-By Austen Akhagbeme:
Governor Siminalayi Fubara of the oil-rich River State passes for a harmless dove in the eyes of the unsuspecting public.
His boyish looks, quiet mien, and seemingly unalloyed loyalty to his boss, Nyesom Wike over the years deceived many including Wike that the embattled governor could not bite. But the events of the last two days have shown that when push comes to shove, people opt for living.
With the ongoing crisis in Rivers State, the biggest challenge to Democracy and the leadership recruitment process in Nigeria, which is Godfatherism and cronyism, is again brought to the forefront of our national discourse.
It happened in Anambra when a Godfather damned all decency and kidnapped a “deviant” godson, a sitting governor, with all the paraphernalia of office, to the consternation of all. But the governor survived temporarily until he was officially thrown out by the courts.
The Edo episode was another. The godson had to jump parties to survive. Only in Lagos did a godfather succeed and ensure that his “rude boy” never came back.
The monetization of our electoral process and the expensive campaign activities make political godfatherism inevitable. How will a young vibrant and sagacious young man or woman aspire to leadership in our clime without a deep pocket?
Back to the Melo-drama in River State: what is Fubara’s sin? Why would anyone want him removed only after a 5-month sojourn in the government house? Why will a “good boy” suddenly become disobedient to the wishes of the powers that made him? Was he supposed to be made by any power other than that of the ballot that comes from the people in the first place? Questions heaped upon questions, you may say.
It is in the public domain that the appointment of his executive cabinet, especially his commissioners by Governor Fubara, drew the irk of his predecessor who felt that his impact wasn’t brought to bear enough in the process. This was one of the immediate causes of this fight.
Meanwhile, Nyesom Wike has for a long time been seething with discontent over Fubara’s planned resuscitation of the abandoned former governor Amaechi’s pet project, Songhai farms, which is capable of creating mass employment for the teeming youths in the state.
His mass promotion of the state civil servants who were long overdue and concomitant payment of the backlog of allowances was like an effort taken too far to discredit the former governor and his regime.
Ignatius Ajuru University, where Wike employed 90% of the staff from his Ikwerre ethnic group was being reviewed by Governor Fubara. Unconfirmed sources equally had it that the former governor demanded 25% of the state allocation from Governor Fubara which was turned down. These were the many “sins” of the sitting governor against his ruthless and bossy boss.
Nevertheless, there should be a call for peace while Fubara watches his back. His compromised security system needs to be reviewed and rejigged. Former governor Wike should kindly let Rivers State be. Governor Sim may not have committed any sin. He only recognized the voice of Jacob.
- Austen Akhagbeme is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online