By Yemi Adebowale
He enjoys grandstanding and all the attention that comes with it. This man also does virtually everything to the extreme. That’s Nyesom Wike, the springy and tyrannical governor of Rivers State. Few weeks back, he gleefully announced that his government had decided to award contracts for two additional flyovers in Port Harcourt. When completed, it would be his administration’s 12th flyover in three years.
Wike celebrates his bizarre investment in flyovers, saying, “It has undeniably laid a solid foundation for sustainable growth of Rivers State.” He adds: “It will be record breaking in the history of this country that a state government is able to embark on 12 flyovers, not in eight years. You’ll remember these flyovers started in 2019, my second tenure. It is not that we started in 2015. For you to do 12 flyovers in four years, I don’t see who has broken that kind of record.”
A record? Certainly, a naughty one. It is so sad that this man called Wike equates development with massive construction of flyovers. So sad, he doesn’t understand the meaning of human capital development. While he is busy constructing his bogus and extremely expensive flyovers, thousands of youths of the state are roaming the streets unemployed. He is unperturbed about this crisis. Wike is not working to harness these human resources by motivating the creation of jobs. Instead, he is talking about building more flyovers. This governor seems to have forgotten that he promised to employ 10,000 teachers, to ease unemployment, during his campaigns in 2019. So, when is Wike engaging them? All his energy and resources are concentrated on building flyovers in Port Harcourt. Wike’s projects outside the Port Harcourt/Obio Akpor axis are insignificant.
While Wike is building flyovers in Port Harcourt, public hospitals, roads and public schools across the state continue to depreciate. What is going on in Rivers State is a misnomer. It’s a shame that 99.9 per cent of homes in this rich state have no access to something as basic as public water. I need to properly situate what constitutes growth. To attain development, projects must be inclusive and people-oriented. Government must touch the lives of the people directly with quality healthcare, housing, education, water supply and passable inner roads. Government must also provide opportunities, human capital development and social security. Unfortunately, Wike does not understand this and has decided to largely concentrate on splendor projects. This is why he is spending over N100 billion on flyovers.
In this same Rivers State, where flyovers will gulp about N100 billion, the state’s pensioners are struggling to survive due to huge unpaid annuities. In fact, payment of pension and gratuities stopped immediately Wike became governor. The pensioners said some of them had not received one kobo from the state government since 2015. That’s the situation in Wike’s Rivers State. It has been over seven years of pummeling hapless pensioners. This is man’s inhumanity to man. This garbage is happening in a state that has been spending billions of Naira on flyovers.
It is also depressing to note that Wike has also been erratic on payment of salaries and promotion arrears to civil servants. At a point, he ordered a junk biometric test, and deliberately created payment delays…