“The most important thing about leadership is your character and the value that guide your life.”
By Daniel Kanu
One of the most defining features of the current election cycle is the rise and rise of former Anambra State governor, Mr Peter Gregory Obi.
Expectedly, he has been visited with huge commendations, nationally and internationally, but not without attacks, contagious ones for that matter.
As the saying goes, it is the tree that carries ripe fruits that people throw sticks at.
Just as the former Enugu State governor, Chimaraoke Nnamani was ending his diatribe on Peter Obi, Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike is stirring up another whirlwind.
Wike on Wednesday made efforts to put the records straight concerning the allegation against him that he worked against Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of Labour Party, LP, in the February 25 presidential election.
Speaking during a Media chat, Wike said he never worked against Peter Obi, to deny him victory in the state, claiming that he only supported a southern presidential candidate and not specifically rejecting Obi’s candidacy.
Wike noted that in the first place there was no agreement in place for him to work for Obi, so the condemnation he received from Obi was not proper and must be discarded.
Also, Wike brought to the public space an earlier favour he did to Obi when he supported him as the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in 2019, but which as he expected was not appreciated publicly.
According to Wike: “I never told Rivers State people to vote for a candidate, I told them to vote for the unity of Nigeria. I take exception to Peter Obi’s comment that I came out against him. People are not being sincere; people are not being appreciative.
“In 2019, ask Peter Obi, I was part of the team that chose him to be the vice presidential candidate of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. When we met at Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s house, he said these are the names and we chose Peter Obi.
“While we were at Bukola Saraki’s house in the night, I was fought by people like Senator Ike Ekweremadu, my own friend the governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, and Pius Anyim. Every blame was on me. Why will I be the one that will say Peter Obi? Why should I choose for the Southeast? Did he come out to say Governor Wike was the one who supported me to be the vice presidential candidate? He didn’t say so”.
For Wike, perhaps, it’s a matter of when I do good, you forget, but when I do bad, you remember.
There were strong allegations, as well as news reports coming out from Rivers State alleging that Wike manipulated the election against Peter Obi and the LP. Even some video clips that trended in the social media tend to support the allegations.
Of course, Wike has all the democratic right to support any other candidate of his choice since his G-5 Governors group refused to support their party (PDP) candidate, Atiku. But going further to disclose that he supported Peter Obi to become the V.P candidate of the PDP in 2019 to many discerning political observers is missed the mark, and thus was frivolous and uncalled for.
Most commentators pointed out that it would be impossible for Wike to say that he has not received any form of favour from Obi since they knew each other without Obi making it public.
Real integrity they say, is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody is going to know whether you did it or not.
Put succinctly by Miguel Ruiz: “Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity, say only what you mean. Always tell the truth or the truth will tell on you”.
Other political analysts have argued that it is ludicrous that in almost 24 years into the Fourth Republic, Nigeria has largely contented itself with lip service and statements of intention regarding punishment of criminals who regularly violate elections and deprive them of the much-desired justice, credibility, freeness and fairness.
It is no longer news that the just concluded 2023 elections was a sham, with local and international observers condemning the process and its outcome.
Across the federation, there were pockets of disruption of the polling process, wanton destruction of electoral materials, snatching of ballot boxes, results manipulation, mutilation of results sheets, harassment and intimidation of voters and violence by political desperadoes resulting to death in some cases.
The facts were documented and it is based on such facts that Peter Obi is speaking out.
Governor Wike may be logically correc, but the truth has not been attained with his argument, given verifiable facts.
The truth is that the Nigerian party system is inherently flawed and fundamentally defective; hence cannot produce the quality leadership the country deserves unless it is drastically reformed. Also, Nigerian politicians have vehemently refused to rise above pettiness, desperation, vindictiveness, rascality, and even criminality in pursuing their self-centered ambitions.
Political commentators are in agreement that the culture of do or die politics has become so firmly entrenched in the nation’s polity and can only be rooted out through proper activation of the law on electoral offences.
A political culture that encourages the use of force, violence, fear, and bloodletting in order to manipulate the outcome of elections is a threat to the peace, development, unity, stability and continued existence of any society.
Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, was born on December 13, 1957, to the family of Reverend and Mrs Nlemanya Wike at Rumuepirikom community, Obio-Akpor, Rivers State.
He was educated at Rivers State University of Science and Technology.
He holds degrees in Political and Administrative Studies, as well as Law.
He was appointed Minister of State for Education on July 14, 2011 and was later appointed the Acting Minister of Education, after Mrs Riqqayatu was sacked.