End of the road for Nye­som Wike

Daily Trust - - OPINION -

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.

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