Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers has restated his administration’s resolve to continually promote the unity of Nigeria and ensure peaceful coexistence of all residents.
He made this known on Thursday at an event to mark Nigeria’s 60th Independence Day celebration at Government House, Port Harcourt.
According to him, efforts would be sustained in improving the standard of living, expansion of healthcare delivery and pursuit of accelerated economic growth in Rivers.
“There is an unprecedented investment in the provision of socioeconomic infrastructure across the state.
“We are constructing roads, flyovers, jetties, markets and expanding healthcare and education facilities throughout the state including the rural areas.
“This is to accelerate economic growth and make life more meaningful for our people. We have spared no effort in advancing and achieving security.
“Rivers state is now reckoned as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria with much improved business environment that is attracting investors. Clearly, we have a bright future,’’ he said.
The governor also said that Nigeria’s development would remain stunted without strong institutions that would promote devolution of power.
He said it was time for Nigerians to confront core political and economic issues that hamper sustained growth.
“To put Nigeria on the path of progressive growth, the rule of law, a fraud-proof electoral system, an effective neutrality of law enforcement agencies and independence of the judiciary should be put in place.
“We may gloat in the limited progress that we have made since independence. It is true that we have achieved relative expansion in access to education, healthcare and the socio-economic infrastructure.
“But if we fail to give considerations to the serious challenges preventing us, we cannot build a free, fair and just nation that will command the total loyalty of all nationalities.
“Let us therefore, resolve to take the right step to institutionalise the necessary constitutional and political systems that will enable us to build a free, sovereign democratic and functional nation,’’ he said.
Wike also noted that at independence, there was an effective democracy, regional autonomy and fiscal federalism.
According to him, those principles guided the political, social and economic relations between the central government and the regional constitutional regions until they were frustrated.
He said: “Our founding fathers envisioned to build our nation with due regard to our diversities and with visionary enthusiasm.
“They provided basic building blocks for sustaining a united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria with a functional constitution document.
“No one part or region was deliberately denied against what was due to it. No ethnic nationality was politically and economically favoured unduly above all others by the central government.
“Under this arrangement, Nigeria thrived on a peaceful and progressive path. Unfortunately, the fundamental principles of negotiated constitutional regional autonomy and federal government were blatantly jettisoned.
He commended the military in Nigeria for their efforts in curbing banditry, and all forms of insurgency to defend the sovereignty of the country.
The governor had earlier inspected the parade mounted by the Nigeria Police at a brief ceremony that also featured the release of Peace Pigeons.