now she sells fish that no one wants to buy. While the politicians amassed wealth, she and others like her retired into poverty. Their children are out of school and have taken to crime because they could no longer feed them and take care of their needs.

She says she is tired of going through one biometric exercise to another. She is waiting for the day she would breathe has last while the state government she gave over three decades of her life fiddle with her benefits.

The shanties in Port Harcourt and Obio-Akpor are growing every minute. People pour in from communities daily; people who are running away from human-made conflicts. They were farming and fishing in the villages, but disputes have chased them to Port Harcourt town. They have become internally displaced persons in their state due to killings by “Unknown gunmen”. Many others are people who migrated from other states.

It is estimated that half of Port Harcourt’s one million residents live in slums. Not even GRA is exempted.

Obiri Ikwerre Bridge, the gateway into Port Harcourt, has been dark at night for over two months now. The once busy bridge has become a shadow of itself at night. Pockets of crime have increased there. Damaged portions of roads are now causing heavy traffic. From Rukpokwu to Rumuodara, Nkpolu to Eleme down to Etche. People spend hours on the road because of damaged portions that could be repaired in a few hours. If the governor had formed a cabinet, all these would have been taken care of.

While this paper shouted about Nkpolu junction, wrote series of editorials calling for government’s attention to the state of the road at Nkpolu, the former commissioner for Works, Dum Dekor who is now in the house of Representatives, went there and made bogus promises and left. Now, that portion of the East-West Road is impassable. Not only that, the Nkpolu junction road has led to the death of 5 persons. One was killed by a DSS officer last year, and during his burial this year, SARS killed four other people.

The garden city is now a garbage city. There is filth everywhere. RIWAMA is paid 500 million every month to keep Port Harcourt and Obio-Akpor dirty. It is only in Rivers State that specks of dirt are dumped on road medians.

Then the unleashing of thugs on business owners in Port Harcourt, Obio-Akpor, et cetera. At a business school in GRA, entrepreneurs were lamenting that they are susceptible to about 50 different taxes annually from official and unofficial agents. It is estimated that at least 100 businesses close down in PH monthly since this year. On Wednesday, drivers and thugs who came to tax them illegally engaged in a free for all at Mile 1.

What about human capital development? None. Giving people two thousand naira data to defend politicians on social media is not empowerment. The government said it would take agriculture seriously in order to create jobs, but where is the plan? The government is at best directionless. The former administration of Rotimi Amaechi spent billions building model schools in Etche, Khana and Kalabari-Ogbakiri Road. Wike’s administration allowed those schools to rot and decay away. Continuing from were Amaechi stopped does not make you less a man. Amaechi didn’t use his money to start those projects. It is Rivers people’s money. If you complete them, you are doing it for Rivers people and not Amaechi.

Every day, NDDC contractors and Rivers state government officials fight in a bid to stop NDDC from constructing roads. Who does that? If the governor had not refused to form a cabinet, ignorant civil servants wouldn’t be playing such games without him knowing about it.

A state run without direction should not be the payment for those who gave their lives fighting to have the governor re-elected. He has at best disappointed them by his outing so far.

Up till now, the governor has not said a word on the devastating pipeline explosion in Kom Kom, Oyigbo Local Government Area. At least 70 persons perished there. Why has the state government refused to bring assistance to the people of the area?

What will Wike’s legacies be?