The name Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi greatly rings a bell in the minds of Nigerians especially Rivers People whom he served as their Governor (2007-2015) due to his infrastructural development and his redefining of governance.
Amaechi is a field marshall of development whose legacy and giant strides remain unparalled. He redefined governance with the ‘Change you can see’ and the ‘Rivers of possibilities’ that the State became under him.
As a development expert and a seasoned administrator, he declared a state of emergency on almost every sector of the state which was aimed at improving the living standard and economy of the state; ranging from Education, Health, Agriculture, Sports, Tourism, Power, Security, Job Creation/Employment, Human Capital as well as Economic Development amongst others.
He transformed the State tremenduously and became the face of development to the admiration of his colleagues and others. This feat earned him a lot of awards and laurels from both national and international organizations.
His legacies as Governor will remain indelible which will go down in the annals of the history of the state.
Let me briefly summarize his achievements under these sectors below:
On assumption of office the Amaechi-led government declared a state of emergency on education, completely took over the payment of salaries of primary school and junior secondary school teachers, which was the function of local governments, in ensuring that education takes centre stage in the state as at then.
In other to further strengthen and ensure quality education in the state, Amaechi signed into law five bills brought for his assent by the State House of Assembly, which included; The Rivers State Universal Basic Education Amendment Bill 2012 and The Rivers State Senior Secondary Schools’ Board Bill 2012 amongst others. Under his administration, the government built several model primary schools which was almost seen in every community in the State– each with 20 classrooms equipped with ICT facility, modern library, science laboratory, football field, basketball pitch, volleyball pitch and nursery playground. These model primary schools were built to the standard of the United Nations as obtainable in developed parts of the world. Not left out was the construction of 20 new classroom blocks’ model primary school with state of art facilities to commemorate the status of Port Harcourt as World Book Capital, a feat achieved under him due to his tangible revolution in the education sector.
His administration was the first to have a quality assurance agency in Nigeria which is very important to evaluate performance in our educational deliverables.
These and more feats too numerous to mention were done to reposition the State’s education sector under him.
The health sector witnessed rapid development both in infrastructure and human capital development under his administration. Building of primary and secondary health facilities took centre stage with Model Primary Health Centre in almost all communities in Rivers State with 60 Health centres commissioned in 60 Days in 60 Communities, ‘‘the 60:60:60 initiative’’ and also the establishment of secondary health facilities in all the LGAs in the State. There was also the facelift and reconstruction of existing health facilities. In ensuring that these facilities function optimally, medical doctors and other health professionals were employed to work in them.
There was a revolution in the agricultural sector as was visibly seen in the state. There was massive establishment of agricultural facilities which was aimed at ensuring food security in the state ranging from revitalizing Risonpalm, now SIAT, establishment of Songhai Farm, Buguma Fish Farm, Banana Plantation etc. Loans and other agricultural incentives(improved varieties of seedlings, fertilizers etc) were given to farmers to help improve in their productivity.
Power was given the attention it deserves because of the economic role it plays in the development. His administration built three power stations situated at Omoku (150 Mega-Watts), Trans-Amadi (130 MegaWatts) and Eleme (75 Mega-Watts). Seven Transmissions stations (132/33kilo volts) and 7 Distribution injection sub-stations 33/11 Kilo Volts were also built amongst other achievements in the power sector.
5. HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT
Human Capital Development is the best development any nation can have and export to maintain development equilibrium, and Amaechi being a human development expert and a pathfinder in education embarked on foreign scholarship for the less privileged as well as deserving Rivers indigenes. Scholarship were also awarded to Rivers indigenes who were in Nigerian Universities to aid them in their academic pursuit.
Vocational Centres were established for the training of Rivers people in different kinds of skills with starter packs given to them which made a lot of them self-employed and financially independent.
Tourism was another key area that was greatly developed. The Amaechi-led administration introduced the ‘CANIRIV’. The Government recognized Carniriv as its biggest tourism export. With economic interests increasingly identifying tourism as a viable alternative to the fossil fuel economy- especially in these parts. The state government exhibited its commitment to developing this carnival into a regionally unrivalled and globally reckoned tourist attraction. Thus, it has always made available the necessary monetary backing needed for the event to hold every year, and has also worked hard through the Rivers State Tourism Development Agency and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to see that it is held.
In true carnival style, contingents of the 23 LGAs engage a procession (on a pre-defined route) through the streets of Port Harcourt showcasing enthralling dances and masquerade displays as they do so. All of these performances were embedded in colourful floats gigged with impressive icons.
Under his administration, security was given adequate attention because he believed that security was the foundation upon which progress in every other facet of development depends. There was deployment of technology in crime fighting, which is to say that the states’ security network was driven by excellent modern technology. Another step was to raise capacity among selected security personnel, over through local and overseas training in Israel and other parts of the world on modern crime fighting techniques and intelligence gathering.
Beyond public view, as part of Rivers State long term vision of security under Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, underground application of ICT aided security hardware and software helping the police to sense and react to security situations with dispatch. This network of technology managed by experts from a hub, employed the C4I urban surveillance cameras watching over the city and active 24hrs of the day in Port Harcourt and the state.
8. JOB CREATION/EMPLOYMENT
The development that characterized his administration gave rise to the creation of thousands of jobs for Rivers people, which led to employment. His administration employed over 13,200 teachers at a go, an employment record yet to be broken. His administration employed over 8000 persons in Agricultural sector ranging from revitalizing Risonpalm, now SIAT, establishment of Songhai Farm, Buguma Fish Farm, Banana Plantation etc. His administration also employed over thousands of health workers in Rivers State as well as over 400 Medical Doctors with official cars given to the medical doctors.
He created the Greater Port Harcourt City which in turn employed those living in Rivers State. TIMARIV, RSSDA, Rivers State Education Quality Assurance Agency among other agencies were created which thousands of Rivers youths were employed.
Sports facilities were also not left out in the infrastructural development of the state as we saw massive construction of new games city housing the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium which has hosted both national and international competitions.
#Note: For the purpose of this challenge as requested, below is a list of 20 projects executed by Amaechi while he was Governor of Rivers State amidst the numerous countless projects done under his administration;
1. Dualization of Rumuola Road
2. Dualization of G.U Ake/Eliozu Road and Construction of Eliozu flyover
3. Construction of Obiri-Ikwerre East West Road/Interchange
4. Construction of Agip junction Fly-over
5. Dualization of Oginigba-Slaughter Road
6. Construction of Okrika Ring Road
7. Construction of Nkpogu Road
8. Establishment of Songhai Farm in Bonu, Tai LGA
9. Establishment of Banana Farm in Khana LGA
10. Establishment of Buguma Fish Farm
11. Construction of Maxilo-Facial Hospital, Garrison
12. Construction of Model Primary Health Centre, Rumueme
13. Construction of Model Primary Health Centre, Ipo
14. Construction of Model Primary Health Centre, Abalama
15. Construction of Model Primary Health Centre, Elekahia
16. Model Primary School Orogbum
17. Ambassador Nne-Furo Kurubo Model Secondary School
18. Trans-Amadi Gas Turbine/Power Plant
19. Opobo/Nkoro Land Reclamation
20. Construction of New Games City Housing the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium with other state of the art sports facilities.