From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike has said no amount of criticisms would stop him from commending President Muhamamdu Buhari for releasing arrears accruing from the 13 per cent derivation funds from the Federal Government coffers to Niger Delta states since 1999.
He stated this at an event to honour 162 distinguished Nigerians for their inspirational achievements, impactful lives and contributions to the progress of Rivers State and the nation in general in Port Harcourt Saturday night.
“Human beings instead of them to say I appreciate you, they become envious. Because I say Buhari thank you, I am having problems today. That is the country we are in. I am not a fan of Buhari. When a man has done well say he has done well in this area. If he has not done well you say so. I have no apologies to anybody. If Buhari did not release the money from 1999 which my party did not even release, I wouldn’t have been doing what I am doing. I say it and I don’t give a damn to anybody. I don’t care. He has not done well in many areas, but this one he has done well. My party members may not be happy, but they should not be angry, because this one, he did well.He gave me money and I used the money to do something for people in Rivers State. This money was there. Nobody paid us.”
Among those honoured were eight state governors, nine former governors and some lawyers. Wike described the awardees as having demonstrated high level of loyalty to the nation, excellence in public service, commitment to equity, equality and justice in the country, and love for the government and people of Rivers State.
The award were in four categories: Grand Service stat of Rivers State (GSSRS), Distinguished Service State of Rivers State (DSSRS), Governor’s Medal of Service (GMS) and Rivers State Merit Award (RSMA). Wike said the state honours and awards were the initiative of former Governor Peter Odili.
Those conferred with Grand Service Star of Rivers State (GSSRS) were governors Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Bala Mohammed(Bauchi), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Ahmadu Fintiri(Adamawa) and David Umahi (Ebonyi).
Others were former governors, Olabode George, Jonah Jang, Donald Duke, Ayodele Fayose, Ibrahim Idris, Olusegun Mimiko, Theodore Orji, Ibrahim Dankwanbo and Adams Oshiomhole.
Also110 distinguished personalities were conferred with DSSRS, among them wives of the governors of Rivers and Oyo, Justice Eberechi Nyesom-Wike and Mrs. Tamunominini Makinde; Mrs. Onari Duke, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
The governor said the eight governors and former governors honoured were selected from different political parties because of their love for the growth and development of Rivers State.
The governor said he has advised the governors of Ebonyi and Kogi States not to waste their money in supporting any governorship candidate in the state because the PDP would win all elective positions in the 2023 general elections.
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who spoke on behalf of the awardees, said governor Wike has taken governance to the next level