President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu yesterday gave a hint about what will be his style of governance after his inauguration on May 29.
He promised to enthrone a government of equity, fairness and justice, which will mobilise Nigerians, irrespective of ethnicity and religion, for the tasks of development.
He ruled out the marginalisation of any zone, assuring that he would work with every component unit for public good.
Tinubu spoke in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, where he inaugurated the Rumuokwuta/Rumuola Flyover Bridge, a project implemented by his host, Governor Nyesom Wike.
Tinubu, who is on a two-day visit to the Southsouth state, said: “I will not marginalise any region, but will leave legacy projects across the length and breadth of Nigeria.”
The President-elect praised Wike for his development strides, particularly for the 12 flyovers constructed across the capital city, saying posterity would be kind to him.
He said with his accomplishments, Nigeria would need the outgoing Rivers governor in higher capacities.
There was excitement as the aircraft conveying the President-elect landed at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, around 10 am.
Tinubu was accompanied by the Speaker House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, Governors Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq (Kwara), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Hope Uzodinma (Imo).
Former Osun State Governor Chief Bisi Akande and pioneer national Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) also accompanied president-elect.
Also at the ceremony were former Governors Chief James Ibori (Delta), Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Chief Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa), Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), and Chief Ayo Fayose (Ekiti).
Others include Rivers State Governor-elect Sim Fubara, his deputy, Prof. Ngozi Odu, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, One time Lagos State Information and Strategy Commissioner Dr Dele Alake, former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Bello Adoke, and chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) Kashim Ibrahim Imam.
Also present were traditional rulers, industries chiefs and religious leaders.
Also in attendance were all the 23 local government chairmen in Rivers State, who added colour to the event.
A public holiday was declared in the state by Wike to enable residents welcome the former Lagos State governor.
The airport road was decorated with various posters, banners and flyers. Many trooped out to catch a glimpse of Tinubu, who received overwhelming votes from the state during the February 25 poll.
Alighting from the plane, Tinubu waved at the crowd, which erupted in jubilation as shouts of ‘Jagaban’ filled the air.
The venue instantly became congested. Security agents had a hectic time controlling the crowd.
An elated Tinubu thanked Wike and the people of Rivers State for their support for him.
He said the Rivers governor was faithful to the project of rotation, zoning and power shit to the South to foster national unity.
Tinubu, who publicly acknowledged Wike’s contribution to his victory at the poll, said as the leader of G-5 Governors, his actions and utterances promoted the virtues of fairness, justice and unity.
He said he was in the state in line with the promise he made during the campaigns in Rivers, saying: “If you make a promise, you keep it.
Tinubu said: “He is, indeed, a man of great integrity. He did not choose to serve his own interests, rather, the interests of the nation and the people of Rivers State. I thank him for his selfless leadership.”
Emphasising the importance of Wike’s contributions to his victory, Tinubu added: “It is an honour and privilege to be in your midst today. I am a very happy man. If you talk of character you can say Wike is very dependable. I went through a gruesome campaign, fought hard, supported by many of you and I won fair and square.
“Nyesom, I say thank you for your contributions to my victory. I couldn’t have done it without some structural support. In his Excellency (Wike), I see a man of principle. He took a principled stand that the Presidency must return to South.
“And he has the courage to stand by his conviction not minding whose ox is gord. He is indeed a man of great integrity. He did not choose to serve his own interest, rather the interest of the nation. You promoted unity. You promoted fairness. You championed justice.
“There was so much gossip and speculation. But you stood your ground. Upon the completion of this flyover and my invitation to inaugurate this project, is another way of building bridges. It is on the strength of your character that I stand to fulfill the promise I made to you during the campaign”.
Wike’s request that the incoming Tinubu administration should refund Rivers’ money spent on the reconstruction of federal roads.
He advised the incoming governor Fubara to lobby him, saying: “you must lobby me to collect (the money)”.
Tinubu said Wike should look forward to a new pastime, which is dialogue on ‘Project Nigeria’.
Tinubu commended Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde for partnering with Wike.
He also extolled the virtues of a former Rivers Governor, Peter Odili, whom he described as “dear brother, friend, colleague, a developer of human beings and a man of integrity.
Wike drew the attention of the Federal Government to the need to amend its procurement law to end incessant abandonment of projects.
He said that the current procurement law only allowed for about 15/30 percent to be paid as mobilisation fee to a contractor.
Such meager sum, he said, usually never allow the contractor to make appreciably progress on the project before being caught up by inflation and high cost of materials, which eventually required variation of the contract terms.
Wike said when he noticed a similar snag in the procurement law in Rivers State, on assumption of duties, he interfaced with the Speaker of the House of Assembly, who worked together with other lawmakers to amend the law.
Wike emphasized that his administration got the latitude to pay an upward of 70 percent mobilisation fee to contractors handling various projects in the state.
The governor noted that such practice had led to the great accomplishment recorded in the delivery of development projects by his administration.
Urging the Federal Government to refund the money ,spent on Federal roads in Rivers, Wike said: “Federal Government should say look, you have done well for us, these are our projects, can you bring your bill let us refund you the money? That is what it is supposed to be with partnership with a good Federal Government.
“I can assure you that as you enter office and you approve to pay this money back, other states will have the courage to also do the same thing. It is not a laughing matter. I am not asking what we are not entitled to. That is one thing my successor, the day he is entering office on May 29, a letter had been prepared for him he will sign that day and forward to you since you will also be sworn in on May 29th. That is the first request we are making”.
In his description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Dr. George-Kelly Dakorinama Alabo said the Rumuokwuta/Rumuola Flyover Bridge is 1007.5 meters long, completed in eight month instead of 10 months and delivered to eliminate traffic congestion by 98 percent in the State.
The Chairman of Obio-Akpor Local Government Area, George Ariolu, said the Rumuokwuta/Rumuola Flyover bridge is the 12th among similar projects that was conceived and constructed by governor Wike.
He said the 12th flyover had greatly eased vehicular traffic, boosting commerce and improved the aesthetics of the metropolis.
Tinubu was hosted last night to a banquet attended by the array of important personalities that attended the project inauguration earlier in the day and many others.
The president-elect is expected to inaugurate the Magistrate’s Court complex before departing Port Harcourt today.