By Kelvin Ebiri
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has assured that his successor, governor-elect Siminalaye Fubara, and his deputy governor-elect, Prof. Ngozi Odu will surpass his record of success.
Governor Wike gave the assurance when he spoke at a Public Lecture and Book Presentation in his honour at Dr. Obi Wali International Conference Centre in Port Harcourt on Thursday.
The governor remarked that his administration enjoyed tremendous support from leaders and people of Rivers State to be reckoned with success his administration is celebrating.
Governor Wike solicited same support should be given to his successor because if Fubara administration fails, it will mean that all that made it possible for him to emerge as the next governor, have failed.
“I have that belief that the governor-elect and the deputy governor-elect will do very very well. He is somebody you can rely on. His yes is yes, that I can tell you.
“He is an accountant, they are very conservative. They don’t spend money anyhow. They spend the money where they know it will be useful. So, don’t rate us as the same. But he is a very good person.”
Governor Wike urged Rivers people to understand that no two persons are the same and therefore, should not expect the same level of relationship they experienced under his administration with the incoming government.
“Don’t compare that the way I relate with you should be the way the incoming administration must relate with you, no. We have different styles but what’s important is being able to deliver what will make out people to be happy.”
The governor, however, enthused that governor-elect, Fubara will be committed to deliver on what will make Rivers people happy.
“When people were struggling to be governors, he never one day came to me to say sir, I am interested. Only those who don’t have the interest of the State were those masquerading themselves, running around, those who I know that would sell the State the next day and I thank God they have all left.
He emphasised that the journey had not been easy, but with focus, commitment and help from God, he surmounted the challenges.
“If Rivers people were not in support of our administration, we would not have been encouraged to do what we have done. And so, I say to all of you our leaders, Rivers people that I appreciate every support you have given to us since 2015.”
Governor Wike also expressed appreciation to Dr Peter Odili, former governor of the State for writing down the list of things he should avoid if he wanted to succeed. According to him, that list helped him greatly.
Presenting the 2023 inauguration lecture entitled “Democracy, Transformational leadership and sustainable development: The Rivers experience,” Prof. Julius Ihonvbere acknowledged the tactically strategic politics of governor Wike that produced result in the State and beyond.
“Wike brought in a new phase of domestic and international appreciation of the location of the state in economic calculations.
“In terms of infrastructure, there is no one in the history of the State that you can compare comfortable with Wike. Like a man in a hurry to finish an assignment, he unleashed massive interventions, often at great cost, on practically every sector especially health, education, administration of justice and rural development.”
Prof. Ihonvbere said Nigeria’s democratic practice is characterised by reactionary, opportunistic and anti-democratic actions that have tendency of bankrupting those who are not strong and focused.
According to him, the problem is in the fact that Nigerians are unwilling to think differently, work differently and interact differently.
He said what Nigeria has is not liberal democracy but illiberal democracy because it encouraged closed democratic spaces, extra-legal deployment of power and authoritarian tendencies.
Dr. Odili, former governor of Rivers State unveiled the four books that were written in honour of governor Wike.
He described governor Wike as a phenomenal leader who confronted leadership challenges and came out of them victoriously, becoming an example and inspiration to those coming after him.
Vice Chancellor of Ignitius Ajuru University of Education, Prof. Okey Onuchukwu who listed the four books said they depicted the kind of leadership styles that governor Wike provided in driving development to meet present and future needs of Rivers people.
The four books presented to the public were, “Leadership, governance and sustenance in Nigeria, in honour of governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. Edited by Prof. Okey Onuchukwu and Prof Chinedum Mmom,” and “Transformational Speeches of governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. Edited by Barr. E.K Beredugo.”
The other books are, “Educational and Sustainable Development, a book in honour of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. Edited by Florence Ataka”, and “Nyesom Wike, Leadership, Strategies in governance, faculties and testimonials. Edited by Eric Osagie.”