Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has described his counterpart, governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state as fearless and outspoken Nigerian who can speak truth to power in the country.
The governor spoke yesterday during a book presentation on El-Rufai, authored by a veteran journalist and public commentator, Mr. Emmanuel Ado, titled, “Putting The People First”.
Wike noted that only El-Rufai had the temerity and courage to do so, even to the ruling party he belongs, adding that he (El-Rufai) is not known for sycophancy and eye services.
He recalled how El-Rufai wrote a controversial letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, telling him to deliver good governance to the people despite being a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Wike who donated N20 million for the book launch advised other guests at the occasion to buy the books and stock them in public and private school libraries across the country.
“El-Rufai, for me, is one leader whose greatness defies categorization. Governor El-Rufai embodies character, commitment and hard work. He is bold. He is courageous and daring with a strong spirit of justice, equity and fairness. He is socio-politically assertive and unbending his loyalty to principles.
“Governor El-Rufai is never known to be sycophant. I could remember his controversial letter to President Muhammad Buhari, especially the one written in March, 2017 that challenged him to deliver the peoples expectations to avoid falling on the wrong side of history.
“I don’t know how many governors that will have the courage to write a sitting president of his party to say, ‘look, do the right thing’ being the expectations of the people, so that you will not be on the wrong side of history. It takes men of courage; it takes men of character. No sychophantic person can do it. I don’t know people who can even look at the president’s face. Everything that Mr. President does is right. Mr. President does no wrong. That’s not El-Rufai for you.
“His loyalty to principles is not for not telling the truth. And that is what leadership and the kind of character that we required for this country today. Those who will look at you eye ball-to-eye ball, not an insulting way, but to advise you, this is not right. And that is why some of us have no choice but to relate with him.
“You remember what happened in this country. El-Rufai was one of the APC governors who came out boldly to say look for the unity of this country; for this country to move forward, let the presidency go to the south. After all, he has all it takes to say, to also said he will vie for the presidency of this country. You can’t say no. But he said this is the country we are building together, we want unity to move forward.
“I don’t know how many people that can set aside their selfish interest and come out to say let us go to the south. And that’s why we will say “agreement is agreement.” El-Rufai believes that agreement is agreement. Keep to what we have agreed.
That’s why when I saw the invitation, this morning, it was raining heavily, I said if it likes, let there be flood everywhere, I must be here today, to participate, honour a man who has shown characters; who has shown that service is not all about getting to be elected. It’s a privilege to render service to your people. That is why he has chosen the people first; he has put Nigeria first. You are on the right side of history.
“Remember that it is only when you have left office that is when people will talk about you. Not when you are in office. People are talking today when you were FCT Minister. Let us compare. When you were FCT Minister, I am sorry to say this, whether anybody likes it or not, that is not Abuja today.
“When you were FCT Minister, it was not the same. We need people like you to turn back to what Abuja used to be. FCT was a place everybody wanted to go back to. But today, go to the FCT, refuse everywhere. That was not there when you were a minister. I am sorry this is your party but the truth must be told.
“I believe that today’s event has deeper meaning than the book launch. It is more an opportunity to celebrate governor El-Rufai’s exemplary leadership, revolutionary ideas, courage and commitment to service and contribution to the growth and development of Kaduna State and Nigeria in the last eight years as governor of Kaduna State”.
Meanwhile, El-Rufai appreciated Wike for all the accolades about him, saying, “our path may not have crossed long before now, but God’s time is the best. Whatever Wike said about me is also applicable to him, he is as outspoken and as fearless.
The President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu described governor El-Rufai as a hardworking person, saying, “give El-Rufai any task, he will deliver it.”
Tinubu who was represented at the occasion by the former Chairman of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Kashim Imam, donated N20 million for the book launch.
Over N100 million was realised on the spot from the book launch.