By Willie Amadi.
Rivers State is one of the treasures of the Nigerian State. I remember with nolstagia in 1982 when I started the journey of my life and stardom as the District Sales Representative of Nigeria Breweries Plc incharge of Rivers State. I was barely 20 years old and enjoyed the garden city called Port-Harcourt with her lovely women, delicacies and nightlife. Dr, Peter Odili and Dr, Odigbo were my personal doctors at Pamo Clinics. Rotimi Amaechi was Dr. Odili’s personal assistant. I still maintain a good number of personal friends. I am therefore emotionally attached to anything associated with Rivers State which eventually ended with my marriage to Owem Amadi, my exceptionally tolerant and understanding wife. Rotimi and his wife Judith were close to Owem and Judith, Owem’s classmate at the Rivers State University of Technology. I am very happy that these names amongst many other friends are today doing well in their chosen fields.
The recent developments in Rivers State to me has been a recurring KARMA of succession. Firstly, despite the love, tutelage and mentorship of Rotimi under Odili, the later metted the former with unprecedented political torture due to the circumstantial adoption of Governor Omehia, Rotimi’s cousin as the Governorship candidate instead of Rotimi as planned in 2007. Odili was almost declared persona non grata in Rivers State when Amaechi was restored as the Governor following the Supreme Court judgement which confirmed him as the rightful candidate of the election. Odili faced many vindictive inquiries by the administration of Rotimi Amaechi including orchestrated Obasanjo’s attack dog, the EFCC for Odili’s effrontery in challenging Obasanjo in the PDP Presidential primary election. Arurume, a Senator and Chairman of the Southern Cacaus of the Senate and Odili’s ally is still paying the price of his support to Odili till date. Fortunately, for Odili his wife’s position as a respected jurist with pedigree influenced and ameliorated the various judicial assaults. Providence also played a role for him. Today Odili has recovered from the holocaust and revered by the State courtesy of Governor Wike as he then was.
Interestingly, during the legal war to reclaim Rotimi’s mandate, Wike was on ground and held the storm for Rotimi who fled to Ghana to save his life from Governor Omehia who was said to be looking for Rotimi’s blood to drink. When the Supreme Court finally restored Rotimi as the Governor of Rivers State, Wike the bulldog naturally became Rotimi’s Chief of Staff. The union was so smooth and strong that Rotimi nominated Wike as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under President Goodluck Jonathan. Funny enough the understanding that Wike will succeed Rotimi hit the Brick wall of the BRICK HOUSE in preference of Omehia and alarm blew. Rotimi lost to Wike in the power play with Jonathan over personal egos and Wike emerged as the Governor of Rivers State under Jonathan’s support. The bad blood generated in the succession and political gymnastics laid the foundation for a bitter relationship akin to Omehia and Rotimi. The garden city was turned into a jungle.
The struggle for supremacy between Rotimi who was a very powerful Minister of Transportation under Muhammad Buhari’s ruling party APC and Wike as Governor of an opposition party PDP was very intense and fierce. No Commissioner of Police lasted for more than a year without a change. Wike who had understudied Rotimi’s weakness, strategies and strength as a close ally, enforcer, Chief of Staff and ethnic brother took advantage of it and blackmailed Rotimi in the politics of the State and took firm charge and control of the politics of the State till this week when the bubble burst.
Wike had a smooth unchallenged eight years of governance and silenced every dissenting opinion or voice. He introduced his pattern of loyalty, instilled fear on the State as much as he was also delivering the dividends of democracy to the State. Regrettably, Governance without empathy was absent and human beings would prefer the latter than the former because human dignity and respect means everything in life.
Wike fought many battles from different fronts and luckily came out victorious. Money and courage was his greatest asset and weapon, and perhaps his name “WIKE” which provided the phycological tonic and content. He single handedly decided and chose all the candidates of the 2023 elections in the State from the House of Assembly to Governorship. He paid for the forms, cost of primary and general elections and also all litigation process currently going on at the tribunal and courts. He was a total boss and Lord of the Manor of the State who can do no wrong. Everything was going on well with him as he navigated and became the first Christian Minister of the Federal Capital Territory which conventionally was the exclusive reserve of the North as an extra State of the Caliphate. The FCT serviced the economic needs of the northerners resident in Abuja excluding the North Central always used as a cannon fodder when the need arose.
Instructively, there is no champion forever as no kingdom also last forever. It is also a truism that whatever has a beginning also has an end. Karma as we knowalso has everyone’s address. Any of the above or a combination of them has become Wike’s lot today and there is nothing he or everyone can do about it.
The “misunderstanding” between father and son in politics is not like one between husband and wife or business partners. In politics it is red line similar to Hamas/ Israel war except that political misunderstanding does not breed open violence but rather intrigues, blackmail and kind illegality from our weak judicial and administrative institutions. The quick and fatherly intervention by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was a call for the peace of his administration full stop. The underlying advice is for Wike and Fubara to go home and resolve their differences peacefully without disturbing the peace of the already troubled Nation. Either way PBAT looses nothing.
The above intervention to my opinion was also a soft landing for his cabinet minister who has a lot of work to do for him in his FCT agenda. It is a case of being “neutral in favour” of Wike. Whether the “misunderstanding” will be understood by Wike and Fubara will be a case study for students of political history. For me as a lawyer and chartered politician it is a waste of time and resources because a reconciled enemy in politics is worst than the last stage of cancer. Secondly, political leaders who were dealt by Wike during his succession period will or have already aligned with Fubara to extract their pounds of flesh. Wike’s loyalists of many years who were disappointed in him for 8 years as Minister and Governor will obviously have found solace in Fubara’s freedom fight. All friendly enemies of Wike who have been jealous of his meteoric rise will give support to Fubara by proxy. For Wike, unfortunately, THINGS HAVE FALLEN APART and of course the political centre cannot hold anymore.
Fubara was not a politician and Wike groomed him as his Accountant-General to become a Governor. Naturally there may have been understandings, agreement and expectations but Wike was too quick and devoid of matured strategy in handling the shortcomings of Fubara no matter the issues at stake. I do not blame Wike because anyone the God’s want to kill will, they make him deaf. Secondly, the Karma of Rotimi suffered from Odili left Rotimi and found his address on Sunday. Thirdly, destiny and providence of luck and bad luck are also at play. This means that no man is an Island or God.
Wike will relentlessly fight Fubara at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court not minding that APC candidate, Cole from Kalabari will be the eventual beneficiary. Unfortunately, while as the Governor, Wike had unfettered access to State funds he did not have the direct contact to the Judges and Courts. Today to fund the judicial attack on Fubara he will use his personal saved funds while Fubara as Governor will now use State funds and inherit the judicial contacts to defend himself unless the federal might is deployed. Either way and unfortunately, Rivers State will experience the PEACE OF THE GRAVE YARD going forward.
WARNING TO ALL BENEFICIARIES OF WIKE’S 8 YEARS ADMINISTRATION.
Remember that the incumbent Governor Fubara was the Accountant-General of the State to Wike as Governor of the State.
LET those who have ear ???? hear !!!
Willie Amadi, a lawyer and environmentalist writes from Owerri.