Building bridges of unity, friendship across the Niger
By Simeon Nwakaudu
A firm believer in the unity and rapid development of Nigeria, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, is reputed to be a leader who invests in the building of bridges of unity and friendship across the country.
He is leader who invests time, energy and resources in the cultivation of platforms that will unite the country, promote peace and encourage religious tolerance amongst all ethnic groups in the country.
A strategic politician and administrator, Governor Wike ensures that all his actions foster the growth of an indivisible Nigeria.
Recognized nationally and internationally as Nigeria’s Dean of projects, Governor Wike has over the last two years, used the flag off and commissioning of key projects in Rivers State to create an atmosphere of friendship, peace, love and the need for all sections of the country to embrace peace.
As Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike implemented the highly successful Almajiri Education programme, which saw the Northern less privileged street children access have to quality education. He implemented the Girl-Child Education Programme in the north and the vocational school for the Boy-Child in the southern Geo-Political Zones.
These three critical prorammes fostered unity in the country and gave the people a sense of belonging. While implementing these programmes, Nysesom Ezenwo Wike interfaced with Nigerians from all the states of the country and strengthened the nation's ties of unity.
In Rivers State, over the last two years, prominent Nigerian leaders like former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Former Senate President David Mark, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, General Overseer of the Reedemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Former Jigawa State Governor, Dr. Sule Lamido and Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, came at different times, commissioned or flagged off projects in Rivers State. These activities are used by Governor Wike to send the strategic message of unity to all citizens of the country.
On Tuesday, 27th June, 2017, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, opened another chapter in the history of the Nation. He led elders of Rivers State to pay a Sallah visit to the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar.
On his entourage were: Former Rivers State Governor, Sir Celestine Omehia, Former Acting National Chairman of PDP, Prince Unche Secondus, Former Nigeria’s Ambassador to South Korea, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, Former Minister of Sports Chief Jammy Dadagogo and Former NBA President, Chief Ormeze Okweha.
Others are: former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Austin Opara, Federal Civil Service Commission, Hon. Hope Ikiriko, Former Attorney General, Hon. Frank Chiwor, PDP Chieftain, Prince Emma Anyanwu and Sokipiri Graham Douglas. He was also accompanied by the chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers and Amayanabo of Opobo, King Dandeson Jaja, the Amayanabo of Abonnema, King Disrael Abobo-Bob-Manuel and the Oduam of Abua, King Kalley Obunge.
This was done in futherance of the quest to promote the unity of the country.
Governor Wike and his entourage were received at the Sokoto International Airport by the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal from where they proceeded in a motorcade to the Palace of the Sultan.
At the Sultan's Palace, Governor Wike received a royal welcome as leaders of the Sultanate and Traditional Rulers lined amidst music and dance to celebrate his arrival.
Speaking at the Palace, Governor Wike declared that the people of Rivers State believe in the unity of the country, noting that they will continue to work for the country to stay united.
He said: "Rivers State believes in the oneness of this country. We believe in the unity of the country and we will do everything possible to the preach the unity of Nigeria.
"All countries have one challenge or the other, but what is important is dialogue to find ways to resolve those challenges. For the unity of Nigeria, there is no going back ".
He said irrespective of religious differences, all Nigerians must ensure that they work for the unity of the country.
He described the Sultan as a Traditional Ruler who believes and works for the unity of Nigeria.
Governor Wike thanked the Sultan of Sokoto for participating in the Rivers Golden Jubilee and always supporting the Rivers State.
Responding, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Nigeria Council of Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar called for dialogue in the resolutions of the challenges facing the nation.
He called on elder statemen across the country to call their people to order for the country to live in peace and attract development.
He said: "We shall continue to work for the unity of this country. This shows that we are one family in Nigeria. We serve our creator by serving humanity".
Speaking further, he said: " I was very pleased to see what is going on Rivers State in terms of construction and projects."
While urging Governor Wike to sustain his developmental projects, he charged political leaders to remain committed to projects delivery as that will attract the goodwill of the people. He said leaders who work for their people will always be defended by their constituents.
In his remarks, Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal described the visit as historic and relevant to the unity of the country.
He said: "He has come at a time when we are hearing so many voices being released by so many Nigerians on the unity of this country. This visit has come at the right time, it couldn't have been at a better time. He is here to express in words that we are all believers in the unity of this country.
"Your Eminence will hear more from my brother, Governor Wike, who is known for his stance on the unity of this country. This visit has cap it. "
The moves by Governor Wike are purely at the level of building the structures of unity. It is to strengthen the bonds of religious tolerance to create platforms for a society where everyone is free to practice his/her religion without fear of intimidation.
There were no political connotations to the visit. It was a meeting of like minds in a country in need of voices of unity.
More Nigerian leaders need to work in practical terms like Governor Wike to walk the path of unity and religious tolerance. That way, the country will be in good stead to achieve her developmental goals.
. Nwakaudu wrote in from Port Harcourt
Caption: Sultan, Wike and Tambuwal