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Rivers Crisis: Wike and His Grossly Diminished Yesterday’s Men

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Rivers Crisis: Wike and His Grossly Diminished Yesterday’s Men
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Anybody who has closely followed the political developments in Rivers state since the immediate past governor and FCT minister, Nyesom Wike, started his fight to remove the incumbent governor, Siminalayi Fubara, would agree that two things have become very obvious in the power tussle.

Fubara has been marvellously helped or rather gingered to grow and/or man up in a hurry to stand for himself. And whether anybody wants to hear this or not, Wike on the other hand, the league of ex-local government chairmen and the dissident State Assembly members have grossly diminished in value and relevance both at home and at the national stage.

How do you explain Wike’s adversarial disposition to the state that gave it all for him? In his last one year or so, this man spoke condescendingly about a sitting governor, the people of the state including highly revered elder statesmen and even entire ethnic group, in manners quite embarrassing of a former governor or any decent man.

The seal of authority in Rivers State the last time checked was still with Governor Fubara. Nwanosike of Ikwere LGA and Chidi Lloyd of Emohua LGA brazenly acted as if the governor was a non-issue. Now, Wike and his gang has forced Fubara to go the way of the militants which for years will never be erased from the minds of Rivers people. This is what greed and selfishness can cause a man! Who say man no dey?

Governor Simi couldn’t have done anything other than what he is doing now. It is a game of throne! His predecessor wouldn’t have condoned even for a single day, what he expected Fubara to tolerate from charlatans particularly from his Ikwerre areas.

Meanwhile, Governor Fubara has taken a step forward in consolidating a hold on power in the state by swearing in new caretaker chairmen for the 23 local government areas of the state.

The swearing-in was done on Wednesday 19th June. 2024 at the Government House in Port Harcourt amidst tight security.

The swearing-in comes a day after he forwarded the list to the state House of Assembly led by the Speaker, Hon Victor Jumbo.

This has been the matter in question as a faction of the Rivers State House of Assembly controlled by the Nyesom Wike-backed but defected lawmakers had extended the tenure of the councils for another six months.

The Appeal Court in Port Harcourt on Friday, June 14, 2024, failed to stop Gov Fubara from dissolving the local councils on June 18, 2024, a day after the tenure of the present chairmen and councillors constitutionally expires.

Already the governor has ordered a comprehensive audit of all the 23 councils’ accounts to ascertain how the affairs of the councils were handled by the evicted chairmen. And for sure, none of them especially the chairmen of Obio-Akpo and Ikwerre local government councils can come out clean on how they expended councils’ resources for three years to work for the people

In another significant political development and a plus for the incumbent governor, opposition federal lawmakers, united under the G-60 coalition, have praised him and the people of Rivers State for the smooth and successful swearing-in of caretaker committee chairmen for the state’s 23 local government areas.

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The G-60 issued a statement acknowledging the proactive steps taken by the governor and the state legislature to ensure that the leadership vacuum created by the end of the former chairmen’s tenure was promptly addressed.

“This seamless transition is seen as a testament to effective governance and respect for democratic processes,” it was said.

According to the lawmakers, “the tenure of the outgoing council chairmen, who were inaugurated three years ago during the administration of Governor Nyesom Wike, officially ended on Monday, June 17, 2024.

“The swift appointment of the caretaker committee chairmen has been widely regarded as a move to maintain stability and continuity in local governance.

“The G-60 lawmakers emphasised the importance of the newly appointed caretaker chairmen supporting Governor Fubara’s vision for Rivers State. They advised these new leaders to avoid the missteps of their predecessors, who were accused of neglecting their official duties in favour of personal gains.

In the statement, the G-60 also said: “We equally hail Governor Fubara for being democratic enough to have allowed the former chairmen to complete their tenure without any disruption despite the provocative acts against him. He has demonstrated maturity and leadership qualities rarely exhibited by governors in the country, especially by his predecessor, who defied court injunctions and appointed caretaker committee chairmen barely two months into office.”

The swearing in of the 23 caretaker chairmen adds another twist to the political crisis in the state months after the Rivers Assembly passed the Local Government Amendment Bill into law. Though Fubara refused to assent to the bill, the lawmakers led by Martin Amaewhule vetoed it.

The law empowered the Rivers State Assembly to extend the tenure of council chairpersons, their vice, and councillors where it is deemed impossible to hold elections before the end of their three-year tenure.

Wike thought he was smart and decided to dine with the devil not knowing he was on the menu.

A powerless Wike is a great asset to President Tinubu and he will ensure every power that the immediate past Rivers state governor has is stripped so he becomes a proper errand boy that can be controlled and used completely at his whims and caprices.

Without the political structure of Rivers State, Wike is a very lean politician and whether he wants to hear this or not, President Tinubu will rather have a deal with Governor Fubara than him.

Governor Fubara has proven to anyone who doubts his authority that he is fully in charge of affairs in the State. He has nothing else to prove as he has established that the people are with him, and it is only a President who does not like himself that would take a stand against the governor, especially, when the governor has proven that he has the support of the people.

Without doubt, Wike is a serial mistake maker as he openly acknowledged but the current mistake he is making will definitely bring a reprehensible end to his political ascendancy.

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This is a message for the former governor and the FCT minister: You cannot compete with God on issues of sense and wisdom. Are you not ashamed that what you did in eight years as governor of Rivers state and the fame and acceptability across board, you have undone just in few months out of Bricks House?

The once blossoming romance between you and the people of the state shamefully ended in acrimonious circumstances as the youths of the state turned against you in the political showdown between you and Governor Fubara.

This much was demonstrated on Tuesday 18 June, 2024, when the youths of Obio Akpor local government area where you come from, chased out the Caretaker Chairman, your loud-mouthed main man who refused to vacate office at the expiration of his tenure.

To further show that they were tired of your era and brash ways of doing things, the youths went further to destroy your statue which was erected at the council headquarters. Disgraceful, abi?

For the first time since we came to know each other, I’m joining my friend and brother Chris Finebone to ask this crucial examination question: Relate and highlight the similarities between the present Rivers State experience and the Biblical story of God raising Moses in the household of Pharaoh in order to successfully use Moses to liberate and free the children of Israel from the captivity of Pharaoh in Egypt. Is the Bible not consistent?

Our sojourn is but for a short while. Don’t imagine for a single moment you will live forever and try to remote -control the affairs of men, talk less of a whole state and/or the entire country. With all his scheming and dribbling and unhealthy desire to install a successor that will worship and obey him and then control the whole state, now look where it’s landing him.  Both Wike and the ex-council chairmen and even the lawmakers that worked with them have become yesterday’s men whether they want to hear it or not. Thank God who loves Rivers people!

(IFEANYI IZEZE writes from Abuja: [email protected]; 234-8033043009)

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