Many fans of the outspoken Executive Governor of Rivers State, Barrister Nyesom Wike, are still shocked by the turn of events in the Government House of Rivers State as the governor, who had always been a staunch critic and adversary to the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari and his policies, did the unexpected by praising the president for his exceptional leadership qualities and characteristic, while appealing to him to pay a State Visit to River State.
Governor Wike wrote a public letter to the president titled “Thank You Our Dear President” in several newspaper tabloids, including The Nation and Daily Sun of Monday, 29th June, 2020. This is coming on the back of the governor’s outburst about the manner the People’s Democratic Party, PDP’s National Working Committee NWC were handling election candidate matters, especially the primaries in Edo State. Wike had said that the PDP’s NWC was acting like tax collectors. He also threatened to expose some of them.
He wrote: “I wish to, on behalf of the Government and people of Rivers State, appreciate and most sincerely, thank you for graciously approving the refund of the sum of N78.9 billion to the Rivers State Government, as cost of execution of Federal Government’s road projects in the State. Let me also, through you, thank the Vice President, His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, GCON, as well as other members of the Federal Executive Council, for the support they provided to our request.
“Mr. President has by this remarkable and heart warming gesture shown not only your love for the Government and people of Rivers State, but, also, demonstrated expressively that you are, in deed, a President for every State of the Federation and all Nigerians.
“I assure you that the Rivers State Government is willing and ever ready to cooperate and partner with the Federal Government to advance the
developmental aspirations of Rivers State in particular, and our nation in general.
“I wish to, therefore, appeal to Mr. President to kindly oblige us with a State visit when invited, to see what we have accomplished for the State and our people with the money.
“Once again, thank you, Mr. President, and please, be assured of our profound esteem, as always.”
The governor, despite his dramatic public vitriols against the presidency, had always been of the best behaviour whenever there was an encounter between himself and any top leader from the presidency, as seen during the visit of the President to Port Harcourt for the Commissioning of the Port Harcourt International Air Port Terminal in October 2018, and the visit of February 2019 during the presidential election campaign in the South-South States.
Governor Wike’s recent comments about the leadership qualities of President Muhammadu Buhari is not unconnected with the release of ₦78.9 billion to the State Government, being refund of funds for the State Government’s expenditure on the Federal Roads in the State for the past thirteen years, right from the time of Chibuike Rótìmí Amaechi who interestingly, is now the Minister for Transportation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Chief Amaechi was governor of the State between 2007 and 2015.
It will be remarkable to note that despite the subliminal and open aggression from the governor of Rivers State against the policies and person of the president, Muhammadu Buhari did not involve himself in a confrontation with the governor, taking all the criticism in his stride.
The leadership of the PDP has yet to make any comments regarding the development.