3 years in office, Why Wike Has Failed On Roads .




Nyesom Wike's performance on road is a prove that when you continue the good works of your predecessor, you will do well. In Rivers State today, there is continuity on roads, at least we can say that. The beautification of roads, the streetlight and traffic light projects are all well commendable. To be honest, I didn't think a man as crude and cruel as Nyesom Wike has any beauty in him to be able to do that. I understand that the decency shown in such projects, the ideas behind the aesthetics, actually came from some of the people in his government. But he appointed them and must take the credit for their performance. 
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The continuity, however, does not show in our monorail. Wike has vowed that he will not do any monumental project that he may not be able to finish in his tenure, but it is only through such monumental projects that we may be able to move our state to the next level. Monorail is expensive anywhere in the world, but if it was done in Calabar, then it can be done in Port Harcourt. Unfortunately, the only reason Wike has not done it is not because we don't have money, but because he's bent on destroying any of the signature legacies of Amaechi, while taking full credit from the low hanging fruits he left behind.
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Some roads were left 5%, 10%, 15%, and so on and so forth. These projects were not abandoned as Wike like to mischievously say, they were simply at different stages of completion before the tenure expired. Governance is however continuous, and we expect the one who takes over to finish them and share due credit with the man who did most of the work. The sad reality however is that, often time, the governor wastes more of our state funds on flagging off, commissioning and recommissioning these remaining 5%s than the project itself would cost, simply in a bid to run down his predecessor and boost his own profile.
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Still on monumental road projects, there is none we can actually boast of today under Nyesom Wike. Maybe the completion of some of the significant ones started by Amaechi like the Iwofe and Slaughter roads could suffice, but they're insignificant in relations to the huge resources at his disposal. Check the budget for example and monitor the revenue stream, Wike has received even more money than his predecessor did in his first term — over a trillion naira in three years, thanks to President Buhari who made funds available in a recession — but the projects on ground is a far cry from the large amount received. 
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Wike has failed to build monumental bridges and flyovers and monorails and superhighways and Ring roads. This is what Rivers State was known for before. Some States like Lagos and Cross River State are even building rail lines to move their states forward. There is no reason why a  place like Garrison and Rumuokoro cannot have a 21st century flyover. The Saakpenwa-Kono road is a good project, but it is not even up to 40% completed, and it won't be finished by next year, breaking his own stupid promise not to start any project he can't finish. The road in Etche is also not completed.
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Also, lots of potholes have been filled, but as he must have noticed, if you close one pothole, another opens, there is no sustainability in operation zero pothole if all you do is to give contract to your cronies to fill them, and to do them on impulse. The governor should've developed the capacity of the department of road maintenance in the ministry of works to be able to rise to the challenges of filling potholes when the need arises. Unfortunately, this was not done, and when he leaves office next year, he will realize that there are as much potholes as there was when he arrived, the price a man pays for lacking ideas and planning. This is even worse in the LGAs outside Port Harcourt, as most of the roads there have gone really terrible while the governor pockets our local government allocations.
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At the end of the day, for all of Nyesom Wike's effort on roads, there is no commensurate increase in economic activities. Jobs have not been created as a result of the roads and no major traffic crises has been solved; where there was traffic hold up, there is still traffic hold up. The ultimate proof of Wike's failure on roads is in our IGR. In 2014 we generated #89.11 billion, and last year, 2017, we generated 89.48 billion. This is a record from the National Bureau of Statistics, which shows that whatever Wike thinks he's done on roads does not affect our economic lives in any positive way. If you like construct one million roads, if they're not economic roads, if they don't result in jobs and economic growth, then you've just wasted our money on nothing. If you look at the roads Buhari is constructing in the country today, they're all economic roads, and that is why he's generated more internal revenue and is recording economic growth that has taken us out of recession. This is what happens when projects are carried out with an economic blueprint.
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When Amaechi was constructing roads in Rivers State, we not only saw a massive spike in job creation, but our IGR moved from #2 billion monthly to between 8 and 11 billion naira every month. Today in Rivers State, there is nowhere you won't see a road project constructed by Amaechi. If you drive through the four corners of Port Harcourt, there is no road you will pass on that wasn't built by Amaechi. 90% of all the biggest roads and bridges in Port Harcourt today was either built or dualized by Amaechi. There is no local government in the state today that will say they were left out of the whole road revolution under Amaechi, unlike now when nothing is happening in most LGAs, and where something happens, it would come to them like a gift instead of a right. 
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For those who are mischievous and so suffer from collective amnesia, do you still remember the daily suffocating hold ups on Rumuola road in those days, and how Amaechi brought down many buildings and paid huge compensations just to dualize that road and make life easy for Rivers people? No way in hell can Wike do such projects now. Today, when Uniport students move from Rumuokuta to Choba, I don't blame them for not knowing how that road was before in our days. When my cousin who just came back from Canada at the time drove on the world class roundabout at Obirikwerre, he said "Ben, this is Canada standard". 
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Or, is it the Eleme junction flyover? Omofo-Agaba Ndele Road? Dredging works/Roads at Opobo New Layout? Construction of Ozuzu to CSS Isu-Ogida Owu Egbu? Others were the dualisation of Airport-Isiokpo/Omarelu Road, dualization of Ada George Phases 1 and 2, NTA/Choba Airport road, dualisation of First Bank/Rumuomasi Road, dualization of slaughter-Trans Amadi/Rumuobiakani Road. Then the construction of bridge at Bolo Creek with approaches, dualisation of Eneka-Igbo Etche link Road, construction of Apani internal Roads. Construction of Nyokhana-Kenkhana Link Road with Bridge from Luuwa to Bere, construction of Odiolugbani-Enito 1 and 2-Oshie Road, expansion of Mbiama-Akinima Road, construction of Okeh-Ihie-Apani-Omarelu Road, construction of Bori internal Roads phase 3 , construction of Abua/Okoba close Rumuibekwe with extension to Elelenwo. Construction of Ikuru town- Atlantic Ocean Road, dualisation of Rumukrushi-Eneka-Igwuruta Road, construction of Abuloma-Woji Road Bridge among others. 
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There were lots and lots of them, in all, over 900km of roads were constructed in Rivers State under Amaechi. But when you see how Wike is crawling in comparison to Amaechi's performance on roads, you would realize how backward our state has gone.

Written by 
Baridam Ben




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