These are definitely not the best of times in Rivers politics. The political climate in Rivers State is being polluted increasingly. No thanks to the stench oozing out of the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The narrative emanating from the party is toxic and extremely suffocating.
Since Governor Wike lost the PDP presidential primaries to Alhaji Abubakar Atiku and the vice presidential ticket to Governor Okowa, he has plunged his party into protracted strife. The PDP has known no peace. It is one day, one new trouble. Governor Wike has been kicking and punching, agonizing endlessly.
The governor’s recent response to the accusation by former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo was another low point in our political discourse. It is yet another badge of shame in the series of absurdities that the PDP has splashed on Rivers State.
Dr. Abiye Sekibo accused Gov. Wike of trying to be the only tree in the forest. He said that the governor does not want any other Rivers politician to have national visibility. That the governor wants to remain the only prominent Rivers PDP person of national reckoning. That the governor wants to shine alone.
Characteristically, instead of speaking to Dr. Sekibo’s accusations, Gov. Wike descended into his familiar blackmail. He said that Dr. Abiye is insatiable. That he gave the former Minister of Transportation N2.1bn Okrika sand-filling project, N2bn Okochiri internal road and N1.4bn Okujagu Street contract.
ACCORD as a political party in Rivers State finds it scandalous that Governor Wike admits in public that he awarded contracts to an individual in the billions. We consider it a crass abuse of his office that none of those contracts was advertised before huge amounts of public funds were disbursed by the governor.
Rivers State ACCORD does not intend to meddle in the self-afflicted implosion of the PDP but we are worried that the toxicity of the verbal violence is overheating the polity. It is casting Rivers State in bad light. The governor is misrepresenting Rivers State in the eyes of the world. A state ruled by a megalomaniac who is obsessed with wealth and power.
Delirious and presumptuous, Gov. Wike misjudges and misinterprets his political loss and misfortune. He equates his personal interest and ambition as though they were the same as the interest of Rivers State, the Niger Delta and the entire southern Nigeria. He talks as if he had the mandate of the entire southern Nigeria to vie for his failed presidential bid.
In his rage, the governor tags all his political opponents as enemies of Rivers State, even those who merely disagree with him.
It is our considered position in ACCORD that this type of political rascality is insensitive to the sensibilities of Rivers people and it misrepresents the state in the eyes of the world.
We therefore demands that persons in high political leadership should exhibit personality traits that are befitting of the offices they occupy.
Politics should be about the contestation of ideas and plurality of opinions and not blackmail, threats, verbal assaults and outright violence.
We say enough to these unending political theatricals. We say enough to the crude recourse to intimidation and blackmail. We say enough to the garrulous and un-statesmanlike conduct that diminishes Rivers State in the comity of states.
Director, Media and Communication
Dumo Lulu-Briggs Campaign Council