Tinubu: Visit Like No Other

Tonubu: Visit Like No Other

By Ogbonna Nwuke

President-elect, Bola Tinubu is expected in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital as a guest of the Rivers people. He will spend two days commissioning projects delivered by the Nyesom Wike administration.

It will be a visit like no other as Nigeria gets set for a peaceful transition of power from one civilian administration to another.

For the Rivers people, it would be a unique opportunity to host Nigeria’s incoming president and a chance too, to cement ties with the  administration that Tinubu would lead at the centre.

As things are, Rivers people are getting ready to roll out the red carpet and their rich culture, and place the traditional hospitality that they are known for on marble.

For the president in waiting, the visit to Rivers State offers a unique platform to perform what will appear to be his first official function before he is sworn in as the nation’s new helmsman.

It would probably be the chance for the nation’s number one citizen to thank the Rivers people for their role in electing him leader of the most populous African nation.

For Governor Wike who departs from office on May 28, about midnight, it will be the perfect icing on the cake.

Given events that are playing out, the President-elect may turn out to be the last high profile visitor to visit the man whose tenure as governor of Rivers State has been beneficial, memorable and eventful before he finally leaves the Rivers Government House for his country home.

Wike had vowed long before Sir Siminalayi Fubara was elected governor that he would not reside outside Rivers State. Fate may well play a hand in the actualization of that stout resolve when he retires.

The library that he has built for instance; the steps he has taken to ensure that there is a balance of power in Nigeria; and the voice that he has lent to events that are helping to shape the destiny of a nation; all suggest that Governor Wike may be preparing for the role of a Nigerian statesman.

It is important at this stage to salute the outgoing Rivers Governor for pulling the President-elect to the State on account of his role in the polity and the goodwill that he enjoys among top political actors in the country.

While in the State, the incoming President would commission the 12th flyover and the Magistrates Court.

From every indication, the Rumuola – Rumuokwuta flyover which is iconic is a symbol of the level of infrastructure that the Wike administration has provided in order to spearhead the social and economic transformation of the State.

The Magistrates Court on the other hand is a piece of architectural beauty and evidence of the consumate commitment of the Rivers State and Governor Wike himself to the evolution of the judiciary and the rule of law.

Already, doubting Thomases who think Tinubu would not be sworn in need not waste their energy. Tinubu is already being seen by world leaders as the duly elected president of Nigeria.

This is what the congratulatory messages and letters of invitation from various countries translate to. It simply means that they have accepted the verdict of the Nigerian people.

Rivers State needs to move on. There were many who aspired to govern the State, but only one has been chosen overwhelmingly by the Rivers people. That person is Sir Siminalayi Fubara.

It would be his mantle to take Rivers people and Rivers State to newer and higher levels of growth, stability, peace, progress and development.

Governor Wike has smashed the glass ceiling in so far as providing facilities for Rivers people is concerned. He has done so dutifully with so much focus, love for Rivers people and great commitment.

Having said these, we are gladdened by the fact that Senator Bola Tinubu will be the one to commission  the last of the flyovers and the most iconic which is a remarkable symbol of the legacy that Wike is leaving behind.

His determination to provide basic infrastructure, to transform the entire State and place it on a pedestal of growth is legendary. These exploit have been widely acknowledged by President Muhammadu Buhari and other Nigerians.

The 1007.5 metres Rumuola-Rumuokwuta flyover which connects Rumuola road to Ikwerre road is indeed proof of dreams that have come true; and evidence of great promises fulfilled under the watch of Governor Wike.

“To God be the glory.” Governor Wike is quoted as saying last week while inspecting projects. “We are expecting the President-elect on the 3rd and 4th of next month to commission the 12th flyover and the Magistrates Court building.

“You can see the Magistrates Court building and how amazing it is. We commend the contractor too who has done this job, and quite on time.  I don’t think you can find this anywhere in this part of the country.”

But nothing in my view describes Wike more than his thoughts about the place of history and what the good people of Rivers State who gave him an opportunity to serve would think of the administration that he has led.

Hear him. “Rivers people will of course attest to the fact that we have given our best and we thank God and give Him the glory that it has turned out this way.

“We are extremely happy and we can beat our chest, we can go home satisfied that we have not disappointed our people. “

It is amazing what Wike has accomplished in the last four years. His accomplishments which include massive road networks that are opening up the grassroots, specialist hospitals that could boost health tourism in the State and a largely transformed state capital are there for all to see.

I am not Saul, but I  am like Saul. Saul persecuted the early Christians. I persecuted Wike and tormented him as best as an opponent would do. Like Saul, the scales which blinded me have fallen from my eyes. I have become a disciple of what my eyes have seen.

I recall what Wike said the day we me. “You have tried my brother”  he said, “Try me.” I did not ask for personal wealth or gain. I probably could have gotten it.

I rather asked for the Chokocho-Igbodo Road. The timely completion of that road is proof of what Wike did for the Etche people and for me. As a people, I am certain we shall never forget.

Nor can we forget how we transformed from merely being the Treasure Base of the Nation, to a State that must be heard under Governor Nyesom Wike.

The Governor’s comments on critcal matters pertaining to the development of the State and issues of national interest are great testimonials.

Wike’s comments reflect a burning desire to move the State up the ladder to the next level and promote national cohesion and stability.

Unlike most of his colleagues who believe government has come to an end after the elections, Wike continues to commission projects.

This places him far apart from the rest and puts him within the realm of the best of leaders who have served this country and Rivers State as governors.

Interestingly, inauguration day in Rivers State on May 29 will be one with a distinct and remarkable difference according to information that have been released.

I doubt there is any State in the country where projects would be commissioned up to inauguration day just as a successor gets set to step in. But in Rivers State, up to inauguration day, a number of projects would be inaugurated.

On inauguration day eight years, Wike had gone straight to work from the venue of the swearing in ceremony. Eight years after, on the last day, projects would be inaugurated as he withdraws.

It may be the way “Mr. Projects” wants to be remembered by history. Yet, to my mind, it is a demonstration of the passion of an astute performer and a workaholic who is determined even with his last breath to give unto the Rivers people, the best that he can bring to the table.

As Tinubu comes, we wish him a memorable stay in Rivers State. As a people, it is not Tinubu who chose us even though he recognized what our votes could do. Rivers people chose him as fate would design.

Rivers people led by Wike chose him because of our firm belief in the historic mission of  the South and its place in the cultivation of the Nigerian project.

Finally, Rivers people chose Tinubu because they wanted the evolution of a nation which respects the balance of power, and the arrival on the scene, of a man who can get things done, fairly and equitably.

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