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Wike vindicates Buharists by Femi Adesina

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It came like a bolt out of the blue. Early this week, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, issued an advertisement, which went in a completely different direction compared to what he had always said of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Wike we knew was either usually crying wolf where there was none, alleging that the Federal Government wanted to kill him, or claiming that he was not answerable to the central government at Abuja in any way, or even pontificating that the President and his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), had failed the country in diverse ways.
If not for the maturity, and the avuncular attitude of President Buhari to all state governors, it would have been easy for one to conclude that he and Wike were enemies. Forsworn ones.
There was also the then Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, who had formed a tag team with Wike in the anti-Buhari tendency. The President could have dealt with them in many ways, either overtly or covertly, but he let them be. He was a father ready to tolerate his many children, irrespective of their differing idiosyncrasies, propensities and predilections.
A couple of weeks back, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), of which President Buhari is the Chairman, had approved the refund of N148 billion to five states in the country for repair of Federal roads. They included Rivers, Cross River, Bayelsa, Ondo and Osun.
Of the five states, only Ondo and Osun belong to the APC. The other three are of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Rivers, under Wike, was particularly combative, truculent, if not at times insulting. But the President did not let that influence his decision. He did what was right, fair and just, irrespective of party affiliations, or personal inclinations.
Rivers State got the highest figure of N78.9 billion, and I remember some people asking me why the President should give such money to a governor who would call him names the next day. But that was where Wike surprised everybody. Last Monday, he issued newspaper advertisements with the title, ‘Thank You Our Dear President.’
Dear President. False? True. Was it the Printer’s Devil? Not so. The Governor boldly appended his signature to the document.
He thanked the President for approving the refund, noting: “Mr President has by this remarkable and heart-warming gesture shown not only your love for the Government and people of Rivers State, but also, demonstrated expressly that you are, indeed, a President for every State of the Federation and all Nigerians.”
False? True. Printer’s Devil? Not so. The Governor went on:
“I assure you that the Rivers State Government is willing and ever ready to cooperate and partner with the Federal Government to advance the developmental aspirations of Rivers State in particular, and our nation in general.”
On seeing the above, I am sure millions of people must have cleaned their eyes, wondering if they were reading correctly. Having satisfied themselves that there were no cataracts, they went ahead:
“I wish to, therefore, appeal to Mr President to kindly oblige us a State visit when invited, to see what we have accomplished for the State and our people with the money.”
Wike, inviting President Buhari on a State visit. False? True. Printer’s Devil? Not so. He meant every word of it, and therefore appended his signature.
Many times, I had responded as spokesman to the President, to wolf cries by the Rivers State Governor. At a point, I began to ignore such cries, just as I did to Fayose before him. Mr President simply took all the wild allegations in his strides, and continued working for the country, all parts of the country.
In January 2018, there had been vicious killings in some parts of the country. States affected were; Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Yobe, Rivers and Zamfara. The President decided to embark on sympathy and solidarity visits to the states. All the Governors were receptive, except Wike, who said the visit was a smokescreen, meant to revive the dying APC 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, “ he had said.
Again, he declared at another time, talking of the President: “We are the only state that the Federal Government refused to pay us our money used to execute Federal projects, because I don’t go to see him in the night, and I won’t go. He is not my friend, he is not doing well…”
When about 20 people were killed on New Year Day 2018, in Omoku area of the state, and the President wanted to visit, Wike demurred. He said there were killings everyday all over the country, and it meant the President must visit every State on a daily basis.
The circle has turned fully round, and Governor Wike is inviting the President to visit. He says he’s “a President for every State of the Federation and all Nigerians.” Wonderful!
Some people say it is N78.9 billion that is working, and the Governor is clearly inebriated by that windfall. But I don’t think so. Rivers is by no means a poor state. The amount is handsome, no doubt, but the state is oil rich, and can hold her own when it comes to finances. I rather choose to believe that Governor Wike had been playing a curious kind of politics all along, and now, fairness and justice have touched him in a positive way.
“He is not my friend, he is not doing well, ‘ he had said. Now, he is calling the man “our dear President “ asking him to be “assured of our profound esteem.” Wonders, indeed, shall never end.
There are millions upon millions of us round the country, who love President Buhari, and believe in him. We are called Buharists, and we have no apologies. They abuse us, deride and malign us, at times, they even threaten us. But we remain who and what we are: Buharists. Come rain or shine.
Why do we love the President, and unconditionally too. Is he a flawless, perfect man? Does he run a perfect, flawless government? Not exactly so, and I’ve not seen any in this world. But we stand by him, through thick and thin. Like Dr Okolo Oteri Eme, one of the Buhari Amazons posted on Facebook earlier this week, “We do not support him because we like him but because he gives us solid, verifiable reasons to love him on a daily basis.”
I see a man with solid integrity, honesty, sense of accountability, in a forest of crooked, perverse people, and you ask me not to follow him? I will follow him from Benin to Beijing, from Cape to Cairo, anywhere, everywhere.
I see a man bringing enduring change to agriculture, to infrastructure; roads, rail, bridges, airports, laying a $2.8 billion gas pipeline, money he could have craftily diverted for himself and for generations unborn, and you ask me not to believe in him? #We Believe! Ask Maryam Shetty, another Buhari Amazon.
I am glad Governor Wike has now seen what we had seen long ago, some of us as far back as 1983. And he has realized that it was time to stop the kind of politics he had played all the while.
My friend, Lorenz Mba, summed it all up in a message he sent to me on Wednesday. “For those who constantly maligned PMB, and called him all sorts of unprintable names, N78.9 billion is your answer. You simply won’t give those you hate N78.9 billion. I see that this gesture has truly humbled Nyesom Wike. Politics is all about propaganda. I salute PMB for his show of maturity in all these grandstanding by Southeast and South-south politicians. Go to Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, Onitsha-Enugu, 2nd Niger Bridge today. Talk was cheap. PMB showed up. Enough of rhetoric, Biko.”
We said it that President Buhari hates no part of the country. He has come to serve, and not to be served. He is fair and equitable to all. But they said our mouths were smelling, and we should shut up. Governor Wike has now vindicated us. We are glad. We Believe!
♧Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

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NIGERIA

Flood displaces scores in Kano, Nasarawa, Kwara

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Heavy downpour which lasted for days has left many displaced in Kano, Kwara, and Nasarawa states forcing governors Abdulahi Ganduja, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, Abdullahi Sule to seek for a speedy supply of relief materials to victims from the Federal Government.

In Nasarawa,  Governor Abdullahi Sule, yesterday, raised the alarm that scores of people, including aged men, women, and children, were displaced and rendered homeless following a flood that ravaged Nasarawa town in Nasarawa Local Government Area.

Sule, who appealed to the Federal Government to quickly intervene in tackling flood and other ecological problems facing the state, said it was the second time flood would wreak havoc in Nasarawa in less than two weeks.

He said houses were submerged, just as animals were killed, with some persons reportedly missing.

The governor stated this, yesterday when he visited the affected LGA where he ordered the evacuation of the displaced persons.

He directed the state emergency management agency to provide relief materials such as food items and mattresses without delay to the victims.

In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Ibrahim Addra, the governor “urged the people of the state to desist from building on waterways and stop indiscriminate dumping of refuse in drainages.”

In the same vein, the Executive Secretary, Kano State Emergency Relief Agency (SEMA), Dr. Saleh Jilli, in an interview with Daily Sun, lamented that this year’s flood was far more devastating than it had ever been in the state. He said an assessment showed that there was no local government council in the state that was spared by the flood, adding that in some cases, over 100 houses were destroyed by the flood in a single local government council.

While imploring the National Emergency Relief Agency(NEMA), Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Presidential Task Force on Relief and Rehabilitation and National Refugees Commission to deliver and assist victims, Jilli underlined the fact that most  of the victims had been displaced and were in urgent need of support

He equally appealed to well -to –do individuals in the state to assist the displaced, saying government alone  could not shoulder all the responsibilities of ameliorating the suffering of the flood victims.

Similarly, on Saturday night, torrential rains that lasted several hours  wreaked havoc in Ilorin, Kwara state capital.  One life was said to have been lost during the heavy rains, it was gathered.

Two persons whose corpses were  yet to be recovered were equally swept away at Taiwo Isale and Oko-Erin bridges in the metropolis, a source at the state Fire Service said.

The heavy downpour also destroyed several houses and property.

The rains started around 7pm and stopped in the wee hours of Sunday.

Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq commiserated with families whose houses  were affected.

The state government urged  the Federal Government to urgently consider Kwara for special support even as it is setting up a special disaster response team to collate data of areas affected and determine how the state government can offer support based on available resources.

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NIGERIA

Nigeria records 97 new cases of COVID-19, total now 57,242

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Nigeria now has 57,145 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 97 new cases recorded on Sunday night.

According to a tweet from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, 48,569 patients have now been discharged, with 1,098 deaths recorded.

The tweet revealed that Lagos State had the highest number of infections on Sunday night with 46 cases, with Kwara State following with 12 cases.

Other states read as follow:

Rivers-11 Adamawa-4 Niger-4 Ogun-4 Osun-4 Ekiti-3 Imo-3 Kaduna-3 Plateau-2 FCT-1

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NIGERIA

FCTA captures 300,000 households for social plan

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THE Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has commenced the second phase of registration of vulnerable persons in Abuja for its Social Investment Programme.

FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu stated this at a 3-day training for community-based targeting team at the legislative chamber, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Abuja.

Aliyu revealed that the second phase, which targets communities in AMAC, Bwari and Gwagwalada Area Councils, was coming after completion of the first phase which captured poor and vulnerable persons in Abaji, Kuje and Kwali Area councils.

Represented by her Special Assistant and FCT Focal Person on Social Safety Net Programmes, Chiwendu Eteyen Amba, Aliyu said that over 88,000 poor households were registered in more than 400 communities in the first phase of the programme.

”It is on record that as at August 2020, a total number of 88,464 poor and vulnerable households and 309,509 individuals from 408 communities across the three Area Councils were identified and registered into the National Social Register (NSR)”.

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