From Myke Uzendu, Port-Hacourt
Despite that fact that Port-Hacourt, the capital of Rivers state was the venue of the Eastern railway narrow guage resuscitation, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and Sen. Magnus Abe, were conspicuously absent during the ceremony.
The ceremony took place on Tuesday in Port-Hacourt and was graced by the governors of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, and Plateau State, Simon Lalong.It was also witnessed by six ministers, members of the National Assembly, Royal fathers and teaming supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The absence of Wike turned the ceremony to a carnival of the ruling APC.
Different APC supporter’s and political allies of the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amechi, took over the venue with their flags and banner conspicuously displayed all over the venue.
Speaking to The AUTHORITY, one of the guests at the event, Nwoko Mgbechi, a resident of Rivers state, who has no affiliation with any political party, expressed shock that Wike could be absent in an event of such magnitude.
He said, “Wike has always exhibited his petty politics on national events. “Even if he has issues with his predecessor who incidentally is the Minister of Transportation, he should at least identify with the project which at the long run will be for the benefit of not only Rivers state but the entire country.
“Wike does not hide his disdain for Amechi. Look at the gigantic monorail which the former governor commenced that was supposed to cover Port-Hacourt city to Obigbo, Wike has refused to continue with the project after billions of Rivers state money were sunk.
“I think that Wike should be more of a nationalist and be magnanimous to accept good things even if it is coming from the table of his enemy,” he said.
However a source close to the governor who does not want to be mentioned revealed that Wike was not comfortable that he was not carried along during the planning for the event.
“It was expected that in an event of such magnitude the state governor will be carried along. “But look at the TV jingles, the invitation cards there was no place the name of the governor was mentioned. So you want him to embarrass himself by attending the ceremony.
“Even if he does not politically agree with Amechi, it is expected that he is the chief host of the event and should be recognised as such,” she told our correspondent.
Meanwhile President Buhari in his address had ordered Wike to perform the cutting of the tape for the ground breaking ceremony on his behalf, but Wike was not there.
“I now have the honour to declare the groundbreaking for the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Port Harcourt – Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge Railway Project, Construction of the new Bonny Deep Sea Port and Railway Industrial Park, Port Harcourt and further request the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, to cut the tape and unveil the plaque on this day, 9th of March, 2021” Buhari said.