A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way” — John C Maxwell.
Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike needs no introduction to Nigerians. Fearless, courageous, pragmatic, articulate and very conscious of his rights and constitutional authority in every situation and circumstance.
He has emerged over the years, as a modern leader whose all round capacity and dynamism has astounded and unsettled many.
His tactical audacity has often flummoxed adversaries, his strategic acumen has wrong-footed opponents. He always seem to anticipate measures and counter measures before they unfold and his administrative astuteness has set him apart as a visionary leader whose navigational compass has already configured futuristic challenges.
Governor Wike’s charismatic mien and outspoken advocacy in the face of perceived marginalization and criticism of even some activities in his own political party, have positioned him as a true champion of the people and has no doubt, transformed him into one of the most admired and referenced political figure in the country today.
The dynamic nature of this extraordinary man , has unearthed a whole new vista of phenomenal and exemplary manifestations of courageous, focused, determined and pragmatic and humane leadership trajectory.
Therefore , when Governor Wike declared his intention to contest for the office of the President of Nigeria under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Makurdi, Benue State after a meeting with PDP stakeholders on Sunday, March 27, 2022, after months of considerable speculations, many of his peers, colleagues and indeed a vast spectrum of the Nigerian populace heaved a huge sigh of relief.
At last, an honest, unique politician, who already has an excellent track record of delivering landmark and legacy democracy dividends, speaks truth to power fearlessly and understands the suffocating plight and monumental challenges, facing Nigeria and Nigerians at the moment, has finally picked up the gauntlet to serve his people with the same result oriented zeal, commitment, focus and determination he has served his state.
Rivers State is a microcosm of the Nigerian nation; a convergence of diverse ethnic cleavages, a potpourri of multi-sectoral engagements, a bustling existential hub of socio-economic, ethno-religious, post-modern metropolitan enclave, proudly homogeneous, yet admirably accommodating. Governor Wike has successefully woven a reassuring halo of sustainable peace, security, safety around this connundrumatic tapestry to the amazement and genuine applause of Nigerians.
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Several important points have defined and propelled Governor Wike’s declaration to run for the Presidency of Nigeria.They include the issue of Security, the adherence to the rule of law, as well as encouraging national restructuring which promotes fiscal federalism and comparative advantage; contentious and potent posers which have continued to resonate loudly with Nigerians and reverberate with alarming consistency across the polity in the last seven years.
But one critical point which the Rivers Governor has harped on with unwavering emphasis is the need for the PDP to reward the loyalty of those who have been been the solid pillars of support and sustenance for the party, both in the season of harvest and in the locust years.
Speaking directly to consideration of this germane patriotic advocacy on his declaration day, Governor Wike said: “Those who want to be President now were the problems of the party in 2015. They ran away when the party needed them the most. But I have stood and worked for this party. I have nowhere to run to because I take it personally that the party should not die. And I challenge anyone in a debate what they did for PDP.”
Loved by his people and buoyed by the desire to prevail against forces which threaten our collective existence in a united country, Nyesom Wike’s identity and crusade has metamorphosed into an unstoppable movement, which was birthed in the monumental electoral warfare waged for the soul of Rivers State in 2015 and 2019 respectively, and is now sweeping across the entire country with amazing acceptance.
Governor Wike’s administration in Rivers State, defined by his single minded determination, focus and firm leadership agenda to re-organize, re-strategize and re-order the socio-political and infrastructural priorities of the state, has undoubtedly transformed the entire landscape of Rivers state and its capital city, Port Harcourt.
The marvelous legacy infrastructural projects, ranging from dual carriage unity roads and expressways, to solid bridges and flyovers, as well as state of the-state-of-the-art health, educational, agricultural, sports projects, the robust, breathtaking urban renewal agenda in the capital city, and indeed the determined drive to achieve interconnectivity across the length and breadth of the State and expand the landmass of hitherto waterlogged riverine communities to provide much needed space, through massive sandfilling and land reclamation, have not only progressed and accelerated with amazing results, but have also referenced Rivers State as the reliable index for development in Nigeria.
The transformational trajectory has seen the State being re-positioned to become a beautiful, stable, safe, secure, dynamic and bustling modern hub for commerce and sustainable entreprise, as well as the destination of choice for progressive activities.
There is no doubt whatsoever that in the last seven years of his administration as Governor of Rivers State, Nigerians have come to embrace and admire Governor Wike’s tactical audacity, strategic acumen, his sure-footed administrative astuteness and indeed the fearless, courageous, pragmatic, articulate and very outspoken advocacy, which Governor Wike has displayed with competent authority and which have set him apart as a visionary leader and made his leadership model iconic.
Governor Wike’s massive influence in the political terrain is no less formidable, both at home and at the national arena. He has redefined electoral attitudes and governance responsibilities in his own home PDP and ensured that the state remains one of the most peaceful political theatres in the country, which has resulted in the unending massive defections of notable and respected opposition figures into PDP.
His defining legacy at the national level has not only been to embrace the role of a vibrant people’s champion with the resonating voice of public advocacy against the unbearable mis-governance of the ruling party, but he has also emerged as the beacon and catalyst in the rejuvenation of the PDP into an intimidating force which Nigerians are earnestly yearning for.
In the area of consensus building in multiparty democracy, no Governor or political leader in this country has done so much more to build consensus, entrench bipartisanship and embrace friendly opposition, like Governor Wike has done.
He is the foremost Governor in this present political dispensation , who has invited opposition Governors and leaders like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (who christened him „Mr. Projects”), Governor Kayode Fayemi (Chairman of Progressives Governors Forum and Ekiti State Governor), the Minister of Works, Raji Fashola, former Governors of Imo and Abia states (Sen. Rochas Okorocha and Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu) respectively and amongst others, to come and Commission projects all over Rivers State, in true celebration of bipartisanship.
Governor Wike is also the first Governor in Nigeria who visited more Northern States and identified and empathized with them in their times of human and natural devastations and catastrophes. It is even on record that he reconciled two Northern Governors in Port Harcourt, brokered peace in the PDP in several states, and even brought two top retired military leaders to embrace each other, after many months of bitter malice in Plateau state.
These are real Nigerian stories in the public space and it is on record that he has been warmly received with grand receptions wherever he has visited and this has opened the door wide for other presidential aspirants to visit hitherto feared and dreaded states and regions.
And most recently, we are proud to note the wonderful reception which Governor Masari of Katisina, the President‘s own State, gave Governor Wike. This completely nullified the lie that Governor Wike and President Buhari are ‘enemies‘ and his humble visit to pay respectful homage to the matriarch, Hajiya Aya Dada Yar‘Adua, the mother of Late President Umaru Yar‘Adua, opened a vista for other presidential aspirants to pay homage to the matriarch.
Indeed, no presidential aspirant in the history of this democratic dispensation has embarked on the kind of pre-Primaries marathon tour across Nigeria to meet and interact with Nigerians in over 30 states across the six geopolitical regions of the country. This is indeed incredibly impressive and we must celebrate the fact that Governor Wike has actually united Nigeria and bonded with Nigerians in the North, South, East and West.
Through him, Nigerians are now putting their hopes on the PDP to salvage whatever is left of the country, after the unfortunate and hapless APC misrule comes to an end, and turn the fortunes of the country around for the better.
Nigeria today needs a President who is brave, courageous, bold and is not afraid to visit any part of Nigeria, even without presidential toga of authority and paraphernalia. We need a President who will tell Nigerians the truth, call out those who are misleading and deceiving Nigerians, encourage Nigerian leaders to explore and exploit their comparative advantages in practice of true federalism.
We need in the Presidency someone that will vocalize our problems and challenges and address them frontally; someone who will lead by example, celebrate our victories and successes even as he is setting up functional structures and delivering quality infrastructure to consolidate and ensure more victories which will define our place as a proud, safe, secure and economically viable nation, in the comity of nations.
Nigeria needs a strong, visionary, compassionate, astute, strategically articulate and pramagtically driven leader at this point in time in our history and Governor Wike has provided sufficient proof, that he is the man to lead Nigeria at a time like this. He knows the way, he will show us the way, and he will lead us all the way to the place of greatness where Nigeria belongs.
The defining characteristics of the APC era have been underlined by an epoch where the only things rising to the ‘Next Level’ are rates of unemployment, prices of food and other consumables, kidnappings, abductions, insurgency, and the terrible vices of a hobbesian society, replete with hitherto unknown dimensions of human miseries.
But, Gov Nyesom Wike has emerged with the very solid credentials that offer real solutions and a positive change in our fortunes. He has demonstrated consistency, standing out as an outstanding example of people-compliant leadership in Nigeria and the sterling qualities which have shaped and moulded his leadership have not only injected hope and purpose in our collective existence as a people, but have most importantly, defined Governor Wike as “A leader who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, captured the Wike essence, during a recent visit to his Ota country home by Governors Wike, Seyi Makinde of Oyo state and Samuel Ortom of Benue state, amongst others. Speaking with newsmen shortly after the meeting, he admitted that Wike had informed him of his presidential bid.
“Of course, Governor Nyesom Wike as a presidential aspirant with Governor of Oyo, Governor of Benue, former Governor of Cross River and former Deputy Senate President and former Minister, to express to me the desire and of course I made the point that I have always made that, I have ceased to be a partisan politician, I don’t belong to any political party, but if politics is the welfare of the people, I cannot cease to be a politician because I must always seek the welfare of the people…
“Courage, he (Wike) doesn’t lack it, and if you have courage and you have conviction to speak your mind, well we have a saying in this part of the world that a person who speaks the truth all the time, may not even get a mat spread for him because you will incur the displeasure of people, but you need the truth to be spoken and to get ourselves move Nigeria on the path of unity.
“Of course, we cannot get unity if there is no justice, if there is no fairness, if there is no equity. And when you have the basic ingredients that will bring unity and inclusiveness, then all other things will take their position. You will remove conflict, you will be able to deal with this pernicious issue of insecurity and of course the issue of economy and the wholesomeness of the society.
“The issues Governor Wike raised are the issues that are dear to my own heart for unity and stability of Nigeria. There is one thing that I believe in and I have always said it over and over again, Nigeria is a complex country, but Nigeria is not a difficult country, if we are sincere and fair to ourselves, it is not a difficult country to manage if you are courageous and I wish him well,” the former President said.
Nsirim, former Information Commissioner writes from Port Harcourt