Those who were in Rivers State and Port-Harcourt in particular, who witnessed the battle to push out Governor Nyesom Wike in his second term bid, will have no option but doff a hat for the local champion
By Godfrey Azubike
Indeed, Governor Nyesom Wike’s second tern victory in River State did not come easy. The battle to be there was one of the most turbulent among those of his peers in the governorship race elsewhere. In one of his jokes at a press conference when he assumed office in his first tenure, Wike claimed to be a local champion. This he has demonstrated by holding the state strongly for the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, since he assumed office in 2015.
According to the governor; “they say I am a local champion. I agree with them. Let them continue as international champion. But what I will not agree with them is when they want to leave their international champion to come to take my local champion.” This was aptly demonstrated in the last election. There was nothing the opposition did not do to pull the rug off his feet, but Wike fought like a wounded lion, and was able to achieve victory at the end.
The political battle was in three prongs, namely the army, the police and the civilian opposition. Only last week, Wednesday May 15, the governor still recalled the alleged ignoble role played by the General Officer Commanding, GOC, of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General JamilSarhem. He berated the GOC for allegedly running an illegal oil bunkering squad for the purpose of financing his quest to be appointed the Chief of Army Staff. He noted thatany attempt to appoint the GOC as the Chief of Army Staff, would spell doom for the nation’s failing security architecture.
He spokeduring a Courtesy visit by the Commander of Joint Task Force Operation Delta Safe, Real Admiral Akinjide Akinrinade at the Government House, Port Harcourt. As he put it, “the GOC is doing illegal bunkering, which he is using to finance his quest to emerge as the country’s Chief of Army Staff. He has his own team that is making money for him through oil bunkering”. He accused the GOC of compromising security in the state through illegal actions.
According to the governor, “We will have a security meeting and he will release the details to criminals. And the Chief of Army Staff will leave the man here because he is playing their role.”How will security of the state be with such a man as the GOC? He will compromise when fighting to reduce crime; they sent us a GOC who destroy the security architecture of the state”.
On the alleged role of Major General JamilSarhem during the last general election, Wike said; “A man came to plot coup. The people resisted him for plotting coup. You want to impose a party that has no candidate for National Assembly and State Assembly elections on the people. How will such a party win the Governorship election? A party that nobody has seen their posters. Rivers people said no. He has result sheets. Let him bring the result sheets to the tribunal. Army now has result sheets. That is now part of their mandate, “.the governor pointed out that Rivers people stopped the GOC and his accomplices from imposing a Governor on the state during the elections.
The governor was equally not happy with the police, especially the Federal Anti Robbery Squad, FSARS for the murderous role they played during the election.In all of this, Wike pointed accusing fingers at his kinsman and his bosom friend, Chibuike Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation as the mastermind of the problem in the state.
Responding to alleged false allegations made by Amaechi during his recent appearance on Channels Television, Governor Wike noted that Amaechi failed in his quest to truncate his second term because Rivers people are happy with his work. According to him, Rivers people overwhelmingly voted for him during the 2019 Governorship Election because of his outstanding performance and projects delivery. He said he wouldn’t have responded to the falsehood being peddled by the Minister of Transportation, but he owes the public the duty to set the record straight.
Wike recently waved an olive branch for the opposition to join in building the state. The move was seen as laudable. This was coming on the heels of a vista of reconciliation overtures made by concern stakeholders to reconcile Wike and Amaechi. Recent comments however show it is not yet over. According to Wike, “it is unfortunate. I extended the Olive Branch and I meant every word of it. It was on that basis that the State Attorney General filed a nolleprosequi to withdraw the charge against Flag Amachree.
According to the governor, “if I did not do well in my first term, PDP wouldn’t have given me the party’s flag to fly. In 2015, the same man vowed that over his dead body would I emerge victorious. I have done well for mypeople . It is for the people of Rivers State to decide. It is not in the place of Amaechi to decide. We have over 6million people and over 3million registered voters. Therefore, Amaechi cannot say I cannot go for a second term. He has only one vote”.
The governor said further that; “in the past, he said an Ikwerre man cannot succeed another Ikwerre man. Today, he is saying his grouse is that I cannot go for a second term. At every step, he has one story or the other”.Governor Wike said contrary to the story that Amaechi peddled whilst he was on Channels Television, kidnapping raged during his tenure. He said it was so bad that the State Chairman of Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission under Amaechi was kidnapped..
Equally too, a Coallition of Civil.SocietyOrganisations in the state lamented the extrajudicial murder committed in the state during the last general election. The organisation which spoke to a cross section of the media in the state Monday May 13, said; “in April 2019, we the people tracked and documented sixteencases of extrajudicial murders. In all, forty-six killings were documented
Consequently, the group demands that the police immediately develop a register of all citizens killed in the atrocious circumstances, and commence investigation into their death. Theyalso asked that the policemen attached to VIPs be withdrawn and channeled to providing security equally for all citizens.
According to the group, “the system for the prosecuting offenders should immediately be reformed to the extent that person who are arrested for crimes are effectively processed in accordance with the law, and prosecuted if guilty”
Prior to the general election in the state, Verbatim had predicted that Wike would win the gubernatorial election in the state going by the indices on ground. One of such indices was the inability of the major opposition in the state, the All Progressives Congress, APC, to produce candidates to the election.