July 12, 2024

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Probing Rivers Ugly Past

6 min read

By Simon Peter

In examining the realm of governance and public resource management, one would agree that, accountability is a sacrosanct principle that serves as the bedrock of trust between the government and its citizens. However, in Rivers State, Nigeria, this fundamental principle appears to be under assault, as a plethora of allegations ranging from misconduct to malfeasance swirl around the former governor, Mr. Wike. The people of Rivers State have endured immense suffering under Wike’s leadership, and it is now incumbent upon Governor Sim Fubara to take swift and decisive action to investigate these egregious wrongdoings, hold perpetrators accountable, and deliver long-overdue justice to the victims. By doing so, Governor Fubara can begin to restore the trust that has been eroded and ensure that the principles of accountability and good governance are upheld in Rivers State.

The burning question on many minds is, “When will Governor Fubara probe Wike?”

The tenure of Mr. Wike as the governor of Rivers State was marked by a plethora of controversies and allegations of corruption, which have left an indelible stain on his legacy. One of the most egregious accusations leveled against him is the perpetration of inflated contracts, wherein contracts awarded during his tenure were allegedly grossly overpriced, resulting in a significant depletion of the state’s resources. If these allegations are substantiated, it would constitute a brazen betrayal of public trust, a flagrant violation of the principles of transparency and accountability, and a egregious abuse of power.

Moreover, Mr. Wike stands accused of leaving the state in a financially precarious situation, wherein the state’s debt profile skyrocketed under his leadership, plunging the state into a financial crisis. This has had a devastating impact on the state’s ability to fund critical infrastructure and social services, thereby exacerbating the suffering of the citizens of Rivers State and imperiling their welfare.

Among the multitude of allegations levied against Mr. Wike, the most heinous and egregious is the forceful expropriation of private property, a transgression that has left a trail of disillusionment and suffering in its wake. According to a report, the women of the Oginigba community in Rivers State, driven by desperation and a sense of injustice, staged a protest against the brazen seizure of their ancestral land, perpetrated by Mr. Wike through the instrumentality of the state government machinery. This egregious act, if proven, constitutes a flagrant violation of the rights of these women, a gross abuse of power, and a stark testament to Wike’s disdain for the rule of law and the fundamental rights of citizens. The forced takeover of private land, a blatant manifestation of Wike’s authoritarian proclivities, has left an indelible stain on his legacy, and its repercussions continue to reverberate, causing untold suffering and hardship for the affected individuals.

The evidence of Wike’s plundering of Rivers State’s wealth is manifest in his extensive portfolio of properties, including the Hypercity building in Ikoku, a multifaceted complex on Rumuomasi by old Aba road, which serves as a hub for esteemed brands like SHOPRITE, Cinema film House, Electronica, and others, as well as the Signature hotel in G.R.A, a former residence on William Jumbo street in Old GRA, Trans Amadi by BEWAC, AFP Plaza by Stadium, site for hospital by stadium road, and his current residence by Ada George. All these assets in Port Harcourt alone.

These few properties in Port Harcourt, traceable to Mr. Wike, are merely the tip of the iceberg. It is mind-boggling to contemplate the numerous properties scattered across various cities in Rivers State, not to mention the staggering hundreds of properties spread across different states in Nigeria, all allegedly linked to Mr. Wike’s name. The putrid stench of corruption wafting from his property acquisitions and takeovers demands a thorough investigation by the EFCC. Meanwhile, the people of Rivers State were languishing in excruciating poverty, while Wike was shamelessly amassing a vast empire of properties through illicit means, all at the expense of the state’s financial well-being.

In light of these grave allegations, it is absolutely essential that Governor Fubara takes swift and decisive action to investigate Mr. Wike’s tenure, ensuring a thorough and transparent probe that uncovers the truth behind the myriad accusations. The citizens of Rivers State have a rightful expectation to be informed about the veracity of these allegations, and to witness the delivery of justice and the recovery of misappropriated public resources, should these allegations be substantiated.

The consequences of Wike’s alleged malfeasance are nothing short of catastrophic, leaving the state mired in debt and stifling its development. The egregious inflation of contracts has resulted in a egregious depletion of the state’s resources, while the forceful takeover of private property has wreaked havoc on countless lives and livelihoods. Therefore, Governor Fubara must demonstrate unwavering resolve in reversing this damage, ensuring that those responsible are held accountable and brought to book, thereby restoring the trust and confidence of the citizens in the government.

Governor Fubara has a unique and auspicious opportunity to tangibly demonstrate his unwavering commitment to the principles of accountability, good governance, and the rule of law. By initiating a comprehensive and exhaustive investigation, he can ensure that Mr. Wike is held accountable for his alleged actions, thereby sending a powerful message that no individual is above the law. This probe, if conducted in a fair, transparent, and unbiased manner, will not only restore public trust and confidence in the government but also serve as a testament to Governor Fubara’s dedication to upholding the highest standards of governance. Furthermore, the investigation provides a chance to recover misappropriated funds and assets, which can then be reinvested in the development and progress of Rivers State.

However, it is crucial that this probe adheres to the highest standards of fairness, transparency, and due process, avoiding any semblance of a witch-hunt or political vendetta. Instead, it must be guided by an unwavering commitment to truth, justice, and the rule of law, thereby ensuring its credibility, legitimacy, and ultimate success.

The investigation into Wike’s alleged malfeasance is egregiously belated, and Governor Fubara’s prompt intervention is imperative to rectify this egregious oversight. The necessity for a thorough probe cannot be overstated, as it is indispensable for uncovering the truth, holding accountable those who have perpetrated wrongdoing, and restoring the public’s faith in the government. The people of Rivers State deserve a leadership that is transparent, accountable, and prioritizes their well-being and the development of the state, and Governor Fubara must demonstrate his commitment to these principles by initiating a comprehensive investigation into Wike’s tenure.

The gravity of the allegations against the former governor necessitates swift action, and the people of Rivers State demand nothing less than a thorough and transparent investigation that culminates in justice being served. By fulfilling this duty, Governor Fubara will not only be upholding the sacrosanct principle of accountability but also restoring the people’s trust in the government, thereby paving the way for a brighter future for Rivers State.

It is solely through the conduit of a meticulous and uncompromising investigation that the truth can be unearthed, justice can be administered, and the trajectory towards a future marked by prosperity and equity for the people of Rivers State can be firmly established. This imperative underscores the urgent need for a thorough probe into Mr. Wike’s tenure, rendering the present moment the most opportune and propitious time to initiate such an inquiry, thereby ensuring that the quest for accountability, truth, and justice is not perpetually relegated to the realm of the forgotten, but rather assumes its rightful position at the forefront of the state’s agenda.

Peter writing from Ikwere, Port Harcourt.

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