If not for the sake of clarity, I would have dismissed a piece by Governor Nyesom Wike’s media aide titled: “Amaechi, lies and needless excuses”, with a wave of the hand.
In his piece, Rt.Hon Chibuike Amaechi was portrayed as one without any achievement in the health and education sectors when he was the governor of Rivers State.
The governor’s aide may also be probably suffering from amnesia if we consider that the first thing his boss did on assumption of office last year was to withdraw all Rivers students on scholarship abroad back to Nigeria as sponsored by Amaechi’s administration and the crippling of free education and free health care systems introduced by Amaechi.
It is on record that Amaechi built over 500 model primary schools. About 250 were fully furnished and functional while about 300 or more were completed and yet to be furnished before he left office.
Amaechi focused on building a new economy that called for massive infrastructural turn around, building of a mega city he called “The Greater Port Harcourt City”. The establishment of a world class education system that ignited human capital development through oversea scholarships will not be forgotten in a hurry.
Non indigenes resident in Rivers had no course to worry as they fully benefited from Amaechi’s benevolence. For Amaechi, there was no indigenous status, there was no segregation at all. This principle of oneness saw Amaechi recruiting over 3000 non indegenes into the state work force,particularly in education Ministry.
In one of his visits to the Ignatius Ajuru University in Port Harcourt, Amaechi also consequently reversed the payment of fees which was discriminatory for non indigenes. Amaechi pegged the fee at flat rate for all and sundry.
Amaechi’s model primary schools are spotted in all nooks and crannies of the state including the remote communities. The purpose was to bring education closer to the people. The era when pupils travel far to neighboring communities to acquire knowledge became history. Amaechi’s model primary and secondary schools received wide spread commendation from both local and international communities. His slogan “bring the child to school naked, we will provide school uniform, sandals, bags,books,laptop for every child” was sacrosanct.
Like every other projects, Amaechi embarked on affordable health care delivery. His health policy which cared for all was also applauded. Be you non indigene or indigene, all you required was to walk a stone thrown to access the model health centers and you would be treated free of charge.Patients from all walks of life trooped in drove to access Amaechi’s health center including Abia State indegenes. Then, No matter the nature of your sickness or ailment you were hopeful of getting treated. That was the Rivers State I know.
As the governor, Amaechi recognised that his primary function as stipulated in the nation’s statute book was to provide adequate security for the people and to maintain absolute law and order.
Amaechi promptly and aggressively confronts a task as if he was fighting with his last blood, especially when it has to do with the issue of insecurity
He waged war against criminality and violence which could affect the revenue base of the state. Then, security was well funded as such; the prevalence kidnapping and terrorism in the state had no hiding place. Youths were meaningfully engaged. Some in crafts, others in sports and some in agriculture as the case may be.
Young school leavers were hopeful of being incorporated into the system due to the prevailing job opportunities. Corp members posted to the state saw no need returning to their home state due to job opportunities.
Amaechi no doubt revitalised the state from the decay it was kept by previous government. Then, anyone who lived in the Garden City before October 2007 will concur with my view.
During his first year in office, Amaechi literally turned the state into a busy construction site due to the volume of construction work ongoing. Some of these roads that have gained facelift due to Amaechi’s intervention are the dualisation of Elekahia Road, dualisation of G.U Ake Road, construction and dualisation of the Trans Amadi road, dualisation and expansion of Ikwerre road,construction of Obiri Ikweree inter- change,construction and dualisation of the Owerri/Airport road which is a federal road among others.
Amaechi was passionate in diversifying the state economy through his passion in investing in agriculture. Here, fish farms were built in some local government areas of the state including the Buguma fish farms. The Ogoni banana farm and the gigantic Songhai farm in Ebubu Eleme are standing legacies of his administration.
When Amaechi held sway, Port Harcourt, the Garden City was a place to dwell in. It was a place to behold, it was a safe haven for investors and investors alike including the multinationals and indigenous companies.
- Oyemaechi sent this piece from Abuja.