The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, was effusive with heaps of praise for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his former boss. For the vice president, the fact that Tinubu headhunted him without knowing personally who he was, spoke volumes. To him and that is quite agreeable, that is a testimony to Tinubu’s genius for building an enduring and progressive state. Osinbajo served as Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice under the then Governor Tinubu of Lagos State.
More importantly, however, Osinbajo’s take suggests that despite our current and many wahala, Nigeria is, perhaps, still a workable proposal. It is thus indicated we don’t just give up on Nigeria. This is even more so, especially on the backdrop of a certain fact. It is the fact of a few others, who are independently building similar or even bigger all-inclusive state foundations. These men, not necessarily drawing any inspiration from Tinubu, are opening up governances in their states for ‘‘the best and brightest’’ to contribute their quota. It is like it is a new age all over again.
Surefootedly, one can say, of the big name politicians at work today, Nyesom Wike is an outstanding example of this principle. For Wike and those in this school of governance, politics is nothing other than the search for excellence, by electoral means. Or even better, the state itself is an instrument of procuring and delivering excellence as well as abundance to the people. To achieve this necessarily leads to the search for the best and brightest for your team and cabinet. Wike, himself a cerebral attorney, is the Governor of Rivers State. Perhaps, the fact of this explains why surrounding himself with the some of the sharpest dudes around comes as second nature to Wike. Only the deep, the Bible tells, may call to the deep.
Already, it is an open fact that the Rivers State Exco under Wike parades some of the best cutting edge performers in the country today. And to achieve this, a cabinet has to be built around technocratic credentials rather than other considerations. And this correspondent has been told of a few internationally acclaimed eggheads and experts, who made the list without ever knowing Wike personally. Certainly, if there be such men as Wike in power, then there is hope for a brave new Nigeria. That is, a Nigeria where one could rise as high as his talents can carry him or her. And this reaffirms the fact that our greatest resources are people, our best and finest brains.
And the gains of Wike’s apt and all-inclusive governance is showing, is yielding dividends. In a 2-year, midterm gubernatorial report/50th Golden Anniversary of the state, the testimonials are pouring in. The vice president opened the floodgates. Praising Wike as Rivers State goes golden by age and Wike by performance, the vice president said and we quote: ‘‘I think he deserves the title of Mr. Projects’’; he is indeed ‘Mr. Projects’. This assessment by the vice president has been reaffirmed by several others, including former Senate President, David Mark. Mark, by the way, is a serving PDP senator, and is no stranger to Rivers State, especially in his military days as Major Mark.
Thus one may say that Nwike’s achievements are obvious to people defying party lines. Even more important is that ordinary citizens of Rivers State are the true celebrants of Wike’s 2-year midterm golden report card. If the question is asked Rivers State citizens: Is your life better in two years of Wike administration than it was before, the answer is a resounding yes. For the multitude of Rivers people, Wike’s administration has not only brought concrete developments of infrastructure in various facets, but has deepened democratic participation. In the words of a Port Harcourt resident, the state before Wike was run by a cabal, was others-excluding. But with Wike, the sense of a jointly owned democratic order is commonly in the air. There is the feeling the government is open, responsive, participatory and caring, he concluded.
The background to this is in the light, or shadows, of the controversial performance of Wike’s predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, current federal minister. It is not only that it was rumoured Amaechi bankrolled the rise of APC, Amaechi is thought as the man who brought divisiveness to his home, to Rivers State. We wish Governor Nyesom Wike, his cabinet and the good people of Rivers State many happy returns and more democracy dividends.