RIVERS POLITICAL IMPASSE: WIKE DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST IJAW NATION IS A JOKE TAKEN TOO FAR
Wisdom Oniekpar Ikuli writes on Rivers Political Impasse: Wike Declaration of War Against Ijaw Nation is Joke too Far
Barr. Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike the self-acclaimed political leader of the Niger Delta is doing everything to give ethnic coloration to his unguided, misdirected political onslaught against his successor Gov. Siminalayi Joseph Fubara KSC of Rivers State, but such attempts have failed because Nigerians know that his actions are driven by greed and his quest to hold on to power even when he is no-longer governor of the state.
Some years ago, Wike publicly said that “Thunder should fire Ijaw people” even when Ijaw people never offended him in any way.
The rascality of Wike has forced many to ask what has actually given him the impetus and audacity to speak to Ijaw people and other Nigerians in so much shabby and disdainful manner.
There is the adage that when a masquerade become too powerful he forces the people to show him the very ‘wood’ that was used to carve it.
THE ORIGINAL WIKE VERSUS THE NEW WIKE WITH BORROWED ROBE
Wike was never known in Rivers politics until the inception of our contemporary democracy in 1999 when he alongside others were made Local Government Area Chairmen in Rivers State.
Before then, Sir Dr. Peter Otunaya Odili that Wike see as his ‘God’ had earlier served as Deputy Governor to an Ijaw leader Chief Ada George who was handpicked by Chief (Sen) Dr. Melford Obiene Okilo CFR, the First Civilian Governor of Rivers State during the short-lived Chief Ernest Shonekan National Interim Government.
Peter Otunaya Odili was singlehandedly handpicked and super imposed on Rivers people by Chief Marshal Harry and Chief A.K. Dikibo both highly respected Ijaw leaders who were later assassinated and their killers have not been found till date.
Wike was among the young people who were recruited by the Peter Otunaya Odili administration to whittle down powers of Ijaw riverine people.
The mission of the new political order in Rivers State was very clear. It was to cut Ijaw people who are the predominant tibe to size and render them economically, socially and politically less viable and possibly impotent.
Prominent Ijaw political leaders were killed alongside thousands of Ijaw youths who were massacred in their numbers.
From then henceforth, Ijaws were relegated as Second Class citizens in a state where Ijaws have over 10 Local Government Areas out of the 23 LGAs. Ijaws were reduced to producing only Deputy Governors from 1999 till 2023 when Ijaws decided to take their fate in their own hands. I say this because every Rivers man or woman knew that denial of Ijaws the Office of the Governor in 2023 would have been like a joke taken too far. That was why Tickets of all the major political parties were given to Ijaws. This simply means that if Gov. Siminalayi Joseph Fubara KSC of PDP did not win, other Ijaws in APC, ADC, etc would have won. So, head or tail it would have still been Ijaw Governor outside PDP.
Before Wike’s chairmanship of Obio/Akpo LGA, he was working as an ordinary motor park tax collector and we all know how motor park lords behave and operate. It is sad that many years down the line those traits are still very visible and highly noticeable in his public outings and utterances.
After his tenure as Chairman, he was appointed as Chief of Staff of Government House by Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi the then Governor of Rivers State that he now insults and abuses every now and then.
Because of Wike’s unbridled over-ambition to govern Rivers State after an Ikwerre man, he tactically created disunity between the then First Lady Dame Mrs. Patience Jonathan and Gov. Amaechi his principal.
Thereafter, he betrayed his Ikwerre brother and ran to President Goodluck Jonathan who then made him Minister of State for Education and later Acting Minister of Education after setting up Mrs. Rukayyat his principal.
Wike presented himself as the then willing hatchet man who could tame Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi his own Ikwerre brother and principal and that made President Goodluck Jonathan to give him the PDP Governorship Ticket and he was consequently made Governor of Rivers State. That election was almost tougher than the 2015 Presidential Election. Ijaw people took it very personal after the defeat of President Jonathan two weeks earlier.
Ijaw women in Okrika, Kalabari and other areas went naked to resist the federal might (military) which were openly against President Jonathan due to US, France, Britain and other external influences that were openly against Jonathan due to his opposition against Gay and same Sex Marriage, Abortion and other social ills that the West stood for and were promoting seriously all over the world.
IJAWS SAVED WIKE AGAIN IN 2019
Despite Wike’s betrayal and total disrespect for President Goodluck Jonathan who singlehandedly handpicked him as Governor of Rivers State, Ijaw people still stood by him against Engr. Awara Biokpomabo, candidate of African Action Congress (AAC) an Ijaw Man that was endorsed and supported by Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi after the disqualification of APC Governorship Candidate. Ijaw women again went naked in their bid to resist federal might. So many Ijaw youths were killed in Kalabari land and other Ijaw areas in their quest to defend the mandate of Wike.
It is so sad that Wike has forgotten the above support and goodwill and he now use all manner of derogatory and denigrating words to describe Ijaw people.
Where were the ancestors and forefathers of Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike as far back as 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th and even 19th centuries when Ijaws encountered the first set of Europeans mainly the Portuguese adventurers and explorers who later became equal trade partners with Ijaws?
Where were the ancestors and forefathers of Wike when King Jaja of Opobo rose from a slave boy to become the greatest black slave merchant in Africa?
Where were the ancestors and forefathers of Wike when Ernest Sisei Ikoli an Ijaw Man from Akassa Brass alongside Sir Herbert Macaulay started the Nationalist Movement for the independence of Nigeria that was later sustained by younger nationalists like Chief Melford Obiene Okilo, High Chief Harold Dappa-Biriye, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Joseph S. Tarka, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Sir Alhaji Ahmadu Bello the Sardauna of Sokoto and others?
Where were the ancestors and forefathers of Wike when High Chief Harold Dappa-Biriye an Ijaw Man from Bonny Kingdom went to Lancaster House in London several times to represent the minority geographic Niger Delta region during the pre-independence Conferences?
Where were the ancestors and forefathers of Wike when the struggle of Ijaws led to the constitution of the Sir Henry Willinks Commission in 1957 and whose 1958 Report led to the designation of the Niger Delta as Area that needed Special Development?
Where were the ancestors and forefathers of Wike when High Chief Harold Dappa-Biriye an Ijaw Man advised General Yakubu Jack Gowon at the verge of the Nigerian Civil War to create twelve (12) states out of the then existing four(4) regions: Northern, Eastern, Western and Mid-Western that never had recognition for minorities. That advise led to the creation of twelve states including Rivers State in 1967 which marked the detour from Regionalism to Stateism and that actually saved Nigeria from disintegration because the minorities refused to join Biafra in the war. They rather went to defend and also protect their respective new political identities as states.
Wike has used propaganda and smear campaigns to deceive gullible members of the public to believing that Ijaws are now minorities in Rivers State due to the creation of Bayelsa State out of the old Rivers State which is not true.
Rivers State presently has 23 LGAs: Abua/Odual, Andoni, Akuku-Toru, Ahoada West, Ahoada East, Asari-Toru, Bonny, Degema, Eleme, Emohua, Etche, Ikwerre, Gokana, Khana, Opobo/Nkoro, Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni, Oyigbo, Omuma, Port Harcourt City, Obio/Akpo, Okrika, Ogu/Bolo and Tai.
Out of the above Ijaws have 9 LGAs: Abua/Odual, Andoni, Asari-Toru, Akuku-Toru, Bonny, Degema, Opobo-Nkoro, Okrika, Ogu-Bolo that are homogeneous Ijaw LGAs.
We also have Ijaw aborigines in Port Harcourt City, Oyigbo (Ndokis), Ahoada West (Engennis) and Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni (Egbemas who are same people in Delta, Edo and Imo States).
After Ijaws we have Ogonis that have four(4) LGAs: Tai, Eleme, Gokana and Khana.
Etche people have Omuma and Etche while Ekpeye have Ahoada East and part of Ahoada West that they share with Engennis.
Ikwerre have Emohua, Ikwerre and Obio/Akpo and parts of Port Harcourt City. Obio/Akpo and Port Harcourt City are in the heart of Port Harcourt the capital of Rivers State which are largely populated by strangers and non-indigenes. Ikwerres make up less than 20% of Obio/Akpo and Port Harcourt City LGAs.
What Wike is doing is likened to a scenario where if the people of Gbagi who are the aborigines and owners of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja wake up and begin to say Gbagi has the highest population in Abuja and it’s environ simply because of the presence of Yorubas, Igbos, Hausa/Fulanis, Ijaws and others in the FCT.
Enough vilification of Gov. Siminalayi Joseph Fubara as ungrateful person.
Enough of the sermonization and sloganization about Wike making Ijaw Governor.
Were Wike and Odili his godfather not made by Ijaw people?
Why are Ijaw people not shouting at the top of their voices that they made Peter Odili and himself Wike?
Was it not Rivers money that was used to sponsor the election of Gov. Sim Fubara?
Over 65% of the crude oil and gas domiciled in Rivers State are deposited within Ijaw territory that is the least developed in the State, meaning a large percent of the said money belong to Ijaw people in Rivers State.
Unfortunately, Wike concentrated over 95% of projects within the 8years of his administration in Obio/Akpo and the Ikwerre part of Port Harcourt City LGA abandoning other parts of the state with his common saying that those who are not comfortable with his developmental strides should develop their own areas too when they take over government.
Why is Wike taking the generosity and peaceful disposition of Ijaws for stupidity?
The upland people starting from Sir Dr. Peter Otunaya Odili to Sir Celestine Omehia, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi to Wike ruled and held on to power for 24years (1999-2023).
Now, where is it heard in the history of our contemporary democracy that a former Governor appointed 15 out of 16 Commissioners for his successor?
Where is it heard that an incumbent Governor does not have access to two state owned Private Jets and he needs to seek permission and approval of the former Governor before he can use any of the jets?
Where is it heard that a former Governor will tell an incumbent Governor that he does not want the wife of the Governor to function as First Lady?
Where is it heard that the incumbent Governor cannot approve state funds above Fifty Million Naira without the express Permission of the former Governor?
Same way the incumbent Governor was asked not to attend PDP and other Nigeria Governors’ forum and National Council of State meetings but should rather delegate his Deputy Governor who is maternally from Ikwerre.
The earlier Wike wake up to the prevalent political realities the better. He cannot continue to hold on to the state like his private estate even as a Minister of the FCT Abuja where he has enormous responsibility that need his attention.
It is also important for him to realize that the Ijaw Nation is bigger than him in all ramifications. Ijaw Nation which is the fourth largest tribe in Nigeria has Ijaws in Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Imo, Abia, Ondo and other states like Lagos, Kogi, Adamawa where they are either migrants or indigenous people.
Wike cannot destroy Governor Sim Fubara and Ijaw people in Rivers State and if all well meaning Nigerians who are seeing the rascality and high handedness of Wike say that he cannot destroy Gov Sim, then he cannot destroy him and Ijaw people in Rivers State and beyond.
* Wisdom Oniekpar Ikuli writes from the Federal Capital Territory FCT Abuja, Nigeria.