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Wike’s Burden Of Higher Political Responsibility, By Louis Achi

It’s indeed difficult supressing a yawn of boredom when observant analysts note various efforts at diverting, diminishing or smearing Rivers State Governor, His Excellency Ezenwo Nyesom Wike’s resolute and articulate trajectory since he declared his presidential aspiration recently. This legitimate quest for higher political responsibility beyond the Brick House, Port Harcourt, has perhaps not surprisingly unsettled many forces, their associates and proxies coveting the same objective – and triggered serial unseemly pushbacks.
It’s against this backdrop that the recent churlish and subjective article published in an online medium, titled “Wike and Burden of Moralty,” written by a certain Joseph Okon, can be properly deconstructed and then consigned to where such craven hockery pockery projects belong.
Okon rather naively posits in his funded swipe at Governor Wike that “the issue of morality has become a very huge burden for the governor and members of Rivers State chapter of the People Democratic Party, where speculation is rife that Wike is scheming to impose the current Accountant General in his administration, Fubara Similaye, on the party as his preferred governorship candidate for the 2023 General Elections.”
He surmises: “It is this plot to impose the Accountant General that is causing serious internal wrangling in Rivers State PDP as most political watchers/Nigerians believe it is morally wrong to draft the Accountant General into the governorship race to succeed the governor.
“Political followers in the Niger Delta State believe if no last minute changes Mr Fubara Similaye from Opobo, a riverine community will be the next Governor of Rivers State which will enable him assume the status that will confer on him the Immunity Clause of Section 308 of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to protect him from all sorts of investigations.”
Clearly not a professional or a circumspect writer, Okon is possibly unaware of the libellous dimension to his published article when he alleged that the governor is striving to ‘impose’ a successor “to protect him from all sorts of investigations,” flowing from the “Immunity Clause of Section 308 of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)” will confer on such successor.
Even if Okon is not a citizen of Rivers State, the score card of Governor Nyesom Wike ought to be sufficient testimonial to the quality, courage and astuteness of the state’s chief executive. The hugely impactful governance positives across board, of Governor Wike, over almost two tenures is something any exiting state chief executive would be mindful, within law, of who succeeds him.
And the central kernel of Okon’s hogwash is that governor is scheming to ‘impose’ the current State Accountant General in his administration, Fubara Similaye, as his successor. Beyond the federal government’s abdication of its core constitutional responsibilities, a snap shot of the 36 states of the federation will quickly tie human development and huge governance deficits in many states to laissez faire governance by the state chief executives. Governor Wike has never been a part of this ravenous wolf pack – from Day One.
Going forward, he owes Rivers State and posterity that a worthy successor, following the due processes, emerges to lift the state even higher and protects his enduring legacies. This is legitimate and obtainable in most democracies all over the world. So, what’s Okon’s problem?
Today, the stakes are extremely high, and Rivers State citizens are acutely mindful that failure to facilitate a bold, visionary successor leadership to Governor Wike may imperil the state’s future as a leader entity both in the Niger Delta region and Southern Nigeria. It’s certainly not a trifling matter.
Within the operative laws and statutes, former Governor Willy Obiano facilitated the emergence of Prof. Charles Soludo who many expect to light a new candle both in Anambra State and the South East region at large. Ditto for several progressive states. This is not an aberration.
Tough, focused, demonstrating inner steel, Governor Wike, through his tenacity and uncommon governance focus, has reaffirmed the enduring fact that, indeed, justice is the first condition of democracy. What’s more – he has kept faith with the pledge he set sail with: “To build a state that is truly united, secure and prosperous with boundless opportunities for everyone who lives in it to peacefully pursue their goals and realize their full potentials in dignity and happiness.”
A staunch believer in the rule of law and the efficacy of the judicial process, Wike has a rich history of engagements in this critical governance arena that undergirds society and anchors democracy. And he is a consummate lawyer to boot. With principle, pluck and discipline as watchwords, Governor Wike has demonstrated uncommon commitment to his oath of office and considerably lifted Rivers State over the past seven years and counting.
If out of his wisdom, he chooses to back Fubara Similaye as a potential successor in the 2023 election, he is certainly within his rights. This is a democracy and the same rules that brought him into office still apply. There are associated processes that precede the election of a new governor. Governor Wike has not short-circuited these nor threatened to. The people of Rivers State ultimately determine at the polls who governs them.
It bears repeating that as governor of Rivers State, Governor Wike has made his best mark so far. For the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nyesom Wike appears to be its single most important asset now. While some of his colleague-governors are PDP by the day and APC in the night just to be in the good book of President Buhari, Wike has remained unabashedly PDP at all times. He strongly believes that the political platform is still strong enough to win elections and that explains why he is doing everything possible to keep that party alive.
In effect, hired detractors like Okon who curiously spout morality they don’t understand or practice had better look for better ways to earn decent living instead of eating off crumbs from the crooked tables of unsettled forces who can never frontally confront Governor Wike.
·       Achi, development journalist and public affairs analyst, writes from Abuja

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