Chris Steven, Abuja
Rivers Progressive Council has warned the state Governor Nyesom Wike to stop ranting and face business of governance.
RPC asked Wike to find other ways of proving his popularity among Riverians rather than resorting to what they termed ‘utterances that amount to ranting that add no value to the state.’
The group said Wike’s recent incendiary comments following the general elections were unbecoming of a leader.
Tony Chris, President in a statement was reacting to the recent war of words between Wike and the Army over the latter’s claim of oil bunkering by the General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army.
The group in the statement said Wike’s cantankerous behaviour on his part made it impossible for Rivers State people to productively and effectively review his dismal first term in office while setting agenda for his second term and that is assuming the Election Petition Tribunal and the judiciary as a whole allow him to cling onto the stolen mandate.
The group urged Army not to be distracted by Wike’s remarks.
The statement below.
To ensure that he causes maximum distraction to prevent Riverians from having issue base engagement with his government, Governor Wike opted for a highly valuable target like the Nigerian Army to unleash his umbrage upon, knowing full well that Nigerians will not take kindly to one of the country’s best performing institutions being maligned. His permutation must have been that people will be so outraged with this kind of behaviour that they will forget the other evil deeds he has committed against Rivers state.
We have news for the governor. Irrespective of his heating up the polity in Rivers state, we shall continue to fine-tune modalities for holding him to account, even more so in his second term, for which his mandate remains contentious. At no time shall we allow his resort to verbally abusing others scare us from performing the sacred duty we owe to ourselves individually as leaders in our communities to hold those in position of authority to account.
The Council, like other law abiding citizens of Rivers state, has zero tolerance for thuggish and cultist behaviour irrespective of how highly placed the offender is. We therefore unequivocally disown Governor Wike’s comments against the Army, the Federal Government and politicians from other parts of the country that have been victims of Wike’s tantrums.
We want to categorically state that the views and claims he has expressed or made about these persons and institutions are private to him and in no way represent the high esteem in which Riverians hold the Nigerian Army and politicians of other ethnic nationalities; Rivers state is also unquestionably loyal to Nigeria.
Even as we seek the understanding of those that have been offended by Governor Wike for them to know that he acted pursuant to his private agenda, RPC nonetheless find it irresponsible for a full grown adult, one occupying a position of trust for that matter, to make unfounded allegations against an institution and individuals that have made so much sacrifices for the people of Rivers and helped to stabilize the security situation such that the state is making economy recovery.
It becomes more incomprehensible with the realization that the militancy and cultism that the Army helped to curtailed in the state were the products of his administration.
It is only delusion that will make Governor Wike think that his verbal attacks on people make him popular but we dare him to test this so called popularity by walking on the streets of Port Harcourt without the detachment of security agencies that accompany him and see the outcomes. He certainly would be lynched for the crimes the people of Port Harcourt know he committed against them. If he wants popularity he should find other means that positively impact the lives of the people instead of engaging in theatrics that benefit no one.
RPC therefore directs Governor Wike to unreservedly apologize to the military and all the officers he has maligned with his spurious claims so that he will not be compelled to take that walk of shame at the appropriate time. The apology must be accompanied by an undertaken to be of good behaviour going forward.
Meanwhile, we urge the military, particularly the Nigerian Army, not to allow Wike’s behaviour to define their perception and appreciation of Riverians, who are naturally peace loving and collaborative towards the attainment of the Nigerian aspirations. We use this opportunity to reassure the Army that it has the backing of the people especially as it will soon have to curtail the activities of those threatening to declare a Niger Delta Republic on June 1; these urchins are acting at the behest of top politicians from the region and do not represent the desire of the peace loving people of Rivers state.