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Rivers: Wike And Familiar Dance Steps Of Rivers’ Governors ~ By Ifeanyi Izeze

The widely reported donation of N500 million to victims of the Sokoto market fire by the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike was nothing out of the norm as we know it with those who have ruled the state since 1999.

In the chronicle of sacrificial givings by those you ruled the state; Peter Odili came first and did very well at it. Rotimi Amaechi followed and even introduced some new dimensions to it. Now Wike is at it dancing real naked in the market places even as far as Sokoto main market.

Rivers people seems to be terrible students of recent history if not, how do you explain that all the governors who ruled the state since 1999 ended up doing the same things the same way even when they want the people of the state to believe otherwise?

Is there actually a spell cast on people who rule the state? It sounds very extreme to actually say but the behavioural pattern always displayed by makes it difficult to think otherwise.

Remarkably, they all start very well and manage to carry serious governance through their early years in office. And that may be because funny enough, they usually come into office the same manner and circumstances. And just because of the circumstances of their emergence, they usually are always compelled to work for the people to see at least in the early years of their administrations.

However, the worrisome pattern has always been that immediately they get the chance to do a second tenure, Rivers state stop being priority in most things they do, that’s when they suddenly start seeing themselves more as national figures than local administrators.

 

In the beginning, it was Governor Peter Odili who as result of the pressure from the “Anti-Christ” and his group that clearly defeated him at the first run of the governorship election in election in rivers state in 1999, was forced to do things to convince the people that he was a better choice. Most of Odili’s projects and programmes in the housing, transportation, education, power and several other sectors were very remarkable.

He even took issues of stomach infrastructures to a level that even his enemies till today find it difficult to accuse him as being corrupt because he “carried everybody along” including women Oyeeeee. Then all that changed the day a dreamt of being the next president after Obasanjo. He became the nationally acclaimed “omeogor” (Mr Charity) especially in northern and western Nigeria.

Then Chibuike Amaechi came with his “K- Leg” issues though the Supreme Court was able to orthopedically straighten everything that had to do with that deformity. He did very well also in terms of his projects and programmes in his early years in office. Amaechi drove himself either in a car or power-bike unannounced to project sites for first hand assessment of what contractors were doing on almost every site. As an Ikwerre man, he also went into Mile 1, Mile 3, Town and, Oil mill markets to buy moi moi and ‘manpower’ even cowries and native chalks at times just to relate with the his people.

Whether anybody wants to hear this or not, whosoever that says Amaechi did not work in his first tenure is an enemy not only of progress but also of Rivers state.

His humility in service was exemplary until he became the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and then, phewww, he caught that “anointing” that made him think he has become as powerful or even more than the President of the Federal Republic who happened to be his friend and brother. That was when he remembered that his middle name is Rotimi. He no longer bothered about any friend in Rivers state. People from the Southwest posing as all sorts of adviser, contractors and consultants overran the state. The governor became airborne as he was always in Abuja, Lagos, or London.

He literally took over the funding of the NGF with monies from the coffers of Rivers state. To crown it all, he doled over N60billion of Rivers money, as alleged, to fund Buhari’s presidential campaign of 2014-2015 as the Maigaskya had no two coins to rub each other and the Jagagban was not ready then to stake a dime on a man who sees and publicly berated him as very ‘kwaraupt’.

Now with Wike who also came as “Ogbuagu” under the camouflage of a riverine Boer constrictor also did well in his early years. He stood out by making sure there was no abandoned project anywhere in the state. He completed with the resilience of a “yewali” all projects initiated but abandoned by his predecessor in office except the Monorail. Well into this his second term, he says he is still working at least with his ‘bridge affair,’ but whether the Rivers people see it as such is discuss for another day.

He was in Edo state to produce Governor Godwin Obaseki for his second tenure, a job he executed with the fineness of an Nyerishi all with hundreds of millions or even billions from Rivers state coffers.

So it is very clear that Wike’s going to Sokoto to dash traders 500 million of Rivers money was nothing outside what Rivers governors were known for except that it’s coming when economic distress is well written everywhere and on everything in the state.

Tragically, as if the dole was not enough progress in error, the explanation by the State Government justifying the N500 million dole to Sokoto traders was even more of an insult to the sensibilities of the Rivers people. It may have been ignore or rather swallowed by the people if not that it was done in the governor’s usual ill manners and outright arrogance.
Hear the government: “These unfortunate outbursts have largely been uncharitable, ill-mannered and indeed a very poor and sad reflection of who we are as Rivers people and our proud national image and recognition as ‘our brothers keeper’.

“As Rivers People, we have our challenges but that doesn’t mean we have lost our sense of humanity and this is what Governor Wike epitomises with great equanimity and humility.
“After seeing the level of destruction, he was moved with compassion to announce the misconstrued donation. It is therefore with an even greater sense of deep sadness and disappointment that we read how some people described the gesture as evidence of financial recklessness.”

Do we need to educate the governor that what he did was senseless and at the same time reckless? You don’t use our common wealth to service your friendships. It is not right by any reasoning of it especially as this Sokoto largess is just one too many. Haba bros, think am naa! This money is not Wike’s own o but the collective wealth of the people of the state just that he is sitting at the helm at this point in time.

Just as earlier said that all the governors follow the same pathway, Wike should reminded that just as Amaechi did Kayode Eso’s Panel against Odili and Wike himself instituted the Emereji Court Marshal against Amaechi, whoever that’s coming after him may also drag him even to ‘Ogwugwu Ozuzu’ Panel.
Governor Wike, no doubt, is a very good guy by my honest assessment but he needs to be guarded always to prevent him from self-destruct. Walahi, bros talks anyhow (by his nature) and this attribute seem to always erode his genuineness and sincerity in service delivery to his people. Abi Oga de ‘high’on something before coming out to the public? God bless Rivers state!

(IFEANYI IZEZE: iizeze@yahoo.com; 234-8033043009)

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