• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

If a civil servant could resist Wike?

Political unrest in Nigeria’s oil capital stokes economic fears

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State makes history as the only core civil servant who became the governor of the state, at least in this current democratic dispensation. Whereas his predecessors didn’t have the privilege of working in the public or civil service sectors, he traversed the state’s civil service sector, rising to the peak of his career as the accountant-general of the state before becoming the governor of the oil-rich state.

Granted that Governor Fubara should be grateful to the former Governor Nyesom Wike for picking him as his successor among the many interested aspirants to the throne, should the governor be hobbled and tied to the apron string of Nyesom Wike because he facilitated his emergence as the governor? Did Wike himself become governor without the assistance of anybody? Did he become a local government chairman, chief of staff, minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and ultimately the governor on his own strength without any recommendation or political assistance from any quarter? If Wike’s predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, had not engaged in the unnecessary bullish political fight against the Jonathans, particularly the former first lady, Patience Jonathan, would Wike have emerged as the governor in 2015?

All of Governor Fubara’s predecessors, including Wike himself, had the free hand to govern the state. Nobody was their godfather or dictating to them. Why should Fubara be an exception? Why should the state’s House of Assembly members lend themselves to the unfair determination to frustrate and emasculate the governor? Are they modern-day slaves without a mind of their own?

Wike is gearing up and threatening to either remove Governor Fubara in the 2027 general election or even before then through impeachment. Who in Rivers State does he think would be totally subservient to him as governor? Was Wike not in this country when the then Governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki, fiercely quarrelled with his own biological father, the late Olusola Saraki? If a father and his son, who was the governor, could disagree politically, how much more could another person?

Wike’s son may not be of age to become governor in 2027, so who will Wike choose to replace Governor Fubara? Will he choose another civil servant from his array of political associates? What’s the guarantee that another person won’t be worse than Fubara in terms of his resistance to Wike’s enslavement? If a civil servant like Fubara could resist Wike, would a core politician like the governor tolerate his domineering attitude for one day? Wike should allow Fubara to breathe. He’s not the only former governor to impose his preferred successor. Almost all former governors did that, but the noise from Rivers State is the loudest owing to Wike’s style of politics.

IFEANYI MADUAKO writes from Owerri via [email protected]