The promise of three flyovers by Governor Wike at crucial locations of the 'Garden City' is to be viewed as a welcome development, far from typical political statement. which is to hear politicians reel out many promises and make a u-turn along the line.
But the promise made by the governor to construct flyovers must have been borne out of feeling the people's pulse, apart from seeing the need for such. This is because, the passion with which the governor pursued this critical need is nothing but credible.
Before now, there had been social debate about the desirability of flyovers at designated locations, to help boost vehicular movement, add to the state infrastructures, aesthetics an easy traffic corgestion.
It would be recalled that during his recent second term inauguration , the state Chief Executive placed the people on notice that, his administration will be 'swift' in executing the tasks ahead for want of luxury of time. On its own, this is a cheering news, as against the tendency for many men of power to begin to rest on their oars and begin permutation for their political future , just to maintain hold on the levers of power. It is upon a notion as this that political figures build their hope of continuity and promote the spirit of godfatherism.
But the merit in Governor Wike's pronouncement is that, it would afford both his supporters and opposition to keep tabs on his activities, with a view following up to ensure the good delivery of all the democratic goods promised the people.
Realizing the urgency of the task at hand, both to fill the infrastructural gap and improve lives through relevant policies, Wike , at his inauguration stated thus:” Four years for us is like four months. So, we have no time. Now that the people have given us another mandate, we should be able to give them the best.” The speech underscores his coming to terms with the reality of what is expected in governance. With this, the state government would not have any quandary to hit the ground running to satisfy the curiosity of the people who are desirous of improved social development.
But, giving the people the best, the government must be reminded, will certainly never be a walk in the pack, but achievable through consistency and a resolute pursuit anchored on the fact that promises have been made and must be kept.
As a way of consolidating achievements of the first term in office, Governor Wike on May 29, 2019 I at the Yakubo Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, in the presence of the mammoth crowd (of Rivers people) where he took his Oath of Office and seized the opportunity to unveil part of the plans in the big picture for the second term in office ,saying, “This administration will construct flyover bridges at Rumuokoro, Garrison and Artillery axis. The governor had equally demonstrated the fact that people are the best asset of any government, even as he assured that,” For us in all things it is Rivers State first…..Rivers State before others. This is the extent of the political mandate and burden that we will bear for the next four years and we will not disappoint you. ”
On the imperatives of the flyover bridges, though the challenge pre dated his administration, not too early in the life of Governor Wike first term, there was the urgent need to address the Rumuokoro gridlock, which has become a daily occurrence, giving the axis a notoriety for 'slow motion,' with attendant risks of theft and related dangers in the maze of traffic .Not only has the perennial hold up made this part of Port Harcourt city a tense area, the ever presence of touts around the area, especially those seem to have the authority to arrest and prosecute unsuspecting motorists for flimsy reasons are enough reasons to strategically avoid the route in anyone's movement plan. The need for a flyover bridge in a location like this cannot be overemphasized based on the fact that it is a high traffic location, which connects to other important locations in the state.
One of the gains of the construction of the tree flyover bridges will be first, to check persistent traffic congestions in the designated areas. For too long, both directly and indirectly, the desire for flyovers will help check the incidence of loss of man hour which sometimes translates to financial losses for businesses. Second. Apart from creating an enabling normalcy, it would promote the ease of doing business, as the proposed flyovers are strategically and have a way of connecting people in and out of the city and, indeed, Rivers State.
For instance, the need for flyover bridge at Garrison roundabouts was first felt when expansion work was being carried out on the spot. Then, many keen watchers of the development had realized the need for a flyover around that axis, based on the expansion that didn't immediately address the recurring traffic hold up. So, a flyover at the popular Garrison roundabouts will not only help ease traffic, it will add to the aesthetics of Garden City view and affirm more the cosmopolitan nature of the city. Garrison is one of the locations that reveal what Port Harcourt is like to a stranger and a foreigner.
Similar feat would have been achieved upon the completion of the proposed Artillery flyover, which is even another window to the state and specifically to Port Harcourt city. All these efforts will translate to a positive impression of the state, both to tourists and investors.
Governor Wike should be commended and yet encouraged for identifying with these development gaps. The city of Pot Harcourt had long deserved to have structures that support its acclaimed status as the Garden City in the Treasure Base of the nation.
But his vision and resolve far extend beyond the ones identified here. For instance, in same inauguration, Governor Wike disclosed that priority will be accorded development of social amenities in the state. The governor listed other priority areas to include youth development, which will in turn bring about significant opportunities to the youths in terms economic opportunities, through continued interest-free loan, which first phase has already commenced. This is apart from a boost to the youth development in the area of sports already being felt, with the provision of Real Madrid Football Academy.
So, as residents anxiously await the commencement of the crucial developments, one expects that, the same spirit will drive the Wike's administration in other chief areas of need as events unfold in the life of
his last lap of the State administration as governor.