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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Anti-Wike Protests: What if the Plan is to thwart his “Make FCT Great” Agenda? – By Emeka Oraetoka

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It is an established undisputed fact in Nigeria of today that the name Nyesom Ezenwo Wike is synonymous with Excellence in Governance. Wike has become a yardstick in measuring performance of elected office holders, particularly, Executive Office Holders.  Currently, if anyone says in public gathering, “My state Governor is providing democracy dividend”; one question that will follow immediately is can your Governor’s performance standard match that of Wike in Rivers state as Governor? What makes Wike’s phenomenon in infrastructure delivery authentic is that it is verifiable, and has nothing to do with media hype.

Growing up, I used to hear, “see Paris and die”, a term used in describing the beautiful nature of Paris, the capital of France. Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, known in Nigeria as Mr. Project, has created the Nigerian version of “see Paris and die”.  The slogan now is, “See Rivers state and die”. Before Wike left Rivers state as the Governor, every important political figure across political divide in Nigeria, including the then President, Muhammadu Buhari, represented by attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami, visited Rivers to see the wonderful work Wike was doing in the state. In fact, the APC-led government was so happy with Wike’s sector by sector achievement, that they honoured him with the Award of Excellence in Infrastructural Development. If a Governor elected on the platform of PDP, an opposition party, could be honoured for his developmental strides by a government in power, it only tells one thing; unbiased assessment of Wike’s performance was done.

The appointment of Nyesom Ezenwo Wike as the minister of FCT by President Bola Tinubu (GCFR) was therefore not surprising to Nigerians as his track record as Governor was so unimpeachable to be ignored. Rocket science is not needed here to know why President Tinubu put Wike in charge of FCT. It will be recalled that President-elect, Bola Tinubu, as he then was, took turn as well to be part of Wike’s success story in Rivers; when commissioned Rumuola//Rumuokwuta flyover and the new Magistrate Courts Complex on 3 and 4 May, 2023. Having seen in practical terms what Wike did in Rivers state, President Tinubu appointed him minister of the federal capital territory (FCT) on August 16, 2023 to continue on Rivers trajectory.

Barely six (6) down the line as the minister of FCT; Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (CON) has left nobody in doubt as to his mission in Abuja. From his approach to governance, this writer believes his agenda is, “Make FCT Great”. On assumption of office, Nyesom Wike solicited and got the support of workers in the FCT Administration. As a good administrator, Wike knows that team work is the key to success of any administration. He knows how team work facilitated his agenda of “Make Rivers State Great”. Knowing that there must be those against his administration for reasons best known to them, Wike equally warned that under his administration, it is no longer business as usual. After taking stock of his Ministry, he had no choice than to terminate the appointments of 21 heads of various FCT Administration parastatals, agencies, and government companies on September 28, 2023.

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Expectedly, those benefiting from corrupt FCT Administration before September 28, 2023 purge, sponsored anti-Wike protests in FCT. On December 6, 2023, a group that called itself Network of Civil Societies for Economic Sustainability, said to be a coalition of over 10,000 indigenous people of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The most laughable part of their demand during their protest at the National Assembly (NASS) according to report goes thus: —incompetence and lack of vision for the capital city as the primary reasons for their demand—. Hear the leader of the group, Adamu Kabir Matazu: —“We are here today to demand the immediate resignation or sack of Nyesom Wike as Minister of the FCT due to his deficiency in character required for his office and in a government that promises to renew the hope of Nigerians”. But Kabir and his sponsored group appear to have forgotten that President Bola Tinubu, who is being urged to sack Wike, was in Rivers state on May 3 and 4, 2023 to commission projects completed by the same Wike.

What this sponsored group is trying to tell Nigerians is that “incompetent” Wike was wrongly honoured with an infrastructural delivery award by the APC government, when he was Governor of Rivers state. They were probably telling President Tinubu that he made a mistake by commissioning projects in River state about seven months ago. How can Wike, an “incompetent” minister, complete projects in Rivers, worthy of unveiling by the President-elect, the group seemed to have asked.

Make no mistake about it, anti-Wike protests in FCT and even in Rivers state, are programmed to thwart the “Make FCT Great” agenda of Nyesom Wike, and by extension rubbish his incredible developmental strides in Rivers state. The most interesting thing about anti-Wike protests in both FCT and Rivers is that they are being coordinated by two groups. One of them is the national leadership of the PDP group. The other group is made up of expired politicians who are fighting for their political lives in Rivers state.  Arising from Wike’s massive developmental footprint in Rivers state, deceitful political actors in the state can no longer ply their trade. So, the only option left is non issue based misinformation around the person of Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. Obviously, those “business as usual” politicians in the state have nothing to tell the good people of Rivers, as far as contesting elective positions in the state is concerned. Will they say, Wike did not develop Rivers state, and so we are coming out to develop it? The best they could do is to create a rift between Wike and Sim Fubara, with the hope that nobody will talk about Wike’s massive sector by sector achievement in the state. And that is exactly what they are doing right now. It may interest Nigerians to know that the two powerful groups, up in arms against Wike in Rivers & FCT, have one thing in common, they are being sponsored by anti-Wike camp in PDP and the 2027 Presidential ticket is the Objective.

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If Wike had performed poorly in Rivers state as Governor, he would have given people like Edwin Clarke good opportunity to attack and rubbish him, but because there is no justifiable ground for attack, Clarke had to invent “charge and bail lawyer” rhetoric to de-market Wike. What is wrong in Wike having a humble beginning in life? Is it a sin for Wike to move from “charge and bail lawyer” to an accomplished politician? Any rational Nigerian following the pattern of attacks on Wike in FCT and Rivers state, will no doubt notice that he is not being attacked on issue, but on political hearsay.

This writer believes that the disagreement between Nyesom Wike and Governor Sim Fubara has root in the Governor’s refusal to inherit Wike’s political enemies. To this writer, going by events before the 2023 general elections in PDP, Governor Sim Fubara has no choice than to inherit Wike’s political enemies, in and outside Rivers state. Because Governor Sim Fubara knows the reactionary national leadership of PDP said it recognized Rt Hon Dr. Farah Dagogo as the authentic governorship candidate of PDP in Rivers state. The mere fact that the national leadership of the party took steps to illegally impose Dr. Farah on the state; is enough for Fubara to inherit Wike’s political enemies. The fact that Sim Fubara knows that the national leadership of PDP engaged in anti-party activities just to make sure him and other PDP candidates in Rivers election, were denied ticket; makes inheriting Wike’s political enemies imperative.

No Nigerian should be deceived, the Anti-Wike protests in Rivers and FCT are meant to thwart the “Make FCT Great” agenda of Nyesom Wike. The attacks are principally meant to distract Wike from repositioning FCT, the way he re-positioned Rivers state. The pattern of attacks and protests points to this fact.

Emeka Oraetoka

Information and Perception Management Consultant/ Researcher.

He also doubles as Chancellor of: Area Councils’ Barometer Of Good Governance (ACBOGG)

Wrote in from Abuja.

e-mail:giltsdaimension@gmail.com.

GSM: 09039094636. 08056031187

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