Ministerial Screening: Full Text of Amaechi’s Address to Senate
LAGOS OCTOBER 23RD (URHOBOTODAY)
Your Excellency, the President of Senate,
Your Excellency, the Deputy President of Senate
Your Excellency, the leader of Senate,
Your Excellency the minority leader of Senate and former
Governor of Akwa Ibom State,
Distinguished leaders of the Senate
Very distinguished Senators,
Good morning. It is a rare pleasure to stand before you distinguished Senators in this hallowed chambers. I am deeply humbled and honoured to have been nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari to serve in the office of a Minister in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. My name is Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and I am the immediate past governor of Rivers State. Before then, I had served as the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly for two terms of eight years and as Chairman,
Conference of Speakers, for two tenures. I am perhaps the first Nigerian to have served as Speaker of
a State House of Assembly, for eight years.
I served as Governor of Rivers State for two terms during which period, I had the honour and privilege to serve my colleagues as Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, for two terms. Taken together, whether as Governor or as Speaker, these two career paths tell a story of public service. During my
tenure as Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, we achieved a lot. Some key bills were passed like the Anti Kidnapping Law and the Rivers States Schools Rights (Parent, Children and Teachers) Law. However, my most fulfilling moment as Speaker was the passage of the Rivers State Schools Rights (Parent, Children and Teachers) law, No. 2 of 2005. This bill clearly enunciated and defined the
responsibilities of parents, teachers and children to guarantee our children access to qualitative education.
As Governor, we inherited a state that was comatose and in the throes of insecurity. Rivers State bore the fault lines of the Niger Delta militancy. Our immediate task was therefore to restore security and improve the social and economic well being of our people. Ours was a two-pronged approach
of fiscal and physical security. Whilst we confronted criminality with aggressive law enforcement measures, we embarked on massive social and infrastructural development.
We declared an emergency in the education sector that guaranteed free and compulsory education up to secondary school level. During my tenure as Governor, we awarded the construction of some 500 primary schools. 314 of these were 100 percent completed while others were virtually completed by the time we left office in May 2015. We undertook the training and recertification of teachers already in the service of the state and employed over 13,000 new teachers. Our efforts and investments in the education sector did not go unnoticed as Port Harcourt won the UNESCO World Book Capital city for 2014, beating cities like Moscow and Oxford.
In the area of healthcare delivery, we built over 140 primary healthcare centres, three secondary healthcare facilities, employed 400 doctors and 200 nurses to improve the manpower in the healthcare sector. Anyone who visited Port Harcourt while we served, will testify to the fact that we worked to bring back the old glory of Port Harcourt as the garden and city as the third leg in
the economic tripod of Nigeria.
We built a dualised network of 1500 Kilometres of roads, 23 bridges, 2 major fly-overs and 2 interchanges.
In the area of power, of the 350 Megawatts (MW) total capacity generation assets invested by the government before ours, only 70MW (equivalent to about 20 per cent) was available. With enthusiasm, we ramped up the efficiency to 77 per cent availability including injecting another 360MW Green Field Generation Project at Afam. That massive investment is partly the reason why today, residents in Port Harcourt enjoy almost 24 hours of electricity supply.
On the whole, Mr. President of Senate, I say with pride that during our stewardship of eight years we consistently maintained our pledge to our people to render transparent and accountable stewardship.â€ To guarantee that we did not deviate from that pledge, we were the first state to pass a Fiscal Responsibility law and the Rivers State Bureau of Public Procurement law. Both laws stemmed from executive bills, and we are pleased that we maintained our stance of surrendering the power of the governor to award contracts until the end of our tenure.
Mr. President of Senate, Distinguished Senators, it is therefore fair to say that under my leadership as governor of Rivers State we redefined governance and repositioned Rivers State as a destination choice to live, work and do business. Accordingly Mr. President of Senate, Distinguished Senators, I give you my word that if I am confirmed as minister by this distinguished Senate, I will bring to bear my vast experience as a Legislator, Speaker and Governor in the execution of my duties.