Remarks at the Commissioning of Obaji Street/Woji Road, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State

I bring you greetings from the good people of Oyo State.

Thank you for inviting me back to Rivers State. I always feel very welcome here because as you may know, I served in Port-Harcourt and lived here for some years. As my wife is from Rivers State, I also have family living here so this is my second home.

Last year, I was here to flag-off the flyover projects. I see that some have already been completed. So, I thank you for having me identify with progress as you commission another project, the Obaji Street/Woji Road reconstruction project in your overall plan of urban renewal.

Developments are a big part of our democracy, and every project counts towards the overall progress of the nation.

Indeed, all right-minded people like to identify with progress irrespective of their personal feelings towards the initiator. How much more in this case when I am rejoicing with my in-laws, fellow party members and friends. Again, I thank you for this honour.

We are blessed to be leaders at this point in Nigeria’s history, where there seems to be a reawakening of political consciousness, especially among young people. More progressive minds are seeing a need to get involved in the task of nation-building. And so we have the unique privilege of grooming a new crop of people who will see governance as service.

We have remained too long in an era where people see public coffers as an extension of their personal accounts. This is why we see members of that old brigade unashamedly calling out others for not opening up the state purse to them. We cannot make any kind of progress with that type of mindset. Developments cost money. And what will be left for these projects if all we do is share the public wealth with our cronies?

The time is coming, and it is soon when we will have more people in Nigeria, sincerely asking, “what did you do with the power we gave you?”  They will then use the evidence provided as a yardstick to measure what further opportunities should be accorded that politician.

Hopefully, at the very next cycle of elections, Nigerians will show that they have learnt something from the events of the year 2020. That electoral decisions have consequences. For example, the people of Rivers State are reaping a harvest of infrastructural development today, because they voted someone who believes in such development. You cannot plant cassava and go back, expecting to harvest yams.

This reawakening in the now dubbed “Soro Soke” generation will only yield needed results if it is also used to interrogate electoral choices.

I always say that we cannot build the Nigeria of our dreams by being complacent. It is not something that we will leave to the other person. It is a task that we all must be involved in. Each person, either as a citizen or as a leader, has a role to play.

We travel outside our country and see development, we see things are working well. The truth remains that those things are working because people are making them work. They are making use of what they have to accomplish what they must.

Nigeria remains blessed with human resources. We keep hearing about how our fellow countrymen and women are making giant strides all over the world. It seems commonsensical to invite them to come and contribute to making Nigeria better.

But what will we be asking them to come back to?

This is why any project that will contribute to the reduction of our infrastructural deficit is a welcome idea and must be applauded.

Sometimes, I hear people say, why are you praising him for doing his job. And I ask, will you berate them if they don’t do their jobs? Then is it not logical to praise people who do theirs? So, I join in praising Governor Nyesom Wike, my brother, for the work he has done here. I say to him well done. At the same time, I say keep on doing even more, so that more people will keep celebrating you.

Thank you and God bless you.

~ Governor Seyi Makinde, December 23, 2020

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