Editor's note: Christopher Egbo, a public affairs commentator from Trans Amadi, Port Harcourt writes on the politics of Rivers state.
Egbo also analyses allegations been thrown back and forth between the Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike and the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division of the Nigerian Army Major General Jamil Sarham.
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I struggle to reject the version of Nigeria as an abnormal country. But certain incidents in the country have continued to insistently and adamantly push this feeling.
If Nigeria were a nation structured to function like a decent country, someone like Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, the governor of Rivers state should have been confined in a psychiatric or rehabilitation home.
But I am not surprised Nigeria is an assemblage of complacent and easily contented people. So, we celebrate vicious leaders simply because they bow to our favoured affinities. And no matter the aberrations’ they commit, we see them as flawless and faultless people.
So, it is not enough that characters like Wike are straddling the land, by we are compelled to call them our leaders. And so graciously and freely, they are polluting everywhere, with an odious aura of importance. And for the wrong reasons, destiny compels us to worship them.
Wike is very powerful and influential from a dubious perspective. Since I heard of Wike’s foray into partisan politics about two decades ago, his name has not been mentioned in pleasant circumstances’. His political sagacity recognizes only two things-the use of thugs and bribing his way to grab what he targets.
He is so soulless and heartless that to sniff life out of anybody in order to realize his political ambition is very casual to him. I guess even the devil will learn some wisdom from Governor Wike’s satanic antics.
Wike remains the only Governor in the history of Nigeria to provoke protests in London. And it confounds that the protests were not for a populist cause embarked upon by Governor Wike in his state or Nigeria. They were spurred by Wike’s felonious outing in Port Harcourt and Nigeria. So, London squawked in demonstrations.
The James Moore group, “UK Matters Most,” comprising hundreds of Britons marched to #10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace to converse with Queen Elizabeth II through an epistle as well as the Westminster Parliament in London to prevail on these top government officials to initiate action on Governor Wike’s alleged $1 million bribe to the High Commissioner and consulate officials in the British High Commission in Nigeria.
And why were the British officials brought into public odium?
Wike allegedly sought to compromise them in order to have the consulate officials manipulate observer mission report on the just concluded 2019 general elections in favour of him and his party, the PDP.
Each time I contemplate it, I visualize Governor Wike writing and delivering a clean copy of the fabricated, false and misleading report, indicting the Nigerian military, INEC and every force opposed to him and his party to the consulate officials.
And Moore and other Britons were incensed at Wike and the Consulate officials for willfully attempting to mislead the UK Government about the involvement of the military in elections in Nigeria. Britons were angered by Wike’s attempts to tarnish the integrity and reputation of Great Britain.
Dexterously, Governor Wike plans his devilry very meticulously. When his plot to use UK Consulate officials to unfairly indict the military, he attempted to bribe the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarham and other officers to compromise the electoral process.
Had soldiers accepted the bribe, Wike would blackmail the Army with the water-tight evidence. But General Sarham disappointed Governor Wike by rejecting the monitory inducements.
Apparently, sensing that he was losing the war on tainting the image of the Nigerian Army, the “wicked,” Wike as some politicians call him, told some visiting officials of the British High Commission who came visiting that Gen. Sarham is plotting his assassination. But he had no shred of proof. If leaders like Governor Wike are the only leaders we have in this country, then I am ashamed of my country.
Portrait of Wike in politics is unattractive. All his actions stinks and are repulsive. But since we have misapplied the interpretation of democracy to crazy limits, human beings like Governor Wike are still parading and flaunting themselves as leaders of people.
What legacy is Wike leaving in politics or Rivers state? It is the legacy of political thuggery, violence and killings in the name of politicking.
I still recount vividly that in the build-up to the general elections, APC, the main opposition party in Rivers state lamented in several press statements about the silent elimination of its members. Now if PDP and Wike are not responsible for such criminality, should we believe APC silently eliminated its chieftains to blame PDP and the government of Wike?
We must learn to face reality and tell ourselves the truth. Governor Wike’s prolonged battles to discredit the Nigerian Army has a history.
If we remember, in the course of routine surveillance, sometime last year, soldiers of 6 Division, Nigerian Army busted Governor Wike’s illegal militia training camp at Nonwa Gbam (NYSC Orientation Camp) in Tai Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers state. That was Wike’s peculiar style of preparing for an election he was a participant.
Deputy Director, Army Public Relations , Colonel Aminu Iliyasu said in a statement that “The troops met over 100 recruits undergoing military-type of training.”
Just imagine that massive number of trained and armed thugs are unleashed on River state, peace would have gone on permanent exile.
But Governor Wike came out parroting and rejigging the narrative; he felt nothing denying it as militias. He proceeded to caricature soldiers over their Boko Haram counter-insurgency operations in the Northeast. No one can convince me Governor Wike is normal.
Are you not surprised that Wike said the militia camp busted by soldiers in Tai was the training camp in Rivers state meant for “Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency Training programme?” Whatever it means, only Governor Wike knows. But safety corps should be given hard core military training in this volatile state and no security agency was involved.
Yet, Wike thinks the rest of Rivers people are not wise enough to know? So, when you say this sort of person is my leader, it weighs me emotionally.
Governor Wike should know we are not foolish. A Governor cannot train and arm thugs, but turn around to shout everywhere of plots to assassinate him. These attack dogs Wike harbors will one day, find reason to revolt against him.
It is childish and laughable to mouth that the Army or the Federal Government is after his life. Wike should learn some leadership decency. The leadership scamps he displays will not help him in the long run.
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