HIS EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR NYESOM EZENWO WIKE’S 2021 NEW YEAR MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF RIVERS STATE

My dear people of Rivers State

2. As usual, New Year’s Day offers us with the opportunity to reflect on the last twelve months and look forward to the challenges and opportunities of the New Year with renewed faith and optimism.

3. As individuals, we may be inclined to make our own resolutions encapsulating our desires to be closer to God and to live a more honest, healthier and happier life.

4. I sincerely pray to God to answer all your prayers and enable each and every one of us to realize the resolves we have made for ourselves, our families, our communities and our State in the New Year.

5. No doubt, the year 2020 was a very challenging year for our country.

6. A mismanaged national economy in recession made worse by a brutal corona virus pandemic, escalated insecurity, corruption and socio-political tensions cast their shadows on 2020 and made life truly horrible for millions of struggling families and ordinary Nigerians.

7. What’s more, the poor state of the nation’s economy and its aftershocks of dwindling revenues, rising inflation, poverty and unemployment also affected us as a State.

8. Nevertheless, we strove and reasonably advanced our development agenda and efforts at building a financially responsible and socially equitable State.

9. Accordingly, 2020 also proved to be a very busy and eventful year for our State, especially in project execution and delivery of social services to our people.

10. As customary, we initiated and completed a record number of development projects with tremendous socio-economic impact while several others, including the multi-billion naira flyovers, received reasonable funding and construction attention in 2020.

11. As you know, some of the completed projects were inaugurated earlier this month while several more completed projects, including the Mother and Child hospital, the Real Madrid Academy new buildings, the Okoro-Nu-Odo flyover, the Sakpewa – Bori dual carriage way, the Abonnema ring road, the 10 kilometer Bolo internal roads, and the Eteo – Sime – Nowan – Kira road are due for inauguration from the 4th of January 2021.

12. Our agenda for the State has been clear from the very beginning, and far from the misguided views of some of our critics, we are not reworking old recipes in our development efforts.

13. Rather, we are surely and pragmatically addressing the critical concerns of our people, including the sustenance of peace and security, education and affordable healthcare, fixing our infrastructural deficit and driving better economic growth and social progress for our State than is generally acknowledged.

14. Today, we express our gratitude to God and our people not only for the opportunity to serve but also for the achievements we have recorded which now forms the foundations for our drive towards greater levels of development, economic growth, better life and secured future for our people.

15. But, we also concede to the fact that there’s much more to be done to realize the Rivers State of our dreams: a progressive State with fabulous infrastructures, quality education, affordable healthcare and boundless economic opportunities for all who live in it.

16. We will therefore continue in 2021 to focus on the fundamental task of creating a new Rivers State through prudent, efficient and transparent management of available resources.

17. Essentially, we shall continue to upgrade and expand educational infrastructures and services across all levels of the education system.

18. There is no better guarantee for the future progress of our State and the nation than to ensure that every child has the realistic access to the transformational light of education and skills acquisition.

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19. We shall also continue to prioritize healthcare delivery and ensure that everyone has access to affordable primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare services.

20. We therefore commit to completing all ongoing and new healthcare infrastructures, including the five zonal tertiary hospitals and the proposed specialist hospital for the treatment of cancer, kidney and cardiovascular diseases.

21. In the same vein, we shall continue to give focused attention to the State’s physical and economic infrastructure and ensure that we deliver fabulous roads, bridges and flyovers to connect all parts of our State to ease the movement of goods and services, enhance economic growth and accelerate the development of the State.

21. Along with quality education, affordable health care and transport infrastructures, we shall also focus on creating a more robust business environment to stimulate economic growth, empowerment and create tangible jobs for our people.

22. We also wish to restate our commitment to recruit 5000 youths into the State’s public service in 2021 to reduce the unemployment rate and give the beneficiaries a new ease of life.

23. Fellow citizens,

24. It is very important for us to sound a warning note that we are currently experiencing the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic here in Rivers State.

25. This makes it necessary to remind everyone of our responsibility to adhere strictly to the existing protocols on compulsory wearing of face masks, maintenance of social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and the regular use of hand sanitizers so that we can reasonably prevent the rate of transmission and avoid needless deaths from the disease.

26. Furthermore, I wish to express our dismay with the continuing flouting of the ban on trading, the creation of illegal motor parks, taxi ranks and mechanic workplaces as well as the erection of illegal kiosks along our streets and other public spaces.

27. Apart from constituting public nuisance, these activities and structures obstruct traffic flow and pose serious threats to public safety and security to the extent no responsible government can tolerate.

28. With the grace period over therefore, we have no other option than to order immediate clampdown and put a final stop to these illegal operations from the 4th of January 2021.

29. Finally, as we say farewell to 2020 let us also eschew the recriminations, turn a new page on the hatred that has kept us divided, forgive one another and together, work towards making our dear State the best place on earth to live, do business and bring up our children.

30. On this New Year’s Day the challenge before us remains how we can work together to overcome the road blocks to our progress and build a State that holds concrete promise of hope for the present and future generations.

31. Let us therefore start a new chapter of cooperation, togetherness and solidarity and in one accord unleash our potential on the development of our State and better the lots of our people, for there’s no goal we cannot achieve if we remain united.

32. I wish to, once again, thank our leaders, traditional rulers, elder statesmen, religious leaders, party chieftains, opinion leaders, men, women, youths and the press for your continued support, prayers and understanding and reassure all of our government’s commitment to your service as we build the future that we all desire for our State.

33. As we step into the New Year, let us recommit ourselves to the new Rivers Vision by working together under God’s guidance to make 2021 truly remarkable and fulfilling for Rivers State.

34. I wish each and every one a prosperous, blessed and happy New Year!

35. And may God continue to bless our dear Rivers State.