From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State government has described the criticism by the opposition in the state against Governor Nyesom Wike’s donation of N500 million to Sokoto State government over the recent fire disaster, which occurred at the Sokoto Central Market, as uncharitable and ill-mannered.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, while addressing the issue in a statement made available to the media in Port Harcourt, yesterday, dismissed the outbursts from members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as “very poor and sad reflection of who we are as Rivers people and our proud national image and recognition as ‘our brothers’ keeper.
“As Rivers People, we have our challenges, but that doesn’t mean we have lost our sense of humanity and this is what Governor Wike epitomises with great equanimity and humility.
“It is, therefore, with an even greater sense of deep sadness and disappointment that we read how some people described the gesture as evidence of financial recklessness.”
The commissioner noted that the government had noticed in recent times, the vehemence with which APC apologists had expressed their bitterness and selfishness every time the Wike administration extended a hand of friendship and support to a sister state.
His words: “This is not who we are as Rivers people. The Rivers man is kind, benevolent, cosmopolitan, generous, and accommodating. One would have expected some of these critics who had served in government before to be at the forefront of preaching and promoting national brotherhood and unity.
“They ought to know better about how government operates, instead of this unfortunate display of petulance, deliberate ignorance, hate-mongering and a kindergarten attempt to align with misguided public opinion is borne out of spontaneous envy and uncharacteristic resentfulness. This is a sad and imported mindset and not the Rivers spirit at all.”
Nsirim recounted that Governor Wike was moved by compassion to make the donation to help the Sokoto State government rebuild the market and rehabilitate victims of the incident, after he was conducted round the destroyed market by his counterpart, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, to see the massive destruction of over 60 per cent of the 16,000 shops, with the loss of goods worth billions of Naira.
He said further: “It is, indeed, sickening that against the backdrop of such massive devastation, which must have definitely affected Nigerians from every tribe, including Rivers indigenes, who are earning a living in Sokoto State, but which fortunately did not cost any life, people will proceed to make a statement like, ‘Governor Nyesom Wike should please tell the Rivers people shocked by his impulsive gesture under what subhead of the budget for 2021 he got the N500 million that he has doled out to the Sokoto State Government.’
“It is even more shameful that as knowledgeable as some of these people are, they would actually fall so low like uneducated, jobless street gossips and allude the kind-hearted spirit which inspired the donation, to a spurious, unfounded, and baseless street rumour that Governor Wike wants to serve as a vice president under Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State who is being touted as the next presidential candidate of the PDP.