Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, has finally dissolved his cabinet and fired all members of the State Executive Council.
This order to dissolve the cabinet was contained in a statement issued by the Governor’s Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Mr Simeon Nwakaudu on Saturday, June 24, 2017.
The statement reads thus: “Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has dissolved the State Executive Council.
“The governor directed all former commissioners to handover to their respective Permanent Secretaries.”
Wike thanked the former commissioners for their service to the state and wished them well in their future endeavours, the statement added.
The dissolution of the cabinet may not have come to many Wike administration watchers as a surprise, especially given the topsy-turvy and sometimes theatrically ludicrous relationship between Governor Wike and his cabinet, but the timing of the action is particularly instructive as it has come right on the heels of the sacking of the Works Commissioner, Engr. Harrison Bathuel Iheanyichukwu and most importantly the resignation of the Information Commissioner, Dr. Austin Tam-George, an act which many of the analysts claim was a disturbing precedent capable of triggering a spate of other resignations from the cabinet, if the Governor had not acted as promptly as he did.
Recall that though Dr. Tam-George had not adduced any reason for his sudden resignation, an un-corroborated statement, credited to him and published widely on several social media and online platforms and portals, had quoted the former Rivers state information commissioner lamenting bitterly that: “Most Commissioners serving under Gov Wike can no longer pay the school fees of their wards. Gov Wike is running a one man show Government and I’ve decided not to be part of such Government again.”
A cursory investigation carried out amongst certain persons who had related closely with some government appointees in the state, reveal interestingly that many of such appointees have expressed similar bitterness, akin to the view credited to Dr. Tam-George and though they may not have had the courage to embrace the extreme option of resignation like him, were however said to be seething quietly with anger and barely managing to hold down a combustible rebellious outburst, which was bubbling dangerously close to an explosion that could have been readily detonated with Dr. Tam-George’s resignation.
Governor Wike, who has left no one in doubt as to who is fully in charge of affairs in Rivers state and being the wily political fox that he is, had read the mood perfectly and quickly nipped the threat in the bud by promptly dissolving his cabinet, ostensibly to stem a domino effect of imminent resignations, but many discerning watchers have also opined that the Governor, who has rightly been dubbed ‘Mr Projects’, in recognition of his excellent infrastructural development achievements so far, has also become synonymous with a peculiar intimidating attitude to spontaneously dismiss his appointed public officers and even publicly chastise others with harsh words and stringent ultimatums issued at, what many see as, the slightest official misdemeanor, disagreement or provocation.
Indeed, those who have followed the fortunes of the Wike administration since May 29, 2015, will affirm that the relationship between the tough talking governor and his appointees both in his cabinet and at the helm of the Local Government Councils, has been quite challenging and intriguing.
A critical appraisal of that relationship revealed that, given the political misfortune that befell the PDP at the national level, which almost played out in the state too, as well as the harsh economic and financial realities that has all but crippled the economy of the country and many states, feathers would surely be ruffled, expectations would be truncated and heads would definitely roll, right from the very early days of his administration, as it was no longer going to be business as usual on the political landscape.
In fact government house sources had long held the opinion that the governor was not happy with the performance of most members of his cabinet who, according to them, were regarded as not keeping pace with the speed of the governor on project execution, but the way and manner he has gone about instilling and distilling his own brand of administrative discipline and proper governance compliance has attracted both admiration and derisive consternation in equal measure.
Indeed from the moment when the Media and Publicity Special Adviser, Sir Opunabo Inko-Tariah resigned his cabinet position as early as November 6, 2015, stating that unfolding developments in the state, even at that early stage in the life of the administration, indicated that his services were no longer needed, Governor Wike has periodically wielded the big disciplinary stick, either by suspending individual or groups of political appointees and public officers, including Council Chairmen, at once or out-rightly sacking them and subsequently forwarding fresh names to the House of Assembly for consideration and endorsement.
However, following the successful joint celebrations of Rivers State at 50 and Governor Wike’s second year anniversary ceremonies, which according to some reliable inside sources, had interestingly also provided the Governor the opportunity to covertly access the performance of some of his cabinet members and political appointees at all levels, the next pre-occupation was always going to be the much anticipated cabinet reshuffle of the Rivers state cabinet, having already tinkered with the Local Government Council Executive at least twice.
The sacking of the Commissioner for Works, had actually been seen by many as the routine Governor Wike typical action, but the resignation of the Information Commissioner, with the attendant speculations that may have fuelled his decision to quit the cabinet, had been interpreted by many watchers as arguably, the last straw that finally tipped the scale and forced Governor Wike’s hand to finally dissolve the cabinet sooner than some had expected.
A fresh list of Commissioners nominees, according Barr. Oraye St. Franklin, media aide to Governor Wike on new media, in an online post on his facebook timeline, would soon be forwarded to the Rivers State House of Assembly, for consideration.