Joseph Okon: Wike and burden of morality

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It is not a subject of conjecture but certitude that the Governor of Oil-rich Rivers State, His Excellency Ezenwo Nyesom Wike will leave office on the 29th of May 2023. It is also no longer news that the governor is struggling to succeed the President Muhammadu Buhari as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

However, Wike being of the Peoples Democratic Party, the leading opposition political party, analysts believe he has to first win his party’s ticket before squaring up with his opponent from the All Progressives Congress.

But, the issue of morality has become a very huge burden for the governor and members of Rivers State chapter of the People Democratic Party, where speculation is strife that Wike is scheming to impose the current Accountant General in his administration, Fubara Similaye, on the party as his preferred governorship candidate for the 2023 General Elections.

It is this plot to impose the Accountant General that is causing serious internal wrangling in Rivers State PDP as most political watchers/Nigerians believe it is morally wrong to draft the Accountant General into the governorship race to succeed the governor.

Many people wonder what Wike would say assuming President Buhari was the one presenting the Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, as his preferred successor. Trust the very critical Wike, he would not waste time to condemn the move as a move to institutionalize corruption in the country.

Political followers in the Niger Delta State believe if no last minute changes Mr Fubara Similaye from Opobo, a riverine community will be the next Governor of Rivers State which will enable him assume the status that will convey on him the Immunity Clause of Section 308 of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to protect him from all sorts of investigations.

Information has it that Mr. Fubara Similaye was the then Treasurer of Obio/Akpor Local Govt. Area when Wike was the Council Chairman, he later drafted him into the State Civil Service when he was the Chief of Staff to Gov. Rotimi Amaechi. Wike became governor and then facilitated Mr. Similaye’s carrier progression from one financial position to another, subsequently to Director of Finance Govt. House, Permanent Secretary and currently Accountant General. Nigerians can see why the man is his preferred candidate! Is Rivers State now Banana Republic???

Gov. Wike has severally challenged some decisions of President Mohammadu Buhari on grounds of morality which the public with this recent turn of event in Rivers State politics under his watch sees as case of “Pot calling Kettle black/Double Standard/Speaking from both sides of the Mouth”. The point now is “will Nigerians still take Gov. Wike serious under this circumstance, if not properly managed”???

In the case of Lauretta Onochie who was nominated by President Buhari as INEC National Commissioner to represent Delta State, Gov. Wike led all manner of campaign against her nomination on grounds of morality, the senate subsequently denied Clearance to Onochie. Same Wike wants to supervise same immorality in disguise hence the saying “he who goes to equity should go with clean hands” President Mohammadu Buhari is now being vindicated.

Nigerians are tired of lips service from their leaders, rather expect them to practice what they preach. The question that now beckones for an answer is; What is Gov. Wike obviously trying to hide/cover by fronting his Accountant General as successor? This is a case of “Res Ipsa loquitur (the Facts speaks for itself). In jurisprudence his action is perceived as a calculated attempt to “Tamper with the Res.” (Tampering with the status of a potencial witness) by trying to confer on him the Immunity Clause of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution which goes contrary to the ethics of Wike’s profession as a minister in the temple of justice. He should definitely know Nigerians are keenly watching!

Who gets PDP ticket in Rivers State will be a Litmus Test that either makes or mares Wike’s Presidential Ambition/True Personality. How he handles Rivers State transition will go a long way to portray how he will manage the Nation if given the opportunity.

Nigerians are now wiser and will no longer take people that play with their intelligence as serious characters.

The sage always had this to say “He who the gods want to kill he first make mad”. Gov. Wike should be mindful of playing the game of hypocrisy!

Okon writes from Abuja. joseok@yahoo.com

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