The political crises in Rivers State which seemed to have simmered down a little bit was yesterday fired-up by the Minister of State for Education, Barrister Nyesom Wike, who has promised that Governor Rotimi Amaechi and his supporters will not sleep with their two eyes closed again because danger will be lurking around the state.
The minister’s latest warning shot was a veiled reference to Gov. Amaechi’s recent statement to a delegation of Niger Delta Bishops who paid him a visit in Government House, Port Harcourt, the State capital on Friday over the lingering political logjam in the state.
The governor, who initially noted that he refrained from making comments about Wike because he is a subordinate, was quoted as saying: “Nyesom Wike was appointed Chief of Staff by me. Nyesom Wike as a Minister of State, I nominated him. I was under pressure by the President to drop him, I refused. The President persuaded me to drop him and bring a woman but I refused.
”I heard he is going all over town saying I didn’t appoint him, I didn’t appoint him, the President appointed him but I nominated him to be a minister as the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum. I did, but you know character doesn’t come easily, character is a very difficult thing and I am a man of character.”
But Wike has taken serious exception to his description as a subordinate as he used the occasion of the inauguration of executive members for Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of his Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI) sponsored programme in Port Harcourt on Saturday, to address the governor’s remarks against his person.
“They said we are nobody”, the minister started. “Then they have seen; when you are dealing with nobody, be careful. The nobody will show you that he is somebody. We will make sure they will not sleep again. As they are sleeping, they will not sleep with their two eyes closed. One eye will be open, because they know there is danger.”
On the governor’s remark that he resisted pressure from President Goodluck Jonathan to drop Wike as his nominee for minister, he stated:
“Those who are saying they must remove me, I have even overstayed. For you to be minister for two years, you must thank your God. If today we are no longer minister, do not worry yourself. It will not change us. We will continue to fight for what we believe in.
“We were not minister when we fought for them in 2007. When we were here, they were not having problems. Now, we have gone, they are having problems.
“We have always told them: you cannot do it. What you do not know, you do not know. It does not matter, whatever money you have, money cannot buy everything. Now, they are having sleepless nights. When we were here, were they having sleepless nights?
“When we were here, were they not travelling up and down? Are they travelling again? Tell them, they should come and beg us. Tell them to come back and beg us. We will tell them the secret. What God has not given to you, you do not need to do anything about it.”
Putting up an indifferent posture to the repeated demands for the removal of Mr. Joseph Mbu as the Rivers State Police Commissioner, Wike said, “I can assure you, all they are asking for: they want a commissioner of police that will be arresting you. Anytime they call the CP, he will arrest you. But let me tell you, we are not interested in whoever comes here (CP), all we are interested in is to have somebody who will not be partial.
“Let them bring whoever they want to bring (as CP).We want somebody who will want democracy to be practised in Rivers State. They said one man, one vote. Now, they do not want one man, one vote again.”
Deriding the governor for suspending the Obio/Akpor council officials, Wike said Gov. Amaechi and his supporters thought the move would bring them ‘sleep’ but unknown to them, they ‘touched the Lion’ and it came with consequences.
“The party has suspended them, because they have touched the lion and when you touch the lion, you know the consequences. Since they said the councillors will not take their salaries, they also will know that they will not belong to the PDP”, he said.
The minister boasted that Gov. Amaechi and his supporters would lose all the pending cases they have before the courts because according to him, “All the ones they have gone, we have been winning them and we will continue to win them.”
“They are doing everything they can. They are using their power and their money. Money cannot solve all problems. Sometimes, you have to come back home and realise that the people matter a lot. It is the power of the people that has put us in positions and you must come back to thank the people.
“Forget about what they are doing to you (his supporters). Do not worry. We are all together. Do not lose hope. God is on the throne.”
Wike, who revealed that the suspended Chairman of Obio/Akpor LG, Mr. Timothy Nsirim and his deputy, Solomon Eke, and the 17 councillors have been denied their salaries since April, said it is a sacrifice they have to make to make democracy survive.
The minister drummed up support for President Jonathan’s 2015 re-election bid at the event and charged members of the GDI; of which he is the grand patron, in particular, to go to all the wards, communities and families in the state to support the President.
Wike added: “In Rivers State, Jonathan is our son, Jonathan is our in-law and his wife is our daughter. So, we have no choice, but to continue to support him. Your duty is to mobilise the entire state for our son when he decides to run eventually.
“We believe that the people of South-South cannot sacrifice, whatever it is, our own son for anything less than President,” he said.
Wike, who is aspiring to become governor of Rivers State in 2015, is an Ikwerre man just like Amaechi and hails from Obio/Akpor where he was a two-term chairman of the council.