Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, says President Muhammadu Buhari could have “dealt with” Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, and Ayodele Fayose, former governor of Ekiti, for combative remarks against the presidency.
The presidential spokesman was reacting to Wike’s invitation of Buhari for a state visit.
Wike, a member of the opposing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), sent the invitation after the federal government approved the disbursement N78.9 billion as reimbursement for the amount spent on executing some federal road projects in Rivers.
In a newspaper advert, Wike thanked the president for approving the refund, saying the gesture has shown Buhari’s love for the people of the state.
“Mr President has by this remarkable and heart-warming gesture shown not only your love for the Government and people of Rivers State, but also demonstrated expressly that you are indeed a President of every state of the Federation and Nigerians,” Wike had said.
Responding in his weekly article, Adesina said the invitation is an evidence that things have changed significantly.
He said in 2018, Wike rejected a visit by the president after a sad incident on January 1.
He said the invitation is a “completely different direction compared to what he (Wike) had always said” of the president, adding that the turn around shows that the governor “had been playing a curious kind of politics all along”.
“When about 20 people were killed on New Year Day 2018, in Omoku area of the state, and the President wanted to visit, Wike demurred. He said there were killings everyday all over the country, and it meant the President must visit every State on a daily basis,” he wrote.
“The circle has turned fully round, and Governor Wike is inviting the President to visit. He says he’s “a President for every State of the Federation and all Nigerians.” Wonderful!
“Some people say it is N78.9 billion that is working, and the Governor is clearly inebriated by that windfall. But I don’t think so. Rivers is by no means a poor state. The amount is handsome, no doubt, but the state is oil rich, and can hold her own when it comes to finances. I rather choose to believe that Governor Wike had been playing a curious kind of politics all along, and now, fairness and justice have touched him in a positive way.”
The presidential spokesman said Buhari chose to be mature in his reactions to the “combative, truculent, if not at times insulting” remarks by both Wike and Fayose.
He said the president could have dealt with both men but decided to let them be due to his role as the father of the nation.
“The Wike we knew was either usually crying wolf where there was none, alleging that the Federal Government wanted to kill him, or claiming that he was not answerable to the central government at Abuja in any way, or even pontificating that the President and his political party, the All Progressives Congress, had failed the country in diverse ways,” he said.
“If not for the maturity, and the avuncular attitude of President Buhari to all state governors, it would have been easy for one to conclude that he and Wike were enemies. Forsworn ones.
“There was also the then Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, who had formed a tag team with Wike in the anti-Buhari tendency. The President could have dealt with them in many ways, either overtly or covertly, but he let them be. He was a father ready to tolerate his many children, irrespective of their differing idiosyncrasies, propensities and predilections.”
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