The uncharitable Wike
By Bishir Dauda
At this interesting time when our country is passing through so many challenges that border on nation-building, there are some so-called leaders who are capitalizing on our fault lines to satisfy their personal and political interests.
One of such opportunistic leaders is the Governor of Rivers State, Barrister NyesomeWike. It is utterly provocative and uncharitable for a governor to go and order for the demolition of Rainbow Town Central Mosque located at the Trans-Amadi Area of Port Harcourt in spite of clear evidences that the Mosque was legally built. We have learnt that the case started during the reign of the past Governor, RotimiAmaech.
But the utterances of Governor Wike shortly before the illegal action in which he claimed that Rivers State is a Christian State, changed the entire narrative about the hidden motive for the demolition exercise. We know in Nigeria, some state governors use politics or religion to demolish structures belonging to their perceived enemies as what we saw in Kaduna between Nasir el-Rufa’i and Senator UsmanHunkuyi. Thus, this demolition too is just part of the blue-print of Rivers State government to not only persecute the Muslims in the state but also implement an agenda of turning Rivers into a Christian state even at the detriment of our constitution, peace and justice.
The agenda to our understanding include divide and rule, to enable the governor manipulate religion to score cheap political feat and distract the good people of Rivers State from holding him accountable. Nigerians are wiser today.
Governor Gannnduje’s intervention
At this juncture, we commend the timely intervention of the Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje who resorted to acceptable legal and democratic action. We are solidly behind Governor Ganduje in this crusade. We know the unwarranted attack against Governor Ganduje by Wike was a blackmail to stop not only Ganduje but other well-meaning Nigerians from pursuing justice for the victims of Wike’s illegality.
It is laughable that an irredentist like Wike who runs his state like a personal company, has the guts to accuse someone of corruption.
Call to youth
Nigerian youth regardless of our differences must not allow selfish politicians and religious bigots to manipulate us. We should not let amnesia afflict us to ignore the oldest trick Nigerian politicians like Wike employ to divide and rule us, that is religion. Nigerian youth are the greatest stakeholders in the Nigeria Project; if we allow regional champions and religious bigots destabilize the country in the name of politics, we will suffer much more than anyone else.
Firstly, we are calling upon patriotic Nigerian citizens, Like General AbdussalamiAbubakar, Reverend Mathew Hassan Kuka, CAN President, His Eminence, SultanSa’aduAbubakar among others, to use their influence and the various peace platforms they chair, to call Governor Wike to order and make him rebuild the mosque and compensate the Muslims. We feel that if Wike’s illegality goes unchallenged, it would not augur well with the peace and unity of Nigeria.
Secondly, Nigerians should learn a lesson from this episode by taking preventive measures through the ballot box, we can prevent irredentists from assuming sensitive public offices such as governor, president etc. Persons like Governor Wike are not good materials for national leadership. In Nigeria, today, we need leaders who have the discipline, courage and tolerance to sustain national unity and integration as envisioned by our founding fathers.
Dauda wrote from SabuwarUnguwa, Katsina and
is National Coordinator Coalition of Northern Youth Organizations for National Integration