by Ahmad Kaita
It is no longer in doubt that the lingering political impasse in Rivers State has grown into a monster that may consume the weak democracy Nigerians are struggling to nurse into maturity. Already, most people are dissatisfied with the manner the problem is being managed especially as many can say precisely where the problem is. One thing that is certain however, is the fact that nobody seems capable and willing to do anything to preserve the honour and respect deserving of the office and person of a governor as enshrined in our Constitution.
No one can deny the unanimous conviction within the nation that the Rivers State imbroglio has its roots in the presidency. Forget the first lady’s comical claim of “brotherhood” between her and the embattled Rivers State governor, Rotimi Ameachi; or the continuous denial of involvement by the presidency. Perhaps, the presidency is yet to invent the required apparatus to gauge the level of our collective intelligence to know what they are dealing with. Expectedly, the more the presidency tries to absolve itself, the more public perception keeps enmeshing the first family in it.
One thing that is certain however, is the fact that some forces are playing a well scripted agenda to sack Governor Ameachi. This desperation climaxed with the now (in)famous minority sacking of the Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly by five clowns that somehow managed to form a majority in a House of 32 members. Apparently this stunt was pulled to pave way for the “selection” of the anointed godson of the first lady, Dame Patience to assume leadership of the House, albeit through the back door to contain the governor considered to be an albatross in the 2015 permutations of President GEJ.
It is easily agreeable that Governor Ameachi has proved himself too much a stubborn bone to be swallowed by the raging ambition of some people in the presidency to sustain the current agenda of stagnation that has been a hallmark of this regime. No one is in doubt about either the political acumen of Governor Ameachi or his firm control of the strategic Rivers State. A test of wits between the presidency and the governor using the NGF chairmanship elections left the presidency humiliated hence, the resolve to punish him.
It was therefore, not entirely unexpected when crooks led by Evans Bapakaye Bipi staged their show of shame right in the respected chambers of the Rivers State House of Assembly to effect the necessary changes that may turn the tables on the governor.
Ironically, the presidency is still pretending not to be aware of the dangers of playing politics the Rivers way. For better understanding of these ways, one may need to refer to the conflict of authority between the Rivers State governor, supposedly the “Chief Security Officer” of the state and one Mr. Mbu, the Rivers State Commissioner of Police who seemed hell bent on playing an Abuja script to make the state as ungovernable as required to create a conducive ground for more sinister alternatives.
Perhaps, only the IGP and the presidency can explain their intention to have two rams drinking from the same bucket without locking horns. Lack of better explanations for this anomaly left the public with no option but to accept the “horn locking theory” as a carefully scripted play to distract the governor and submit the state to the whims and caprices of some “Abuja untouchables” using the enormous powers at the disposal of the presidency.
Perhaps, that may explain the sudden rise of a junior minister, Nyesom Wike to the status of a “co-governor” in the Rivers State political permutation. Unless we chose to be as naïve and reckless as the president and his handlers, the visible footprint of the presidency cannot be missed in the arrogant manner Wike goes about ruling his own side of Rivers State. In any case, the first lady has always left no one in doubt about her desire to establish her authority and control over her home state of Rivers. Perhaps, that is intended to be her modest contribution to the President GEJ 2015 project.
For someone to attempt sweeping these excesses under the carpet in as comical manner as the first lady attempted to, says one thing, and only one thing — the low estimation of our collective intelligence by the presidency. It was a relief however, the solidarity shown by governors from both sides to protest the unconstitutional effort of the presidency to rule Rivers State by proxy.
For those with a good history of Nigeria, this is a signal that should be ignored at the expense of our struggling democracy. The president was reported to be jumping from one farm house to another searching for an illusive support towards his 2015 ambitions. But what is difficult to understand that his biggest liability towards 2015 is his attitude and disregard towards rule of law.
Unless the president knows something we don’t about the 2015 election calculations, the irreversible damage he inflicted on himself by the serial abuse of his responsibilities as the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria was enough to settle the 2015 question even to the most incurable optimist.
The message that should not be lost to the presidency is that enough is enough, and the earlier this sinks in, the better for all of us. By now, it should be clear that no longer will Nigerians sit aside and watch people with questionable intentions and without a clear agenda of how to move Nigeria forward plunge the nation into chaos.
– This Best Outside Opinion was written by Ahmad Kaita, a member of the federal House of Representatives