By Simeon Nwakaudu
One of the high points of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike’s first year in office is the successful hosting of the Joseph Yobo International Testimonial Match to celebrate the former captain of the Super Eagles who made his mark by winning 101 caps during his illustrious career. In this course of his achievement-filled one year in office, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has hosted some key international football matches. However, the Yobo Testimonial stood out, making Rivers State the cynosure of all eyes.
It is important that we recall a few of the international matches that the Rivers State Government under the able leadership of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has hosted. The State hosted the Nigeria versus Angola U-23 Match, the Super Eagles Versus Angola Match, the Ivory Coast versus Sierra Leone match amongst other matches.
The hosting of the Joseph Yobo International Testimonial Match stood out in all respects. It brought international football stars, journalists, administrators and enthusiasts together in Port Harcourt to celebrate the peace, security and development of Rivers State.. Football megastars from other countries of the world spent days in Rivers State, taking out time to enjoy the nightlife and friendship of the Rivers people.
The match which held at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium was a delight to the world. It brought out the best in Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike as an excellent host grounded in international relations and the best traditions of sportsmanship. The roll call of stars at the Yobo Testimonial International Match is unprecedented. They include; Samuel Etoo, Austin Jayjay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Sully Muntari, Steve Apiah , Ahmed Musa, Efe Ambrose, Vincent Enyeama, Ike Shorunmu, Augustine Eguavoen, Joel Obi and Coach Amodu Shu’aibu.
Former Manchester United Manager, David Moyes, Emmanuel Emenike, Dani Shittu and Club Proprietor, Ifeanyi Ubah were also on ground to celebrate Joseph Yobo during the testimonial match hosted by the Rivers State Government. Nollywood Star, Osita Iheme (Paw Paw) and Ace Comedian, AY were on hand to add spice to the match. Music stars like Humblesmith, Harrysong and home-boy, Duncan Mighty provided the needed entertainment.
Before the commencement of the fun-filled match Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike had a one-on-one encounter with one of the best goalkeepers in world football, Former Super Eagles Captain, Vincent Enyeama. After taking the kick-off in the match between Team Nigeria and Friends of Yobo, the governor stepped forward for a penalty kick. Though he did not score, Governor Wike struck the woodwork to the admiration of fans.
Though, the Rivers State Government stood by Joseph Yobo an illustrious son of the State who faithfully served Nigeria, the significance of this match can be better appreciated from the standpoint that it has put paid to the falsehood being peddled by the opposition through their media outlets on the security of the state. Hundreds of international personalities having been advised by their respective embassies thronged to Rivers State, spent days and have returned safely to their bases.
Most importantly, the match stretched into the night and there was no security breach anywhere. This fact must not be taken for granted. It was also beamed live on Supersport selling Rivers State to the world to the chargrin of unpatriotic opposition elements. Less than two weeks ago, golfers from across West Africa were in Port Harcourt for the West African Golf Tournament.
Just like Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has always maintained, the Rivers State Government has left the realm of speculation to the field of practice. Rather than tell stories that Rivers State is safe for businesses and investments, Governor Wike has thrown open the doors for everyone to visit and have a taste of the peace, hospitality and friendship that the state offers. The citizens of the world have accepted Governor Wike’s invitation and they are always here to enjoy with Rivers people.
Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu while commissioning the Rumueprikom-Rumuolumeni road on Friday succinctly captured the reality of the Rivers story under the pro-people leadership of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike when he said:
“I can see people working together, I can see a state government in action. I can see a governor committed to the transformation of the state and a governor determined to use the opportunity given to him by the people of the state to the benefit of the people. “I am happy to see that the governor has brought faith to government when people are losing faith in government. ”