Amaeachi and Wike

Reflections on Rotimi Amaechi and Nyesom Wike

By Pius Adesanmi.

Today, the convoys of Rotimi Amaechi and Nyesom Wike clashed in Port Harcourt. Tomorrow, the airwaves will be flooded by their aides. There will be narratives and counter-narratives. Colourful lies will clash with colourful hyperbole. Aides will be locked in a competition to win public sympathy for their bosses. On all sides, the scramble for the winning story actually starts tonight.

Citizen, let me advise you. Let the aides do what they are paid to do. You have no dog in this fight. It is just two irresponsible Nigerian leaders involved in a street fight. Who is right and who is wrong between Wike and Amaechi is none of your business. Both men are mountains on your back. They are your oppressor. In these tough economic times, do not be misled by aides to waste your precious data taking sides with one man against the other. The only way this applies to you is that you are the grass beneath the feet of the two elephants going at it naked in public.

You want to know how you are the grass? Come with me.

Thanks are due to Sahara Reporters for providing photographic slides of the street location of the skirmish in Port Harcourt. They are fighting in dirty, rain-soaked streets. Evidence of horrible drainage abounds in the photos. There is some flooding. Everything looks jaga jaga like the streets of urban Nigeria look whenever the rains come.

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Between the two shameless adults fighting in streets without proper drainage, you can account for nearly twenty years of visionless and irresponsible leadership of Rivers, one of Nigeria’s richest states. These would cover Rotimi Amaechi’s years as Speaker of the State House of Assembly and Governor, as well as Wike’s two years as Governor thus far.

Two men, twenty wasted years in the life of a state, twenty wasted years in the lives of the citizens! Yet they are there in the streets of Port Harcourt, fighting against the backdrop of the very urban poverty and planlessness that are evidence of their combined failure of leadership. The lack of any capacity for sober reflection on the part of these two men is galling. Anyway, if there was anybody capable of sober reflection in the leadership of Nigeria, we would not be here, would we?

The only other thing that should concern you is the detail that there were armed soldiers in Amaechi’s convoy. No soldiers were reported in Wike’s convoy. Allah be praised for that one.

The irresponsible use of the Nigerian Army is one area where it has been tough, really tough, so tough for us to develop enough civic consciousness in the people and mobilize them, even at the symbolic level, against such primitive practices in the 21st century.

Nationally, we are at a stage of psychological and prelogical development which has a very large swathe of our citizens form a Greek chorus of praise every time the military is misused in civilian spaces. I do not know the solution to this sociopathy because many among those who should form the public enlightenment and reorientation cohort draw a line the moment it comes to the misuse of the military and instead transform themselves to the intellectual vanguard of the military in civilian spaces.

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For now, if you support the government of the day, every use of the military is welcome. When we support this demented violations of governance and democratic ethos by the Nigerian ruling class, you end up in a situation in which soldiers form part of the convoy of a Federal Minister! It could be that people just do not understand that there is a direct line from using the military for routine law enforcement to using the military to drive civilian Ogas around town. I understand that in certain cases, soldiers even carry madam’s hand bag when she is going to the market.

On what basis is Rotimi Amaechi going around the streets of Nigeria with armed soldiers in his convoy? How is this even imaginable? How is this even allowable?

One of Nigeria’s great sons, also from Rivers state, was murdered by the Federal Government many years ago. Ken Saro Wiwa went to the hangman asking a question we must repeat again and again:

What manner of a country is this?

What manner of a country is this?

What manner of a country is this?

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