The ‘Oddities’ of Nyesom Wike


The world is a common place for all sorts of humans. There are always the good, the bad and the ugly. For those who are Christians, the common moral law that the wheat and the tares should grow together binds them. The Master had said that at harvest, they shall be separated. While the wheat, He instructed, should be packed into the barn, the tares should be heaped together and burnt. Truly, men of strange religions shall be burnt with the tares at the right time.

This parable handed down by no less a person than Jesus Christ himself is a glorious gospel. It is not only a gospel of peaceful cohabitation, it is also the gospel of tolerance. It preaches that none should be the judge over the life of another. He teaches that segregation of all kinds should be discouraged, while unity and togetherness should be promoted. Of course, with the message from Paul that we should not be equally yoked with the unbelievers, this sermon comes with a heavy weight of moral burden towards the desire to do good.

Indeed, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State is a Christian. Perhaps not a ‘practical Christian’ like some of his colleagues who are clearly guilty of using the name of the Lord in vain, he stands out as a man unequally yoked with the ‘unbelievers’. There are many occasions where Chief Nyesom Wike has proved to be a man of difference. His difference makes him a reference point.

Provoked by the latest oddity of his, where he made history by locking off the members of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC from accessing their state, Secretariat, this piece highlights the many courageous deeds of Governor Wike. It was the legendary Ray Ekpu, while addressing the outburst of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly in October 2019, that gave the lawmakers an interesting description. The then Speaker of the House, Onofiok Luke had convened a strange sitting on a Friday morning where five members who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), had their seats declared vacant.

The five lawmakers, also arranged and had access to the chambers, where they elected to themselves a speaker, declaring all other members as suspended. Ray Ekpu, who however asked the house to bury their disagreements and come together for a common goal, asserted that the latter actually had the COURAGE TO DO NONSENSE. Indeed, Wike could be so described, if the legendary journalism grandfather takes a look at him.

Actually, Nyesom Wike had been a Chief of Staff to former Governor Rotimi Chibuike Anaechi. He had also been the Minister of Education under the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan. Just like most cases in the Niger Delta, where the former president hails, Wike had fought gallantly and won his governorship election against the direction of his predecessor, Amaechi. But this is not what makes heavy the books of the chronicles of his oddities. The oddities could certainly be superfluous with very interesting anecdotes. These principally form the basis for this discourse.

First, Governor Wike was outstanding at promoting the current governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal as the presidential candidate of his party. Wike, mobilized party men and got ready to sell Tambuwal. He did everything within his reach but lost out when the former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had a ‘Dollar Deal’ that threw him up. Of course, Wike had shown gallantry as his candidate scored the second highest votes, after Atiku Abubakar.

Following the intriguing political development of the time, the Governor was caught in the act when a leaked audio conversation was virally being circulated. It was at the eve of the presidential election. The leaked audio conversation revealed the antics of Nyesom Wike in getting the elections won by all means for his party. He even threatened to deal with those who get his plans frustrated. It was indeed an odd situation to find a sitting governor being so exposed and caught in the act. But like any other situation, Nigerians moved on and continue in the struggle of survival.

Still within the heat of the political season, the governor showed to the whole world that he was fully in control of Rivers State. The initial results had shown that the candidate of the opposition party was leading with hundreds of thousands of votes. But, before the day could rest, it was being reported how the Governor led armed men to disrupt the collation exercise. Nigerians can only pretend to forget a situation where a sitting governor led armed men in what cannot be termed differently from raid. About two soldiers had died in the process. Then came the firing slings of press statements. It came severally from the army and it came severally from the Governor himself.

And when the elections were ‘democratically’ and ‘peacefully’ concluded, things seemed to have rested. But this was not to disrupt the self styled political posture of Governor Wike. He openly supported the speakership of Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila. Even when his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was threatening to discipline whoever goes against the party’s prescription, Wike had no time to consider whose ox was gored.

Similarly, he sustained his oddity during the legal fireworks that proceeded the general elections. He maintained his grounds and hoped that he won’t be thrown off by the Court. He wasn’t as his election was affirmed, validated and retained. As the ruling also came against his presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, Wike congratulated President Muhammadu on his victory, especially in the Supreme Court. Even while other PDP governors and officials were not happy, he had no one’s time as he even accused his fellow party’s governors of always going to meet and beg Presidnet Buhari in the secret.

It was more exciting when his party members wore black uniforms and paraded the streets of Abuja, protesting the Supreme Court verdict in the case of Imo State governorship where Emeka Ihedioha of PDP was ousted and Hope Uzudinma of APC declared. Wike did not only disapprove such decision by his party, he was quoted as saying that anyone protesting in Rivers State, with regards to that judgement will be arrested. Of course, there is no trace that anybody did.

Only a few weeks back, the governor had molested royal fathers of his state. A trending video showed how he ordered monarchs who came to meet him with their staff of office to stand. Clearly, only a few did and he used the opportunity to abuse them calling some of them small boys, hypocrites and Usman Danfodio.

The last of his many strange attitudes towards governance is the sealing off of the NLC Secretariat in the state. While Rivers Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim had said the state government which was committed to workers’ welfare had commenced paying the new minimum wage in line with the consequential salary adjustments as approved by the Federal Government, Beatrice Itubo, the Chairperson of NLC in the state had described the payment as a caricature, stressing that NLC would oppose it. She challenged the state government to kill all the workers if they so desire. Comrade Itubo said the NLC will vehemently oppose the caricature version of the new minimum wage being imposed on workers by the governor. Regretting that Wike has been allowed to get away with numerous acts of oppression against Rivers workers since 2015, she said the NLC was fully prepared to engage the government on all fronts to secure a better deal for its members.

In all cases, Governor Wike’s approach to public administration leaves one thinking of how ruthless he could be with his children at home. As a governor of oil reach state with enormous monthly federal allocation, coupled with a vast pool of internally generated revenue, pundits believe that a man like Wike should not be quarreling with NLC before paying the minimum wage. His overbearing attitude to governance, seeming disrespect to the royal fathers and antagonistic arrogance, especially in displaying anti party trajectory, leaves one thinking whether Nyesom Wike is untouchable.

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