In the aftermath of the sacking by the Appeal Court of the ‘whistle blowing’ ex-Senator, George Sekibo, the media was awash with a statement credited to Governor Nyesom Wike in which he threatened to die rather than see APC win in Rivers State in 2019 saying: “I am ready to place my life on the line, nobody will take Rivers State in 2019, they will not succeed”.
Days earlier, news made the headlines of yet another public misdemeanor by Governor Wike who had threatened to slap the Chairman of Capital Oil Limited, Chief Ifeanyi Ubah during the Anambra State governorship primaries of the PDP. The Rivers State governor was quoted as saying: “If you don’t leave now, I will beat you up outside in the presence of these things you brought as thugs. I will do it myself. Forget my office now. My security details will not be involved”.
As the ugly scenario of the Anambra PDP primaries was unfolding on Saturday, August 19, 2019, a video footage was also trending on Vanguard online captioned “I will butcher all unwanted members in Rivers State – Wike”.
Brandishing a machete in the video in reference, Governor Wike was captured on camera saying: “since you have given me this machete, I will not look back, I will just use it to cut all of them. Is there any APC again here? Is there any APC in this state again? Since they don’t want to hear, let them hear now because before our people didn’t give us anything but now they have given us the go ahead. I didn’t come with this machete, as I came here they gave it to me. So you know the implication of giving me machete, is it not? I should use it and clear all the unwanted, is it not true? So all those that know don’t come closer to me because my people have given me the instrument to go to war and you know what it means, if I catch you, if you block our ways, we will have no choice but to cut you down”.
That was a sitting governor who has been severally described as having “climbed over dead bodies into governorship”.
We have in the past, listened on national radio and watched on national TV, the governor of Rivers State asking INEC officials to write their wills before coming into Rivers State to perform their official duties. The import being that they may not go back alive.
We have also listened to an audio leak in which Gov. Wike and Gov. Fayose celebrated how Wike overran collation centers during the last re-run elections in Rivers State.
On Thursday September 14, 2017, Governor Wike served Nigerians yet another dish of his scandalous verbal eruptions. He openly accused the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Rivers State of aiding kidnappings in the state.
This is a governor who has available to him all the channels of communication to the President and the Inspector General of Police; a governor that is a member of the Nigerian Council of State where matters like this could be raised but he rather chose to ridicule and weaken a state security outfit in the mass media.
These incessant violent outbursts by the governor have completely misrepresented and cast in bad light the once nationally admired Rivers character and attributes. This uncouth behavior of the Chief Executive is taking a devastating toll on the reputation of our people.
We concede that political leaders bring their human strengths and shortcomings into governance, but nevertheless, we insist that ethical leadership is an essential requirement for effective good governance that delivers quality services.
It is in this respect that we consider the now frequent but infamous comedies of national disrepute that have become the pastime of Governor Wike, as unbecoming of a person of that status, a misrepresentation of the intrinsic value of Rivers State, a disincentive to investors and an embarrassment to Rivers people.
No wonder Alhaji Dangote is investing $20 billion in a refinery in Lagos State and not in Rivers. It is the reason factories are relocating from Rivers State. Even Rivers people are relocating to Lagos and Abuja and with them the much needed jobs.
These negative character traits of Governor Nyesom Wike are contagious to the extent that violence and bloodletting are now synonymous with Rivers State. The governor’s lack of integrity and honesty are fast rubbing off a large segments of Rivers youths. Port Harcourt, the capital city of Rivers State is one huge chaotic market place, filthy and smelly. It is a city where commercial drivers act with dare devil impunity and city dwellers are most unmindful of the feelings of others. Human life is worthless in Rivers State as cultist kill and behead people every day.
We believe that governance is a process whereby the governor influences the people; galvanizing them into achieving the desired socio-economic benefits. We strongly believe in the dictum that governance is about integrity and trust that create positive interaction between the governor and the governed. We believe that the governor is a critical influencer of public demeanor.
In the light of Governor Wike’s aggressive public conducts, is it any wonder that commercial bus and taxi drivers in Port Harcourt stop in the middle of the road to pick and drop commuters? Is it any wonder that residents dump refuse on the roads and in the drainages? Is it any surprise that thuggery, cultism, killings, armed robbery and kidnapping are the order of the day in Rivers State? Violence begets violence whether oral or physical.
We therefore call on Governor Nyesom Wike to stop misrepresenting Rivers people and showing bad examples to our youths. We call on the Governor to conduct himself within acceptable boundaries and stop this national show of shame. The governor must understand that his actions, ethics, values and behaviours have direct impact on the attitudes and behaviours of the average Rivers person. Which are in these cases, negative.