Wike’s Legacy on Good Governance
When you hear the name ‘Mr Projects’, what comes to mind? You can bet that such a person with the sobriquet is industrious, assiduous, dedicated and committed to his work. None other received this eponym than Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. He got this from the second-in-command of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo ( just to mention that they belong to opposing political parties).
This shows that Mr Wike’s work speaks volumes; just like the idiom, actions speak louder than words. But this extraordinariness didn’t begin the day he got the compliment or when he assumed his position as the governor. It dates as far back as 1999 when he was a local government chairman in local government. But before we delve into the tenure as the local government chairman, let’s have a sneak peek into the life of the unflagging ‘Mr Projects’.
Ezenwo Nyesom Wike CON, a Nigerian politician and attorney who was born on December 13, 1967, is the sixth and current governor of Rivers State. He is an Ikwerre, from Rumuepirikom in Obio-Akpor, River State. Wike attended Government Secondary School Eneka in Obiakpor, Rivers State, where he took his O’level exams. He thereafter furthered his studies at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUT), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree and then enrolled in law school in 1997. He also holds a Master of Arts in Political and Administrative Studies from RSUT.
His political career began as the Executive Chairman of the Obio-Akpor Local Government Area in Rivers when he entered politics in 1999. Wike held that position until 2007 when he was re-elected in 2003. In 2007, Rotimi Amaechi, the then governor of Rivers State, appointed him as his Chief of Staff. President Goodluck Jonathan appointed him as the Minister of State for Education in July 2011. He was elevated to Federal Minister of Education in September 2013. He resigned from his position as Federal Minister to run for governor of his home state, Rivers State, in the 2015 elections.
As the Local Government Chairman of Obio-Akpor, he was highly commended for the several projects he carried out within his constituency. Some of his duties included maintaining law and order, maintaining public institutions and infrastructure, construction and maintenance of trunk C roads, aside from state and federal roads, regulating economic policies, and the general welfare of the populace. His principal at that time, former Governor of Rivers State, Dr Peter Odili, constantly visited Obio-Akpor, where Nyesom Wike was the chairman, to commission various projects.
Gov. Nyesom Wike, according to Dr Peter Odili, was the best council chairman during his administration. He made this assertion at a celebration to mark his 74th birthday. Over the years, Wike has progressed from being a two-time local government chairman to being a Minister of Education and two-time governor-elect of Rivers state. And he has proven himself as the most charismatic, vivacious, forward-thinking, pragmatic, brave, and widely adored state governor in the nation.
Even though he inherited a Rivers State whose commercial economy had collapsed to alarming proportions and critical infrastructure across all sectors had generally deteriorated beyond palliative remediation. The previous government had dealt a devastating blow to the state through its poorly negotiated private-public sector investments, which quickly collapsed under the weight of never-ending legal disputes as the confidence of foreign investors plummeted to insignificant levels.
Under such crippling conditions, Governor Wike took over the reins of power, but he quickly embraced the new challenge with the firm, shrewd, and focused administrative routine we have come to admire over the last few years. The provision of historic, breathtaking, and practical developments have resulted in the amazing transformation of Rivers States’ landscape and atmosphere over the past years. According to Governor Wike, he aimed to give the people of Rivers only the best in quality projects, and his administration promised to safeguard the welfare and interests of every indigene of the state.
Quality projects necessitate meticulous planning, skilled handling, and many months of arduous work to ensure they are delivered on time and satisfy the people’s needs. This is what Governor Wike has successfully done with finesse. He accomplished this by enlisting the services of the best international and indigenous construction firms. It is no longer news that most of the legacy infrastructure projects are being handled by renowned world-class international and indigenous construction firms, with Julius Berger, the premier German construction consortium, at the top of the list.
Governor Wike’s administration has undoubtedly become associated with providing the people of Rivers State with high-quality projects. He has become a legendary example for his fearless commitment to always stand on the side of the Rivers people, protecting and defending their welfare. His benevolent spirit, particularly for the people of Rivers State, has been unparalleled.
Governor Wike has received media awards from reputable National and Continental Newspapers and other media establishments, including The Sun Newspaper, Independent Newspaper, African Leadership Magazine, United Kingdom, the Authority Newspaper, and Hallmark Newspaper, all of which conferred on him the illustrious awards of ‘Governor of the Year’ or as the ‘Best performing Governor in Nigeria’.
In addition, Silverbird Group awarded him the Extraordinary Personality of the Year Award in 2020. He also received the Daily Independent Newspapers Infrastructure Governor of the Year at the 2020 Awards. The Rivers State Governor recently received the Blueprint Newspapers Governor of the Year Award, alongside former President Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who received the Icon Award.
All of these honours echo the same sentiments about the excellence of Governor Wike’s developmental strides and achievements.