As we entered the New Year, our reporter JAMES FEBEBEBO went to town and asked people of Rivers State what they expect from Rivers State Government. Below is cross section of people who spoke and what they said:
Government Should Boost Economic Growth - Fred Giadom
As a matter of fact the year has just begun (and) we hope that it's going to be very robust year in terms of our economic drive but then we need to look at the budget. Our expectation should be based on the budget of the state government. The government budget is key… I've not been privileged to see the budget of the state… but I want to say that it's going to be robust. It's going to be prosperous. Few days back, I heard the Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Fred Kpakol, making a statement categorically stating that some of the subsidiaries of the government were going to be revamped. He talked about the issue of agriculture, School To Land programme (and) talked about the sustainable development programmes like the Songhai Farms and all of that. These are very key areas to boost our economic growth as a state and given that as it may I expect that this year will be far better than that of last year…. Let's hope that the governor is going to do well… because election has come and gone and let's hope that we're going to have a very robust economy this year. I heard on Nigeria Info when the Honourable Commissioner for Mineral and Natural Resources, Dr Peter Medee, was also asked certain questions regarding the illegal refineries all round in the state and I heard the man saying that the task force is going to swing into action to curb this menace and ensure that we have a more productive year and so I think it's going to be very prosperous for everyone.
Gov Wike Should Reduce Powers of Task Force On Street Trading, Illegal Markets and Motor Parks – Mrs Faith Friday
Governor Wike should reduce the power of the task force (on Street Trading, Illegal Markets and Motor Parks). The task force is worrying us so Wike should reduce power of the task force so poor people can sell.
He Should Make Life Lot More Comfortable For Rivers People – Barrister Golden Tamuno
I think that top on the agenda would be security and then the sustenance of the level of infrastructural development that is going on. The second tenure should not affect the pace of work that is going on. We're expecting the governor to double his effort instead of dropping his guard to ensure that whatever he has started he is able to conclude, make life a lot more comfortable for the people of Rivers State, that's what is expected of him.
Budget Performance In Terms Of Delivery Should Be High – Blessing Wikina
Well, with the New Year we are happy that the government has set up its machinery. There's a cabinet in place now. The entire full machinery of government is in place so now the expectation will be higher and there won't be any excuses on the part of government. We expect that the entire letters of the budget, the entire provisions – if cash expected is available and it flows to the government – we expect that the budget performance in terms of delivery of what they stated in the budget should be very high. So that's what people expect in line with due process.
There Should Be Better Governance – Frank Onwugboun
Actually, we want a better government. We want Wike to reach all the local governments not just Port-Harcourt or Obio/Akpor or the Ikwerre areas but all over Rivers State. He should also develop the Kalabari area because ... they are part of Rivers State and we also want him to do employment. The state government should also look at Omoku General Hospital.
Rivers State Government Should Pay New Minimum Wage – Mrs Beatrice Itubo
We are expecting that government should pay workers the new minimum wage and the arrears and also government should go ahead and begin to implement people – oriented programme(s). Yes, infrastructural development is OK but he should carry people along. It is the human beings that will begin to enjoy those infrastructure. The infrastructure without the human development will go nowhere. Those are the things we are expecting.
Gov Wike Should Have Plans For The Youth – Christian Ezekiel Hart
You know, when you find out (from) the budget of the governor and he said more on assuring that he will carry the youth along more, we hope his word will come to pass…. But we pray there will be a change of the way things used to be – it won't be like that this year – there will be improvement and there will be good response from the government…. We believe that the governor will do better this year than last year in terms of carrying the youth along. Akwa Ibom State is doing thus agric empowerment programme (for) women (and) youth… so we also ask if such thing can come to Rivers State (and) it's good development…. He knows the things he will bring to Rivers people (and) see how he can bring more development to the rural areas. The security challenge we are having in Bonny (waterways) is something else. We are asking if there's how the government will assist for us to have more of the gunboats and also more of the government boats. It will help us and let it be that they will be using the boats and they monitor it.
He Should Promote Human Capital Development – Clinton Wonodi
Looking at the New Year, I think the government of Rivers State needs to look inwards into human capacity building in terms of creating jobs (and) creating skills for our youths. I think part of the restiveness we have in Rivers State is that our youths are not actively engaged in work. The youths are on the streets. Even the ones that are educated, they don't have the jobs to keep their minds busy. The government needs to look inwards to… (see) how they can create jobs. If there are industries they can be used to absorb some of these youths. Then the issue of road construction should be sustained. The governor has done well as regards that but one issue that is pertinent to us is also the issue of security. The security issue in Rivers State as we speak today, in most areas, like in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area is alarming. It's a serious cause for concern. He should look into it and see how he can improve on it.
There Should Be Opportunity For Investors – Anderson Ezekiel Hart
In terms of infrastructure, I think the governor has done well but I still think it's time for the governor to set a template where people can be empowered. What I mean is that people should see opportunities for investors to come in (and) when these investors come in people will be employed and secondly, beyond employment generation we'll also want to see the governor helping to build the capacity of our people. A whole lot of our people are lagging behind in terms of capacity building. People do not have the capacity to establish their own personal businesses so the governor should also concentrate on capacity building. The world is living on organized businesses. Government cannot do everything but government should be able to set an enabling environment for individual businesses to thrive. If they can do this it will help stimulate the economy. I think the idea is to stimulate the state economy - let there be enough to go round.
He Should Improve On Healthcare Facilities – Chief Casca Ogosu
What we expect from the government is adequate security for lives and property. Let them talk on improvement on infrastructure especially electricity. Let us improve on the electricity supply in the state because a lot of the part of the state is in total darkness. If there is light then it means people will be busy doing small cottage businesses and so on and so forth. Also, they should improve on the healthcare facilities in the state. I think the health of the people has been neglected for quite some time. Most of the hospitals are just like consulting rooms where no medical facilities are really in place. They should improve on the medical situation in the state because a healthy population is the pride of any nation.
The Government Should Invest In Agriculture – Samuel Iyoyo
Luckily, the state government has said it wants to invest in agriculture. I think that we should give agriculture a serious thought …. My own thinking is that government should invest in agriculture, and in the area of employment too I think that … he must give serious thought to employment of our youths. Then I think (in) civil service there are so many retirements and all that (so) I think government should seriously think about employment in that area and give the Rivers State Secretariat the desired facelift. I think it deserves that. It used to be the best in the country and now when I go to secretariat what I see there doesn't go down well … so the secretariat should be given a facelift.
He Should Open Up Governance – Mike Iwezor
Well, so far so good. The governor has done so well in the area of road construction. For me, though he has mentioned in his budget that agric will be the main focus this time I'm expecting him to do the talk and not mere lip service. The rural area where the agric production is supposed to take place is ridden with criminals. Cultism is all over there. The cultists are not allowing the farmers do their job. We are expecting that the government should move in with the security men and get rid of these boys who are disturbing people going to farm. This is farming season and yet the community where the farming is supposed to take place is overtaken by these bad boys. If you go to the riverine (area), the same thing. We don't produce food here in Port Harcourt. The farming he has said in the budget is supposed to take place in the rural area, so I'm expecting that he will move into action and ensure that people are engaged and farming is taken seriously so that we will be able to feed. If you watched, during last December, all the food … came from the North. We are not doing anything here. The oil, we are not participating. I'm also expecting that he open up and empower the people. The people of Rivers State are hungry. He should spread out ... (and) ensure that people get something. The fundamentals of government are security and the welfare of the citizens. The citizens of Rivers State are not carried along… so he should open up. He should open up the economy, open up the governance to the people so that they get involved and get something to eat.
Gov Wike Should Revive Moribund Agric Projects - Eddie Williams
I would want to think that the state government should abandon rhetorics and then go into concrete developmental action that will engender concrete and long – term positive effect on the populace. With his New Year broadcast the governor said that he's going into the agric sector and for me as a Rivers man that will be the greatest area or sector he will record his greatest success. The agric sector is one area I believe that will engender long-term sustainable positive effect on the populace. For me as a first step, I will advise that he invests in reactivating moribund agric projects in the state. For instance, the multi-million dollars fish farm in the Kalabari area, the multi-million dollars large- scale banana farm in Tai area (and) the integrated agric project in the Eleme area and I will give him kudos for wanting to reactivate the School To Land programme established by former Governor Fidelis Oyakhilome. I give him kudos for thinking along that line. Then he should invest heavily in technical education that will engender the return of the middle-class economy and then of course the primary healthcare system.
He Should Be More Focused Developing The State - Young Kigbara
What we expect from him this New Year is to stay more focused on developing the state and creating job opportunities for the unemployed citizens of the state and creating enabling environment that can also help private sector engaging in employment generation as well as taking also into account the health situation of the state.
He Should Attend To Projects By His Predecessor - Sir Nelson Wali
I expect that they should know how to take care of the state critical infrastructure. All projects of the previous administration that has not been attended to should be attended to and existing projects should be maintained for reasons of continuity and he should look into the security situation of the state. Our villagers no longer go to farm so they (should) look at security in the villages so that people can go to farm and people can go to the river to fish to avert man – made famine in the state. Anything lack of food in Rivers State will be man-made. It won`t be like (it's) caused by natural act of weather and all that. We should avoid man-made famine … because Rivers State should be able to feed itself in terms of agrarian product.
There Should Be Improved Security - Baridi Robert
Personally, I would want an improvement on security because here in Port- Harcourt it may look a bit more secured but in the rural areas we've heard of cases of these frequent shootings and sometimes they say it's cult clashes. It's so rampant in the rural area. I want improvement on that situation in the state … and you know that this is where the survival of the state comes from. Food comes from there. All the things in Township come from those rural area(s) so if there's that state of insecurity…then the state is not safe. So I would want an improvement on security.
Government Should Create Job Opportunities In Health Sector – Mrs Goboye
For this 2020, what I expect from the Rivers State government for citizens of the state is to provide security. They have tried but they should put more effort for the protection of lives and property and so that businesses can be moving forward. Then again as citizen of Rivers State, so many of us are jobless. We have finished school but no job especially in the health sector. Since ten years ago someone has finished School of Health but there's no work. You will go to your local government area and they will say 'no vacancy' so the Rivers State government should help the citizens of the state that are not working and that are looking for job to create jobs for us. Government should give directive to those in position in our local government areas to make sure they absorb those that are out from the School of Health. On daily basis, people are having health challenges so there should be enough manpower to attend to the health needs of the people. So the government should employ more people into the health sector to provide health care for people of the state.
The Government Should Ensure There's Peace - Benedicta Michael
First of all, I want to appreciate God who has given each and every one of us life and I want to thank my governor, Barrister Ezenwo Wike. I want to say we need peace in Rivers State. Some local government areas across the state have not had peace as cultists operate in those local government areas. So we want to ask our governor to try and bring security men to those areas. Secondly, I want our governor to look at the issue of those doing bunkering as it affects the health of we living here in Rivers State and we need employment. We've not had employment to benefit those who have graduated for so many years now and waiting to be employed. So these are the areas we need his attention.
He Should Ensure Task Force On Street Trading, Illegal Markets And Motor Parks Does Not Molest Newspaper Vendors - Amara Love Apara
I expect that His Excellency should think of employment. If people are engaged crime will reduce. An idle mind they say is the devil's workshop. Secondly, the task force. They say there should be no street trading. They didn't say destroy items but what you see is that the task force is harassing people (and) beating people. I don't think the governor actually asked them to do that. (The governor said) take people off the road, don't destroy their goods. I have been an eyewitness where somebody is beaten by the task force. They molest the people. Let him spell out what he wants the people to do. Newspaper vendors, for example, fend for themselves as they are self-employed and they are information carriers but they are maltreated by the task force. Whatever that is being said out there (or) in the government, it is the vendors that take it to the street for them to see what they have been doing. There is no way those in Government will work without seeing it on the newspaper. The appraisal comes to the paper and as information carriers we help people to see what is on the paper. We are not even the writers but we take it to the general public to see and yet they molest the vendors. So I think it should come to his notice that we should be treated with fairness.
He Should Look Into Issue Of Rivers State Being One-City State – Anonymous
What I expect from the government is to look into the affairs of the Water Corporation, that in a state like Rivers there's no water to drink. Secondly, he should do industrialization for the state. He should invite investors that will create jobs for (the) teeming youth and every other person. He should create room for peace because if the youth are employed, I think there will no more violence. Then he should look into this (issue of) one-city state. I think Rivers State is bigger than just Port-Harcourt. (So) he should develop other areas outside Port-Harcourt. Then, housing. We've not seen anything he has done about housing. The cost of accommodation in Rivers State is very high (so) he should try to ome up with something.
Government Should Provide Building For Newspaper Distributors – Goodness Nwachukwu
I want the state government to help us (newspaper vendors) erect a building for newspaper distribution. When you take a look at our distribution centre, it's nothing to write home about. When the rain falls it beats on us. So I want the state government to help us erect a building for (newspaper) distribution. When you go to other states you see what their state governments have done for them. Their distribution centres are very good. Since we started we have not got anything from the Government. (The) government has not come into our issue. They don't even know whether we exist. In fact, we are suffering … but we are making sure that the distribution is going round. For me, this is one of the things I want the state government to do for us - help us in erecting building where we do our distribution (of news papers) - because here we are not safe. We've been attacked severally by gunmen. They took some of our money and bags (and) some got wounded because we are not safe.