by Stanley Azuakola
The minister of state for education, Nyesom Wike, was at the head of a delegation which travelled to the United Kingdom to visit Michael Chinda, the member of the Rivers state house of assembly representing Obio/Akpor Constituency 2 who is recovering from head and jaw surgeries after he was viciously attacked with a mace by the majority leader of the House, Chidi Lloyd.
Chinda and Wike are kinsmen, and although Wike had visited the lawmaker only a few days ago at St. Patrick’s Hospital in Port Harcourt, he saw it fit to visit again.
Others who visited the lawmaker at the Bupa Cromwell Hospital in London alongside the minister include the former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Austin Opara, President of Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Chief Okey Wali (SAN), Former Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, National Treasurer, Mr Kenneth Kobani, Former Transport Minister, Dr Abiye Sekibo, Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chairman, Bro. Felix Obuah and a former Commissioner in Rivers State, Mr. Bonny Iyaye.
Apart from the fact that foreign hospitals are so much more cooler than those in Rivers state, here are 3 quick takeaways from the visit:
1. The speed at which politicians switch parties and acclimatise in their new parties is amazing and shows one thing – there are hardly any noticeable differences between our political parties. Abiye Sekibo, the former secretary to the Rivers government and minister of transport, was the governorship candidate of the ACN in 2011. He only resigned from that party last month and suddenly he’s a top-shot in the PDP once again, together with Kenneth Kobani, the ACN treasurer.
The same can be said of the ACN’s romance with Gov. Amaechi, a governor who has verbally targeted that party several times but is now courted like a bride by the ACN’s national leadership.
2. Many were wondering where the president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Okey Wali (SAN), was coming from when in a meeting in Bayelsa this month, he called for the ban of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum following the controversies which have followed the victory of Gov. Amaechi during the organisation’s elections in May. Apparently, in this highly divisive times, Wali has pitched his tent with the anti-Amaechi side. Several other prominent Nigerians have taken sides as well so that in itself is not new, but it’s important to place it on the record so that when next a pronouncement is made by the NBA, we have some context.
3. It would be curious to know the arrangement that will unfold in the Nyesom Wike led camp in the Rivers PDP as 2015 approaches. Take the men who accompanied the minister to the UK: Austin Opara and Abiye Sekibo contested for the Rivers governorship seat in 2007 and 2011 (in the case of the latter). It’s an open secret that Wike has ambitions for that office as well, not to mention some of his new comrades like Chibudom Nwuche, who have all contested for that position in the past and lost. How they all manage their various ambitions will be interesting to watch in the coming season.`
Okay, now that we’re done with the takeaways, here are some comments from members of the visiting party.
Nyesom Wike: “It is very unfortunate that such injury could be inflicted on a fellow human being. I remember that the man who carried out this barbaric act claimed that some people don’t have integrity. We can now see the kind of integrity he has. We are happy that the Honourable Member is alive. I want to call on his constituents and I am one of them, to remain calm. I know how Hon. Chinda is dear to them, but at the end of the day, justice will be done.”
Austin Opara: “It is unfortunate that the Rivers State Governor is yet to see anything wrong with the injuries inflicted on the lawmaker.”
Abiye Sekibo: “All of us must condemn what happened. It doesn’t matter on which side of the political divide that we find ourselves. Governors who see this kind of barbarism and fail to condemn it, but choose to turn it to political drama will not be forgiven by history”.
Felix Obuah: “It is sad that Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi is yet to ask after the welfare of Hon. Chinda, choosing instead to host series of solidarity visits from governors at the expense of the depleting resources of Rivers State.”
Kenneth Kobani: “Our common duty is to ensure that we do not support this kind of evil. It is shocking that even as we speak, those who carried out this evil act are still going about justifying the evil. That tells you the deplorable state that our state has fallen to.”