THE new PDP’s recent alliance with APC, which witnessed the dumping of the party by five progressive governors, including Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi of RiversState, was expected.
Also expected were reactions from across the country. But unlike other parts of the country, the reaction from Port Harcourt, the RiversState capital, left much to be desired. The state PDP, under the grip of Chief Nyesom Wike, sent a rented crowd to the street to disturb the peace under the guise of ‘celebrating’ Ameachi’s exit from PDP.
There are undeniable facts that it is the handiwork of Wike. One of such facts is that not long ago, when Ameachi complained of ‘suffocation’ within the PDP and threatened to dump the party if the situation persisted, it was only Wike that dared him to do so and see what follows; infact, he added that he was praying that Ameachi would leave the PDP so it wasn’t surprising that less than 24-hours after the governor dumped the PDP (alongside other progressives), a rented crowd hit the streets of Port Harcourt – doing the dictates of their ‘master’.
By that singular action, Wike once again, presents himself in the similitude of ‘Amalinze’ – the godfather of traditional wrestling in Chinua Achebe’s Things fall Apart, whose prowess and invincibility in the wrestling arena earned him the sobriquet ‘The Cat’. His show (of calling people out on the street) is condemnable, regrettable, unfortunate and indeed, myopic.
(Come to think of it : Why should it be only in RiversState that people hit the street when five governors dumped PDP? It only shows the overzealousness and sycophancy of the opposition in the state led by Wike).
Although Achebe’s Things Fall Apart makes an interesting reading, just as it is celebrated world-wide, trying to mimick a character in it, for the wrong reason is ludicrous!
(Let me dwell on this a little in the interest of readers who have not read Things fall Apart: Achebe told the story of a man who could not be beaten in the traditional Igbo wrestling contest. He was brave, bold, audacious, indomitable and near invincible. He was likened to a cat whose back donot touch the ground in a fight, as he maintained an unbeaten record! Amalinze’s albatross was when he dared his chi – his personal god, believed in Igbo methodology as the source of his strength, and sadly, that was the beginning of his downfall!).
By assuming some of the traits of ‘Amalinze, The Cat’ – daring the mighty, the principled, the celebrated (needless drawing attention to the seven-day ultimatum he gave ASUU), Wike missed it! By daring Amaechi who made him, Wike will go the way of Amalinze The Cat, for he is setting the stage for his infamy, his downfall, just as Amalinze did when he dared his chi!
Yes, Amaechi made him. How?
Here is a man who was nominated by Governor Amaechi to fill one of Rivers State slots in the Federal Executive Council, FEC, – a nomination that fetched him his present job (as Education Minister). Thus, Wike cannot deny that he is a beneficiary of the Governor’s benevolence and generosity!
This same Wike, it was, that sang the praise of Amaechi and the praise of Amaechi’s administration to the high heavens, while his stay at Government House, Port Harcourt as Chief of Staff lasted. He granted several interviews to this effect. One of the interviews will suffice here.
In the November, 2008 special edition of Tell (page 58), Wike told the magazine, under the series:’Blueprint for a new Rivers State’ that Governor Amaechi is a man of ‘standard’ and ‘very active’ and pragmatic in the governance of the state.
Hear him:”The governor as a very active person does not want some body who cannot meet up with his standard. As it is, he gives you an assignment and wants it done immediately. He doesn’t like excuses, he doesn’t like to hear that. By the time he says:’Let me have those documents’, don’t give him excuses. He is a governor that de-emphasizes protocol; he doesn’t even believe in it!’
That is on the governor. Now, on the Amaechi administration, Wike told the magazine that it successfully tackled insecurity in the state, subdued fiery militants and brought back investors who fled the state in the wake of militants’ escapades.
His words: “When we came in (in 2007), what was on ground was insecurity; there was insecurity in the state. This made alot of investors to leave this place (RiversState) because of the activities of the so-called militants who we refer to as ‘common criminals’. They made sure that life was uncomfortable for people. The governor (Amaechi) believes that we cannot do anything without tackling the situation in the state.What it used to be is not what it is now, it is now under control. And that is quite commendable. If you go round the state, you will see that even though some have left, investors have started coming back”.
Wike did not stop there; he even lashed out at Amaechi’s opponents in the same interview. I quote him again: ”There are some people naturally that no matter what you do , they will think you are not doing any thing. It is in this part of the country that your political opponents won’t even appreciate anything you do, even when you do something right! To them, it is giving you credit and by giving you credit, they feel they are making you popular…”.
Readers can now see why I consider it ludicrous, laughable – that the same Wike now double-speaks! Yes, he now double-speaks – shouts ‘hosanna’ in the highest’ yesterday and ‘crucify him’ today – having assigned to himself the role of a rabble-rouser, attacking Amaechi (who made him) left, right and centre.
Let me hasten to remind him and his group that Governor Amaechi has endeared himself to the good people of RiversState so they will move along with him to the APC and PDP will suffer its worst defeat ever in RiversState. His achievements speak for him!
Here are just a tip of some of them recorded under the noise of Wike as Chief of Staff, which he witnessed and cannot debunk, and which the people of the state hold so dear.
In sports: Rivers Angels Football Club of Port Harcourt was second on the league table for 2008/2009 season. The team came home with a silver trophy. Dolphins football club played Pro-League Division one in 2008/2009 ‘Super four’ in Abuja. Sharks FC came second at the Federation Cup played on the 11th July, 2009 in Lagos. Sharks also got a continental ticket to participate in WAFU competition. To cap it all, the state (Team Rivers) clinched the first position at the 17th National Sports Festival in Port Harcourt – beating the highly-rated Team Delta and Team Lagos.
Finance: Pension arrears and gratuities outstanding for the period I983-2007 (24 years), amounting to N2,555,109,137.38 were cleared within one year of Amaechi’s assumption of office. Staff salaries regularly paid. The 15% consolidation salary structure for civil servants was implemented with effect from January 1, 2008.
Education: Ameachi declared a state of emergency in the sector that was in a near comatose state and took over the payment of primary school teachers’ salaries that was the constitutional duty of the third-tier of government – the Local Government. He raised the budgetary allocation from 3.8% to 18% – just 8% from the 26% recommended by UNESCO, pumped money into the sector and cleared the backlog of salaries owned the primary school teachers.
JOHN ENEBELI, Rivers State liaison officer, wrote from Abuja.