Rivers, Looking For One More Excuse

by Odimegwu Onwumere

The year 2011 is fast coming to an end. Some people would say that there are far more activities being carried out by Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State. Others would say that he has sponsored some thousands of projects that were implemented but not executed.

What is amiss is how many of our leaders pilfer the future of the country, while we read and listen to songs of how they build heaven on earth for us. We only realize the evil they have done at the end of the day that it was all blown out of proportion. We realize that their works do not line up with the way we wanted and they had said. But they force us through the media to hope and understand they are doing something great and that we all have to come to the table.

Some of us who truly desire change in Rivers State have been making frantic efforts in seeing that the state works but others who say the change they were looking for in the state has come in Amaechi, only sit down and write bank cheques without making any meaningful contributions, as they relate to making policies or criticizing policies and come out with a blue print; the resultant of their laze is giving excuses upon excuses about their ineptitude.

All of us know that change does not come instantaneously, but according to Ola Rotimi in his book, “The gods are not to blame”, he says, “How long shall a feverish bird continue to tremble before its owner?” As if he had Rivers State at heart before using the phraseology, things, without doubt, are swinging from positive to negative, and hardly are the people who matter most in our state caring enough to tame them.

While the government says it is working roads, have we not been rocked and contravened by bad roads in Rivers State under Amaechi? Businesses were trapped, vehicles were damaged, and flood damaged property and people died because of bad roads in the state. The remedy today is as the rains are subsiding and no one knows when these roads would be put in good shape. The government pleaded severally that we have patience since its inception, and till date, we have been living on hope, while they treat us with same cruel set of mind, in the name of change.

People praise Amaechi that he is changing things, but how lasting are the change? The state is swinging and erring on the side of caution. Some people are simply making it clear that we do agree that the structures are impressive, admonishing that we were not in a better position to judge the governor by what the structures look like or not. But many discerning minds have really said that it is funny how the buildings and roads that were being constructed by the governor, from all that money, are structures that resemble that of the 1940s. Did we not once saw toilets built by the government in this state, but it was rather VIPit toilets? How far has Amaechi gone with his much touted VIP model schools that we continue to hear about since 2007 of this government? Are the buildings serving the purpose they were created? The issue of hospitals or is it clinics are a big story for another day.

While it is expedient to commend progress, what we have got in Amaechi’s Rivers State is a far cry from utopia, yet some people are saying that we should continue to settle for what we have in Rivers State, down that path. When would Amaechi learn to make serious change that will stem the implementation of serious decisions? What we have got are genuflecting policies that do not make change. For example, the state is bankrupt and is still borrowing.

Governance is dangerous when a government at its beginning nursed self-serving point of view and want everybody to abide by it. Amaechi has refused to inject a healthy dose of realism into governance; rather he is doing everything (self-serving) in convincing us that there is serious change. If we will calculate very well, serious decisions under him that have worked like magic was the decision of enacting laws that compelled fences of houses close to the roads to be leveled down and the ban of Okada in the streets of Port Harcourt. His government has not taken serious decision to harness our livelihood and improve vehicular movement and improve security and refuse management, although we praise him for refusing to bow down for the demands of militants that once characterized the state and his likely seriousness in committing to rehabilitate electricity in the state.

Amaechi should leave praise singers because they are not leading his government and him anywhere. They are only after the money that they get from him, not the entire welfare of the state. He must put serious efforts in 2012 to progress the state. We have tried to encourage him so much this year, even when foot soldiers in and around his government see us as opposition, which we are far from. We have used our resources in making opinions in the media that could help Rivers State work better. We also noticed that some of our policies were taken, even when credit was not given to us; but our joy to that effect is that public opinion is part of government. Amaechi should make sure that his administration improves the quality of life of the ordinary Rivers resident, because for now, this government is still far from showing an encouraging performance but only excuse.

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