On Wednesday, September 6, 2017, thousands of Rivers youths poured into the streets of Port Harcourt to pass the message to the world that Rivers State is PDP and that Rivers people love Governor Nyesom Wike.
Like in the days of Prophet Samuel, nature bore testimony to the achievements of Wike. The rains stood still and allowed Rivers youths to walk four kilometres. The weather was clement. Few days earlier, the APC Federal Government sponsored a similar walk for Buhari but Rivers people failed to turn up. Even the few that showed up were dispersed by torrential rain of that day.
The 4-kilometre Walk4Wike Season 2 took off from the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park through the length and bredth of Aba Road and terminated at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
The Walk4Wike Season 2 was a veritable platform for the youths of Rivers State to prove their support for a performing governor. A governor who has transformed Rivers State and made it a huge construction site. A state with a robust and functional economy, even in the face of national economic stagnation.
In the course of the long walk, the youths shared handbooks, DVDs containing Wike’s achievements and sang pro-Wike campaign songs to further market the governor to the people.
The walk, which was coordinated by D-Source Connect Group, had endorsements and participation from hundreds of social media and civil society groups.
Speaking after the Walk, Convener of the Walk4Wike Season 2, Barrister Vincent Dike Amadi, declared that Rivers youths resolved to stage the walk as a way of telling the international community and other Nigerians that the people were in full support of Wike.
Amadi said: “The youths of Rivers State have come to say that come 2019, Governor Wike should present himself for a second term. We will March across the 23 local government areas to promote the candidature of Governor Wike and to ensure that he wins in 2019”.
Even though Walk4Wike Season Two was organised by youths under the platform of D-Source Connect Group, major stakeholders participated in the exercise. All the stakeholders who participated in Walk4Wike were happy that Governor Wike has improved the fortunes of the state, hence he deserves the support to lead the state till 2023.
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Financial Matters, Mr. Chiboso Awholor, said the Walk4Wike is showcasing to the world that Rivers people believe in Governor Wike. According to him, the walk is an encouragement to the governor to sustain his development agenda.
Explaining the reason for the walk, an official of the Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, Israel Wobo, said:” The Walk4Wike is to notify Governor Wike on time to get prepared for a second tenure”.
Similarly, a commissioner in the Rivers State Government, Mr Emma Okah, stated that the essence of the work is to emphasise that the people of Rivers State are in solidarity with the Rivers State Governor. He noted that it is a vote of confidence and a recognition of the Governor’s good performance in office.
Chief Aribetonye Okiri equally captured the relevance of Walk4Wike thus: “Essentially, what you see today is a spontaneous demonstration of the acceptance of Governor Wike as a leader who has improved the living condition of the people”.
Meanwhile Caretaker Committee Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area, Mr Anselm Oguguo, said that the people of the state would support the governor to attain a second term because the state deserves development.
Also, a member of the House of Representatives, Mr Ken Chikere, declared that the walk is an endorsement of the performance of Governor Wike.
One of the positive outcomes of the Walk4Wike Season Two was the commitment and assurance by Wike that he would continue to embark on development projects for the good of the people of the state.
Speaking through his deputy, Dr Mrs Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Wike appreciated the walk, which he said was an encouragement to do more for the people.
He said: “In Rivers State, since 2015, we have had purposeful leadership. We don’t care what happens at the centre. We are focused on developing Rivers State. You can see the projects being executed and the people are being carried along “. The governor added that institutions have been strengthened, leading to economic and social growth across the state.
The solidarity march is a warning to those who hide under the guise of fighting corruption to perpetrate political bandits and to tell them that they would not succeed in Rivers State.
The Walk4Wike Season Two was the beginning of series of solidarity marches in Rivers State to resist electoral fraudsters in whatever form they present themselves. The walk is a symbolic affirmation that power belongs to the people.
It is a powerful statement Rivers people made that they are appreciative of the achievements of Governor Wike and the governor’s commitment to state-wide development.
The political felons may roll out their military tanks and propaganda weapons of treachery, but Rivers people will overcome .Most importantly, Governor Wike will continue to deliver pro-people projects for the good of the state.
Nwakaudu is Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media.