Being an address by Hon. Gabriel Pidomson, Chairman of Board of Trustees of Wike Solidarity Movement, WSM, at the inauguration of the National Executive Council/ State Working Committee of WSM in Port Harcourt recently.
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by all our past and present leaders. I thank His Excellency, Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike for his service to Rivers State and to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation of all of you Rivers people. So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Rivers People.
That we are in the midst of crisis in Nigeria is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly and epileptic; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the APC government lacks the capacity to lead Nigeria to the promised land. These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that Nigeria’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights if the APC government continues at the center, or clinches power in Rivers State. Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, my dear Rivers People, that with a great leader like Nyesom Wike, these challenges will be met and even subdued.
To date, six executive governors have taken the Oath of Office to lead Rivers State from the Brick House. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, ever so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, Rivers people have carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears. However, from 2015 to date, there has been change that is not only apparent and resounding, but also great. That is the trust on which the Initiative for Amity and Great Leadership based its decision for a project intended to project a man who has not only shown an astute, responsible, responsive, and transformational leadership, but GREAT Leadership. In this organization, we are not focused on good leaders, but great Leaders, and we have identified Nyesom Wike as a Great leader, thus the need to mobilize behind this great leader, and support him come 2019.
The Wike Solidarity Movement is a movement that captures all facets of the populace: politicians in all 23 Local governments, traders, teachers, doctors, nurses, farmers, and a treasure trove of special mobilization clusters. 29 National Executives and 164 State Working Committee members will be sworn into office to commence the mobilization of Rivers People to vote and defend their votes in the 2019 elections. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord, amity and solidarity over disagreement. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics. Today we come together, resolved to resist any attempt to steal our votes. Today we come together, resolved to mobilize Rivers people to say that if anyone no matter how highly placed, or in whatever disguise attempts to rig the 2019 elections, our response will be Massive, Effective, and Overwhelming!!
We remain a young State led by an energetic leader, Nyesom Wike; but in the words of scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. And we have chosen to do so with our votes: Votes we shall cast, monitor how it is counted and collated, and wait for the results to be announced.
For all of you who will be inaugurated for the task ahead, please note that our journey will not be one of shortcuts or settling for less. It is not a path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it is for the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things, men and women obscure in their labor, who will carry us up the long, rugged path that Nyesom Wike is already leading us: the path of Action, the path of Progress; the path of Keeping Promises that we elect to Make. And that is the slogan of the Wike Solidarity Movement…
Putting together the team was an onerous task and would not have been possible without the support of all the major stakeholders in the various local government areas and organizations, the young men and women who believed in us and offered their support when we had no hope that the movement will actually gain momentum, but most especially, the Governor who picks his calls and offers advise even at 3:00 AM in the morning.
Indeed, our time of standing apart, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions have surely passed. Starting today, we must pick
ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking Rivers State and stand by the man who has put at stake even his life to project the ideals which some misguided, so called Rivers leaders are bent on obliterating. There is no doubt that under the leadership of Nyesom Wike, and if we come together as one fist to give the needed support by casting our votes and, if need be, defend our votes, we shall accomplish any work yet to be done. For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and Wike is acting — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. He is building the roads and bridges, the electric grids that feed our commerce and bind us together, and creating the pleasure parks that help us to relax. He is transforming our schools, colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we, the members and followers of Wike Solidarity Movement shall support him to continue all through this tenure and beyond 2019.
What the cynics and the APC fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is capable, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we shall support Governor Wike to move forward. Where the answer is no, we shall stand by him to ensure that such programs will end. We take pride and make bold to say that our amiable governor has effectively managed our funds and have held erring officers accountable — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
In this context, our band of patriots to be inaugurated today do not see themselves as POLITICIANS. They are WIKETICIANS whose outlooks are WIKEMATIC. To be Wikematic, you have to combine three qualities: you have to be a person of ACTION, a person of PROGRESS, and also a Person committed to MAKING and KEEPING PROMISES just as His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Wike has done… We cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that the lies on which the APC came to power at the centre have now been exposed, that as Rivers State grows stronger and more prosperous under the leadership of Governor Nyesome Wike, the Number 1 Wiketician, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that all who emulate his leadership style will unite together under WSM and play their role in ushering in a new era of peace, development, prosperity, and security in Rivers State.
Rivers People, great leaders of our time who have elected to do the right with hope and virtue: I charge you to brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we
were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
Brothers and sisters, great leaders of Rivers people, let it be told to the future world … that in the depth of oppression by the party at the centre, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that Rivers people, alarmed at one common danger, came forth and rallied behind a great leader, Governor Nyesom Wike; that the leaders of our state came together under the auspices of the Wike Solidarity Movement, to give a death blow to the opposition, and laid them to rest forever.