The successful launch of the clean-up exercise of Ogoni land on Thursday at Bodo City by President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo brings to the fore, Governor Wike’s political and social engineering skills.
That event highlighted why majority of the people of Rivers State voted for Governor Wike to pilot the affairs of the state and steer it on the path of development. That event was a complete departure from the drama of the recent past when the immediate past administration used State Government resources to fight the Federal Government, irrespective of the project or programme initiated to improve the lives of the people.
A day to the launch of the clean-up exercise, the Rivers State APC released a statement aimed at provoking violence in the state. As usual, the Rivers State APC sponsored some sponsored misguided resident media practitioners to amplify this anti-people statement.
As a statesman with the interest of Rivers State at heart, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike made a state-wide broadcast were he outlined measures that will ensure the peaceful launch of the clean-up exercise of Ogoniland. This state-wide broadcast calmed frayed nerves.
Unlike the Rivers State APC and her leaders, Governor Wike worked hard to ensure that the development of Ogoni land is placed beyond any form of politics.
On Thursday, 2nd June, 2016, Governor Wike set aside political differences and accorded the representative of the President the respect due his office. The entire Rivers State Executive Council and leaders of the state were at the Port Harcourt International Airport to receive the Vice President and also bid him farewell upon the conclusion of his assignment in the state.
The governor worked round the clock to create the right environment for the event to succeed. He has also set up the right framework for the clean up process which will last about three decades to succeed.
As the People’s Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike outlined his thoughts for the improvement of the Ogoni environment and the entire Niger Delta community.
He said his administration will provide the required the required platform for the successful clean-up of Ogoni land. He pledged the total support of the Rivers State Government for the exercise.
He said: “On our part, the Rivers State Government will ever be willing to provide the platform for a smooth achievement of this long awaited intervention.
“We acknowledge that this is a federal initiative. The direct impact is borne by our people. We therefore urge all our stakeholders to embrace and support this Federal Government gesture and ensure a hitch-free exercise “.
The governor commended President Muhammadu Buhari for initiating the clean up exercise, noting that the presence of top officials of the Rivers State Government indicated that the state will fully support the exercise.
He noted: “We therefore welcome this initiative wholeheartedly as shown by our enthusiastic presence, believing that the recommendations of UNEP will be systematically executed. This is because, we believe, that only environmental justice would restore sustainable peace, stability and socio-economic progress in the Niger Delta.
“We are therefore commending Mr. President’s determination to close this ugly chapter in our country’s history. Although this has taken long in coming; it is never too late when it comes to the environment. Therefore, Mr. President Sir, your presence in Ogoniland today is a testimonial of the long awaited clean-up and remediation exercises of the Niger Delta polluted environment.”
The governor stated that the entire Niger Delta has been subjected to the worst forms of environmental degradation ever experienced by mankind in this part of the world.
He added that Millions of barrels of oil have been spilled into the environment by companies exploiting and extracting hydrocarbons from the area with severe consequences to the ecosystem, including wildlife, marine habitations, soil and water quality and human health.
According to him: “Despite continuing protests by the people, the environmental degradation of the Niger Delta has not stopped. Oil spills continue to occur with distressing regularity even in Ogoniland, where oil exploitation had since 1993 ceased.
“As the UNEP Report starkly reveals, the degree of environmental damage in the Niger Delta has been so deep and expansive that it would take several decades to carry out full remediation of impacted sites.
“The UNEP report, which is the precursor to today’s event, is significant for at least, two reasons. First, it presents the best available and factually detailed documentation of the scale of the existing and continuing damage to the entire Ogoni environment and by extension, the Niger Delta.
“Second and most significantly, it presents a clear roadmap on the priorities for action by government, stakeholders and the international community in terms of clean-up, remediation and restoration of the damage that has accumulated over the years.”
Governor Wike has continued to work for the Ogoni people and other ethnic nationalities in Rivers State. Already, work has been intensified on the the dualization of the Sakpenwa-Bori Road which was flagged off by the governor recently. The rehabilitation of the Birabi Memorial Grammar School in Bori is on course. The governor is a statesman who works for the people at all times. While the opposition thinks of elections, Governor Wike thinks of the development of Rivers State.
Those who struggled to manipulate the flag off to generate crisis in Rivers State, have failed once again. They have discovered that the governor’s popularity is deep-rooted and cannot be shaken by mere propaganda and cheap plots.
Simeon Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, Electronic Media.