President Muhammadu Buhari sat back in Abuja and watched the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State go up in flames in 2018 and off the ballot in 2019, thereby paving the way for Nyesom Wike and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates to run with virtually no opposition.
This President Buhari was the same man who watched Comrade Adams Oshiomhole lead the National Working Committee (NWC) to not only ambush the Party judicially in the now rested case of Ibrahim Umah and co but sabotage the Party’s leadership switch to Plan B in declaring support for Engr. Biokpomabo Awara of the African Action Congress (AAC) at the 2019 polls. Mind you, this was the same President who visited tons of Rivers APC faithful in hospital to console them after they were baptized with gunshots by PDP militia en route the 2015 APC Presidential campaign flagoff at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Igwuruta, Ikwerre Local Government Area.
A combined reading of both preceding paragraphs and the President watching the 2015 gubernatorial tussle go down the wire with the Supreme Court saving Wike from a rematch in 2016, like the contest for other positions in the State, meant that the opportunity for the APC or an APC supported Governor appointing an Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice to prosecute those killers to bring justice to those who were felled by their bullets in the bloodbath from APC membership registration in 2014 through the campaigns and general elections in 2015 to the reruns in 2016 was blown away on Buhari’s watch.
Do not forget the drama by INEC to resolve the elections impasse in Rivers State in 2019!!
Yet, someone in Government House, Port Harcourt tells us everyday that the Federal Government is fighting him and the frequent change of Police Commissioners is responsible for the insecurity in the State. He said so again last night on Channels TV “Politics Today” with Seun Okinbaloye.
President Buhari approved the release of funds for the completion of the Port-Harcourt International Airport and its transformation from her globally acknowledged Tarpaulin status.
Wike was there at the commissioning and walked side by side with the President. Yet Buhari has done nothing for Rivers State.
This same Buhari flags off the Ogoni cleanup at the prescription of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) through the Vice President. Again, Wike was in full attendance at the event, walking side by side with Yemi Osinbajo. Yet the Buhari Federal Government has done nothing in Rivers State. In fact, what we hear is Buhari enthroned a scam on the Ogoni people for the purpose of the 2016 rerun elections.
Meanwhile, Wike’s PDP was in power when the UNEP turned in that Report in 2011.
Under the Buhari APC Presidency, the Bodo-Bonny Road is racing to completion and yet President Buhari is not reminding Bonny people daily that they have not seen a road since creation like Wike does to their cousins in Opobo with the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road commenced by Governor Peter Odili and pushed by Governor Rotimi Amaechi to the last but one bridge before landing on Opobo main town. Yet what we hear now to reinforce the campaigns that Buhari has done nothing in Rivers State is the Bodo-Bonny Road is funded by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company and not the Federal Government. They sound that sanctimonious as though the NLNG ran her first gas shipment off the coast of Finima, Bonny after May 29, 2015.
President Buhari doles out N78billion as refund on Rivers State expenditure on Federal roads infrastructure in the State. They grab the funds with both arms; even run full page newspaper advertisements on several national dailies thanking the President for his gesture. Yet, those who did so have since returned to the orchestra of Buhari doing nothing for Rivers State. And they do so with so much audacity forgetting that these funds were due for refund under past PDP Presidents of Nigeria.
This same Buhari performs the triple groundbreaking of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Standard Narrow Guage (SNG); the Bonny Deep Seaport; and the Railway Industrial Park in Port Harcourt last week and the buzzer begins. They single out the SNG for attacks and insult the President for being ungrateful to Rivers people by not giving us the guage built on the Western corridor from Lagos to Ibadan. Wike is quick to remind President Buhari that Amaechi sponsored his election in 2015 with Rivers State money but conveniently forgets that this rail project does not begin and end in Rivers State.
He fires his shells at the President with the aim of diminishing the economic importance of this particular project as though the about to be revamped Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Rail line and its upgrading to service several States in the South-East and North-Central before hitting the terminus at Maiduguri in the North-East was non-existent when the President Goodluck Jonathan they served under rolled out his railways rehabilitation projects! Even worse, he attacked the sincerity of the Federal Government on the timing of these triple projects because he thinks the Administration has no time left for their completion. This is a man whose projects commissioning thus far has Amaechi’s input at more than 80 per centage of the total. Timing of projects are politicized when they come from Buhari’s Federal Government but not those from Amaechi’s Government of Rivers State where he takes glory for completing and commissioning. Certainly, not too for the Airport project that GEJ commenced but Buhari completed. Timing is core in today’s Brick House calculations on the relevance of Buhari’s projects. Not the economic impact they would bring to the State where Buhari has done nothing.
Only yesterday, the same Governor went for the jugular of the President by casting shades of doubt on the approval of over $1.5billion for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery at Eleme. Wike practically tore to shreds the announcement by Chief Timipre Sylva, Honourable Minister for Petroleum (State). Again, regardless of the economic importance of revamping that Refinery to both the nation and Rivers State, someone must give Buhari and his government jabs.
I love Wike’s politics. I just love it because it is a reminder of the place of grace. Put differently, Wike has become the index of the Biblical exclamation: “Blessed are those whose sins are covered”. The law of retribution simply looks the other way whenever their cases are called. They do no wrong. Even in the courts of public opinion!
•Barr.Sogbeye Eli is a Port-Harcourt-based Lawyer, Chieftain of the APC and Public Affairs Analyst.