Opinion: Who Owns Rivers?


By DESMOND EKWUEME

●Before Amaechi & Wike Kill Themselves

Rivers State was created on May 27, 1967 by then, Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon under Decree 14. As at this date, former Rivers State Governor now Minister of Transport, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi was exactly two years old. He was incidentally born on May 27, 1965. Interestingly, Amaechi's successor as governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike who is now his worst enemy had not been born when the state was created. Wike was born on August 24, 1967....that was 87 days after Gowon created Rivers State.

But today, both men are battling for the soul of Rivers State as if they created and own the state.....and they are ready to even sacrifice their own souls from their body language in this endless war. They have refused to understand or appreciate that someday, they will take the back seat either as a result of age or a new power bloc or force will sweep them aside. Today, the man who gave them all the leverage to climb to the height and positions they presently enjoy talking about Dr. Peter Odili has taken the back seat and laughing at the stupidity and rascality of the "boys" who are playing god..

Rivers State is not the only state that retained a party's order talking about the PDP. It is not the only state where the outgoing governor (Amaechi in this instance) failed to pull the state to his party (the APC) or handover to his choice successor, it happened in most states in the North. Rivers State is not the only state where the incoming governor (Wike in this instance) fought the outgoing governor (Amaechi) to a standstill during the 2015 election (from imposing his candidate Dakuku Peterside).

We witnessed it in Benue and Plateau States among several others. So why has Rivers State turned into a battlefield ever since May 29, 2015 or shortly before then?

It is either Wike wants to replicate the action of former Bauchi State governor, Isa Yuguda who chased away his predecessor Adamu Muazu as soon as he settled into office with the EFCC, security agencies, media propaganda and opinion leaders who made the people see Muazu as a dare devil. He literally fled Bauchi. Muazu was shuttling between Abuja and Lagos for years before GEJ rescued him with the PDP National Chairmanship job.

That was the fence mending privilege cum move that fully took Muazu home again.....or Amaechi wants to use his position as a Minister plus influence in the Presidency to make the state ungovernable for Wike thereby paving the way for his new godson, Dakuku to gain ground and takeover come May 29, 2019.


Sadly the two know the law yet are bent on messing up the law as could be interpreted in the merciless beating of a police officer in uniform and on duty to the point of bleeding. Amaechi was chief lawmaker of Rivers State for eight years between 1999 and 2007. In fact most laws in operation in the state presently were from bills passed under his administration as Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly.

On his part, Wike is a lawyer and presently the law officer of the state, more so, his wife Eberechi Suzzette Wike is a judge in the Rivers State High Court. Ironically, it was Amaechi who appointed Wike's wife a judge on February 14, 2012. So it is a case of lawmakers breaking the law.

The show of shame last weekend in Trans-Amadi could land both men in hot soup if ours was a decent clime. They could be sued by residents for disturbing the peace of the citizens, constituting nuisance and creating fear and panic There were gunshots, their faceoff led to huge traffic and innocent citizens were scared as they scampered into hiding for safety. This is not the first time, these men are engaging in this act of criminality.

If this was the same way governors before them acted then, there wouldn't be any Rivers for them to govern nor fight over. Rivers State is not owned by any of both men. The state belongs to the people who ironically voted them at separate times. Amaechi must understand that he is out of office as governor and as such must respect himself like an elder statesman which he is by virtue of being a former governor.

This respect must be extended or accorded to the sitting governor who served him honourably as a Commissioner. Amaechi should be thankful to God for all he has enjoyed and is enjoying in Rivers or through Rivers. Eight years as Speaker, eight years as governor and three years down the line as Minister. He has spent19 years out of his 52 years presently in power....and still counting. He has spent these years in health and wealth. What else should a man ask from God? Must you control the state? And even if, do you think it will last forever? Take the back seat honourably sir....Life is in phases or stages. 

Wike must understand that what goes around must surely come around. He is teaching his would-be-successor how to treat him once and when he leaves office. We all know that in Nigerian politics godfatherism is a matter of dogfight. It is the battle of the fittest as seen in several previous examples. Latest of all is the Willie Obiano vs Peter Obi drama. It will surely continue. If not for any other thing or factor, Wike should remember that he climbed the ladder of or to greatness through the "body-stretch" of Amaechi. Your Excellency, this is not the best way to appreciate someone who God used to bless you.

Both men should not sink Rivers State. The gods of Ogoni, Okirika, Ikwerre and Izon lands among others will not spare anyone who for any reasons whatsoever plans to make the state a war zone or ungovernable. The people know that their problem has always been politicians who allow their selfish interests to destroy the oil rich state which should be "Africa's London" if well governed. They used their sons, daughters, cronies, traditional rulers and sponsored militants to milk the treasury of the state dry. They bring in their criminal friends from outside the state to rain and reign terror as the people are left helpless. 

The people must rise up now to say no to "political criminality" and an attempt by politicians to pocket the state. Rivers State belongs to the people....and the people belong to God!!!


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