As a PDP Governor in Rotimi Amechi’s River state, I had since concluded that Nyesom Wike’s heart was carved out of raw steel.
When he squared off with the no holds barred APC thugs during his 2018 re-election campaign, many predicted his fate would not be different from that of former Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State. In the end, he proved himself to be the biblical David whose one sling-shot was all it took to demolish the mighty Goliath. He came out a battle-hardened and typhoon-blasted warrior. Since then, this Rumuepirikom born lawyer had fought more battles than the most decorated general in the Nigeria Army.
The average Nigerian politician inspires the image of a dare-devil warrior in a primitive cannibal tribe. He hacks the enemy to death, harvests the organs which he morsels down fast with blood dripping down from both sides of his mouth. He then moves on quickly to throws the carcass to the dogs to put paid any possibility of a come-back, all in a hedonistic final act of savagery.
Part of the reason for Wike’s victories had to do with the tremendous goodwill he enjoyed from both far and near. He became the poster child of the resistance movement against an overbearing APC government that promised brute force and was hell bent on having Dr. Dakuku Peterside installed at all cost. How can you blame a man whose enemy defies every single rule of decent engagement?
But that was back then. Our once likeable Governor has now caught the power bug, pushing his luck as far as it could go and starting to behave like the very people he spent his life fighting. He is beginning to wield unbriddled power, exhibiting a cowardly act of mindless thuggery and in fact becoming totally unhinged. The other time he detained the pilot and co-pilot working for Caverton, a servicing company that provide logistic support services to NNPC, Shell and others. He stated that they landed in River State without clearance even though the flight was already approved by the Minister of Aviation.
Yesterday, he took the barbarism a notch higher. He personally oversaw the demolition of two hotels, over an alleged breach of lockdown rules intended to contain the spread of Covid-19. The managers of both businesses were also reportedly arrrested. Now, as callous as those actions are, I wound concede that one is not privy to the facts on the culpability of those involved. But that’s besides my issue with the whole situation. It’s about a people, our people and the culture of waste and abuse.
As my friend once argued, it was the man that committed the crime, why should our society loose something of such a great economic value in the process. Who stands to gain from such a monumental waste of resources?
If the Governor’s argument is that the public stands to suffer from the intrasigence of these men, then it makes sense that the remedial action should benefit the public. Instead, a state where a great number of young men are condemned to a life of militancy because of harsh economic realities would now have to grapple with the bill incurred in bringing down fully built structures.
But this is not just about Gov. Wike and his theatrics in River states. Numerous instances of such executive overreach abound. There were similar reports involving his counterparts in both Kaduna and Edo states where solid edifices were knocked down in the name of retribution. Such a pervasive culture of waste in a country where more than half the population can’t afford three square meals a day is unconscionable.
At the height of Covid-19 lock down, it was so commonplace to see policemen and soldiers raid supermarkets and destroy everything within sight including bottles of drink and fresh groceries. Why should such be the case? How about issue the defaulter a ticket and ask to pay a hefty fine that will enrich the public purse?
Our perverted sense of justice in Nigeria need not be as horrible as the way we administer it. Our mumu don do!
Osmund Agbo MD writes from Houston, Texas USA