…Commends Wike fo 50-yrs strategic planning
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA-FORMER President Goodluck Jonathan has admonished the governments of Rivers and Bayelsa states to close their ranks so as to cement the ties between the people of both states.
The former President has also commended the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike for coming up with the 50 year strategic planning for the rapid development of the state.
Speaking in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, where he was conferred state honours by Governor Wike at the occasion of Golden Jubilee anniversary of the state, Jonathan noted that Rivers and Bayelsa states were linked by history and destiny, adding that stronger ties between them would be beneficial to the people of both states that made up the old Rivers State.
He described that ceremony as one of the most comprehensive and all-embracing anniversaries ever held in our country and that the honour from the people of Rivers State evoked a special and intense feeling of contentment in him.
He said, “Let me specially thank Governor Wike for his magnanimity in maintaining the cordial relationship that binds the people of Rivers and Bayelsa States together. It is obvious that Governor Wike does not discriminate against Bayelsans living in Rivers State. You are a very good example of the kind of leaders we need in Nigeria.
“I therefore urge the Governments and citizens of Rivers and Bayelsa States to continue to work together and build closer ties in the interest of our people. The two States are inextricably linked by geography, history and destiny.
“I must point out that this honour from the people of Rivers State evokes a special and intense feeling of contentment in me. Before this I had received several awards from within and outside our shores. But this one by its nature, has a special place in my heart.
“As people often say, the greatest honour is the one conferred at home. This award I have just received today is one that is coming from a place I call my home.
“Not many will doubt me if I call Rivers State my home. Beyond being the home State of my wife, I spent my University education and public service working career in Port Harcourt before engaging in politics in 1998 that took me to Bayelsa State.”
Continuing, former President Jonathan said, “I believe that this is one of the most comprehensive and all-embracing anniversaries ever held in our country. On my own, this is the 3rd programme I am participating in.
“I was the Special Guest of Honour at the Golden Jubilee Anniversary Lecture on Wednesday 24thMay and last week Thursday, 18th May, I was at the formal commissioning of the Second Nkpogu Bridge in Port Harcourt.
“And today, I am part of this special occasion where I am being honoured alongside other distinguished Nigerians with the award of the Grand Service Star of Rivers State.
“I cannot thank the great people of Rivers State and their high achieving Governor Barrister Nyesom Wike enough, for the opportunity to be part of this momentous event.
“I must point out that this honour from the people of Rivers State evokes a special and intense feeling of contentment in me. Before this I had received several awards from within and outside our shores.
“But this one by its nature, has a special place in my heart. As people often say, the greatest honour is the one conferred at home. This award I have just received today is one that is coming from a place I call my home.
“Not many will doubt me if I call Rivers State my home. Beyond being the home State of my wife, I spent my University education and public service working career in Port Harcourt before engaging in politics in 1998 that took me to Bayelsa State.
“Literally speaking, Rivers State holds the history of my early years, before I eventually relocated to Bayelsa to serve my people.
“It makes it even more poignant that I am being honoured at a special time in the history of the State under the leadership of a Governor who has also earned his place in the history books as the Golden Jubilee Governor.
“Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike is a man I appointed as a Minister in the Federal Executive Council. He is a man I believe in and honoured with the prestigious title of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).
“I can proudly say that I share a common destiny with Governor Nyesom Wike. Like him, I was privileged to preside over Nigeria’s 50th Independence Anniversary and the Centenary celebrations of the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates by Lord Lugard to form the modern Nigeria as we know it today.
“Let me add my voice to others from various professional bodies and from across the political divides, on Governor Wike’s achievement. He has rightly been identified as the most productive in the areas of people-oriented infrastructural provisions.
“Your Excellency, I am not surprised that your pet name is “Mr. Projects”; a name even the Acting President adopted during his visit, because, in just two years, you have brought to leadership, an unusual touch that is focused on extensive delivery of social and physical infrastructure.
“Earlier in the year when he won the…Newspaper’s Governor of the Year Award, the newspaper said… “He (Wike) is not just talking about democracy and the rule of law; he is doing what real leaders do: defend the people by empowering them. This is a higher path of honour.” I agree with that conclusion.
“I want to specially commend Governor Wike for his development strides and for also providing basic infrastructure for some Federal Government Agencies. I watched the commissioning of the very modern Federal High Court building in Port Harcourt. You have done well, my younger brother.
“Your Excellency, I am told you are not only bringing smiles to the faces of the good people of Rivers State today, but you are already envisioning a brighter future for succeeding generations.
“Your insight in launching a 50-year strategic economic, infrastructural and social development plan for the state, as a means of consolidating the gains of the development programmes, initiated and implemented by you and past leaders of the State, is a laudable move.
“It is a commendable initiative that should be replicated in other States and by other tiers of governance to promote strategic and meaningful development in the country.
“It is the kind of system that worked well for other countries, like China where even the Local Governments are so well positioned through proper development planning, that they are more economically viable than many of our own states.”