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Solomon okocha

"It is a wretched taste to be gratified with mediocrity when the excellent lies before us." - Isaac D'Israeli

For the past two years now, our dearly beloved Rivers State, has regrettably become the epicentre of weird and stupendous political dramas.
From the unrestrained hate speeches and electoral violence being perpetrated by the so called political leaders, to the acrobatic celebration of simplistic and routine functions of government; Nollywood Producers are either uninterested in political soap operas, or they lack the ability to identify good stories that will most certainly make great movies.

As early as 7:30am GMT on Saturday August 20, 2016, preparations were already in top gear for the 're-commissioning' of a road that was initiated, completed and commissioned by Sir Dr. Peter Odili, former governor of Rivers State, during his tenure in office. Canopies, chairs, musical instruments, buffet sets, and other necessary ingredients of modern occasions were already placed on one lane of the road that was about to be re-commissioned. In fact, loud music was already blaring from giant speakers placed on the road partition. All was set for the day Peter Odili Road would be re-commissioned.

Trust Governor Wike and his overbearing stunts, he paraded about with the President and members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), who were originally in the State for the annual Bar conference, he took them round the soon to be re-commissioned road, showing off the filled pot holes, asphalted sections, additional pavements, road markings, etc. He even got the once revered NBA, through its embattled president, Augustine Alegeh SAN, to commission an already commissioned road. The fun fair was high and the narcissistic Governor was seen relishing in the savour of the artificially stimulated moment; the media coverage was good; the mediocre smiles from the faces of PDP loyalists; encomiums from the voices of paid-political sycophants; Governor Wike is working!

What exactly is commissioning? In Project Management,  the main objective of commissioning is to effect the safe and orderly handover of the unit from the constructor to the owner, guaranteeing its operatebility in terms of performance, reliability, safety and information traceability. Simply put, commissioning is the formal presentation of a completed project to the owner. From the forgone, the questions that arises from the strange re-commissioning of Peter Odili Road by Governor Wike are as follows: is there a particular section of the road that was left uncompleted by the former governor? Was the road without drainages, partitions, pavements, asphalt, and so many other components of a typical road that this present government is now claiming and re-commissioning? Is it possible that former Governor Peter Odili did not commission the road and now wants Governor Wike to commission it on his behalf a whole decade after?

Apart from the conspicuous mediocrity that is associated with the re-commissioning of an already commissioned road, there is also the issue of too much ado about nothing. Whilst Governor Wike is busy playing to the gallery in Rivers State, his counterparts in Cross Rivers and Lagos States, respectively, are actually constructing, completing, and commissioning world class projects. For example, Gov. Ayade, is intensively working on the multi-billion Naira Calabar Light rail project, the first in Nigeria, that would soon be inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari, while Governor Ambode just commissioned the first ever state-owned medical emergency helicopter and helipad in Nigeria. Can you spot the difference?

It was Gordon B. Hinckley who intelligently asserted that "eternal vigilance is the price of eternal development", and I do agree with him hook, line, and sinker. Rivers State has never been in dire need of political vigilance more than now. The good people of Rivers State must rise up in unison and demand for Governor Wike to stop playing cheap politics with the scarce resources of Rivers people, even at a time when recession is biting deep into the depleted earnings of the masses. A minute more silence might dangerously accelerate the ongoing redefinition of mediocrity in Rivers State.