Wike Vs Fubara: Any lesson for political class?|Saheed Abdullahi

I have meticulously studied developments in Rivers State. Unfortunately, a number of commenters are apportioning blame to the FCT Minister, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. Though I am not holding brief for the Minister and I don’t even have any affiliation with him, I hold the view that the truth be laid bare.

Some Nigerians just like to trivialize the lingering political imbroglio between Fubara and Wike. I am pretty sure that all those castigating Wike cannot accept Fubara recalcitrance if they were in Wike’s shoes. They forget the fact we are all human beings.

Why didn’t Fubara reject the offer of previous appointments including the governorship where he is currently sitting as primus inter pares? Then ask Governor Fubara, was he submissive to Former Governor Wike in previous political positions held under him? I knew how he was almost licking the shoes of Former Governor Wike prior to 2023 Governorship elections. Hypocrisy at its peak, right?

The stories of how Abdullahi Umar Ganduje betrayed Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso in Kano, Willie Obiano betrayed Peter Obi in Anambra, Godwin Obaseki betrayed Adams Oshiomole in Edo, Emmanuel Udom betrayed Godswill Akpabio in Akwa Ibom still fresh in our memories. Can you also accept that?

Cases similar to that of Rivers State now are that of Governor Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia Versus his godfather, Former Governor of Benue State and incumbent Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume in Benue and immediate Past Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai versus current Governor Uba Sanni. It is nothing but a stark betrayal. Can you people, who have taken side against Nyesom Ezenwo Wike accept that? Some of you are even worse than Wike.

In Kwara for instance, deliberate efforts were made by some people disloyal to Former Governor of Kwara State and Ex President of Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, to pitch the immediate past Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed against him, who obviously made him Commissioner for Finance for 7 years and Economic planning for a year before helping him to clinch the coveted Governorship seat. But Ahmed vehemently resisted!

Could those ardent admirers of Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki be happy with former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed if he had betrayed him, particularly in the second term? Former Governor Ahmed was loyal to Dr Saraki from beginning to the end. In fact, some people even faulted his total submission to his boss.The most unfortunate is that Governor Fubara’s loyalty did not even last a year. Most of Governors, with penchant for betrayal, always wait till second term before ditching their benefactors.

However, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq was lucky to be ‘godfather-less’ as no one could lay claim to his emergence and how he rose to become Governor through a collective struggle with some political gladiators for change of leadership through ‘O to ge’ mantra in 2019. As we speak, no single individual could advance plausible argument that the emergence of Governor AbdulRazaq, as witnessed in the states above, was at his behest. For the former dynasty, it was a shellacking defeat; a revolution that was hitherto unimaginable.

Governor AbdulRazaq may currently be preoccupied in his mind about who succeeds him in a cloudy political race for 2027 in Kwara State. No governorship endorsement has been made but attention is shifting towards Kwara North; a Senatorial District perceived to have been deprived since 1999 till date. Kwara North, blessed with qualified governorship materials, has begun awareness to earn the governorship seat.

Of course, we should not expect Governor AbdulRazaq to produce a successor that will not be loyal to him. It is normal as human beings. Don’t forget the fact that humans are highly deceitful. The Governor, as a democrat with characteristics of humility, gentility and indeed a person of a few words, is likely not to interfere in administration of whoever succeeds him. What is unfolding in Rivers State is a lesson to leaders in all stratas.

Although the FCT Minister, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has his excesses of vituperation, and fight to finish ailments. He does not look back while fighting. He is highly problematic with that. Those elders backing Governor Fubara now knew former Governor Wike extremely to have waited till he left office. They dare not go beyond their boundaries. Governor Fubara is losing the battle on daily basis as State Assembly, Local Government Chairmen and huge number of his cabinet members are not with him.

What baffles one is Rivers State Secretary to the State Government SSG, Tammy Danagogo, still with Governor Siminalayi Fubara since the beginning of political imbroglio between the Governor and the FCT Minister and Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. Danagogo is a guy I know his story very well. I wonder why he still remains in the office from 2019 till now.

The same guy was a two-term Commissioner in Rivers State. He was made Minister of Sports in 2014 by Former President Goodluck Jonathan facilitated by FCT Minister, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike replacing Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi from Kwara State. His comfortability in that office considering the political rivalry between Governor Fubara and former Governor Wike, who initially appointed him as SSG, is suspicious.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is being careful in handling the perennial political hullabaloo to avoid being tagged biased. He has promised not to take sides in the ongoing crisis rocking Rivers State. In a statement through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, during an interview on TVC, President Tinubu said he would not allow any attempt to frustrate the Rivers government.

According to him, anyone who believes that by their actions, whether it is from the Federal level, State level or the legislative branch in the State or the executive branch in the state, if they are banking on Mr President to take sides on this matter, they are mistaking and they will be disappointed.

He assured the people of Rivers that any attempt to frustrate the operation of the Rivers State government of conducting its affairs in a way that it would benefit the Rivers people, that’s obviously not going to be allowed by this President or anybody else.

What is happening in Rivers State is purely absence of government as Executive and Legislative Arms have been paralyzed while Judiciary in that state is hospitalized. Unarguably, 2024 budget presentation of Governor Fubara did not pass through normal legal procedural processes prior to implementation.

A budget of N800billion was presented to 3 or 4 Peoples Democratic Party, PDP pro-Fubara lawmakers, who did not even form a quorum at a corner in Government House following the defection of about 27 pro-Wike lawmakers from PDP to opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) before issuing an Executive Order, relocating Rivers State House of Assembly to Government House and finally gazetted it. No budget defense by Ministries Departments and Agencies.

There are a lot of deficiencies in Rivers State 2024 Appropriation. The Governor is now spending money without Appropriation by the state Assembly. The most disturbing is demolition of State Assembly Complex when news of his purported aborted impeachment was broken to him.

That gave credence to the way Governors pocket Legislature and Judiciary as their subsidiaries, thus closing their eyes to their independence. It is pertinent for National Assembly to take over Rivers State lawmaking and other legislative functions as required by the constitution. It is crystal clear that Rivers State House of Assembly can no longer perform its legislative function.

What right does Governor Fubara has to bulldoze the structure of an independent arm of Government like Legislature?When elephants fight, grasses suffer. The people of Rivers State are now at the receiving end. Do they actually deserve this? The answer is NO! Something must be done. If declaration of state of emergency will put an end to these shenanigans in Rivers State, so be it!

Saheed Abdullahi CLN is an Ilorin-based Journalist

14th of May, 2024

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