As at May 29, 2015 when the good people of Rivers State rightly expelled the All Progressives Congress ( APC) from government, the people of Etche Ethnic Nationality were one of the most neglected communities. They were denied developmental projects, appointments and respect from their own state government.
Due to no fault of theirs, they were degraded to second class citizens in a state where they served as food basket and also have some of the critical oil producing communities. Their situation was worsened by the fact that Etche APC leaders rather than clamour for projects, took advantage of the horrible disposition of the Rivers APC administration to further rub salt on their open wound.
One of the few half-hearted road contracts that was awarded to link Etche people to the outside world was used as a money spinning venture for an APC House of Representatives Candidate for Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency. That road became a sad tale at the time the inglorious Amaechi administration ran out of office.
When Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, as PDP governorship candidate visited Etche for campaigns, he tabled his development blueprint before the people. He explained to them his strategy for the revival of the long neglected ethnic nationality and declared his total commitment to their development.
Though betrayed by the Amaechi administration, the people saw the sincerity of Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and resolved to vote him and the PDP. The decision by the Etche people to vote for Wike was premised on the fact that he would transform the area and throw open her economy. It was a decision based on the fact that the governor would stand courageously with them to promote their Democratic rights.
They believed that Wike would restore the pride and dignity of Etche people, snatched from them by the agents of maladministration, bad governance, marginalisation and misappropriation as exemplified by the APC Government sacked by the good people of Rivers State. For eight years, the immediate past APC administration in Rivers State neglected the Etche Ethnic Nationality.
They were treated as outsiders and denied developmental projects and appointments. Immediately Governor Wike won the governorship election, he set in motion the process to develop Etche land. As Governor Wike took over the mantle of governance in Rivers State, he took immediate steps to liberate the people of Etche and ensure that they enjoyed developmental projects.
The very first project in the area was the Igwuruta-Chokocho road. This road that was in a very deplorable condition was reconstructed by a first class contractor. This was the first connection that the people of Etche had with Port Harcourt, after they were completely cut off from the State capital.
The construction of Igbo Etche road, another major economic road in the area has reached an advanced stage. Motorists are already enjoying the road. The Chokocho-Umuechiem- Ozubu-Elele road and the Ulakwo II-Afara-Nihi road being constructed by the Rivers State Government have reached varying stages of completion. In the area of health, Governor Wike is reconstructing the Zonal General Hospital, Okehi – Etche.
This health facility will provide both secondary and tertiary healthcare to the people of the area. Some of the Doctors and medical personnel being recruited by the Rivers State Government will be posted to this Zonal General Hospital. It will serve Etche , Omuma and adjoining communities. The Wike era has become the period of sustained development for Etche. The people are gaining lost ground in the development arena.
They are regaining their sense of inclusion and they have seen the benefits of supporting a pro-people leader. In recognition of his exemplary efforts in projects delivery for the Etche Ethnic Nationality, clerics and laity of the Anglican Diocese of Etche in Rivers State conferred on Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike the distinguished award for “Outstanding Leadership “.
Conferring the Award for Outstanding Leadership on Governor Wike during the Second Session of Third Synod of the Anglican Dioscese of Etche on Sunday April 9, 2017 , Anglican Bishop of Etche Diocese, Rt Reverend Okechukwu Nwala said that the people of Etche Ethnic Nationality are appreciative of the creation of access to their communities by the Wike administration.
He said that the Etche people remember that at the time Governor Wike took over the mantle of leadership, Etche roads were death traps and Etche Ethnic Nationality cut off from the rest of Rivers State. The Anglican Bishop of Etche Diocese declared that aside roads across Etche land, Governor Wike has ensured that the Etche people were appointed as Vice Chancellor, High Court Judge, Permanent Secretaries and Special Advisers.
Responding, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike assured the people of Etche Ethnic Nationality that they will always be factored in the development agenda of his administration. He said Etche people deserve development because of their support. Track him assure them of further development) Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike announced that his administration will construct the second phase of Egbu-Etche road.
He assured that he will complete the Egbu-Etche road and let him list other projects. He said his commitment to the development of Etche land is as a result of his resolve to ensure that the once neglected community enjoys development like other areas. He assured repented militants and cultists from Etche Ethnic Nationality that his administration will continue to implement programmes that will empower them.
While advising youths to shun acts of criminality, Governor Wike offered scholarship to two repented militants presented to him by the Anglican Bishop of Etche Dioscese. Member Representing Etche/ Omuma Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, High Chief Jerome Eke during a thank you rally at Okehi declared that the Etche people will always stand by Governor Wike for his magnanimous disposition towards the area.
He noted that the numerous projects and appointments extended to the Etche Ethnic Nationality by the governor showed his love for the development of the area. Rt. Hon Kelechi Nwogu, Member Representing Omuma State Constituency said that the Etche people are happy that they voted a governor who is committed to rebuilding Etche land.
He said the people of the area will remain grateful that the governor lived up to his campaign promises. PDP Chieftain from Etche, Prince Emma Anyanwu, assured that the people of Etche will always wholeheartedly support Governor Wike.
He said that the developmental projects executed in the area are testimonies of the fact that the Etche people were right in voting Governor Wike. Governor Wike has used development projects to change the perception of people about government.
He has proven that despite the scarce resources, a government can still keep her promises. Little wonder Etche people are solidly in support of Governor Wike.
Nwakaudu is the Special Assistant to Governor Wike on Electronic Media.