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The alleged plot against Wike

The alleged plot against Wike

When governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state spoke on Sunday at the Living Faith Church (aka Winners), Port Harcourt as part of activities to mark the third year anniversary of his administration, there was this disturbing sense of urgency in his voice. His heart was heavy. He was sorrowful. You can feel his hurt. It was not for nothing.

He decided to speak up for Nigerians to hear him out. He accused the Federal Government of plans to kill him. He said: “intelligence report available to us this morning indicated that they are plotting to assassinate me in a crowd and claim it was an accidental discharge.” According to Wike, part of the conspiracy was to use the Nigeria Police to plant millions of dollars and AK-47 rifles at his Abuja residence. However, he expressed confidence that the grand conspiracy will fail because God will continue to defend him. Nonetheless, he alleged that a high-level conspiracy is afoot against the government of Rivers State which he leads.

Wike’s allegation is weighty enough to be ignored. It should not be interpreted as one of those posturings by politicians. There’s a heavy price to pay if the authorities sweep his allegation under the carpet. I share his grave concerns because Rivers state has become a hotbed of political violence in recent memory. Moreover, politics in Nigeria is always full of high-stakes. It’s a vicious game against perceived and real enemies and the politicians don’t play the game by any known rules, which is why Nigeria has been described at various times as one of the filthiest arenas of politics in Africa.

Any careful observer of politics in Rivers state will agree that Wike is not crying wolf. Coming close to another general elections, Rivers is indeed one state to watch. Recall that few days ago, a chieftain of the opposition All Progressives Congress(APC) and former governorship candidate in the state, had threatened that Wike would be “sacked” next year and be sent to his village or be thrown into jail. This threat is troubling. It’s against every tenet of democracy.

Two years ago, exactly March 29,2016, I wrote in this column that the conspiracy against Wike “is being waged on different fronts, the game plan is that if one plot fails, try another”. That,in fact, is what is unfolding now, hard and fast. Let’s not forget what the (outgoing?) National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said few months after the party lost Rivers state to the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). Oyegun had lamented that APC felt so pained for losing three oil-rich states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers.

I can understand why. In Rivers and Bayelsa states, you have two hotheaded guys as governors, who can never give up on their convictions. And in Akwa Ibom, you have a highly-principled former banker as Chief Executive. Altogether, these three governors are treasures. They are politicians who believe that political office is not just a prize to be won, but a duty to perform. So far, their accomplishments are evident to all to see and cherish. You can begin to see why the plot against Wike is thickening. More will come in the weeks and months ahead. It’s all about 2019 and the fierce battle to takeover Rivers state by all means. The ruling APC at the centre is borrowing from the playbook of Trotsky who said ,”you may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you”. And, I ask: Must politics be played that way? It’s always a way out of the truth to think you must overrun a state by all means. I was in Rivers state recently, and I can bet that that the state is beyond the reach of APC under any free and fair election. Wike is the man in whom the people are “well pleased”. They believe he’s working, he’s performing. The electorate in Rivers state have a resounding confidence in his government. Go find out.

That’s why Wike is always winning. And that’s also why the federal authorities are not going to give up in their plots and frantic search for a smoking gun to discredit Wike. Wike knows that if he must overcome his political enemies, he must be ahead of them. The present conspiracy could be a subplot of the larger stratagem to frame him. But, he knows the schemes of the adversary.
In June, 2017,Mr.Sylva Ogwemoh, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN),had filed a suit on behalf of Gov. Wike before a Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja. The action was to foil a suit by the Police and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) and the Department of State Service(DSS) to get a warrant to search the governor’s houses in Abuja and elsewhere in the country.
The submission of the governor’s lawyer is that the provision of Section 308 of the Constitution provides that no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted against a serving president, vice president and governor. Didn’t the authorities know this, and yet proceeded to get a search warrant? That’s what a conspiracy intends to achieve. It blinds the seeker not to see the futility of his desperation.

But, Justice Ahmed Mohammed saw through the web of the stratagems and refused to grant the prayers of the defendants. In his judgment, the judge threw away the defendant’s case for lacking in merit, noting that the governor cannot be investigated based on section 308 of the 1999 Constitution. The Judge drew a contrast between sections 149 and 150 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015 on one hand, and section 308(1)(C) of the Constitution, on the other hand.

These provisions make it mandatory for the owner or occupant of a house or his representative to be present during the execution of a search warrant in the said house or houses. Justice Mohammed also noted that section 308(1) (C) of the constitution prohibits issuance of a court process, including a search warrant against all persons covered by the same section 308.
If you think this will be the end of the search for a smoking gun against Wike, just wait and see. I am sorry for APC and its desperation to “capture” Rivers state. Things are rather getting worse for the party in that state. The recent ward and local government Congresses showed a divided, disillusioned, rag tag party in the state whose members would prefer to destroy their ‘father’s inheritance’ rather than share it.

The state branch of APC is going into next year’s election in a worse, disunited state than it was in 2015. Rivers state and its people love peace and good governance. Therefore, let peace reign in Rivers. The alleged plots to kill him under whatever guise and make the state ungovernable, is an affront to democracy. It will only benefit those who want to harvest in crisis. Such people prefer a declaration of emergence rule rather than a free and fair election. Already, Rivers state has witnessed so much bloodshed in recent years. President Buhari must not allow that to continue. That’s what a statesman does, irrrespective of party affiliation.

The post appeared first on The Sun News.

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