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Wike Urges LEADERSHIP Newspapers Group To Continue Fight For Democracy



…dedicates award to God, Rivers’ people

Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has advised LEADERSHIP Newspapers Group to remain steadfast in the fight to save Nigeria’s democracy from collapsing.

This is as he dedicated the Governor of the Year award, which will be conferred on him on March 29, 2018, to the Almighty God and the people of Rivers State, who he said gave him a mandate to contribute his quota to the development of the state.

Wike spoke yesterday when the management of LEADERSHIP Newspapers Group, led by the group managing director (GMD), Abdul Gombe, presented the award nomination letter to him at Government House, Port Harcourt.

The governor said, “Let me use this opportunity to let you know that LEADERSHIP Newspaper has a lot of roles to play in the current dispensation. We see what is going on in Nigeria and we believe that you have to come out and protect and save Nigeria’s democracy.”

He noted that if democracy fails in Nigeria, the newspaper and others like it will find it difficult to operate.

“You are operating today because there is democracy. If it is a military government, LEADERSHIP Newspaper may not have the opportunity to say some of the things it is saying. That is why everybody is praying for democracy because it provides freedom of speech.”

He described LEADERSHIP as one of the most critical newspapers in Nigeria, saying the Governor of the Year award will spur him to continue to provide good governance to the people of Rivers State.

Wike said, “Let me, on behalf of the government and people of Rivers State, thank LEADERSHIP Newspapers for the award. The award is being dedicated to Almighty God and the entire people of Rivers State, who have given us the mandate to be able to contribute our quota as far as the development of the state is concerned.

“Leadership Newspaper, as we all know, is one of the most critical newspapers we have in Nigeria. When I was in Abuja as a minister and if you want to read things that happened in rural parts of Nigeria, especially in the North where other newspapers don’t get, Leadership Newspapers is doing quite well.”

Speaking on his award, he pledged to continue doing what marked him out as the best governor for 2017 in the newspaper’s estimation.

“You know the reason, you know the criteria you used in nominating us; we want to say whatever you may have seen, we will not relent to see that we continue to contribute to our state. This award is going to spur us the more.”

Presenting the letter of nomination and invitation to the governor, the GMD, LEADERSHIP Newspapers Group, Abdul Gombe, informed Wike that his nomination for the award was endorsed by two former Heads of State and a retired Supreme Court justice.

Gombe said, “The purpose of our visit is to present to you our notification of your nomination as Governor of the Year and your invitation to the newspaper’s annual award.

“Your Excellency, our newspaper is called LEADERSHIP for a reason. We believe that the success or failure of any venture in public service or private entrepreneurship squarely rests on leadership and that is what we have been striving for in our newspaper.

“One of the reasons for this award is our search for focused and determined leadership. The process of nomination has been painstaking and thorough. A group of all our editors and correspondents sat down to do the nomination but even some of our staff do not know that your nomination was endorsed also by two former heads of state and a retired Justice of the Supreme Court.

“Sir, success in leadership is not by chance and it is not by luck. If you see success in leadership it is because there is a careful and deliberate plan by whoever is leading. You must have made a deliberate efforts and that is what we believe is happening in Rivers State.

“Your Excellency, at the end of your election, some of us believed that you would be distracted by a lot of politics – for obvious reasons, but we were surprised that you hit the ground running and you remained focused and determined and this has led to even the acting president one time agreeing that you are an infrastructure governor.

“So, coming from the other side of the divide, I think this is an endorsement that what you have been doing has been noticed and has been appreciated.

“We believe that this endeavour you have taken is a small step for Rivers State but it is going to be a giant leap for this country because we believe if you continue the way you are going, you are going to have a national platform and that is what we have been striving for.”

Gombe further revealed that the newspaper even cross-checked its position with the governor’s opponents and still arrived at the same verdict.

“It will interest you, Your Excellency, to know that we double-checked with your opponents when we were doing this nomination and a lot of them agreed, in spite of the political differences, that you have changed the scenery of infrastructure in the state,” he said.




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