Governor Wike: Of Amateur Projects and Validation from High Places
In few days, the official carrier of the Nigerian President would convey the Acting President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osibanjo to the Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers State. This would be his second visit. On his previous visit, it had ended in drama. He had been called to commission projects and the APC in the state had also gathered a couple of thoughts to share with him. We are yet informed about his itinerary this time. But Rivers State does not lack drama, and we can take that to the bank. And again, the Port Harcourt International Airport that the Acting President would be using is currently in a sorry state. The rehabilitation that took place at the Abuja Airport did not extend to it. It is like everything else that represents the federal government in the state. But the Acting President would use the Presidential wing, anyway.
Among the projects that the Acting President would be commissioning is a beautiful ‘ultra modern’ market at Rumuokoro. ‘Ultra’ and ‘modern’ have been radically abused in Nigeria. It sometimes does not stand for anything. It is one of those joined words that help fill up links – not necessarily fillers, just ego scented words used to massage the images of whoever carried out a project. But I believe that the market is beautiful. You should see it. I would not keep it side by side with the former market. This project is thoughtful, it affects traders directly and would shelter them from rain and the sun. It is better than commissioning inter-streets roads. But then, that’s a huge project too, fixing link roads. How grateful we should become! And the environment if kept clean would entice shoppers. But why is the Acting President coming to commission the project? To answer that, we should ask what image beautification means.
For individuals who suffer from low self-esteem, it is likely that they’d make it up with very expensive clothes, cars and even houses or cooler friends who have amazing aura. They’d fly first-class just to inform onlookers that they too are relevant but then it isn’t bad business for whoever serves anyone who is lost in their own worth. They spend a lot! And there are others who do not care much, they have all it takes to move mountains and hills right inside of them and it is everything. Could the governor be one of those whose physical outlook and strong voices fail to make it into their esteem? Could it all be for validation?
Would it have been out of place to invite someone who is within the state, a friend of the day to day running of the state to commission these projects? Does the value of the projects increase because an Acting President would be commissioning it? Are there sincere engagements that the Governor could have with the Acting President? Can’t the state get more things working? What happened to our Sea Ports, the refineries and other federal projects? Could it have been out of place if the President had been hosted to a town-tall meeting where some of the challenges of the state would be discussed? One of the federal projects in Rivers State is the University of Port Harcourt. That institution has been in the news for hikes in fees and some bad things. Would the visit of the Acting President address some of these lapses? There is a proposed road that would connect the upland with Bonny. Its pace has been slower than everything that ever existed. Would the Acting President find a way around this? And oh, I could be shortsighted. What if the man would be coming with buckets to help scoop some floodwater to Aso Villa? Just maybe.
Could the governor have asked the Acting President to visit with his economic team and value prospective sites for industries and therefore increase local output? If the governor needs to let the world know about his projects, social media sponsored advertisements and word of mouth would do the magic. A good product sells, regardless.
The constant invitation of unnecessary big men to a small party primarily shows amateurism. And may confirm the rumour that we are not being served sincerely, instead, we are being fed for the spotlight, to be validated, to be seen for what a working leader we have instead of letting time tell these fine tales.
Vincent Bura-Bari Nwilo is publisher of The Metro Review.com