By Paulinus Nsirim
A number of feedback, interpretations, narratives and theories have greeted the latest letter written by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State to President Muhammadu Buhari, expressing the honest appreciation of the Rivers State Authorities and other people to Mr. President, for approving the sum of N78.9 billion to the state, as refund of monies expended by the State on federal tasks within the state.
Most of those responses have both been mischievous, absurd, completely deceptive and a few even making an attempt to conjure and configure fabulist narratives, celebrating the mystique and magical affect of the facility of cash on the human psyche.
However essentially the most exceptional of those is the one written by Femi Adesina, the Particular Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, titled: WIKE VINDICATES BUHARISTS.
To make certain, Femi Adesina’s opinion on any subject instantly attracts appreciable consideration and instructions great weight, not only for the truth that he has been a seasoned journalist over time, however certainly in recognition of his standing because the Particular Adviser to Mr. President Buhari on Media and Publicity; which makes him one of many acknowledged spokespersons of our President, whose views unequivocally represents the opinion of the Presidency in all issues.
It’s due to this fact, in due cognizance of this latter accountability and authority of his portfolio, that one should respect and commend Femi Adesina for his endorsement of Governor Nyesom Wike’s resolution to thank President Buhari for approving the refund of N78.9 billion to Rivers State, and likewise the fairly exceptional request for the President to oblige Rivers State with a State go to.
In fact, Femi Adesina’s admiration of Governor Nyesom Wike and his daring Thank You letter are embedded copiously in his article, although couched within the unerring profiling of the Rivers Governor in some lyrical passages and in some truculent, pro-Buhari obsessiveness in others.
The level must be made unambiguously, that the Rivers State Authorities, by the use of emphasizing what Governor Wike rightly said within the letter, appreciates the magnanimity of President Buhari,with profound gratitude and deep sincerity.
It was Aesop, the legendary Greek fabulist and author of fables, who stated that “Gratitude is the signal of noble souls.” There’s actually little doubt that one man who stands tall and proud, brave and fearless with nice the Aristocracy in right now’s political area, is certainly Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
As an example, what Femi Adesina describes as “crying wolf” and “pontificating” is nothing greater than the power to say and do issues which different persons are too frightened or lily livered to say or do; what we discuss with in Nigeria as “dying in silence. “
What Mr. Adesina certainly is aware of is that one advantage that Governor Wike possesses is braveness. He has by no means hesitated to name anyone out together with the President, his personal social gathering members and even multi-nationals working in Rivers State, every time the necessity arises and Adesina himself, has already agreed, by confessing to responding to a few of these wolf cries in his write up, that these calls had been obligatory on the time they had been made.
If Governor Wike’s braveness to talk up when others are silent and cowering in worry, results in the approval of the refund of the N78.9 billion which the Federal Authorities owes Rivers State, then the expression of gratitude that acknowledges and appreciates such acceptable magnanimity is the best type of the Aristocracy.
Like Mr. Femi Adesina rightly identified in his essay, the Federal Government Council (FEC), chaired by President Buhari, authorised the REFUND of N148 billion to 5 states within the nation for restore of Federal roads, for which Rivers State received N78.9 billion. However that’s not even half the story.
For the avoidance of doubt and to set the data straight, it is going to be germane at this juncture to inform the true story of the refund and set the data straight, as introduced by the Minister of Info and Tradition, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, as soon as and for all.
Giving a background to the reimbursement, Lai Mohammed had defined that the choice was sequel to an enormous invoice despatched to the federal authorities by the whole 36 states of the federation in 2016, in search of a refund of funds they expended on the restore of some federal roads of their respective states.
He stated: “You’ll recall that in 2016, 36 states of the federation despatched a really big invoice to the federal authorities, asking for compensation for cash that they’ve expended on federal roads. This prompted Mr. President to arrange a committee to go and confirm the claims of those 36 states, whether or not certainly, these tasks had been really constructed. Had been they accomplished according to the federal authorities requirements?
“On the finish of that train by an inter-ministerial committee, chaired by the Minister of Works and Housing which additionally had ministers of training, transportation (and quick previous Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi), minister of finance, minister of state for works, Director-Normal of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and everlasting secretary, cupboard workplace as members, the committee really useful that the federal authorities ought to refund N550,364,297.31 billion to 31 of the 36 states, after they had been satisfied that, sure, certainly, the tasks had been accomplished and so they had been federal authorities roads.
“However the claims of 5 different states – Cross River, Rivers, Ondo, Bayelsa and Osun – failed on the grounds that they didn’t do correct documentation and the committee felt they wanted correct documentation. So, the committee went again with new phrases of reference to make sure that the claims of the 5 states had been so as. That’s the reason the BPP is on the committee.
“So, on the finish of the train, the committee now reported that the 5 states – Cross River with 20 roads and one bridge will get a refund of N18,394,737,608.85; Ondo with six roads to get a refund of N7,822,147,577.08, and Osun with two roads and one bridge to get a refund of N2,468,938,876.78.
“Others are Bayelsa with 5 roads and one bridge to get a refund of N38,040,564,783.40 and Rivers with three roads and three flyover bridges is to get a refund of N78,953,067,518.29.”
From the above due to this fact, three vital factors stand out for explicit curiosity and reference, viz:
- The cash is neither a beneficiant mortgage reward or a determined bailout package deal as folks like Femi Adesina are shaping the narrative to sound, however a REFUND of monies already spent by Rivers State on Federal tasks.
- Rivers State was initially denied the refund till correct documentation was supplied; a state of affairs which many Rivers watchers will recall, prompted the Minister of Works, Babatunde Raji Fashola, to go to Rivers State in March this yr.
- Rivers State received the approval for the quantity of refund just because Rivers State did essentially the most complete, qualitative and enduring tasks.
For document functions, allow us to state clearly that President Buhari has the authority to go to any state he needs to in Nigeria, whether or not he’s Invited or not. He’s the daddy of the nation and Rivers State enjoys a candid, sincere and sturdy relationship with the current Federal Authorities, particularly the presidency.
On August 19, 2017, Governor Wike was among the many dignitaries that welcomed President Buhari after 103 days in London the place he acquired medical remedy for an undisclosed sickness.
Whereas naysayers had been busy misinterpreting the gesture, Governor Wike defined that no sane particular person wouldn’t be comfortable that his sick President was again residence.
Recall alsonthat Governor Wike was the primary PDP Governor to congratulate President Buhari after his second time period election victory was upheld by the Supreme Court docket in September final yr. Certainly, the nice and cozy, cordial, respectful relationship between President Buhari and Governor Wike, captured in a number of broadly circulated pictures, of the President’s go to to Rivers State to fee the worldwide wing of the Port Harcourt worldwide airport speaks volumes.
We’d like not additionally remind Mr. Adesina that way back to February 2017, when Governor Wike was not even as much as two years in Workplace, he had already been christened “Mr. Tasks” by none apart from the Vice President himself, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who not solely affirmed that Rivers State was an vital state to Nigeria and the Federal Authorities, however has since endeared himself to Rivers State and Governor Wike.
This brings us properly to the a part of the letter the place Governor Wike unequivocally appeals to President Buhari to honour Rivers State with a Presidential state go to and we ask Mr. Femi Adesina: ‘what’s incorrect with the Rivers State Governor inviting the President for a state go to. Is he not the Father of the nation once more. Is Governor Wike not considered one of his youngsters?
Contemplating the truth that the approval for the refund was additionally made for monies expended by Rivers State for Federal Tasks, isn’t it equally apt that Governor Nyesom Wike ought to invite Mr. President to return and no less than see the work for which the refund was made? Certainly, it should additionally present Mr. President the grand alternative to see first hand, the superb and improbable infrastructural wonders which Governor Wike is delivering in Rivers State. That is completely the precise factor to do by a grateful recepient.
Governor Wike has aptly identified that the choice to thank Mr. President and the attraction to ask him for a state go to was not a private one, however a collective resolution taken by the State Government Council, to guarantee Mr. President that every one is nicely with Rivers State and Rivers persons are fairly proud of him for approving the refund.
Like Femi Adesina appropriately famous in his article, the N78.9 billion can’t be the explanation for Governor Wike’s thanks letter and invitation to Mr. President. In accordance with him: “I don’t suppose so. Rivers is on no account a poor state. The quantity is good-looking, little doubt, however the state is oil wealthy, and may maintain her personal in terms of funds. I don’t agree much less with Adesina as a result of Governor Wike doesn’t converse from either side of his mouth and doesn’t play to the gallery. His ethical upbringing makes him to talk the reality always not minding whose ox is gored.
Lastly, you will need to commend Mr. Adesina for articulating and justifying the choice of Governor
Wike to thank Mr. President and invite him to Rivers State. There’s completely little doubt, as he so succinctly identified, that tens of millions of Buharists would have really suggested the President to not approve the refund to Rivers State, and whereas lots of them are nonetheless wailing and bellyaching on the President’s magnanimity, the icing on the refund cake is the chagrin and consternation, which even Adesina admits, has greeted Governor Nyesom Wike’s letter of their camp.
Whereas Rivers folks won’t complain that the cash was really lowered from the unique quantity and that it even took so lengthy for President Buhari’s equity and justice to the touch Rivers State, whereas he has been honest and simply to different states, we’re all nonetheless very comfortable and grateful that this approval for refund has been made, lastly.
Makes an attempt by folks like Adesina to make political capital out of the real stance of a statesman won’t be purchased by well-meaning Nigerians.
What makes Adesina’s grandstanding extra worrisome is that he won’t ever remark or let the world know the way a lot the South-West States acquired as refund for federal tasks executed in that a part of the nation.
Governor Wike’s letter of appreciation and attraction for a presidential state go to is thus a transparent indication that what the folks thought was misplaced has now been recovered. All is nicely that ends nicely and Rivers persons are comfortable.
For the avoidance of doubt, the letter to Mr. President was delivered to Aso Rock, three weeks earlier than it was revealed.
Governor Wike is just not like Adesina who is aware of methods to converse from either side of his mouth. In 2008, he stated this in regards to the Chief of Employees to the President: “Gambari enslaved himself to please his paymasters. Now 13 years after, the shackles are nonetheless tied round his neck, threatening to asphyxiate him. What an everlasting lesson for fawning bootlicking grovellers to be taught. Outdated sins certainly have lengthy shadows.”
Now that Gambari is Chief of Employees to the President, folks have been asking if Adesina nonetheless sees Gambari’s sins’ shadows or he(Adesina) has turned to a bootlicking groveller?
There isn’t any doubt that he’s at the moment savouring the workplace of Particular Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity as a compensation, having used his positions as former Editor-In-Chief of The Solar Newspapers and President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors to feather his personal nest.
Adesina must be instructed that no quantity of political mischief will flip Governor Wike from a hero to a villain on this matter.
The Wike that I do know can’t be swayed by pecuniary pursuits. He’ll all the time stand for the reality and defend the pursuits of Rivers folks.
- Nsirim is the Commissioner for Info and Communications, Rivers State