The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has recognized 162 prominent Nigerians for their achievements, influential lives, and services to the advancement of the state and the nation.
Eight state governors, nine former governors of other states, lawyers, and others who have demonstrated a high level of loyalty to the nation, excellence in public service, commitment to equity, equality, and justice in the country, and love for the Rivers State Government and people were among those honoured.
Wike honoured the awardees on Saturday night at the State Honours and Awards Celebration 2022, which was hosted at the Government House in Port Harcourt.
This was contained in a statement signed by the governor’s personal assistant on media, Kelvin Ebiri, and made available to journalists on Sunday.
The awards were in four categories, namely: the Grand Service State of Rivers State, the Distinguished Service State of Rivers State, the Governor’s Medal of Service, and the Rivers State Merit Award.
Those conferred with Rivers’ most prestigious award, the Grand Service Star of Rivers State, are governors Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Dr Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa), and David Umahi (Ebonyi) and some other former governors.
A total of 110 personalities were conferred the Distinguished Service State of Rivers State; they include the wives of the governors of Rivers and Oyo, Hon. Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike and Mrs. Tamunominini Makinde; Mrs. Onari Donald Duke, Attorney General of the Federation; and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, among others.
Similarly, 33 individuals were presented with the Governor’s Medal of Service and two others, Mr. Oruwuru Shedrack and Mrs. Patience Nwogu, with the Rivers State Merit Award.
The governor also said he would refrain from naming the lawyers and commending them publicly because a similar gesture extended to President Muhammadu Buhari had elicited unwarranted acrimony in the Niger Delta.
He said, “Because I said, “Buhari, thank you,” I am having problems today. That is the country we are in. I am not a fan of Buhari.
“When a man has done well, say he has done well in this area.” If he has not done well, you should say so. I have no excuses for anyone. If Buhari had not released the money from 1999, which my party did not even release, I wouldn’t have been doing what I am doing.
The governor said he has advised governors of Ebonyi and Kogi States not to waste their money supporting any governorship candidate in the state “because the Peoples Democratic Party will win all elective positions in the 2023 general elections.”
The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said Wike has demonstrated that he is a true patriot and nationalist by honouring Nigerians from the six geopolitical zones, irrespective of their religious and political persuasion.
Similarly, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, who spoke on behalf of the awardees, said, “You have shown what it takes to be accommodating, what it takes to be a bridge builder, a bridge builder across Niger.”
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Rivers State Honours Advisory Committee, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, said the law empowers the governor to confer honour on those who have contributed to the growth and development of the state.