434 views | Ozodinukwe Okenwa | April 3, 2021
The Executive Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, is a man playing populist politics. He is a special political breed in the sense that he is inhabited within with both foul and good moods. He could laugh this minute and the next minute he could cry himself hoarse! He could declare a curfew or confinement this moment in a local government area or town or city in the state following the COVID-19 pandemic invasion and the next moment he would have the rash decision annulled citing flimsy excuses.
He is magniloquent in his speeches as he is impetuous in his deeds or actions. He could wake up in the morning and sack a Commissioner or an Assistant or Aide only for him to have him reinstated because a godfather or godmother had intervened on behalf of the erring staff. He is as unpredictable as he is combustible.
For the Grammy Award winner, Burna Boy, decorated recently with an award in the state and the musicians (including Duncan Mighty, Timaya and Omah Lay) who participated musically during the ceremony taking home each the sum of ten million Naira for taking their time to come and honour the Afrobeat superstar the Governor is a munificient Chief Executive doing great things toward societal development. When a Governor made you to smile to the bank you could compare him to anybody including Mandela or Pope. Politicians in ‘Naija’ like those singing their praises!
Governor Wike’s gubernatorial profile is one fraught with the good, the bad and the ugly. These include talking balderdash sometimes and going ‘mad’ occasionally. He has made dubious history as Governor of the oil-rich Rivers state on many occasions.
One, soon after he was elected Governor he had turned against his former boss, the former Governor and now Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi. He had accused him of looting the state during his eight years governorship plunging the state into debts. And after he had his election voided by the Tribunal and Appeal Court he headed to the Supreme Court where he won a major judicial victory.
Then, rumours flew around from Umuahia to Uyo to Port Harcourt that Wike and the two other Governors (Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state and Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state) whose elections were equally annulled had spent millions of Dollars to ‘buy’ guber justice at the Apex Court for themselves!
Since the former Rivers State Governor, Peter Odili and his wife, Mary, have judicial connections in high and low places fixing the electoral guber challenge could not have been a difficult task. So Julius Caesar was given his dues in order for the guber bliss to continue in earnest! Who says justice is not for sale in Nigeria?
Two, when the former Acting Managing-Director of the stinkingly corrupt Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Joy Nunieh, was having a running battle with Minister Godswill Akpabio (whom the Iron Lady had accused sensationally of sexual harassment) attempts were made by the security forces to have her abducted or arrested from her home in Port Harcourt. It took the powerful intervention of Governor Wike who drove to her residence to have her freed, driving her to the Government House!
Three, Gov. Wike had complained that his detractors in Abuja had changed Commissioners of Police in the state countless times in order to cause confusion in the state or intimidate him. Today he could say that President Buhari is a failure and tomorrow he could recant by appreciating his efforts in developing the state. Today he could insinuate that his opposition PDP would remain in power in the state even after his exit and tomorrow he could be faced with rumours of vice-presidential ambitions.
Four, few weeks ago some teachers in primary and secondary schools in Rivers State-owned tertiary institutions were protesting over non-payment of their salaries running into five years! They had wondered why Governor Wike would give N500 million to the Sokoto state government over a burnt market while refusing to pay them for five years and counting. Charity ought to begin at the homefront!
Five, sometime in 2017 or thereabout a war of words had broken out between the Governor and the Minister of Transportation. Wike had alleged that each Commissioner and Local Government Chairman in Rivers State had paid the erstwhile Governor’s wife, Judith, N3m and N2m monthly, respectively. Minister Amaechi reacted angrily to the allegation. While calling Wike unprintable names (a thug and poorly-dressed unintelligent politician of fortune) Amaechi made it clear that his wife was into buying and selling as a trader!
Finally, he behaves like a spoilt child who never knew that one day Providence would smile his way rewarding him with the leadership of a rich state. As Chief of Staff to ex-Governor Amaechi Wike and his former boss must have shared certain secrets of state which they are both reluctant to make public despite their irreconcilable differences and political division.
Recently the new Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, had paid a working visit to Rivers state. He was received in audience at the Govt. House in PH by Gov. Wike. According to reports online the Governor had asked the COAS to work harder to root out the Biafran seperatists from his state. He declared that Rivers state was not part of Biafra and as such there was no room for any Biafran agitation anywhere in the state.
And responding Gen. Attahiru had thanked the Governor for his zero tolerance for seperatist elements promising to intensify efforts to break their hold in the state. President Buhari would have done the same thing, hailing Wike’s anti-Biafra stance, were he to be the one visiting. The ‘zoo’ keepers are united in their determined quest to subdue whatever Igbos do to regain their collective dignity.
Before Gen. Attahiru visited Nnamdi Kanu’s ESN had launched a frontal attack on the Fulani invading terrorists masquerading as herdsmen killing, raping and destroying crops in Agbonchia community in the Eleme Local Government Area of the state. Though the fugitive Kanu and his armed men see Agbonchia and other areas in the state as part and parcel of Biafra Wike and his Fulani enablers think otherwise.
Yet it must be said here that Governor Wike is living executively in Biafran denial. But whether he likes it or not he is a glorified ‘Biafran’ and his state part of the Biafran nationhood in the making. You cannot be answering Nyesom (N)wike and be denying your ancestral origin. You cannot be governing a population made up of mostly Igbo-speaking people yet refusing the reality of your origin!
The major problem with many of our ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ in Delta and Rivers states (including the Wikes of this world) is that they suffer from the Biafra phobia. They claim not to be of Igbo stock but history and cultural affiliations say otherwise. We share the same names, culture, tradition and geographical proximity yet they say ignorantly that they are not part of Biafra. Who is fooling whom here?
Governor Nyesom Wike must learn to live with his Igbo identity. Denial of same is tantamount to playing executive ostrich. He must, therefore, accept his Biafran heritage by curing himself of the Biafran phobia afflicting him.