May 25, 2024

A letter to the Honourable Nyesom Wike, by Ugoji Egbujo

A letter to the Honourable Nyesom Wike, by Ugoji Egbujo

Your name says you are a man of strength. Some say you are a strongman. Others call you Nebuchadnezzar. You say you are a man of capacity, character and INTIGRITY. Hon minister, he, who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day. The gods are not amused when men play god. For some mistakes, you must count your losses, lick your wounds and let sleeping dogs lie. The best military commanders understand tactical retreats. You had prophesied the formidability of this young governor who didn’t like talking. The Igbo say it is the small faeces that do the real damage to the anus. Read the handwriting on the wall. That kingdom is lost. This attempt at a third term through the backdoor has failed irredeemably.

Fubara, being Ijaw, is a gnat perched on the scrotum. They must give it tribal interpretations of domination. You can no longer possess and wield a monopoly of the road dogs against their own. Fubara, being your trusted finance director and Accountant General, was your bagman. He knows where the skeletons are buried. Many in the presidency, including your cheerleaders, want you pruned. It’s human nature to seek to deflate pomposity. Many of the president’s men think your loyalty is mercenary. Behind the curtains, they say you are a scheming and treacherous politician who beguiles people with effusive self-congratulatory sermons about loyalty in politics but whose guiding principle is the ruthless supremacy of money. Your hands are full.

Hon Minister, that boy is your first son in politics. He can easily be your nemesis. You can’t win this fight. Can’t you see that he understands the intestines of the courts? The passwords for judicial manipulation appear to have changed. Some of your potent magicians have defected. Your formats for abracadabra have all but expired. He hosts former presidents, governors, and emirs, and he carries himself like a rockstar. Bands play for him as they once did for you. He never seems drunk. Poets have said that people who don’t get drunk should be feared. 

Honourable Minister, Fubara plans to start a probe. There is a frenzy. Names of houses, supermarkets and petrol stations have started flying around. He claims to have all the documents involving everything he partook in. Honourable Minister, when a young ebullient lion rises against his ageing father, the father must recognise the times and tides, tuck in its tail and retreat, away from the territory with his dignity. If he chooses to linger and puff, to lust after past glory and pride, he will be cannibalised. Honourable Minister, a probe by Fubara might be truncated by a legal sleight of hand, but no politician waits for his sh-t to hit the fan.   

Hon Minister, before choosing this career in godfatherism, you should have studied your new friend Asiwaju, on whose mandate you are now well seated. After he installed Fashola to actualise his political dynasty and the progress of Lagos, troubles surfaced. Fashola decided to be his own man. It must be in the character of gods to see such independent-mindedness not as maturation but as ingratitude. So, Asiwaju naturally threw fits. But they were quiet fits. He didn’t go about staging media chats, beating his chest and battering the drums of war. He allowed the House of Assembly to start a noisy study of the impeachment manuals. Yet nobody was in doubt about the unseen hands drumming for the dancing legislators. The politics in Lagos, being more civil than the savage politics of Rivers, nobody removed the roof of the House of Assembly after a certain faceless group called the Face of Lagos submitted the script. Though Fashola used the courts creatively, Asiwaju could have taken off his gloves and gone headlong. But he read the situation and noticed that Lagosians were with performing underdog, Fashola. So Asiwaju allowed the elders whose pleas he had rebuffed to beg him again. This time, he ordered a ceasefire and saved himself an internecine war, leaving his twitching face to hint that he would deal with Fasiola at the appropriate time. When 2011 came, he flirted with the idea of stopping Fashola from taking the ticket. But since that could mean jeopardy, he hesitated. If Fashola decamped and Lagos followed him, that would be the end. So, he hesitated for peacemakers to arrive and exhaust themselves. In truth, Asiwaju swallowed the humiliation and allowed Fashola to continue. Today, all that Fashola did in Lagos now belongs to Asiwaju, his political father. 

Hon Minister, it’s on record you bought forms for everybody and prevented other people from buying forms. That’s your style. You don’t fool around, so they think you are a brute. You won’t give the impression there would be primaries only to change the delegate list overnight. No. You could have made them waste their money on forms and still decide the winners. But rather than appreciate your direct approach, some now mischaracterise that gesture as political gluttony. Others call it megalomania. They don’t know how hard you worked to earn money and reputation and build political structures. They begrudge you for pursuing your ambition to be a godfather and have people stand on your mandate. They misunderstand you. Recently, you have seized the two main parties in your state to re-organise them effectively. Some say you are destroying democracy. But how can they understand that you have done it so that people don’t waste their time pursuing ambitions like mirages? They don’t know that whether they like it or not, you will decide the winners and that it’s out of benevolence you have put them out of their misery early by literally confiscating the main parties. 

That is the burden of being unpretentious. That was why you told the Bishop of Portharcourt not to make any politician a knight. Because politics and knighthood don’t go together. But they said you were uncouth. Perhaps you didn’t notice Fubara was a knight. He is now saying that God made him governor, that he can’t worship a man, and that he will use his position to serve the people. You should have found a proper puppet. You made him governor and made others commissioners and legislators and he thinks you overreached yourself. He is now trying to be a knight. He is gathering all the IGR and declaring it all to receive applause like a saint. Does he know how you bought his form and funded his elections?

Perhaps Hon Minister you can try other methods. There are ways to catch a monkey without chasing it around the town relentlessly, falling into ditches and leaving people thinking you are a savage. Give the monkey some bananas. You made Fubara go feral. What you have done is to eat all the bananas to have the energy to chase the monkey. That was not smart. Fubara was a taciturn humble governor. Overnight, he has become almost a Cicero. You could have allowed him to be a governor, to appoint most of the commissioners. Then, you could have appointed the IGR collector and held onto the House of Assembly. But you didn’t read the Lagos manual and wanted to be a godfather. 

Rather than share power in the enye-ndi-ebea enye-ndi-ebea fashion with Fubara, you seized everything and made him an errand boy. Now you have sleepless nights. Had you sat in the live-and-let-live position, his success would be your foresight. You would claim him and all his achievements. And if he failed, you would disown him and blame it on his political waywardness or something like that. Now you are fighting your heir.

 What do you lack in Abuja? You have access to the choicest wines that you love. You have the private jet. You have a trillion naira budget under your watch. And you are still fixing your cronies in good places. Doctors advise people to avoid stress because it eats them up. Hon minister, you are not Amalinze, the cat. Stress is written all over you. Fortunately, the EFCC is still sleepwalking. And the president remembers the little magic you performed for him during the elections, so you will remain honourable for a while. Fubara has talked about otapiapa. Fubara has talked about his determination to open the nyash of the fowl. Honourable Minister, a grasshopper that the noisy bird, Okposo, eats dies from deafness.