(By Engr. Isaac Moses) –
Recently, His Excellency, Nyesom Ezebunwo Wike, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, promised to donate the sum of Five hundred million Naira (#500,000,000.00) in support of the rebuilding of the burnt market in Sokoro State and also to cushion the effect of losses and sufferings of the traders.
While men of goodwill all over the country applauded Governor Wike’s display of milk of human kindness, some narrow-minded individuals have attempted to politicize the initiative. The point, the misguided few are probably missing is that Governor Wike was not the first sitting governor to make one kind of donation or the other, in support of worthy causes.
Even former governors and other public office holders have also made donations at one time or the other, and it is on record that Rivers State had also benefited from the donations of outsiders.
In 2014, during the administration of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi as governor of Rivers State, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, then National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, announced the donation of the sum of 250 million Naira in support of traders at the burnt Mile One market in Port Harcourt. The donation, according to the former governor of Bauchi State was to enable the traders to recover from the shock and continue with their businesses, after the inferno of 25 December 2013 had thrown many families into mourning.
Similarly, former governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi had donated the sum of One million dollars(an equivalent of four hundred and seventy million Naira in today’s parallel market rate of 470 Naira per Dollar) to Haiti, through Bill Gates/George Bush Foundation, when Haiti experienced a major earth quake.
Besides, in 2010, former governor Rotimi Amaechi also donated the sum of 74 million Naira to widows who lost their husbands to sectarian violence in Plateau State.
Other notable donations worthy of mention include those of former governor Raji Fashola of Lagos State, who donated one million dollars in support of victims of the Haiti earthquake., former governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, who donated the sum of 50 million Naira for the treatment of victims of the bombing at St. Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State, and also fulfilled his promise to rebuild the church.
These antecedents, from all indications, are eloquent testimonies that the donation of Governor Nursing Wike to Sokoro State was not the first of its kind, and will never be the last.
In fact, the initiative of Governor Wike was in line with the traditional Rivers hospitality, and predictably, the donation has strengthened the relationship, not only between Rivers and Sokoto States but that Of Rivers and other northern states in Nigeria.It has also gone a long way to boosting the reputation of Rivers people as their brothers’ keepers, irrespective of tribal and religious differences.