Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on Wednesday in Port Harcourt and his deputy, Dr Ipalibo Banigo, took oath of office for a second term.
Rivers Chief Judge, Justice Adama Iyaye-Laminkara, administered the oath of office on Wike and his deputy at a ceremony held at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium.
Mr Wike, in his inauguration speech, restated his resolve to always place the state first in all his actions.
He said: “For us, in all things, it is Rivers State first; Rivers State is the measure; Rivers State before others.
“This is the essence of the political mandate and burden that we will bear for the next four years and we will not disappoint you.
“We will continue to stand up for Rivers State and defend her interest, no matter the challenges or what comes at us.’’
The governor, who said his administration was not opposed to the federal government, called for a partnership to move the state as well as Nigeria forward.
He said since the people of Rivers were not “a conquered people’’ they would never surrender their respective freedoms “to anybody or entity, whether internal or external.
“We will, therefore, not accept to be subjugated to a headmaster and pupil power relationship; neither will we abandon the collective interest of Rivers State for the sake of political expediency.
“We are for the rule of law, democracy and mutual respect as autonomous state entities and co-building blocks of the Nigerian federation,’’ he said
Mr Wike also commended the people of the state, especially the voters, for their trust and support that gave him the mandate to serve Rivers for another four-year-term.
“For us, everyone counts. We must not allow ourselves to be divided between upland and riverine considerations, but strive for common grounds, solidarity and work together towards achieving our common goals and aspirations.
“Our refrain at this time, and especially in the face of the social and economic uncertainties in our nation, should be: `ask what you can do for Rivers instead of what Rivers State can do for you’.
“The future of our state depends on us. It is up to us to renew, re-energise and advance the Rivers dream, to fight for what belongs to us, and to defend our right to exist in freedom, security and peace in our own nation.
“And if we do cooperate, think and act among ourselves with tenacity and unity of strength, purpose and commitment, then there is no mountain we cannot level; no river we cannot cross, and no goal we set for ourselves that we cannot achieve.”
He assured that his administration would, in the next four years, consolidate on his first term achievements to make Rivers the greatest state in Nigeria.
“Our economy is great, but it should be greater and made more beneficial to all.
“And so we will continue to grow our economy, expand our tax base, provide a friendly business environment and attract foreign and local investments to create more jobs and empower our people.
“We will continue on the economic trajectory of fiscal discipline, prudence, prioritisation of capital projects over recurrent and giving value for money spent in the delivery of services.’’
Wike also promised to partner relevant national and international agencies and expertise to initiate and implement a 25-year Marshall Plan for economic transformation and development of the state.