By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
Rivers State Governor, Barrister Nyesom Wike has commended Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari for looking beyond party lines to approve the appointment of the transaction adviser for the Bakassi deep seaport.
Mr. Wike stated this Wednesday afternoon in Calabar, the Cross River State capital shortly after a meeting with his Cross River counterpart, Senator Ben Ayade where he also hailed the clean nature of the state and disclosed that governors in the region are working towards economic integration.
“First of all, he has a responsibility to see that the state grows economically, investors will come and I also want to congratulate and thank Mr. President for that approval irrespective of the fact that there are of different political parties,” Wike said and maintained that the growth of Cross River will foster growth in the region.
He said: “I do know that it is going to push Cross River State from where it is to the next level so I am quite happy. For me, if my sister state is moving ahead, is growing economically, why would I not be happy?
“That is what every governor will want to wish his colleague. For us too, we believe that will foster economic cooperation between the two states, so I am happy for him and I am also very glad that he is also happy for what we are doing and what we have on ground too.”
Mr. Ayade had disclosed that President Buhari approved the appointment of a transaction adviser Tuesday where he directed his commissioners and members of the state executive council to give him a standing ovation.
He added that the visit also had a political undertone.
“You know that we are all from the same zone, the South South zone. We are also governors under one political party, the People’s Democratic Party and so from time to time we encourage ourselves to visit each other to exchange ideas and to see how we can move the region forward.
“We also belong to the South South South East Govenors forum, where we have agreed to work together economically, politically and also to see what my colleague, my friend has been able to do for this past two years and I am quite happy for all that I have seen, I am convinced and that is why we have to go back home and look at things we think we may not have done well to see how we can move our state better than what it is. That is what I have come to see and I am quite satisfied,” he said.
On the clean nature of the state, Mr. Wike said that: “The cleanliness of Cross River State obviously, nobody will want to compare, and I think that one of the magic that has been able to keep this state going today is the cleanliness of the area which they have sustained and we think it is necessary that we should learn from them to return PortHarcourt back to what it used to be.
“Yes we have improved but we can still see that Cross River State is far ahead than of some other states, if not all the states in terms of cleanliness, I give them that.”
Similarly, Governor Ayade reiterated Mr. Wike’s comments that the meeting was geared towards regional economic integration and was a follow up to the visit of Akwa Ibom state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel whom had met Ayade alongside his predecessor, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
On economic integration, Mr. Ayade said that: “Rivers remain a very critical factor in the oil and gas sector and so our collaboration will expand to such boundaries and I am sure that his visit also gives us opportunities to share ideas and of course work out the formula to sustain this South South South South East integration that we seek. Of course we are all coming out from the South South.
“Not too long ago the Akwa Ibom governor was here. It is part of the process to ensure that we increase our warmth and fellowship amongst each other.”
“I am very enthused that he is here, and I am happy that he has gotten very good and kind remarks of Cross River State in terms of cleanliness and the progress and for him to actually acknowledge and appreciate Mr. President for this approval for the Bakassi deep seaport so truly truly, we are brothers, we are family,” Mr. Ayade added.
The duo later departed Calabar aboard a private jet to PortHarcourt, the Rivers State Capital.
Sources in PortHarcourt say they have since touched down.