“When a man’s ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” – Proverbs 16:7
That is the story of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
As the nation heads towards 2019, several enemies are ganging up against him. But the truth remains, everything is working out for good for Governor Wike because he believes in God and loves Rivers people.
The appearance of former factional Rivers State All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship Candidate, Mr Tonye Cole, on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics further confirmed why Rivers people are with Governor Wike.
The premise of the entire ill-fated programme was to de-market Rivers State as a community of violence, a place of insecurity and deaths. This was what the anchor, Seun Okingbaloye set out to do all through the time the former factional Rivers State APC Governorship Candidate appeared on the programme.
Cole during the programme confirmed that he was in the race at the instance of his business partner, Mr Rotimi Amaechi. He said Amaechi brought him to change the political landscape, bring peace to the political terrain and eliminate poverty in the state. In other words, Tonye Cole admitted that he was in the political space to promote Amaechi’s agenda.
The Amaechi agenda, no matter how it is clothed, is reprehensible. Though, Tonye Cole struggled to deny that he is not Amaechi’s business partner, the facts on ground prove otherwise. Sahara Energy, Cole’s company bought all Rivers power assets sold by the Amaechi administration. The same company bought Olympia Hotel and Abonnema Wharf in Port Harcourt.
Cole went further to claim that Amaechi told him that he is looking for someone who will not steal Rivers money. Very unfortunately, Cole and Amaechi were involved in diverting $308million of Rivers funds which were proceeds from the sale of state assets. They have already been indicted by a court-approved Judicial Commission of Inquiry. Cole was right, Rivers people will have nothing to do with the APC and any candidate it presents.
Governor Wike has rebuilt Rivers State from the ashes of ruins that Amaechi left it. He has made Rivers State a success story. A land of landmark achievements and a destination of choice for investors.
The governor has transformed Rivers State from a state where salaries and pensions were owed by Amaechi, to a state of fiscal discipline where workers’ welfare receives priority attention.
Contrary to Amaechi’s prediction of doom, Rivers State has transformed into a land of steady growth. It is now extremely difficult to criticise Governor Wike in terms of performance and the application of state resources.
The anchor, Seun Okingbaloye was programmed to dwell on insecurity and political violence. Luckily for us, Seun was at the Rivers East Senatorial District Collation Centre when APC leaders in company of Rivers SARS Commander, Mr Akin Fakorede stormed the centre and robbed electoral results. The footage of Fakorede beating the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials with the APC collation agent identifying people to be manhandled was released by Channels Television. If Seun forgot, we still remember.
Seun Okingbaloye was also in Ogoniland where Channels’ cameras captured the invasion of voting centres by SARS personnel and soldiers during the Rivers Legislative Rerun elections. These videos are still online alongside others uploaded by other electronic media organisations and citizen journalists. It is, therefore, uncharitable and a disservice to journalism for Seun to trivalise issues of political violence perpetrated against Rivers people by the APC Federal Government using state agents of violence.
Since the APC failed to cow Rivers people through the deployment of 57,000 policemen and soldiers to rig the rerun elections, has there been a major outbreak of violence in Rivers State? Why this deliberate attempt to sell the narrative of insecurity through a national television? It is unprofessional. If you talk about insecurity in Rivers State, what would be said of Kaduna, Zamfara, Kebbi, Plateau, Taraba, Bauchi, Benue, Nasarawa, Borno, Kogi, Adamawa, Yobe, Katsina and Niger States where bandits, Fulani herdsmen and kidnappers have displaced several millions of innocent Nigerians ?
This deliberate sponsored media agenda to pass the Federal Security Responsibility to the states with a view of protecting a failed APC Federal Government will not succeed.
Rivers State is safe for investments, business, tourism and sports. Athletes from all the countries of West Africa are presently in the state for the West African Universities Games. NAFEST was concluded few weeks ago, while the PDP Presidential Primary held in the state. In the last five weeks, more than 100,000 high profile persons have spent several days in the state with no untoward incident. Even the outgoing President commissioned a project in the state under a peaceful atmosphere. Therefore, Seun should abandon that route of de-marketing Rivers State. It is not profitable.
It is even more disheartening that Channels Television featured Tonye Cole as Rivers State APC Governorship Candidate. This is sad. Playing the ostrich will not help the political process. Channels Television is aware of the reported rejection of the Rivers State APC candidates list by INEC because of the Supreme Court ruling on the intra-party squabble that has bedevilled the APC. Is Channels Television claiming that it is unaware of Justice Chinwendu Nwogu’s judgment that sacked all Rivers APC candidates, including Tonye Cole? Indeed, that news first broke on Channels Television. The best that the station would have done for Cole is to describe him as a “factional candidate” if it is awaiting the final verdict of the Supreme Court. The station is aware that Senator Magnus Abe claims to be another candidate of the APC. The truth is that, as it stands now, the National Working Committee of APC lacks the power to determine the party’s candidate. This is strictly a court matter.
Before you accuse me of being a meddlesome interloper for discussing APC affairs, let me reiterate my point. Rivers State is nobody’s business empire. This is not one local market where two business partners buy and sell to the detriment of Rivers people. Even the $308million stolen from the coffers of the state by Amaechi and his associate will be recovered.
Governor Wike was emphatic when Rivers Ijaws endorsed him for a second term. The attempt by the Minister of Transportation to impose his business partner as Governor is merely to siphon state resources for personal reasons and it has failed.
I close with a quote from the Rivers State Governor: “You sold gas turbines to your business partner, sold Olympia Hotel to your partner, sold Abonnema Wharf to your partner and now you want to sell Government House to your business partner.
“You have federal might, but we have God’s might. In this forthcoming election, we will teach them a lesson. All these Egyptians you see today, you shall see no more.”
Like those in Rivers communities declare: “Comot body o, Na Wike O”.
Nwakaudu is the Special Assistant on Electronic Media to Rivers State Governor.