Governor Nyesom Wike has remarked that the last presidential election was about the protection of the unity of Nigeria and Rivers State sided with those patriots of national inclusivity to support southern presidency.
Speaking on Thursday at Eneka in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area, venue of the inauguration of Eneka-Igbo Etche Link Road, governor Wike thanked his Kaduna State counterpart, Mallam Nasir Ahmed el-Rufai and the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors for their stance on power shift to the south.
Governor Wike said it is natural justice that the presidency move to the south since the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari, who hails from the north was just concluding its eight years tenure in office.
“Your Excellency, let me use the opportunity to thank you immensely and members of your team, particularly you governors from the north under the All Progressives Congress, APC. When it matters most in this country, when Nigerians were talking about unity; how this country will be united and progressive, people like you came out boldly and spoke out that for the unity of this country.
“It is important that the presidency having stayed in the north for eight years should move to the south and you stood firm. You were not personal about it because what you were talking about was the interest of Nigeria.”
Governor Wike stated that those from the north who supported southern presidency would have, instead, used their numerical strength to oppress the rest of the country and thwarted the quest for southern presidency, but they did not do such.
“You (el-Rufai) would have, as well, coming from a zone that is highly populated, said this is my second tenure, I’m leaving, I’m going to throw in my weight to contest for the presidential election, but you said no, let it move to the south.
“So, I want to use this opportunity to thank you on behalf of the government and people of Rivers State. The unity of Nigeria matters and I assure you that history will be on your side tomorrow when unity of Nigeria will be discussed.”
Governor Wike explained that in Rivers State, the resolve to support southern presidency was not compromised and the election results are evidence of such support in the spirit of equity, justice and defence of the unity of Nigeria.
“Here, (Rivers) we supported the president from the south. I don’t want to say who we voted for, the results shows. I don’t know who took first, I don’t know who took second. But it is important to know that the people of the State supported the southern presidency.”
The Rivers State governor said the invitation to governor el-Rufai to inaugurate the project is on the basis of comparing notes and strategies on governance and delivery of development projects in the light of peer review mechanism as they serve their people.
Governor Wike informed that he had seen some landmark projects provided by governor el-Rufai in Kaduna that included flyovers and roads, with some inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Commenting on the Eneka-Igbo Etche Link Road, governor Wike said the road has linked up two local government area. He explained that the road will reduce travel time between the Rivers State to Imo State and also ease the transportation of goods from the agrarian Etche council to markets in Port Harcourt and its environs.
Governor Nasir Ahmed el-Rufai, who inaugurated the project, pointed out that though himself and governor Wike may be from different political parties, they share a few things in common because they are Nigerians and believe in one Nigeria.
He commended governor Wike and the people of Rivers State for supporting the emergence of a southern president in the 2023 presidential election.
“I want on behalf of our presidential candidate and our party to thank you and the good people of river state for making the right choice in voting for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It is the first time since the Fourth Republic started in 1999 that PDP was unable to get 25% in Rivers state.
“It shows that the people of Rivers can differentiate and they know when to vote for quality and they voted quality over political sentiments. We want to thank you for providing that leadership Governor Wike.”
The Kaduna State governor urged governor Wike, who he described as stance believer in the unity of Nigeria to continue to work together with others of like minds to make Nigeria an egalitarian, progressive and prosperous society
“I want to assure you on behalf of the Northern APC governors that stood up and insisted that after eight years of President Buhari power should shift to the South was an act not only of belief in one Nigeria, but also in our enlightened self interest.
“This country has the potential to lead the African continent and indeed the black race. But only when Nigerian leaders come together and do what is best for the majority of our people. This is what the northern APC Governors stood for.
“This is what we believe Governor Wike stands for and this is part of the reason that I am here to extend our hand of fellowship to Your excellency governor Nyesom Wike and the people of Rivers state, for us to continue to work together as brothers and sisters to make Nigeria a better place for everyone. No matter what religion, ethnicity, tribe, colour or creed.”
He described the Eneka-Igbo Etche Link Road as a very important road that symbolises the quality of governance governor Wike has continued to provide to Rivers State.
According to him, there is a visible infrastructural transformation of the State and with an undoubtable heavy investment in health, education, and job creation.
“And it is clear that under your leadership, the resources of the State has been used for the benefit of the people of the State. I want to congratulate you on your achievements.”
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works Dr George -Kelly Dakorinima Alabo said from the Eneka Roundabout, the total length of the Eneka -Igbo Etche Road up to Etche junction is 5.1 kilometers.
According the him, the once impassable road has been fixed within the agreed 6 months completion period and delivered to provide relief to resident who suffered from the deplorable condition that the road was in before the intervention of governor Wike.