Service crew

Wike: seven years of meritorious service

FIRST PAGE COMMENTARY

Today, Friday, May 27, 2022 is the 55th anniversary of the establishment of Rivers State by former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, GCFR. The establishment of the states on May 27, 1967 was the greatest successful endeavor to retain and secure minority interests in Nigeria. It was also an assault on the backbone of the then four regions in the country. These were the North, West, East and Mid-West regions.
The founding of 12 states was one of the boldest and most remarkable moves of the military regime. This resolution was indicative of Nigerians’ desire for greater autonomy and self-determination. The development is a heartfelt reflection of one of Gowon’s most deeply held intentions for his initiative, which was to alleviate the often expressed fear of regional hegemony from the South by the North in the political affairs of the nation. Accordingly, the introduction of a balance in the regional order through the creation of six northern states and six southern states was carefully considered.
The 12 states were North West State, North East State, Kano State, North Central State, Benue-Plateau State, Kwara State, Western State, Lagos State, Central West State, Rivers State, South Eastern State, and Central Eastern State. However, the twelve states have since metamorphosed into thirty-six umbrella units, giving new and more fundamental relevance to the original intent of Gowon’s final action.

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Gowon’s desire to strengthen national unity and prevent more instability led him to explore support for the state-building exercise by a wide range of regional leaders before declaring the new order. In the eastern region, the groan for the creation of the Calabar-Ogoja-Rivers (COR) state had grown louder and in the north, the aspirations of the Middle Belt movement had also become a major source of dissatisfaction. prominent in the region.
The battle, turmoil and creation of Old Rivers State, now Bayelsa and Rivers, began around 1939 and culminated in 1967. The state as then constituted fell under the Eastern Group of Provinces in 1939 with the administrative headquarters in Enugu. The group of provinces later became the Eastern Region of Nigeria, made up of Ibos, as the dominant ethnic nationality with other minorities making up the region. Minorities included the Ijaw, Ibibio, Efik, Anang, Ogoja, Ikwerre, Ibani, Ekpeye, Engenni, Ogba, Kalabari, Nembe, and Ogoni, among others.
Rivers State in the Niger Delta region is unique. Popularly known as the base of the nation’s treasury, the state’s uniqueness is not unfounded. The abundance of human and natural resources coupled with the hospitality of its inhabitants, among other considerations, make the state a benchmark among its contemporaries. Its proclamation by Gowon as a separate state was, indeed, a realization of the vision of the founding fathers who for several decades lamented the marginalization of the dominant ethnic groups in the Nigerian project, particularly the Ibos, who then cohabited Eastern Region with its capital at Enugu.
Beginning with its first military governor, Navy Commander Alfred Papapriye Diete-Spiff in 1967 to the current administration of Governor Nyesom Wike, successive administrations, both military and civilian, have contributed significantly to making l enviable state it is today. From the creation of the Bayelsa State in 1996, to the exponential growth of the education sector, to the development of human capital, to the revolution in infrastructure, to the development of the health sector, to national political relevance, to the Active participation in the global economic renaissance and bold presence on the global entertainment scene, Rivers State can indeed be said to have come of age.
With the possible exception of the era of the pioneer administration, at no other time in history has the state experienced such a level of transformation of its landscape as that achieved under the current administration of the Governor Nyesom Wike. From an extensive urban regeneration effort that has seen the reconstruction of state-owned assets and city roads to meet current needs and the construction of nearly ten new flyovers to the extensive road infrastructure being built in all parts of the state, the Wike administration is working really hard to achieve the goals of the founding fathers of the state.
Through the efforts of the state government, Opobo and some nearby communities have been made accessible to the state capital by road, while the same fortune will soon benefit the once-disconnected inhabitants of the Kalabari Kingdom through the construction of the Trans-Kalabari road. Similarly, a brave initiative has been launched to create more urban centers in Rivers State through the establishment of Rivers State University campuses in Etche, Ahoada and Emohua.
The state’s political class, in particular, must use this event of the 55th anniversary of the establishment of the state to evaluate and determine to avoid bitterness, rancor and acrimony in their struggle for political power and the leadership over the people. The struggle for the establishment of Rivers State achieved the desired results because the political elite of Rivers, traditional rulers and the youth of the time shared a rare and uncommon sense of unity, purpose, solidarity. altruism and even a desire to serve the country.
This widely acclaimed spirit of love and commitment to selfless service has dwindled dramatically, leaving in their place a threat to public peace enabled by political greed, selfishness, and an unguided quest for personal aggrandizement. and sectoral far beyond love for the state. The clarion call is therefore issued to leaders of all strata to introspect themselves and purge themselves of all tendencies that are hostile to the overall development and prosperity of the state.
We must remember, especially the political class, that it took selfless sacrifice, personal denial, and relentless activism on the part of the founding leaders to achieve for us the state we now call our own. All must therefore embrace peace, tolerance and good brotherhood and seek civil and legal means to address all grievances and disagreements, for conflict, violent confrontation and aggressive engagement will only destroy the lasting bonds of unity. that have united our people for years. .
The fierce struggle of the founding fathers to challenge the imbalance and injustice of the Nigerian federation remains the philosophy behind the establishment of the state. Their mission and vision was to ensure that Rivers State gets its place of choice in the geopolitical entity called Nigeria. The question to date, however, remains whether or not this vision has been realized. More than at any other time in our history, the need to recreate and revive the values, sentiments, philosophies and spirit that formed the founding fathers’ driving force to victory is now.
Overall, The Tide congratulates the government and people of Rivers State on this momentous occasion of the 55th anniversary of the founding of the state. All hands must be on deck to make the state a habitation of safety, security, peace, prosperity and an unhindered opportunity for the pursuit of happiness for all who live and do business in it.