Of concern to political communicators and scientists is the concept of the mood of the constituency. The mood of the constituency tells what the people in a constituency want in an electioneering year. It helps a lot in a campaign as a political candidate is meant to fit into the mood. The constituency in this case is Rivers state. The big question is, what does the ordinary Rivers man expects from a candidate who wants to rule Rivers state?
Yes, some Rivers people are happy with Chief Nyesom Wike for the flyovers and other capital projects. That is where it stops. Many are also grumbling about too many flyover projects, some not preventing traffic gridlock as anticipated. Others say most of these projects are meant to corner away a lot of money for the elections. Have you asked yourself the question why political juggernauts are coming to Rivers state to woo the governor? It is because of Rivers money and this Rivers money may have been obtained through the flyover projects. A lot of people cannot be fooled and they are asking many questions, pointing out to this direction.
The mood of Rivers people is, in as much as critical infrastructure should be maintained, the emphasis should be on human capital development. So many teeming Rivers youths are unemployed, wandering about in the streets of Port Harcourt and other towns in Rivers state. There are no industries to employ them; no attraction of investors and investments to the state; no empowerment schemes for the young men, some with brilliant ideas. Yet, Rivers as a rich state is only heard among majority of young persons in drinking joint. It does not in any way touch their lives. Yet, it is a common patrimony of all Rivers people. Sadly, only a few in government preside over this wealth. So, Rivers people look forward to a candidate that has agenda to move them out of poverty, which is primarily the essence of development.
Nobody eats flyover. So, which of the candidates have a programme of moving a lot of people from Rivers state to prosperity?
Looking at Seminialaye Fubara, who is the candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the ruling party, although he had not in any way spoken to Rivers people as he has always been shielded from them in events he had attended, If words of his boss, Gov. Nyesom Wike is anything to go by, he will continue with his good works. Continuing with his good works would mean more flyovers. Wike as a governor is not concerned about human capital development. The human capital development programmes his predecessor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi had , he killed them all. They are the RSSDA that was responsible for empowerment of Rivers young men and women. The Songhai farm and Buguma fish farm to mention but a few were abandoned to die. The banana plantation in Ogoni was not allowed to see the light of the day. Even the 5000 employment in the civil service he promised Rivers people were not redeemed. The current employment in the two universities owned by the state is in shameful controversy as many have accused the governor of concentrating on Rumuprikom, his hometown. Also, the present appointment of more than 50,000 persons as advisers is to serve electioneering interest. All these will surely affect Fubara, whether he likes it or not.
A cursory examination of candidates of all the political parties has brought the beam on one Rivers son, Prince Ugo Beke of All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA). His Curriculum Vitae(CV) has a lot to tell about his experience in business, investment and career as an economist as well as his theme which is building good economy and prosperity for Rivers people. One is of the view that a support of Rivers people for this candidate will fit into the mood of the people of the state. This candidate in my sincere opinion based on his qualification would be concerned about how to resuscitate industries that closed shop in TransAmadi and other environs. He promises to empower Rivers people with credit facilities in collaboration with the banks operating in the state. A resuscitation of agricultural and other empowerment schemes. Undertaking employment in the civil service in a transparent manner to give every Rivers man a sense of belonging and to build a strong sub economy for Rivers state that would attract direct investments.
Prince Beke from his profile is a Political Scientist and economist. He had been a seasoned banker with participation in several professional trainings such as Credit and Marketing Studies,Corporate finance in Emerging Economics,Credit Administration in Nigerian Banks and many others.
These professional trainings and his experience in finance earned him membership of the Committee on Value Added Tax VAT headed by the globally acclaimed economist, Late Professor Sam Aluko. He became an Assistant Manager in Merchant Bank of Africa and honorably ended his career in Banking as a manager in 1992.
Prince Beke is versatile as he participated actively in the Oil and Gas sector. His trainings and experiences spans Evironmental and Host Community issues as well as financing in the oil and gas sector.
He served as Executive Director, Eastern Wroght Iron and Chairman FUB Nigeria Limited, a major Haulage vendor with Total,Nipco and Oando.
He later became the Director and Vice Chairman of Date Line Oil and Gas Company: President Udofito and Chairman Brownbek Oil and Gas Company.
Between 1999-2000, Prince Ugo Beke was appointed Chairman of the Federal Pilgrim Committee and made the membership of two sub-committees namely: Aircraft leasing/charter and Groundhandling/ Hotel accommodation respectively.
He currently serves as Chairman Rivers State Unity Forum. He is a member of the Abuja Investment and Infrastructure Centre and member Board of Directors, Abuja Investment and Infrastructure Commission(AIIC) as well as member of the Nigeria Governing Council, African Peer Review Mechanism APRM.
Prince Beke active participation in the Africa Peer Review Mechanism is worthy of note. This is a platform where critical developmental issues across Africa are x-rayed and narrowed down as it relates to the Nigerian state in terms of sustainable economy growth and development. These issues to mention a few are as follows: Implementation of democracy and good political governance standards and codes; Implementation of economic governance, management standards and codes; Implementation of corporate governance standards and codes; The evolution of development planning in Africa, The quick National Employment Generation Survey,2006, Workforce gender disparities in Federal and Local Government civil service, Gender disparities by social statues, The “resource curse” and poverty in Nigeria, The decline of Agriculture in oil-rich Nigeria, The due processe mechanism in Public Procurement and contracting
Prince Ugo Beke in his quest for community engagement and development chaired several youth bodies in Rivers State in the early 1990s before he emerged Chairman of the Rivers State Frontiers in 1993. He was the founder & Elder of the Rivers/Bayelsa Professional Forum which created in 1999.
From 1994 to 1999 he served as Chairman, Niger Delta Emancipation Forum as well as Chairman Soth-South Voice in 1999.
Prince Ugo Beke interest in politics dates back to 1981 when he was returning officer of the student union election during his undergraduate days in Buckingham University in England. He was an active member of the National Republican Convention NRC in the aborted third republic where he contested for the office of the party’s Publicity Secretary in 1992.
In 1999 at the inception of the People’s Democratic Party, Prince Ugo Beke was part of the founding members. He left the People’s Democratic Party in 2014 to join the All Progressive Congress APC where he made substantial contributions.
All through the professional and political career of Prince Ugo Beke he has exhibited rare but highly demanded virtues of character, competence and capacity.
He was honoured with the best behaved Youth Corp member during his National Youth Service in 1984.
As 2023 draws near, it behooves on every knowledgeable Rivers man to subject all candidates to scrutiny among all the political parties with a view to search out good material who can provide good leadership as one has done in the case of Prince Beke.