THE INAUGURAL SPEECH OF HIS EXCELLENCY SIR SIMINALAYI FUBARA, DSSRS, KSC, GOVERNOR, RIVERS STATE ON 29TH MAY 2023.
“TOGETHER, LET’S CONSOLIDATE THE NEW RIVERS STATE”
Let me start by thanking God Almighty for His grace and incredible blessings. The people have spoken. Again, democracy has triumphed in our State. But the honour, glory and adoration belong to God, who is forever faithful to those who trust him.
I acknowledge my better half and First Lady, Her Excellency Mrs Valerie Fubara, our lovely children, and my entire family for their unqualified love, support and prayer.
What an extreme privilege to have been groomed, nurtured and mentored by one of the most outstanding leaders of our country, His Excellency Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, GSSRS, POS and Life Bencher.
Thank you, my boss, leader and benefactor, and your lovely wife and former First Lady, Her Excellency Justice Eberechi Nyesom-Wike, DSSRS, for believing in me. God may have willed it, but you were the actualizer of this glorious dawn. You were the battle axe God used to secure resounding victories for all our party’s candidates in the 2023 general elections.
A billion thanks are insufficient to express my gratitude to my boss and our indomitable leader. My family lack the words to thank you. The Opobo kingdom cannot thank you enough. Only God can reward you in commensurate terms.
We salute our father, leader and pathfinder, His Excellency Dr. Peter Otunaya Odili, CON, GSSRS and his amiable jurist wife and former First Lady, Her Excellency Justice Mary Odili, CFR, DSSRS. I welcome you both in a spirit of most humble gratitude.
We thank our party elders, led by Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, DSSRS, for your support and solidarity. I can’t thank you enough. May God continue to keep you in good health and vitality.
We appreciate all our traditional rulers and the religious community for their unceasing prayer, trust and support. I also appreciate our vibrant youth, hardworking women and the rank and file of our party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for your loyalty, hard work and sacrifice. You proved that Rivers State is PDP: Rivers PDP is matchless.
We will strengthen our party and ensure it remains the most dominant and successful political vehicle to advance our collective and individual political interests.
Fellow Rivers people, today, you have given me a great responsibility to preside over our State as your Governor for the next four years. I am genuinely touched by the spotlight and humbled by the honour. And this I will be: the Governor of all Rivers people.
You have invested your trust in us, and the question is how we can provide effective good governance to meet your hopes and expectations.
12.Our response is simple and majestic. By today’s mandate, you have asked for continuity in leadership and like a strong relay team, we have accepted the baton to continue the race.
We will provide that strong, determined, focused, purposeful and responsible leadership. Though enormous, we assure you we are equal to the tasks and responsibilities ahead.
My Deputy and I were born, bred and educated in this State. We are Christians and believe in the core values of prayer, hard work, service and sacrifice.
We worked in the Rivers State Civil Service for decades and have practically served every government since 1999. Our knowledge is extensively enriched by our lifelong interactions, connections and service to the State and our people in public and private capacities.
We know Rivers State as well as anyone. We know your hopes and expectations. We know our terrain and development challenges. We see our progress and what more to do to take us higher.
We have been well-groomed, charged and challenged none more so than by our leader Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, whose passion for the progress of Rivers State is beyond measure.
Being his offshoot, we will follow in his footsteps to balance change, consolidation and continuity.
Together, we embody our collective aspirations for a greater and prosperous Rivers State, a State that provides equal opportunities for all, a strong, compassionate and progressive State that protects and enables everyone to live in security, comfort, and prosperity.
Rivers State is a Christian State, and God is our foundation. We shall govern with the fear of God and stay strong to our Christian values of trust, faith, love, care and sacrifice.
We shall deepen the inseparable ties between the Church and the State government for the benefit of our people. We assure the Christian Association of Nigeria and other spiritual leaders of our sincere friendship, support and solidarity.
We will continue to support and work with the Church to defend our faith, advance our values and enhance our people’s moral and spiritual well-being.
The primary responsibility of a new government is to do its best to advance the security and well-being of the State and its citizens.
In our case, we count ourselves lucky because the impressive achievements of our leader have provided the critical building blocks for the accelerated development of the State.
Therefore, as we undertake our responsibilities, we promise to stay the course, commit to cooperative governance and expand opportunities for everyone. The wishes of our people for a happy life are our mission in politics.
To the Rivers State House of Assembly, our people have equally tasked us to work with the commonality of purpose to advance the common interest and good of all. Let us seize this impetus to continue to move our State forward.
The people have voted for us with much hope and expectation. We cannot afford to disappoint them by working at cross purposes.
We must work harmoniously to strengthen the administrative, legal and policy structures, systems and institutions to deliver tangible life-changing results for our people and accelerate our development. There is no other choice.
We acknowledge our leaders’ remarkable transformation of the State’s judiciary in the last eight years. I assure the legal community and Rivers people, in general, that we will honour all our commitments to our judiciary and guarantee effective, efficient and speedy justice delivery.
Under us, our magistrates and judicial officers shall remain the leading lights regarding administrative autonomy, personal security, working environment and well-being.
Fellow citizens, we know that most of our citizens are affected by the prevailing difficulties orchestrated by the poor state of the national economy.
While some of these economic challenges are beyond us, we understand our responsibility to take relevant measures to diversify our economy and insulate it from the headwinds.
Accordingly, we will prioritize the well-being of the State and citizens with a renewed focus on economic growth, people-centred projects and social services.
We will improve the ease of doing business and sustain a congenial fiscal regime to attract local and foreign direct investments to stimulate greater economic activities, create wealth and improve citizens’ livelihoods.
We will adopt a re-industrialization policy master plan and partner with the private sector to revive or establish viable industries to create jobs and empower our people.
We will also support the growth of small businesses and encourage commercial agriculture to achieve food security, industrialization and improved living standards for citizens.
We witnessed unprecedented growth in infrastructure in the last eight years, but there’s still more to do. Therefore, we will follow in our leader’s footsteps to invest in capital projects, including roads, bridges, electricity, supply, and social housing.
With its interconnecting road network, the need for affordable, conducive and safe public transportation cannot be over-emphasized as Rivers State continues to grow and expand by leaps and bounds.
We will, therefore, partner with the private sector to develop an integrated multimodal public transportation system to advance mass mobility and access to socio-economic opportunities across the State. We will also construct the Port Harcourt Ring Road to enhance the mobility of goods and services across the State.
We are proud of the State’s achievements in the healthcare sector, particularly the construction of new primary healthcare centres, the Mother and Child Hospital, the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostic and Treatment Centre and the contributory Healthcare Insurance Law.
With what is on the ground, it is evident that the primary challenges with our healthcare system are more with inadequate manpower, corruption, indiscipline and ineffective management.
I assure you that apart from completing all ongoing healthcare infrastructure projects, we will deal with all identified challenges and ensure that the healthcare system functions optimally to deliver affordable and efficient healthcare to citizens.
We are equally proud of the State’s unprecedented educational advancement, especially in the last four years. Our public schools at all levels, irrespective of location, are some of the lovely and best-resourced in the country.
We will consolidate this progress by introducing smart schools and classrooms across the State to empower our children with world-class learning experiences and make Rivers State a knowledge hub.
Let me also say that we care about our youth. We know they need jobs, opportunities, empowerment and the freedom to build sound, promising futures.
We will not abandon our youth to their fate. We will continue prioritizing education at all levels and empower our youth with the relevant skills and opportunities to become economically active, productive and prosperous.
We believe in the job creation capacity of small and medium enterprises. And so, we shall facilitate targeted access to low-interest funds for youth entrepreneurs to start or improve their businesses, earn decent incomes and generate employment for themselves and others.
To our civil servants, I thank all of you for your invaluable contributions to the State’s progress over the years. We appreciate your indispensability and promise to meet all our obligations to you, including regular payment of wages, pensions, gratuity, training and promotions. All we ask is your continued patriotism, dedication, and enthusiasm in the execution of your official duties.
Fellow citizens, today, we have answered your call to continue consolidating the new Rivers vision. Like the last government, we shall be ambitious in our policies and projects, bold in our decisions and committed to defending and promoting the collective interest of our State.
We do not promise we have all the solutions to all our challenges. But, we promise not to compromise on the quality of governance, the services we can provide, and the interest of our State. Rivers State will remain the centre of our focus and actions. With your support, we will provide that quality leadership.
We are all equal stakeholders with shared responsibility for the security of our State. We will spare no effort to keep Rivers State secure and robust.
We will be hard on crime and criminality. We will swiftly and firmly deal with anyone, regardless of status or position, rich or poor, who breaks our laws or dares to violate our environment, peace and security.
We will continue to support and motivate the security agencies to maintain law and order and keep our communities, roads, neighbourhoods and waterways protected, safe and secure for businesses, residents, and visitors.
To our friends and associates, we offer cooperation, comradeship and consultation. We need your contributions, goodwill and prayers to deliver on our mandates.
To the opposition, we seek respect, rapprochement and patriotism. With politics over, now is the time for governance. We need collective responses to the challenges we face. We need all hands to construct the Rivers State of our dreams. Our doors are open.
To our youths, we encourage you not to give up on your dreams. We will work with you to realize them and secure your future.
To our women, we appreciate your sacrifice and contributions to building our families and educating our children. We will protect your freedoms on gender equality and support you with means and opportunities to elevate your economic status and circumstances.
To our elders, we appreciate your support and sacrifice and seek your wise counsel to guide us in this endeavour.
To our fellow compatriots, on this glorious day, let us all resolve to come together with optimism as one, united family to build a peaceful, secure and prosperous State for ourselves and future generations.
The task ahead may be arduous; there is no difficulty we cannot overcome if we unite and work as one. We, therefore, call on everyone to join us in the task ahead.
Thank you again for this privilege and opportunity to serve you as your Governor for the next four years.
Thank you, and God bless you all. God bless Rivers State.