Governor Wike and demolition: Balancing the facts (opinion)

Governor Wike and demolition: Balancing the facts (opinion)

Editor's note: Mixed reactions have continued to greet Governor Nyesom Wike's demolition of a hotel in Rivers state in his efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the state.

In this piece, a social commentator, Anthony Eshemokhai, writes about the lingering crisis and advises the governor on what should be done.

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It is no longer news that the Rivers state governor, His Excellency, Ezenmo Nyessom Wike demolished Prodest hotel in the Eleme area of Port Harcourt in line with Executive Order 6 signed into law by him to curtail the virus.

Explaining his action while supervising the demolition, he made reference to a man that died from the virus earlier who picked it from Mingi Hotel in Rumuomasi and from whom 7 more infected persons were traced.

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Prior to proclaiming the lockdown, Governor Wike sensitized various stakeholders including traditional rulers and local council chairmen to ensure no hotel operates within the lockdown period as a decisive measure to check the spread of COVID 19.

Information, however, has it that not only did the Prodest Hotel violated the “don’t operate for now” rule, it hosted a party. The hotel is also alleged to be a haven for ladies of easy virtue and this obviously pulls crowed. To crown it all, the hotel is owned by the PDP youth leader in Rivers state. PDP is the ruling party in Rivers state which brought the governor to power.

Opinion: Governor Wike and Demolition: Balancing the facts!

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state. Credit: Facebook/Nyesom Wike
Source: UGC

At least, there over 200 hundred hotels in Rivers state with many obviously owned by people belonging to various political parties including the main opposition party in the state, the APC.

Such a party member and leader ought to lead by example. Had Wike demolished a hotel owned by an APC or other political party member(s), then political persecution could have been interpreted.

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I think the youth leader went too far in flouting the order and the case simply became a test of the governor’s will. Agreed that democracy should be humane in nature but it should never belittle the power and authority it bestows on those it confers authorities.

Many critics, however, believed the governor went too far. To such critics, yes the executive order spelt out outright demolition for the violation but there is far more humane punishment like sealing off the property, seizing it or better still, forcefully for the time being turn the hotel into an isolation Centre for the treatment of the disease.

Quoting Comrade Phils who is a resident of Rivers state, “when you go too far, you breed sympathy for the guilty.” This explains the widespread condemnation of the action of demolition.

While not justifying the seeming arbitrariness or extreme tendencies, it is obvious Gov Nyesom Ezenwo Wike - CON took the decisive measures to buttress his fairness in executing the law. Such measure no doubt has sent a clear message to all hotel owners because according to an African proverb, “all animals better beware of the crocodile if it can devour its own eggs.”

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All said and done, my personal appeal to the action governor who I have personally come to love his boldness as alone but loud voice of opposition is that he should still execute the Executive Order with “human face.”

A vital lesson a man must learn about not using violence to solve all problems is when a tsetse fly perches in his scrotum. Then you know that there are several options other than force, violence, or “knee jerk.rk” action to solving problems. All said and done, His Excellency Governor Nyesom Wike still remains a man I respect for his boldness in speaking out on issues.

The beauty of democracy is for all voices, whether for or against, to be heard and the Rivers Governor has been a particularly loud voice of opposition which is needed in a democratic setting.

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I actually look forward to interviewing him one day and for this, I had reached out several to Marshal Obuzor, one of his media aids and I hope I will have my chance soon.

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