HOW DID RIVERS STATE GET HERE? – By Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo

This situation is shameful, disgraceful and annoying. It is brought upon us by a jester who dances naked all over the country, fighting injustice that exists only in his own imaginations.

He has with him some of his current and past colleagues who troop into the Treasure Base like ants to sugar. They call themselves the “Integrity Group”. But they are led by a tyrant whose knees are on the necks of his people – trapped, suffocated and oppressed.

How for God’s sake, did Rivers State get here? How did Rivers State fall this low? Governed by an unstable mind.

Something has to be done. If not, matters will get worse. Our state will slide further down. We are already a laughing stock in the comity of states. A subject of national ridicule and shame. A people totally misrepresented by their own governor.

Something has to give. Something has to happen and happen very fast. Rivers State must be retrieved, rescued and liberated from the satanic stranglehold of Gov. Wike or else what we see now, what we witness now will be a child’s play.

Things will get worse because the person Wike is putting forward as the next Rivers State governor has no identity of his own, no voice of his own and no ideas of his own. The man was only recently unveiled, like a woman in purdah to Rivers people. He is running and dragged along to consolidate Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (NEW) Rivers Vision. A third term for Governor Wike.

SIM, as Siminialaye Fubara is rightly called, can only transmit what his owner says on phone. Just like a SIM Card, he does not have his own massage. He can only repeat prerecorded messages: “the number you called cannot be reached”, “the number you called is switched off” “the number you called is on another call, please call again”. This is all a SIM does, transmitting messages from the owner. It is what Fela Anikulapo-Kuti called no break, no job, no sense. A joro, jara, joro. Zombie!

Siminialaye Fubara will not and dare not say one thing he will do differently. He cannot attend the forum of PDP governorship candidates for fear of Wike. He couldn’t even go for his flag at the PDP national rally. He cuts a pitiful figure made worse by his natural looks. Not many would proudly introduce him as their governor.

By primitive force and power, Governor Wike is blackmailing Rivers people into silence. He is stifling the political space, suffocating political opponents. He is determined on foisting his SIM as the next governor whether Rivers people like it or not.

Nyesom Wike wants to be the Bola Tinubu of Rivers State by installing all subsequent governors. But the question is: Does Siminialaye look like Fashola, Ambode or Sanwo-Olu?

There should be a method to madness. But Gov. Wike has gone completely berserk. He is on the sprawl.

He is using the courts (which has been described as his supermarket) to disqualify candidates of other parties. He is bent on denying the Rivers electorate their inalienable rights to vote for their choice.

He is closing down businesses of political opponents and cancelling the Certificates of Occupancy of political rivals. He does not care the impact on the state economy.

He is stopping political parties from using public spaces for campaigns, including school fields. He is threatening to close down the offices of political parties located in ‘residential areas’.

Observers say that Gov. Wike has rigged the 2023 election already through vote buying. They are referring to the governor’s recent recruitment of over 200,000 persons.

Analysts say that if the 200,000 new recruits get one additional person each, then Emperor Wike has 400,000 votes for his SIM and all his handpicked candidates even before elections. With this, he has rigged the election even before voting. He is doing this with public funds and with impunity.

The worry is that as Gov. Wike commits all these aberrations, government institutions and security agencies are merely watching.

INEC is watching as the governor usurps its role to regulate campaigns in the state. The DSS is watching as the governor abuses his office and instigates situations that could breach the peace. The CJN and the NJC are watching as Wike and the Rivers PDP get conflicting judgements from the courts.

But as the saying goes, let he that wants to settle a fight, first settle the quarrel.

Relevant institutions of state must call Gov. Wike to order now. President Muhammadu Buhari must call the Rivers State governor to order now. All well-meaning Nigerians, including the General Abdusalami Abubakar Peace Committee must come into Rivers State now. All other political parties must come together and discuss this matter now.

In any case, Gov. Wike should be told in very clear terms, that he that sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind. Let him be told that the confusions he is orchestrating in Rivers State and in Nigeria will be his albatross.

All his machinations will end in the same way his wishful and wasteful presidential ambition ended. The thunder he invoked right inside the church will surely take its final pound of flesh. God is a jealous God.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
We have no other state to call our own.

Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo

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