Rivers State governor Siminalayi Fubara has lined up several activities to mark his first 100 days in office.
The activities which will include project commissioning and flag-off, will last from September to October, according to the governor.
Fubara, in a statewide broadcast on Wednesday, said, “In my inaugural speech, we promised to consolidate and continue the new Rivers Vision by committing to sustaining the momentum of development set by our immediate past governor, and now Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
“After one hundred days, I am proud and humbled to report that we have not wavered from this course.
“Taking one step at a time, we have kept our eyes focused on this goal, made steady gains and delivered on the bold promises we made on the campaign trail, despite the economic challenges.”
The governor said some of the projects to be commissioned were inherited from the previous government, while others were initiated by his administration.
However, assessing Fubara’s 100 days in office, the main opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Congress, (APC), accused the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-led state government of making “bogus claims and promises without empirical evidences accompanied by timelines to deliver on such promises”.
Although the APC State Publicity Secretary, Darlington Nwauju, commended the governor for giving the state secretariat complex a facelift within his first 100 days in office, he noted that it is falsehood for Fubara’s government to claim that “the state’s free WAEC/NECO policy achieved a 100 per cent success given the fact that school principals were caught with evidence of extorting parents”.
The opposition party further alleged that the corrupt tendencies of government officials in the state Ministry of Education who “shamelessly trade in distributing postings for WAEC/NECO exams’ supervision while compelling school principals to make returns on these external exams has remained one of the consolidated achievements of Governor Fubara’s administration”.
Also commenting on the release of free buses to cushion the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy in the state, the APC noted that “while it is true that government is a continuum,” Fubara should have given credit to former governor Rotimi Amaechi, whose administration purchased the luxury buses used as palliative measures to ease cost of transportation.
The APC in the state further said it has not been convinced at the “scientific logic behind the Port Harcourt Ring Road project given the fact that Rivers residents and people have not been educated on the Environmental Impact Assessment of such a project that will surely come with a health and social impact on the lives of the people”.
On the 17th of July, 2023, Governor Fubara flagged off the 50.15KM dual carriage Port Harcourt Ring Road project worth N200 billion as a legacy project of his administration.
The road is expected to connect six local government areas in the state, a project which the governor believes will expand and decongest the city of Port Harcourt.
The road project and the amount budgeted for it was also heavily criticized by different groups including the South-South Youth Initiative, SSYI.
SSYI, in a statement by its President, Saviour Oscar, said, “We hear that Governor Fubara has conceived the ring-road project to be sited in Port Harcourt, the same place the former administration, his benefactor, carried out all his acclaimed developmental projects.
“While we condemn the move to resume a visionless leadership in the state, ignited by the immediate past administration of Chief Nyesom Wike, we urge Governor Fubara to think of spreading development to all the other 21 local government areas of the state.
“What has stood Lagos State out among other states of the nation is simply that development is equitably spread among its local government areas. This has ensured due development on all sides. Go to Lagos State today you will observe that every nook and cranny of Lagos State has turned into a city.”
The project was, however, lauded by a Rivers State federal lawmaker in the House of Representatives, the member representing Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency, Cyril Hart, who described it as mind-blowing.
“This project is a masterstroke and economic game changer for Rivers State. Linking six local government areas means creating direct and indirect jobs, and post-construction opportunities,” Hart said.
The governor has in the last 100 days followed through on his promise to consolidate the achievements of his predecessor by taking up the projects that were not completed by the Wike administration.
Shortly after he was sworn in as governor, Fubara appointed his commissioners, all of whom were approved by the state House of Assembly.
The commissioners have been described by several persons, including opposition parties and groups in the state as, “carry-over commissioners” from the previous administration.
Many other actions taken by the governor within the period that have been criticized include the sack of lecturers and non-academic staff who were newly employed into the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Rivers State.
According to the governor, the dismissal of the affected workers followed the discovery of irregularities that marred the employment process.
The workers had worked for eight months without remuneration before they were relieved of their duties.
Fubara has also been unable to complete the 10,000 employment process that the previous administration commenced.
Wike had assured Rivers people that Fubara was going to follow through the employment process, but it appears to have been abandoned as speculated by many.
DAILY POST asked some residents of the state, mostly civil servants, to share their views on Fubara’s first 100 days in office.
One of them, who did not wish to be named, said, “He has not started work. The only thing I have heard him do is the fuel subsidy intervention.
“If all he has done is to commission Wike’s projects, then he has not started.
“The only area he has done well is that he is an obedient servant, he is finishing up his master’s projects and not abandoning them.”
Another said, “The current state government has not done anything tangible that is benefitting the workers. We are observing the current state government as if he is taking directives from the former governor.”
However, another resident is of a different opinion. He believes the new administration is just settling down in office.
“The governor understands the plight of the people and he knows how to handle them. We just need to give him some time to settle into the office, as he is just coming in. I believe he will achieve a lot like Wike.”
Despite the criticisms, Fubara has succeeded in flagging off a health insurance program in the state.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Oreh, speaking during the flag-off of the 3-day workshop on the Rivers State Contributory Health Protection Programme, said the scheme will provide a platform for those who cannot pay for health services to be covered by equity funding and subsidy.
Oreh added that the program was, “in line with Governor Siminalayi Fubara’s vision to improve the quality and affordable health care in the state”.
The program was flagged off as part of the activities lined up to mark Fubara’s 100 days in office.
The health insurance scheme, the commissioning of completed road projects and school renovations, as well as the flagging off of new projects in the state may, however, reduce the criticism that the current administration is currently facing.