Posted by Olaniyi Abodedele on Monday, February 3, 2014 Under: News Stories

Hon. Chimbiko Iche Akorolo a native of Port Harcourt told  our reporter  that the city of Port Harcourt is a 100 years old during his recent visit to South Africa when he came for an award to honor the best amongst the best in Local Government administration in Africa, an event organized by The African Leadership Forum. Our reporter spoke to him in his Davinci Hotel room Sandton, Johannesburg on the 12th of December 2013.

Born on the 20th November 1969 to the ruling house in Elekahia, Hon.  Akorolo is the Mayor of Port Harcourt city in Rivers State, Nigeria. He holds a degree in Planning and Environmental Management. During the interview with The Nigerian Voice Newspaper he announced the centenary birthday of the city of Port Harcourt and the planned celebration.  “I want to let you know that my city is 100 years, am actually celebrating my centenary and when I look back, I see quite a lot of things we have achieved in-terms of structures”, the elated Mayor declared.

“When I came into office, many of the structures we have are the ones that have been built way back in the 50’s and 60’s, but if you now come to the Council headquarters all the new structures you see there are built by me including the mayor’s residence. The structure I met there was built way back in the 40’s. Also, I had to build the illustrative complex known as State Assembly complex”.

Other achievements of the garden city includes winning the best award for revenue generation amongst the 23 Local Governments in Rivers State last year. Hon. Akorolo explained that he won  the award when the volume of revenue he generated got to a record high which has never been witnessed in any local government in the state, and with the revenue generated he was able to engage in massive infrastructural development of the local government.

The Mayor is convinced that democracy has come to stay in Nigeria. He explained that “we have passed that era where our democracy is described as nascent democracy. Back then, a lot of things were done haphazardly, but now we are beginning to keep records and have realized that democracy have come to stay, so we must set the records straight and I think so far so good we’ve got it running”. 

Speaking further about his numerous achievements particularly in  the areas of adequate service delivery to his people, Mayor Akorolo said, “You will agree with me that Port Harcourt is one of the cities in Nigeria that you cannot ignore and for you to sit there means much is expected of you. I want to say that the changes I have made are numerous”.

He recounted some of his other achievements: “I have been able to pass well over 50 bills, some of the bills and laws were outdated, they were passed in 1958 and 1979, we took time to look into some of this laws to enable us generate revenue and this revenue we have used very well”. “One of the areas has to do with healthcare. This is the closest to the people. And as a local government, we make sure our people get free healthcare. We pay and make sure that those who provide the facilities are well-taken care of and paid as at when due. So, this we have also been able to achieve”.

Enthusiastically, the city Mayor also mentioned his administration’s success in  the area of youth empowerment. He recalled how he found out that oil companies and those who do business in Port Harcourt have certain MOU with the various communities that make up Port Harcourt local Government to assist the Indigenes, but when he took a look at the statistics, a greater portion of those who live in Port Harcourt are not from Port Harcourt.  He also realized that those who do business, pay their taxes and whose children have lived all their lives in Port Harcourt needed to be reached out to. The mayor said that he saw the need to  work with this group of people and also to give them a sense of belonging in the city. As a result of this, he recently partnered with some oil companies such as Total and Agip to to provide skills trainings for the economical survival of the identified youth.

“We have been able to establish a centre for skill acquisition that has been built and equipped for people to go in and acquire one skill or the other”, said the Mayor.   Hon. Akorolo believes that as long as the council continues to do this irrespective of whether you come from Port Harcourt or not, the crime and security situation will calm down, because, according to him, what causes a lot of problem is the idleness. This issue, the mayor said, has been addressed by the Local government Council.

Mayor Akorolo also made it clear that street hawking has been a major problem in Port Harcourt. But, fortunately, he sad that  he has been able to reduce it, but serious work still needs to be done towards eradicating it completely. To this end, he stated that “on the part of reducing street hawking, we’ve been able to get two big markets so far that has accommodated a lot and have reduced the issue of street hawking. Hopefully, we are looking for a third partner that will build a third market in Creek Road in Port Harcourt. Once this is done, street hawking will be a thing of the past. The capacity we are looking for will take about 4,000 people”, the Mayor explained.

In his message to Nigerians in South Africa, the Mayor spoke with so much pain in his heart how Nigerians don’t value the country above ethnicity. “I want Nigerians to stop been sentimental about what is happening in Nigeria and look forward to a better Nigeria, I want us to stop looking at ourselves as Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba or Niger Delta. It pains me when we look at ourselves from that perspective first, if we continue doing that you will not come back home to develop our country and make it better. If we can trust and believe in ourselves and stop saying this other tribe is cunning, this other tribe is like this, and then we are not ready as a nation. Please let us focus on the present and the future; let us forget about the past and hopefully we will get back Nigeria as the giant of Africa.

On seeing a copy of the Nigerian Voice Newspaper, the amiable Mayor was full of praise for the publication. He expressed his appreciation for the efforts of the management of the publication. “I am truly touched and impressed by the quality of the material and I want to say, please keep it up, hopefully it will get bigger and bigger and get more outlets in Africa. I am not looking at it only in Southern Africa but in the whole of Africa, and as one of the major voices where people get to know more about Nigeria. Just like you said, it is to let people know that Nigerians are actually telling their stories and the stories actually comes from The Nigerian Voice. Keep up the good work!” he said encouragingly.

In : News Stories 

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