By Tom Amakri, Port Harcourt
Rivers state governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has stated that leaders and people of the Niger Delta will always strive to defend the unity of the country just as he maintained that the people of the area should be counted out of the race and agitation to divide the country.
Wike spoke in Sokoto while on a visit to Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III at his palace on Sunday.
The governor said the interest of Nigerians and Africans will be better served with Nigeria remaining as one ‘strong and united nation.
“Let me first of all sincerely thank you, our father the Sultan, for what you are doing for this country, working tirelessly to ring peace and to bring unity to the people. So for all of us this is what is meant by one Nigeria.
“We cannot run away from this country. The unity of this country is very, very paramount. The unity of this country is non-negotiable. I am from the Niger Delta, from Rivers State to be specific so I cannot see us in a divided country. No way. We stand for the unity of this country,” he stressed.
Wike explained that his administration has put a lot of time, resources and energy to protect national assets especially the ones in Rivers State.
“In Rivers you hardly find pipeline vandalisation. We are working at all times to protect national assets in our state. In my state, I am governor for all the people living in the state. I am not a governor of a particular political party, but a governor for all the people of Rivers State.”
He commended the Sultan for his leadership of the Muslim community in Nigeria, adding that he was in Sokoto to felicitate with his colleague, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who gave out his daughter in marriage on Saturday.
Accordingly, Wike dispelled the notion that his relationship with Tambuwal had political connotation, saying Tambuwal has been his friend for a long time, “long before politics defined who we are now.”
He continued:”Tambuwal is my friend for a long time. If anything affects him, it affects me also. If he gives out his daughter in marriage, I have to be here to support him. If any problem happens to him, it affects me as well.
“Your Eminence I am here to seek your royal blessing. You have blessed me before, that is why I am growing. So let me wish you a prosperous new year ahead,” he added.
In their remarks, both the host Governor and Sultan implored Nigerians to live in peace with one another, and wished their countrymen and women a year full of happiness and blessings.