Appearance is deceptive. Those who understand the chemistry of power politics know this. Sim Fubara is barely six months in office as governor of Rivers State. His predecessor, Nyesom Wike, a key player in Fourth Republic politics, is larger than life.
Wike is the story of political engineering today, having risen from two – term Local Government Chairman to two – tenure State Governor and now, two – time minister. Ordinarily, his next target should be the Presidency.
There is an Igbo saying that sounds like the ram is always eager to fight. Wike is a dogged fighter, give it to him. Another proverb counters this by giving an underdog a lifeline. Even in the Bible, David brought down Goliath, the Giant.
I follow Nigerian politics and can proudly declare that all godfathers who succeeded in the past, did so while they held sway in their States or Regions. The Western Region went wild when Chief Obafemi Awolowo showed overbearing interest at home while serving as Opposition Leader at the centre.
Sir Ahmadu Bello was so comfortable in the North that he was magnanimous enough to send his godson, Sir Tafawa Balewa, to Lagos as Prime Minister. From Kaduna, the Sardauna smoothly directed events in the then Federal Capital. That was in the First Republic.
In the Second Republic, Awo was not in government but there was no opposition in all the former Western Region. From Lateef Jakande in Lagos to Adekunle Ajasin in Ondo down to Ambrose Alli in Bendel, there was unity. Bola Ige in Oyo and Bisi Onabanjo in Ogun, remained loyal.
The Fourth Republic belongs to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Orphaned by Abuja politics after his tenure expired in 2007, the erstwhile Governor – General of Nigerian politics remained cocooned in Eko but spread tentacles all over the South – West.
Tinubu did not rush to Abuja while some of his contemporaries wanted to be Ministers or even President. He began to build a powerful cult of politicians who were distributed all over the political space for effect. You did not see him fight his successor, Babatunde Fashola, after six months.
Tinubu and Fashola could have had their differences. They had and still have a way of keeping friends and foes in the dark about their skirmishes. And both men have also worked closely to achieve common goals, leaving allies bewildered.
It is instructive that Wike and President Tinubu are working together in Abuja. Those of us who know History are willing to predict the future, following past developments. And Rivers State, as a handy example, will help our study.
No former Fourth Republic governor of Rivers State got anything tangible from Aso Villa after Bumper to Bumper allegiance. And I am glad Wike is so close to his predecessors, Peter Odili and Chibuike Amaechi. He worked with both men.
Odili was so dear to President Olusegun Obasanjo and his wife, Stella, that when the First Lady died in 2005, Port Harcourt almost flew her flag at half mast. The dream was Aso Villa in 2007. The Ndoni man campaigned vigorously, only to be dumped for Umaru Yar’adua.
Amaechi was transported from Port Harcourt to Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari. Our Ubimaa brother played the game expecting to be the game changer. He favoured Niger Republic over and above Niger Delta and was rewarded with a chieftaincy title in Daura. His eyes were on Aso Villa. PMB posted his Transport Minister back to P. O. Box 1, Ubimaa.
Odili lost Amaechi, his former boy as from 2007. Amaechi lost Wike, his former Chief of Staff as from 2015. Wike must learn from the past, work on the present to be relevant in future. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe raised Michael Okpara. Zik of Africa left Regional Politics when he moved to Lagos but remained relevant.
James Ibori has remained a powerful force in Delta politics. Yes, he handpicked his cousin, Emmanuel Uduaghan, as successor. Ifeanyi Okowa is a product of the Ibori College of Politics. Ogidigbodigbo does not play Gwodogwodo politics of Nzogbu Nzogbu. He still matters.
Wike is a good political musician. He dances better than Sunny Ade, on the soap box. I love his track, ‘ enye ndi ebea, enye ndi ebea’. It is all about equity and fair play. And it goes with some damn good Burgundy wine in the head.
Joseph Siminalayi Fubara is neither a Lawyer nor a Political Scientist. Wike knows better. Politics is different from Political Science. Professor Omo Omoruyi understood this when he delved into Bendel politics as a gubernatorial candidate. Sim is an Accountant.
Wike will be making a grievous mistake if he reduced his hold on the governor to Political Accountancy. I know Accountants deal with figures, they can also figure out Machiavellian scenarios. You do not treat a 48 – year – old like a slave.
Wike needs Fubara more than Mr. Governor needs him. I do not know the location of Nasir el Rufai now. He saw the Promised Land but has not entered. Should Tinubu reshuffle his cabinet and drop the FCT minister, na straight to Rumuepirikom be that.
It is not as easy as it looks. By the time Ndi Opobo involve their Izon cousins, there will be pity party in Pitakwa. Amaopusenibo should pluck sweet smelling flowers from Garden City. It is time to work. Wike should let Sim breath.