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Opinion

Wike: A man who has been crowned king but wants to be crowned God

Aside from the deadly coronavirus ravaging the length and breadth of the nation presently, Nigeria is undoubtedly under the threat of another deadly virus called poor leadership. This latter virus, unlike the novel coronavirus, has had its throne in Nigeria ever since the country was birthed. To sin, they say is human but to remain in sin is devilish. It is puzzling how Nigeria has remained complacent with tilling this land of bad leadership, which yields nothing but pain and agony to the whole populace.

In the quest to contain the spread of the Coronavirus disease the Federal Government ordered for the total lockdown of three states which are perceived to be the most vulnerable, Abuja, Lagos (because of the presence of the country’s major international airports) and Abeokuta, because of its close proximity to Lagos. In the spirit of containment, state governors also had to enforce partial or total lockdown of their state based on individual discretion. Some governors have however proved to be incapable or unfit for the task of good decision making. One of such insensitive governor is Nyesome Wike of Rivers State, who because of the power he wields has decided to mystify himself by making arbitrary decisions at the expense of people’s well-being.

I am quite indifferent about whatever type of governor he was before the COVID-19 pandemic, but I began to realize how crude he was with thought and in action when he criticized the federal government for giving 10 billion Naira to Lagos State (which was vividly the epicentre of the pandemic) and not giving Rivers State any monetary support. As at the time of the animadversion, Lagos state had 120 confirmed cases while Rivers State had only one case. I understand that is how politics work in the country i.e opposition parties finding faults in actions, but I see no sensibility in politicizing a very crucial issue like the COVID-19 virus.

Not to be blinded with resentment, his involvement in the enforcement of the lockdown by staying with security officers at different checkpoints is quite commendable and worthy of emulation. However, the current stink of his high-handedness in containing the virus is choking the land. His decision to auction all vehicles that were impounded for violating the state’s lockdown directive is quite extreme. Getting a fine of about 10% the worth of any car impounded would have been sufficed. Never has the cure to headache been beheading. We should not be inhumane to understand that the vulnerable population is trying to make ends meet with the nation’s harsh socio-economic condition, and it is not as if the Federal and State Government are seraphic with their distribution of palliatives.

Aside from his penchant for making unreasonable decisions, he seems to be at loggerhead with the constitution. He recently ordered for the arrest of two Caverton pilots for flying into Rivers State although their claim to have received the permission to fly from the Federal Aviation Authorities keep bouncing off the pitch of fair hearing. I keep wondering if anyone needs to remind Mr.Governor that Rivers State is under Nigeria and as such, a democratic system of governance should be adopted and not a monarchial or military system of government. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was his despotic action which resulted in the demolition of Prodest Hotel, Aloda and Etemeteh Hotel, Onne, both in Eleme Local Government Area of the state.

This inhumane act has made darts of criticism to be thrown at his bull’s eye by people from all sides of the country, yet it is astonishing our bull has remained unmoved and he has even taken a step further to approve the construction of a primary school on the site. His decision is unarguably detrimental to the progress of the state and the psychological condition it leaves the hotel owners will definitely be bad. Who knows the number of years it took the owner of the hotels to get to that stage of business, what number of people will bear the brunt of the demolition (workers and community members). What the hotel owners did is reprehensible but maybe someone needs to tell Mr Governor that, never has the cure to headache been beheading.

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana has described the act as “an embarrassment to the Body of Benchers” and that the Governor needs to be sanctioned by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). This, I agree with because that singular act of undemocratic decision clearly shows how the essence of law has been trivialized. I ultimately see the governor’s act like a trample on citizens’ fundamental human rights. For how does one explain the execution of the demolition, not putting into cognizance the chance of trial and conviction by the court of law?

The almighty governor has also enforced the closure of ports as opposed to the guidelines of the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force which classified port operations as essential service. In addition to that, the state’s task force frequently arrests workers of the Nigerian Port Authority for breaching the stay at home rule thereby making Maritime workers afraid to go to work because of the intimidation and assault they experience from the task force. On that note, the Maritime Workers’ of Nigeria had threatened to embark on an industrial action if 20 dock workers recently arrested are not released.

Almost needless to say, the loss both investors and the nation at large will incur will have a negative impact on profits to be made. Frozen fish grounded in the port are highly likely to perish or lose quality which will definitely reduce its worth. Demuragges paid for daily are definitely not pocket friendly, and it often ranges from $7,000- $15,000. What a huge burden that is?

He seems to have become an advocate of what he is even preaching against by not adhering to the social distancing rule during the PDP thanksgiving service in the state. Upon closer scrutiny, it might not be inapt to say the hypocritical relaxation of lockdown is to aid the inauguration of PDP executive and thanksgiving in church. I sincerely hope by the end of the COVID-19 season he would not have crowned himself a king.

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