Rivers State Must Be Free

By Felicia Mordi

The ongoing political turmoil in Rivers State demands the attention of not only its citizens but all Nigerians as well. After the days of Sir Peter Odili, the highly respected former governor of the state, Rivers has been caught in a series of political storms. However, the current governance situation in Rivers has been the most unsettling yet.

Barrister Nyesom Wike had, before the last election, publicly endorsed Sir Siminalayi Fubara as the governor, citing his honesty, sincerity, and loyalty. Wike also made a commitment on national television, asserting that he wouldn’t manipulate the governance process in any way.

Regrettably, within just five months of Governor Siminalayi Fubara’s administration, Barrister Wike has become a significant obstacle to the state’s progress. The most pressing concern is the concentration of political power in the hands of one man. Nearly 98% of the political appointments in the state have been influenced and controlled by Wike, and many of those he influenced report directly to him.

The governor’s aides in the government house have become insolent, insubordinate, and unruly, demonstrating greater loyalty to Wike than to Fubara. This loyalty is also reflected in the forced retention of domestic staff of Ikwerre origin in the government house, making the governor’s wife feel unsafe in her own home. These individuals often report to Governor Wike, keeping him informed of daily occurrences in the government house.

The pressing question is whether Rivers State can ever break free from the grip and influence of one individual. This situation should be a concern not just for the people of Rivers but for all well-meaning Nigerians. Even President Tinubu should consider the implications of a high-profile FCT Minister engaging in distracting political intrigues. It raises questions about how effectively he can focus on his role as the FCT Minister while entangled in these state-level disputes.

Furthermore, Wike has, in a short span of time, turned the FCT administration into what appears to be an extension of Rivers State. He managed to secure control over the FCT’s financial accounts, established the FCT service commission, and influenced other key areas. This is a remarkable feat, but it’s essential for him to remember the responsibilities and limitations of his position.

As it stands, the people of Rivers State are preparing for a showdown, and Wike may find himself embroiled in a political storm that could reduce his influence within the state. It is crucial for the well-being of Rivers State that this issue is addressed and resolved in the best interest of the people and their future.

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