Columns

December 22, 2023

Yuletide blues, By Donu Kogbara

Don’t be deceived!

Donu Kogbara

So, Christmas is here again; but millions of Nigerians have nothing to celebrate, thanks to alarming inflation, insane exchange rates, constant power cuts, widespread insecurity and various other woes.

Then there is the fact that my home state, Rivers, is embroiled in yet another huge, toxic and immensely depressing political drama.

Nyesom Wike, our former governor, has just – with considerable help from President Tinubu – comprehensively humiliated Sim Fubara, the successor he installed and then promptly fell out with.

The story of this painful godfather/godson conflict has been trending for several weeks and it culminated on Monday at a meeting in the presidential villa that concluded with Fubara signing a peace resolution that stripped him of dignity and gubernatorial powers.

The atmosphere in Fubara’s constituency is unhappy, to put it mildly. Most Rivers People are either gloomily pitying him for being a victim of highwire bullying…or furiously despising him for being too timid.

I hardly know anyone who supports Wike on this matter and a lot of folks in and outside Rivers State are describing him as irredeemably evil and so on…perhaps because they have never seen him at his best.

I’ve known Wike for years and we have bitterly disagreed a couple of times. But I have a cordial relationship with him most of the time because I admire his razor-sharp intelligence, because he is very entertaining when he’s in a good mood and because he has been kind to me at intervals, most recently after my mother’s death in July. But I’m sad that Wike is making his Boy look like a premier league mumu and angry about the fact that this wahala is making Rivers look like a cheap little province that can be treated like a spoil of war.  

I have never met Fubara but have never regarded him as ideal leadership material and have never hidden the fact that I never wanted him to be governor in the first place. And my STRONG and public objection to Wike’s selection of Fubara was one of the things that drove a wedge between me and Wike earlier on this year.

As recently as early December, I was telling friends that I wouldn’t care if Wike got rid of Fubara…and I regularly condemned Fubara for demolishing the State House of Assembly building in a desperate bid to avoid impeachment by lawmakers who were loyal to Wike.

Long story short, Wike and others may be surprised to hear that I’ve done a volte-face and am now pleading with him on Fubara’s behalf…and urging him to concentrate on his new FCT Minister job.

So why have I changed my tune?

Because my conscience has told me to do so. End of story!

Wike has what it takes to do a great job for Abuja Metropolis and environs. And I will be absolutely delighted if he pushes Rivers State to the back of his mind, fulfills his potential at the centre and embarrasses the retards who don’t want a southern FCT minister.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO MY VANGUARD READERS!

ROSALIE’S CRUSADE UPDATE

Last week, I told you about 

my friend Dr Rosalie Modder-Oyefeso, who is running an environmental campaign in Oyo State.

Here is an update in her own words:

“Yesterday several of us green conservationist groups organized a peaceful walkout in Ibadan City through Agodi Gardens and Agodi Forest and the Oyo State Government Secretariat. We attracted a turnout of about 120 walkers comprising architects, bankers, doctors, lawyers, staid University dons, gentle young students and grandparents alike, professionals and non-professionals, mothers and fathers.

In short the bedrock of Ibadan’s responsible cadre of society.

The type of pillar-of-society-citizen who tell others to park their cars properly and stop throwing plastic water bottles on the ground.

The whole purpose of this exercise was to initiate state government awareness about the disastrous consequences to the citizens of Ibadan, of felling trees in a conservation forest sitting on the watershed for the Ogunpa River.

To my horror, it ended in tragedy when bus- loads of thugs    wielding kobokos started threatening and beating up our members WITHIN the premises of OYRTMA Secretariat. Is this what we have come to? Is there no sanctuary for the citizens of Ibadan in their OYSG Secretariat any longer?

I am appalled to read on media platforms this evening, the assertions and counter assertions from OYRTMA that our cars had to be impounded because they were obstructing traffic. And I am even more appalled at the denial of their assault on our participants.

I am of the age where people I don’t even know greet me ‘Grandma!’ I have all the aches and twinges of the old age that I have achieved. I have no business leaving my home at 7 a.m to walk from Agodi Gardens to Secretariat and back, keeping my strength up with fried buns and paracetamol.

But do you know why I did it? We had a very urgent message for the Oyo State Government. And since none of them seems to be taking this issue seriously I say it now on behalf of all of us in a very loud voice.

Replacing the Conservation Forest with concrete housing estates on the Watershed for Ogunpa River, in the Agodi forest behind Agodi Gardens WILL HAVE A DEADLY IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND UNIMAGINABLY DISASTROUS CONSEQUENCES OF FLOODING ON IBADAN CITY AND ITS HAPLESS CITIZENS.

BY THE LAWS OF GOD AND NATURE, YOU CANNOT TAMPER WITH THE WATERSHED OF A RIVER AND GET AWAY WITH IT.

PLEASE CHECK OUT MY PODCAST SERIES. TITLED AFRICA NOW! IT CAN BE FOUND ON APPLE OR SPOTIFY AND IS ENTERTAINING AS WELL AS SERIOUS.

RESPONSES TO  donzol2002@yahoo.co.uk or to 0805 404 6887. PLEASE KINDLY NOTE THAT UNLESS YOU REQUEST ANONYMITY, YOUR EMAIL OR TEXT MAY BE PUBLISHED WITH YOUR NAME AND CONTACT DETAILS ATTACHED.

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