Governor Wike, who gave the assurance yesterday when he spoke at a public lecture and book presentation in his honour at Dr. Obi Wali International Conference Centre in Port Harcourt, remarked that his administration enjoyed tremendous support from leaders and people of Rivers State to be reckoned with success his administration was celebrating.
A statement by the governor’s media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, in Port Harcourt yesterday, said Governor Wike solicited that same support should be given to his successor because if Fubara’s administration fails, it will mean that all that made it possible for him to emerge as the next governor has failed.
He said: “I have that belief that the governor-elect and the deputy governor-elect will do 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 were the same and therefore, should not expect the same level of relationship they experienced under his administration from 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 our people happy,” he said.
The governor, however, assured that the governor elect, Fubara, would be committed to deliver on what would 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 said.
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,” he said.
Governor Wike also expressed appreciation to the former governor of the state Dr Peter Odili, for writing down the list of things he should avoid if he wanted to succeed, adding that the list helped him greatly.
Delivering the lecture entitled: “Democracy, Transformational leadership and sustainable development: The Rivers experience,” Prof. Julius Ihonvbere acknowledged the tactically strategic politics of Governor Wike that produced results in the state and beyond.
He said: “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 comfortably 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.”
According to Prof. Ihonvbere, Nigeria’s democratic practice is characterised by reactionary, opportunistic and anti-democratic actions that have a tendency of bankrupting those who are not strong and focused.
According to him, the problem was in the fact that Nigerians were 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.
A former governor of the state, Dr. Odili, who unveiled the four books written to honour Wike, described him as a phenomenal leader, who confronted leadership challenges and came out of them victoriously, becoming an example and inspiration to those coming after him.
The 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 Wike, edited by Prof. Okey Onuchukwu and Prof Chinedum Mmom,” and “Transformational Speeches of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, edited by E.K Beredugo.”
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.”