Let me say this unequivocally from the outset. A Southern-Christian is completely eligible to be Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. With no shadow of a doubt, a Christian from Southern Nigeria is as a lot certified as a Muslim from Northern Nigeria to manage the FCT. So, this intervention isn’t an endorsement of Sheikh Ahmad Gumi’s latest diatribe in opposition to a Southern-Christian Minister of Abuja. Nonetheless, whereas a Southern-Christian is eligible to be FCT Minister, that Southern-Christian, similar to any Northern-Muslim, have to be a match and correct individual. I submit that Nyesom Wike, the rumbustious and self-regarding former governor of Rivers State, isn’t a match and correct individual to be FCT Minister.
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Properly, right here’s why. Abuja belongs to all Nigerians; it’s an emblem of nationwide unity, of frequent nationality. Due to this fact, it insults the sensibility of Nigeria and the intelligence of Nigerians to nominate somebody reputed for utilizing public workplace for self-aggrandisement, political brigandage and personal acquire as FCT Minister. Fact is, Wike epitomises the worst in any politician. He’s a brash and bullying narcissist, who sees political energy by way of slim self-interests. Former Governor Ayo Fayose as soon as stated: “If Wike says he’ll combat you, he’ll combat you to the top.” However Wike is completely irrelevant with out political workplace and management of public funds. They’re what give him oxygen. Therefore, it’s offensive to permit him to make use of Abuja to advance his private and political pursuits as he did magisterially in Rivers State.
However we should begin with Bola Tinubu, the idiosyncratic president, who made Wike Abuja Minister. Tinubu has proven a predilection for private rule and uncooked train of political energy. Regardless of his weak mandate, having been rejected overwhelmingly by 63 per cent of the voters, Tinubu is ruling Nigeria like an absolute monarch, with utter conceitedness and appalling insensitivity: conceitedness in making his political appointments; insensitivity in spending lavishly to feed the luxuries of his presidency.
Wike can be politically irrelevant with out being FCT Minister. The workplace provides him the political clout and wherewithal to cripple the PDP and switch Fubara into his poodle
Take his whooping N2.18 trillion supplementary finances. Tinubu budgets N13.5 billion to renovate his residence and that of his vice-president; N5.8 billion to purchase autos for the presidential villa; N1.5 billion to purchase SUVs for his spouse’s “workplace”, and N4 Billion for a presidential yacht. Bloomberg, the worldwide monetary information outlet, says: “Nigerian President Bola Tinubu’s first supplementary finances features a fleet of SUVs for himself and his spouse, a presidential yacht and the renovation of his villa amid a value of residing disaster for a number of the poorest folks on this planet.” On the similar time, the Income Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Fee, RMAFC, authorised a 114 per cent wage enhance for political workplace holders, together with the president. In the meantime, Tinubu’s son flew a presidential jet to look at a polo match in Kano. Add all these collectively, you have got a president who places his private consolation and the consolation of others in energy above the wellbeing of extraordinary residents.
However Tinubu additionally places politicking above governing. Since his first day in workplace, he has made political calculations to shore up assist for his re-election in 2027. Wike’s appointment as FCT Minister is central to such calculations. After all, Wike’s appointment was, partially, to compensate him for his controversial function in Tinubu’s election, however it’s additionally to bolster Tinubu’s assist base within the South-South. Because of this, Tinubu has given Wike extra energy than any FCT Minister ever had.
As an illustration, Tinubu exempted FCT from the Treasury Single Account, TSA, launched to deal with corruption and mismanagement in authorities parastatals. The exemption provides Wike huge management over the assets and revenues of the FCT. Tinubu additionally authorised the creation of the FCT Civil Service Fee, which might give Wike huge administrative powers. But, the FCT has no stand-alone legislature to carry Wike accountable. As a Minister, he’s answerable to Tinubu who, for political causes, will look the opposite manner. Thus, Tinubu has made Wike the Emperor of Abuja very like he was the Emperor of Rivers State!
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However Wike exemplifies the saying that energy corrupts, and absolute energy corrupts completely. Certainly, in his first day in workplace as FCT Minister, he exuded magisterial energy by parading an armoured Lexus LX 600 SUV with the plate quantity “FCT-01”. Those that didn’t know that politics and authorities is in regards to the actualisation of human flourishing hailed Wike as “Mr Mission” for constructing bridges and flyovers regardless that Rivers State has among the many highest unemployment and poverty charges in Nigeria, and his authorities didn’t pay salaries and pensions for years. However even when Wike was “Mr Mission”, he was additionally “Mr Demolition”. As governor, he demolished the properties of numerous political opponents, as he’s more likely to do in Abuja. And, after all, political thuggery and killings had been prevalent underneath his administration. Certainly, of their e book titled ‘Nigeria: What Everybody Wants To Know’, John Campbell and Matthew Web page stated the ruling occasion in Rivers State “armed and funded vigilante teams as a device for rigging elections.”
As I stated, it was for such political utility that Tinubu appointed and empowered Wike because the FCT Minister. Wike has already proven his appreciation by pledging his dedication to Tinubu’s re-election. Lately, he informed Rivers State APC members who visited him: “We are going to vote for Tinubu once more in 2027.” But, he insists he’s a PDP member. Certainly, PDP governors paid him a courtesy go to, regardless that he informed them point-blank that he would marketing campaign in opposition to PDP’s presidential candidate in 2027. No severe democracy works that manner. However Wike has tightened his grip on the PDP and can go for the jugular, guaranteeing the occasion is useless and sunk by 2027.
But, Wike can solely flex such political muscle groups due to his place as a robust FCT Minister. If he was simply one other Minister, with out Abuja as his private fiefdom, he received’t bask in political grandstanding as if he was nonetheless a robust governor. Which raises the query: Provided that Wike has no relevance with out political energy, why is he ready to make use of the pivotal workplace of FCT Minister to undermine the occasion system that underpins Nigeria’s democracy? Absolutely, it’s the peak of political conceitedness and insensitivity that, for egocentric causes, Tinubu permits Wike to make use of Abuja, Nigeria’s administrative and political capital and an emblem of neutrality, as an influence base to pursue his private agenda and damaging politics.
That poisonous politics was on show not too long ago when Wike tried to set off the impeachment of Siminalayi Fubara, his fast successor, lower than six months into his governorship. Fubara was Rivers State’s Accountant-Basic underneath Wike, who hand picked him as his successor. When EFCC declared Fubara needed and tried to arrest him earlier than the election over alleged misuse of N435bn, Wike stood four-square behind him. So, how come he needed Fubara impeached inside six months in workplace, saying “impeachment isn’t a navy coup”?
Wike dismissed allegations that he fell out with Fubara so shortly as a result of he refused to fulfill his demand for N20bn each month. Reasonably, he stated: “I’ve to be politically related, and I need to keep my political construction.” However how do politicians keep their political construction? After all, they use public funds as political foreign money. So, it’s laborious to consider that public cash and contract awards will not be on the coronary heart of Wike’s animus in direction of Fubara.
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However I repeat: Wike can be politically irrelevant with out being FCT Minister. The workplace provides him the political clout and wherewithal to cripple the PDP and switch Fubara into his poodle. But, Abuja’s neutrality calls for that no politician ought to use it as a base to combat political opponents and toxify Nigerian politics. Wike as FCT Minister offends Nigeria’s sensibility!