LIKE FAYOSE, LIKE WIKE BY JIDE OLUWAJUYITAN
Governors Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti and Nyesom Wike of Rivers are two of a kind. They share some parallels. Both are men greatly admired by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife. For the former, Jonathan was prepared to risk everything including honour and his presidency. Leaving nothing to chance during Fayose’s gubernatorial battle in June 2014, he deployed his Minister for Police Affairs Jelili Adesiyan, junior Minister of Defence, Musliu Obanikoro and Brigadier General Aliu Momoh to lead a contingent of 12,000 mobile police men, 15,000 NSCDC personnel, 26 sniffer dogs, two aircraft at a time the nation lacked resources to confront Boko Haram that had seized a sizable portion of our territory and holding about 300 school girls abducted from their dormitories in captivity. Fayose went on to secure a landslide victory through what is today known as ‘Ekiti-gate’, defeating Fayemi, the high achieving incumbent in all the 16 LGAs of the state.
For Wike, in an election marred by violence, supporters of Patience Jonathan, some of whom once described her as ‘messiah’, ensured he won by a wide margin of 1,029,102 votes to Dr Dakuku Petersides’s measly 124,896 votes to secure a victory now being hotly contested at the election tribunal in Abuja.
In return, the duo loves the ex-president and his wife in equal measure. They could follow Jonathan and his wife into battle blind-folded. For Jonathan’s March 28 failed re-election bid, Fayose fought without grace. He was like the proverbial stubborn fly that follows the corpse to the grave. He was ready to sink with Jonathan. And for Wike, fighting Jonathan’s personal wars was a greater honour than serving the nation. As Minister of Education, while universities and polytechnics went on strike for close to a year, he was able to create time to be in Port Harcourt every weekend mobilizing thugs and ex-militants to, as he put it ‘ensure the president was not disgraced in South-south’. And he delivered on his promise. Of the 1,584,768 total votes cast, Jonathan secured 1,487.075 to Buhari’s paltry 69,238 in Rivers.
Both Fayemi and Amaechi set high standards in the delivery of the dividends of democracy. And since Fayose and Wike who effortlessly secured landslide victories without agenda have very little to offer in terms of clear policy perspective, their common strategy was to start attacking the integrity of their predecessors in office right from the inauguration ground. Fayose first claimed the “N3.3bn new Government House is Fayemi’s show of wickedness to Ekiti people,” He further claimed the facilities in the lodge which he described as “out-of-this-world luxury” were provided for Fayemi, his wife and children. He also alleged “what was spent on their bedrooms, toilets and bathrooms will be in the region of N100m”.
But in a live interview monitored in Ado-Ekiti the Thursday after his inauguration, Fayose invited all, the Islamic and Christian prophets in Ekiti, for the cleansing of the Government House. At another thanksgiving service held at the Ado Ekiti Central Mosque the following day, he informed the congregation “I am for the masses. I’m not in a hurry to go to the Government House. Those who want to go there can go there and enjoy themselves; how will governor put electricity in his house and the whole town is in darkness?” Fayose was not done. “Shouldn’t such funds expended on the hilltop edifice have been used to resuscitate the moribund textile factory in Ado-Ekiti that was turned to lock-up shops to provide employment for our teeming youths?” He had asked his audience.
Like Fayose, like Wike. The only difference was while Fayose’s tantrums was about the alleged N3.4billion his predecessor spent in building a new governors lodge, Wike’s antics was about the vandalized Rivers State Governors Lodge. While addressing his congregation during a post inauguration thanksgiving service on Sunday, May 31, he said: “As I speak with you, everything has been vandalized. I will not enter the Government House in the next two or three months. There is no vehicle in Government House, not even one”. He continued “all the bullet-proof doors, furniture, crested carpets, curtains and windows had been stolen by the former administration”. The following day, Wike took some selected journalists and some PDP stalwarts including national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; former deputy governor of the state, Engr. Tele Ikuru; former Minister of Sports, Dr. Tammy Danagogo the state chairman of PDP, Chief Felix Obuah, among others to the residential quarters, offices and the banquet hall where key furniture, television sets and electrical accessories had been vandalized. Chief Felix Amaechi Obuah soon followed with a statement which “unequivocally condemns such childish and criminal action of former Governor, Amaechi”. Then the Rivers State Police Command issued a statement claiming the recovery of three coaster buses, two 306 Peugeot, two hummer buses and one 306 Peugeot’ parked in a unauthorised yard’, which turned out to be mechanic garage.
Reacting to Wike antics, Amaechi implored the Rivers people to ask Wike whether he was conversant with ‘what was in his former bedroom before now, to conclude that the bedroom was looted?’ or whether he spoke ‘with or review with the Permanent Secretary of Government House, who is the chief accounting officer’. And finally Amaechi wanted the Rivers people to know “that on Friday, May 29, Wike had barred some key officials of Government House, including civil servants from accessing the place. 48 hours later, he started shouting ‘vandalisation and looting’; I left the place intact. If there’s any vandalisation or looting in Government House after I left, Rivers people should ask Wike what happened.” It is Wike’s words against Amaechi’s.
One thing that is not in doubt however is the fact that Rivers is home to many thugs and militants who often operate freely. And from the targets of various acts of violence before and during the election, it was clear Wike commands their loyalty.
In the interim, Wike has secured N30 billion loan in 30 days. Asked to justify a policy of N1b a day by Wike’s administration, one of his top officials told Channel Television reporters something to the effect that, the governor should be praised for achieving so much within a month with the loan.… “This office when we moved in had nothing. Even the central carpet had been taken away…”
I hope Fayose, who has been chasing Fayemi around the country for allegedly spending N3.4b to build a new government house knows he owes him an apology in the light of his ‘30 days governor N30b loan’ soul mate whose expressed reason for the huge loan is rehabilitation and furnishing vandalized government lodge.
But Fayose has more to worry about. By October, he would have spent one year in office, enjoying the luxury including the N50m bed he had claimed Fayemi designed for the comfort of his family. ‘The moribund textile industries’ remain moribund. Ado Ekiti like other Ekiti towns remain in darkness while contrary to his undertaking, he has been sleeping in ‘governors house lit up with electricity.’
To borrow Fayemi’s apt description of Fayose’s theatrics at the height of his persecution, the antics of Fayemi and Wike have been more of ‘comedy of errors and theatre of the absurd’.