Olusegun Mimiko, former governor of Ondo State, has noted that through bold legal challenges, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State deepened the national consciousness concerning the defective federal system and advocated for true federalism.
Mimiko made the statement when he performed the flag-off of construction work for the dualisation of Azikiwe -Iloabuchi Road in Mile 2 Diobu, Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
He said Governor Wike combined such national advocacy with effective political leadership with which he doubtlessly changed the physical landscape of Rivers State.
“Beyond the self-evident physical transformation. You (Wike) have stood as a bulwark against those sworn to emasculate the main opposition party, all in their bid to force a one party State down the throats of Nigerians.
“You were at one point virtually a one man countervailing force, defending and protecting our dear PDP. You have also, through bold legal challenges, deepened the national consciousness on the defects in the running of our defective federal system.”
The former Ondo State Governor said he was sure that governor Wike will remain committed to the struggle to entrench a true federal system that will engender real development across all ethnic nationalities, across all religious persuasions in Nigeria.
He pointed to the urgent need by all well-meaning Nigerians for national unity, which is the required impetus to effectively confront the intractable security and economic challenges.
“Your Excellency, our Party, the PDP, a Party for which you have laboured so much, seems saddled with the historical duty of forging this unity, a unity premised on truth, equity and justice, a unity upon which rescuing Nigeria from the far from satisfactory performance of the past seven (7) years will be built.
“It is a mission that must be accomplished. A mission for which you are specially positioned and favoured to play a major role. A mission that must be subscribed to by all lovers of our country.”
In his speech, Governor Wike noted that elders of the state like Chief Azubuike Nmerukini and Austin Opara, mounted pressure on him to intervene on the road being flag-off.
He said it will be the last of such projects to execute within the Port Harcourt metropolis because in keeping with his promises of restoring the Garden city status, every road has been reconstructed.
“As a man who respect leaders, I have to honour them by making sure this road is awarded and by making sure that this road will be completed within 6 months.
“This is the last project here in Port Harcourt, I think, I’m going to embark upon before I leave office. All the promises I have made in Port Harcourt, I have fulfilled them.
“Let somebody come and tell me which one I have not fulfilled. Old Government Residential Area, I have finished, New Government Residential Area, I have finished, Ogbum-nu-abali, I have finished, Diobu here, I have finished?”
Governor Wike explained that already, 80% of the contract sum has been paid to the contracting firm, Julius Berger, because the project was billed for completion in 6 months.
The governor also assured that issues about compensation of property marked for demolition would be paid in good time so that nothing will interfer with the stipulated completed time.
“Let me tell the people here, we have paid Julius Berger Nigeria PLC 80% of the contract money. Julius Berger is owing us now. So, it is not a question of coming here to tell you that we will do this road and at the end of the day we don’t do it.
“I want to say the money for the compensation is ready. As I go back now, I will treat the file and those whose houses are affected must be paid before Monday 15th August 2022.”
Governor Wike emphasised that politics for him is about accountability to the people, which is why his administration is using Julius Berger Nigeria PLC noted for quality and long-lasting work.
He said when completed, the road and the street light that will be installed will enhance economy activities and improve value of property in the area.
“Because you voted for us, we too will work for you by providing basic infrastructure. That is what politics is all about. It is about talking and doing, not giving of excuses.
“No right thinking person in this State would want to mingle or identify with such people that would make promises without fulfilling them.
“All we are saying, our own campaign has always been operation show your report card. We are showing our report card. Tell anybody who comes to you to show their report card.”
On his part, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Dr. Dakorinama George-Kelly said the road, connecting Iloabuchi Road from Azikiwe Street will take off traffic from the Nkpolu-Oroworukwo flyover onto Eagle Island and other part of the State capital.
Also speaking, South-South Regional Manager of Julius Berger Nigeria PLC, Juergen Fischer said his company is delighted to have been chosen and trusted to do the job.
He pledged that as customary with them, they will deliver quality project as part of their commitment towards the transformation agenda of the Wike’s administration.