When President Muhammadu Buhari announced his plan to visit some Nigerian states rocked by crisis, the excited governor of Plateau state, Simon Lalong, declared a public holiday to mark the visit which eventually took place yesterday.
The visit had the trappings of a carnival, although it was arranged in order for the president to visit the flashpoint and condole with the state’s citizens.
Another state on the itinerary of the president is Rivers state, although the presidency has not announced the actual date for the visit. Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state is not super excited about the visit – so do not expect a public holiday in Rivers state.
For context, Lalong belongs to the same party as the president – the All Progressives Congress (APC). However Wike is the most important governor in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the governor of the largest state being controlled by the PDP in terms of population and size of economy. He has grown in stature within the party, succeeding last December in facilitating the emergence of Uche Secondus, who hails from Rivers state, as the party’s national chairman.
Unaware of the visit
According to Gov. Wike, the presidency is yet to inform him of President Muhammadu Buhari’s proposed visit to the state.
While flagging off the reconstruction of a road in his local government area yesterday, he shared his opinion on the visit.
“I hear they say that the President is coming to our state. I have not been told the President is coming and why he is coming. He has the right to come to any state. Maybe the President is coming to make sure that he will improve the fortunes of the APC that is dead in Rivers State. Apart from Jesus Christ, we don’t know of anyone who has risen a dead thing. APC is a dead party in Rivers State. No matter how you fast and pray, it will never wake up,” the governor said.
Wike said that Rivers people should not be bothered with the politics or otherwise of the visit, because the state is very peaceful.
“Let nobody bother him or herself that the President is coming for security reasons. We don’t have security challenges in the state. We have never had herdsmen killings or crisis in the state, except when some criminals tried to disrupt the peace and they were checked. We resolved that challenge,” he said.
He stated that there is no state in this country where kidnappers and armed robbers are not operating. He said if President Muhammadu Buhari is visiting because of kidnappers and armed robbers, then he should visit all the 36 states.
He, however, noted that as the state that produces the wealth that supports the country, President is welcome to visit the wealth producers of the nation.
According to him, “Since the administration has abandoned Rivers State for three years, this visit may be a blessing in disguise. The president may use the visit to complete the Port Harcourt International Airport, the neglected East West road, the neglected sea ports and the rejected Port Harcourt-Aba road.”