The near calm atmosphere in the governance of Rivers State is under the spotlight, as the political godfather, Nyesom Wike and his protege, governor Siminalayi Fubara appear to be on each other’s neck on the periphery and beyond with fingers pointing at the honourable minister engineering subterranean moves to topple the helmsman of Rivers from Government House, Forces Avenue abode.
The alleged nocturnal interface recently by Nyesom Wike with lawmakers at the Rivers State House of Assembly on the possible impeachment of His Excellency, Siminialayi Fubara is beyond beggar’s belief in a domain governed by the constitution and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This writer is not aware that Wike is the governor of Rivers State, nor is he a member of the state’s cabinet. Neither is a member of the State House of Assembly.
The current minister of the FCT, Abuja and former governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wife is often described as a “stormy petrel” in Nigerian politics with disruptive and dynamic tendencies in the political terrain. This bandwidth has been employed to make life uncomfortable for the current helmsman of Rivers. One does not need a soothsayer to feel the pulse, as former national publicity secretary of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Anabs Sara-Igbe, called on the immediate past Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, to stop intimidating his successor, Siminalayi Fubara.
The former PANDEF official stated earlier that Wike was acting as if was still the chief executive officer of the state. “I will appeal to the former Governor Wike to leave Governor, Siminalayi Fubara alone to govern the state. What we saw two days ago was shameful; he did not follow protocol.”
Lest we forget, Like stated that he will “not disturb” the administration of Siminialayi Fubara at the Thanksgiving service to mark the end of his tenure as governor at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Diobu, Port Harcourt on the eve of his exit as the helmsman of Rivers. Alas, it has come to fruition that his words mean nothing after all is said and done.
Clearly, Wike is exhibiting telltale signs of an individual suffering from a case of the god complex – A state of mind in which the person believes that they have supernatural powers or god-like abilities, and generally believes they are above the rules of society and should be given special consideration.
It has not taken long for this monstrous chapter to rear its ugly head, as it’s still the honeymoon period where things are expected to run smoothly. In frank and candid terms, any entity who has the leverage to engage in this kind of locomotion with the power he wields in Rivers and at the national level. The forbearers of the South-South State such as Chief Rufus Ada-George and Sir Dr. Peter Odili didn’t reign supreme in this kind of manner. They were a lot more circumspect about imposing their influence over the dominion they controlled.
There’s no gainsaying about the stranglehold Wike has over Rivers State. Those who blindly support his dictatorial tendencies have always excused them that he made Simi what he is today and shielded him from the onslaught of the opposition party, All Progressives Congress. No queries therein, he handpicked Simi and managed to outsmart all and sundry, but that does not translate into every resident of Rivers State should stand and allow the governor to be morphed into a zombie controlled from Wike’s fiefdom that’s now extended to FCT, Abuja from Port-Harcourt. The governor, after all is said and done swore to work for Rivers and its people, not for Wike and Company.
Historically, developments in North Africa and the Middle East all point to the fact that no strongman has survived a popular rebellion by the people. A revolt, in this situation, does not necessarily translate to people rioting on the streets and clashing with the powers that be to ventilate their thoughts.
Wike has made himself the Leviathan, the hippopotamus, the omnipotent, the omniscience and the omnipresence and the octopus of Rivers and to a large extent Nigeria politics. The time is nigh for Wike to get off his high horse and stop pushing his luck. His hands are full, as the administration of the FCTA falls on his thighs. Naysayers might state that Wike engineered Simi’s emergence earlier. The outstanding leader in any field is society’s most valued person according to Earl Nightingale. Every organization needs leadership. You do not raise morale; it filters down from the top. People will always reflect the attitude of the leader. GungHo antics in the public domain don’t augur well and they portend grave danger for society.
Wike’s saving grace to date is the taciturn and coy facade that his successor wears with a badge of honour. He should thank his stars that the baby-faced helmsman has not bared his fangs by running him out of town. Wike needs to get off his high horse and stop pushing his luck. Otherwise, he will wake up one day to discover that the emperor has been stripped bare. At this juncture, Governor Simi needs to stamp his foot on the ground and take charge, as the buck ends on his table as the democratically elected leader of Rivers State.
In conclusion, Simi needs to don the toga of a leader who calls the shots in his domain as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution. He can’t operate via locomotion that the people should count him out of politics. Administration and politics are intertwined and both realms cannot operate in isolation if development is desired therein.
Segun Awoniyi is a Policy Analyst based in FCT, Abuja.