As the state celebrates its golden jubilee, Governor Wike outlines his vision for a future that aims to consolidate the gains of the past and make up for lost opportunities
While unveiling the Golden Jubilee logo, Governor Nyesom Wike captured the essence of the Rivers at 50 celebrations, saying: “Over the past 50 years, we have travelled quite a marvellous journey. We have made significant progress, no doubt, but we have also made mistakes and lost valuable opportunities. However, this Golden Jubilee inspires a new direction to build a prosperous state we can all be proud of. This is the spirit of the new vision.”
As a state possessing the second largest economy in the country after Lagos and with plenty of prospects for further expansion, there was a great deal to not only celebrate but also to look forward to, he added.
One of the high points of the Rivers State Golden Jubilee Celebration has been the launch of the 50-year strategic economic and social development plan for the state that aims to consolidate the gains of the different programmes and projects implemented by successive administrations.
Its framework has been approved by the State Executive Council and a committee has been established to drive the process forward with a series of public meetings at which all stakeholders will have the opportunity to make a contribution.
During his speech the governor also talked about the Golden Jubilee Projects his administration was planning. He said: “The state government is set to execute a number of landmark projects throughout the year to commemorate the Golden Jubilee, advance the promise of economic independence and improve access to public services as we set forth on new pathways to create an unimaginable future of peace, unity and prosperity for our state.”
The government has already commissioned a number of projects spread across the three senatorial districts of the state.
A mini-investment summit, titled Corporate Rivers, also forms part of the Rivers at 50 celebrations and will bring together development and economic experts and other stakeholders under the umbrella of the New Rivers Vision Development Blueprint.
Meanwhile, Governor Wike is pressing ahead with the promise he made on his election two years ago of a new beginning for the state. Despite its oil and gas-based economy, the capital Port Harcourt and its environs have never enjoyed a functional public water supply. That is about to change with the conclusion of the preliminary process for the Port Harcourt Water Supply and Sanitation Project, a joint venture between the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the Rivers State government, which will construct a water supply network across the capital and the Obio and Akpor local government areas. Since last year, project management consultants Rambol Environ of Denmark have been laying down the groundwork and training critical technical personnel.
The governor is also aware that the state’s development agencies need to be reinvigorated. They include the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency, Rivers State Micro-finance Agency , Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, the Housing and Property Development Authority, and Rivers State Agricultural Development Programme. It is agreed that they all have to go beyond politics if they are able to cope with the challenges of the next 50 years, extending their frontiers to make way for new investment opportunities offered by international donor and development agencies.
Governor Wike added: “Even as we are all excited by this milestone, we must also not forget that the Golden Jubilee presents both opportunity and challenge; an opportunity to celebrate our proud heritage and the challenge to harness our vast resources to fully realise our potential to be the best in Nigeria and secure enduring progress and wellbeing for our people.”