Despite the unresolved dispute over the ownership of some oil wells between Rivers and Bayelsa states, former President Goodluck Jonathan has sued for their peaceful co-existence.
Jonathan made the call at the weekend during the Rivers State Golden Jubilee celebration when the state honoured 127 distinguished Nigerians who served the state meritoriously in different fields of human endeavour.
The former president, who was a special guest of honour at the occasion, observed that Governor Wike does not discriminate against Bayelsans living in the state. He, therefore, urged the two states to live in harmony.
“I was honoured with the award of Grand Service Star of Rivers State. I thank the governor for this honour. This award has a special place in my heart. This award is coming from a place I called my home. After my secondary school education, the rest of my public service have been in Port Harcourt,” he said.
Jonathan lauded Governor Wike for instituting a 50-year strategic plan to develop Rivers State. Also, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has castigated his predecessor and Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, for rejecting the honour bestowed on him despite indictment from a Judicial Commission of Inquiry.
Wike explained that the state executive council has put machinery in motion to honour and celebrate Rivers people for their exemplary achievements and contributions to the collective interest of the state and the nation.
He pointed out that naturally, assignments of this nature are perhaps some of the most difficult to do without backlash. “Permit me to also address the purported rejection of the award by former governor and current Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi.
“Now that our constitutional magnanimity in the spirit of jubilee is unappreciated, we think it is in order to amend the law and dare its consequences than for this development to be undermined. This is because for us and as a principle, occupying the state highest office alone isn’t enough reason to warrant state honours. The ability to embark on good governance should be one and most paramount consideration,” he said.
All civilian and military former governors of the state accepted the award except the immediate past governor of the state, Amaechi, who described it as a ‘poisoned chalice’.
Prominent among the awardees were Dr. Jonathan, his wife, Patience Jonathan, first Rivers Military Governor, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, former Governor Peter Odili and former Governor Rufus Ada George, among others.