End of the road for Nyesom Wike
During the few times he was photographed with President Muhammadu Buhari after meetings in Aso Villa, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, the Governor of Rivers State had stood far apart from Nigeria’s CEO. I always told myself that perhaps Wike was doing that to underscore the fact that he wasn’t a favourite of the President, not just because he was a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governor but also because he was witch hunting Buhari’s much loved Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
In the last five months, Wike had done everything to nail Amaechi to corruption. First, he said Amaechi had not only looted the treasury but that he and his outgoing officials even carted away government property, including vehicles. Wike had got some elders of the state and taken them to Government House to show them that the place had been stripped of everything, even curtains.
Wike had shouted to high heavens that Amaechi left an empty treasury for him. He told everyone that cared to listen to him that Rotimi Amaechi is corrupt. More embarrassing, Wike had named a Judicial Commission of Inquiry chaired by Justice George Omeregi to examine the sale of Rivers State Turbines and Olympia Hotel and other property by his predecessor. Expectedly, the commission returned a guilty verdict, recommending that Amaechi should be made to refund the billions of Naira he had withdrawn from the Rivers State Reserve Fund after changing the law.
It is not altogether surprising that the Rivers State governorship election tribunal has sacked Nyesom Wike. Most of the objective accounts of what transpired on 11th April, 2015 demonstrated that the gubernatorial election won by Wike wasn’t free and fair. Wike and his sponsors - former Goodluck Jonathan, Dame Patience Jonathan, Felix Obuah, etc, had treated the election as a do or die affair with the aim of uprooting Amaechi. Thugs were unleashed on Rivers and they had no qualms spilling blood and spreading fear among voters. On the eve of the election, Rivers State transformed into a murderous ground and almost every day there were bombings and shootings mostly targeted at the opposition. On about three different occasions, the scheduled campaigns of the All Progressives Congress (APC) could not hold due to violence.
Before then, President Jonathan’s wife had allegedly done everything to get Amaechi impeached but all her efforts had failed. At a point she was alleged to have gone to Port Harcourt and stayed for 10 days to engineer the impeachment of Amaechi. During the period, the road leading to the government house occupied by Amaechi was barricaded for the comfort of Patience Jonathan and to show the governor that “power pass power.” Evans Bipi, her kinsman, claimed that he had been elected speaker of the Rivers state House of Assembly. He was going to serve as the arrowhead in the removal of Amaechi by conducting his own legislative sitting but the majority of the members of the House of Assembly remained adamant and refused to cooperate with Bipi and his sponsors. Following from the bloodshed, the Rivers State House of Assembly was shut down.
In this fresh election demanded by the Tribunal, all the odds are against Nyesom Wike. There is no partisan Police Commissioner called Joseph Mbu who will intimidate the opposition and give free reign to the thuggery and rascality of the Wike supporters. Secondly, there are no slush funds to pay for the PDP campaigns. Thirdly, it is doubtful if the good people of Rivers will again vote for Wike and follow him on the path of vendetta. The people of Rivers may want to retrace their steps and embrace change by voting for APC to see whether their fortunes will improve.
Wike acts more like a thug than a decent politician. He has come as far as he can, five months as governor, that’s all. Wike has no track records of personal or official achievements he can point to. His ministerial sojourn at the Federal Ministry of Education was nothing but a disaster. The ministry was much bigger than him and I am sure that in no time, his tour of duty there will be scrutinised.
In that case, he will have tough questions to answer. Sometimes ago, a young lady wrote to me complaining that several months after Wike’s Ministry of Education had employed them as teachers in the unity schools, they had not been paid their salaries. Wike had staked his little reputation on the wellbeing of the federal government colleges but the current situation in these schools does not justify the huge amount of money said to have been spent on them. Wike’s promise to complete on-going projects also turned out to be a hoax; the National Library headquarters building, among others, which he had repeatedly assured the country, would be put to use while he was minister of education is yet to be finished.
Rivers State is too strategic for this government; I can’t see APC leaving it in the hands of the PDP. His visit to CJN has not paid off. It is the end of the road for Nyesom Wike and his desperate sponsors.