Amaechi, Wike: Repudiation of transcendence

Wike-andAmaechiIt  might, upon contemplation, be deemed a staple of Nigerian politics. But even in an era so impoverished in terms of ideas, one in which much of individual conduct is poor and there is little redeeming value in the words the leaders speak, that exchange between Minister of Transport, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike a few days ago must horrify even the most pessimistic or cynical follower of the nation’s politics.

The war between these once-upon-a-time allies, of course, is the stuff of such legend as the best political fiction writer on loyalty and betrayal, friendship and enmity, has yet to find the ink to pen.

But their latest exchange of blows over next weekend’s repeat election into National Assembly seats for Rivers State would appear to have broken all rules of combat in a boxing ring: blows below the belt, directly under the buckle, pulling of balls, biting of ears, elbowing, spitting in each other’s face, what have both combatants not experimented with! However, as rules go, these are not acceptable in the boxing ring of politics.

Wike, described Amaechi, his former mentor and predecessor in office, as a man who did not have “proper parental training.”
This was his response to Amaechi’s earlier diatribe on a radio station in which Wike was branded a desperate man who could ‘sell his mother.’

Because the invectives they mouth are symptomatic of the garbage in their minds, the poor judgment they bring to bear on the affairs of state should not be much of a surprise as evidenced in how they have made Nigeria’s given heaven so much of a hell!

They then went on endlessly hurling allegations of corruption, murder and sundry crimes against each other, using the most abusive of words.

The records may yet throw up worse vitriol from Nigerian politicians. Nigeria, after all, has a way of plumbing the nadir of negativity in almost every sphere to the extent that when you think you’ve seen the worst, something or someone shows up to best your trophy holder! Even so, the bile that currently spews forth from the mouths of our so-called leaders should compel an immediate adoption of that recommendation of sound mind examination and certification for those who seek to occupy high offices.

Even in these days of Donald Trump and his incendiary brand of politics in the United States of America, the Wike-versus-Amaechi trade of tirades is unedifying of Nigeria’s political process, insults the dignity of the people of Rivers State, nay Nigeria, and reduces both men to nothing more than intemperate, desperate hustlers for power.

The language they have both used in their campaigns against each other has been most indecorous, even violent, and their messages, if any exists, have been devoid of any thrust. The vitriol both men have unleashed on the air waves has polluted the atmosphere in Rivers State and scared the people to the extent that it would be vain optimism to expect a violence-free election next Saturday.

Their mutually destructive comments, it must be said, offend the sensibilities not only of Rivers State citizens but assault the dignity of the Nigerian people.

When servants of state peddle so much bile and vitriol, they do so at the expense of the state and its citizens. When harmful grandiloquence takes the place of eloquence of ideas or courtesy, or even outright silence, an incurable weakness of the mind is at play! There is no greater sign of emptiness than subjecting serious matters of state to bombast when constructive thoughtfulness is needed. With their words and actions, Amaechi and Wike are wrenching from the exalted positions of a governor and a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria all that edify those stations. And that is a shame. Jean-Paul Sartre, the French philosopher, afterall, wrote some of his most uplifting lines about a word: Transcendence. It is what makes the human being a little closer to a god, ability to go beyond circumstance, beyond what is given, to mould something higher and more ennobling!

Democracy may be nothing without respect for a free, fair and open discourse of all issues. But, as this newspaper once pointed out in an editorial, that process is conditioned upon the dignified propriety of conduct in speech and deeds popularly known as decorum.

An appropriate use of words and language by all, but especially by those in leadership positions from where enduring examples are set in the public space, is vital for democracy to thrive! Democracy, as opposed to any other form of government, sets so much store of the substance of symbols or the substantive power of symbolisms. Words spoken and gestures made are as important as the actions taken, without any ambiguities! Democracy ceases to be when supposed democrats speak the language of violence and forceful domination.

It dies wherever impunity lives. Democracy also presumes that justice, equality or equity is automatically embraced by an innate decency or humanity in all, irrespective of creed, origin or any classification for that matter. Hence it presumes one man’s dream would never be, or allowed to be, another’s nightmare. Democracy is edified by transcendental, noble, refined souls.

Indeed it is hard to improve on what this newspaper has preached repeatedly on decorum in Nigeria’s political space: “Decorum reflects a finesse of language and behaviour, exemplified by civility and courtesy, and is gratifying to reason and the senses. The message being that ‘civil, courteous and respectful discourse and behaviour are conducive to the democratic and harmonious airing of concern and decision-making’.”

Certainly, uncouth words as well as inappropriate deeds have been intrinsically woven into the fabric of the governing process in Nigeria with the result being inelegant conduct by persons in power and, of course, a very poor productivity level on their part.

Because the invectives they mouth are symptomatic of the garbage in their minds, the poor judgment they bring to bear on the affairs of state should not be much of a surprise as evidenced in how they have made Nigeria’s given heaven so much of a hell!

I dare say that such decorous carriage as edifies and enriches a country like Nigeria has been found lacking in some cases because of the low quality of those minds in power and the stupefying passivity of citizens or, in many cases, their exhilaration at the trivial. In any case, they hold their leaders to no account. They either do not pay any attention or when they do, merely cheer the most entertaining sound-bites, most appealing lies, or most attractive token of gifts. Absolutely, not any ideas, not any long-term plan for the improvement of their situation. Which is why, in all of the violent fight over the soul of Rivers State, the people will be the ultimate losers!

As I once wrote of neighbouring Bayelsa State after the last governorship election which returned Seriake Dickson to office, Rivers, another oil-producing state, with huge funds allocation from the federation account, ought to be one of the truly developed states of Nigeria today. Of course, Rotimi Amaechi is on record as having taken governance and infrastructural development a notch higher than previous regimes in the state but it is reasonable to conclude that much more could have been done and an average leadership, devoid of long-term vision, has kept most of the people poor and infrastructure in the state in not as good a shape as their documented wealth should have guaranteed.

Tragically, power is sought with so much desperation and violence, verbal and physical. And when these leaders seek power, the use to which they would put it never gets explained to the people. No contest of ideas, only a rain of curses! No vision available for the people to interrogate, only abuses to cheer or boo!

So as the re-run election into various Rivers State seats in the National Assembly holds next Saturday, an extreme poverty of good political choices is already on display as nothing is being sold to the people by way of ideas. Only name-calling and abuses.

Very few among the contestants are articulating any grand vision for the state or the constituents and, in a classic demonstration of desperation for power for its own sake as well as a travesty of the democratic process, little talk of service to the constituents has deserved a mention on the airwaves.

Nigerians, I dare say again, may have resigned themselves to this unfortunate fate of politics without ideas or governance without a thought for the future. And their impoverishment will continue for as long as brigandage reigns, with leaders who cannot transcend their accidental pleasant circumstances.

Between the two warring camps, it may be difficult to predict a winner or loser in next week’s poll. But the people of Rivers State who are sure to be ill served as a result of recriminations and pettiness in the struggle for power are confirmed losers, defeated so roundly by politicians whose words and deeds repudiate the human capacity for transcendence.

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  • The Trib3sman

    Wike has upped the ante in terms of infrastructural development in Rivers State. Amaechi left us with too many abandoned projects.

    • Izonebi

      Rivers State has been quiet in what sense. The diatribe never stopped, in truth this will even be Amaechi’s first major response to all that Wike has been saying for the past 10 months.
      If you live in Rivers State and speak the truth you would never say the state just became restive, peace has taken flight, sleep has been murdered since March, 2015.

      • eneboy


  • Izonebi

    Wike has upped the ante indeed, with most of the schools built by the last administration shut down. With daily killings in the Orashi region, with the return to roads built with open gutters, with the city of Port harcourt overrun with filth and a chaotic traffic situation. We should learn to say the truth not because of politics but for posterity sake.
    Amaechi had his shortcomings but he had a vision which he followed and still remains unprecedented till the distractions of 2012-15 orchestrated by no other than the present Governor.
    I have asked those in Wike’s team what is the “NEW Rivers Vision” and all you get is a thunderous silence.

    • eneboy

      The new rivers vision is “destroy ameachi”,
      That’s what wike is out to do instead of delivering dividends of democracy

    • ubong

      In all remafications, Amaechi, in a civilized society is not fit to be a minister of the federal republic. It should be left to play local community politics, where he could easily blindfold the already suffering masses and gullible nigerians. His comment and utterances is not befitting of federal minister. Amaech and Wike are benefiiciary of a society where citizens do not know their rights or understand that dividend of democracy is not base on political party but on individuals mindset to work for the welfare of the voters. Amaechi and Wike are total disgrace to mankind. Until nigerians and people like ameachi learnt from the shrewd, intelligent and politically smart northern political leaders,, poor rivers state citizens will continue to suffer. I hope President Buhari calls Amaechi to decency and let him understnd that he is currently a federal minister and should focus on his appointment remits for good results instead of abusing rivers state people

      • Izonebi

        and in all ramification Wike is fit to be a governor? The fact remains that as much as Amaechi’s comment are uncalled for did anyone bother to call Wike a sitting governor to order when he went about making incendiary comments? Wike was applauded and the fact remains that every time Wike visits a place and speaks the place erupts in violence. He came out and said that the killings in Omoku were cultists and because the perpetrators knew he was covering their identity their attacks increased in tempo and has been more brazen.
        As at today kidnappings and killings has been heightened, economic activities are shut down, you dare not come out after 5pm. He has failed to address any challenge and all he spend his time talking about is Amaechi.
        Amaechi’s recent interviews were simply responses to Wike’s continuous attacks on his person, nobody remains quiet forever when his character is been impugned maliciously and continuously.

      • Izonebi

        apologies if my comments seem confrontational but the truth must be stated, Wike has spent the last 10 months accusing and abusing Amaechi, can he please tell us what he wants to do?
        We all saw how Fayose handled the nomination of Fayemi, he knew he did not need to fight him but we saw Wike using all he had to frustrate Amaechi’s nomination, Wike has chosen the path of war even when it is not needed and eventually he finally got Amaechi’s response. I know of people who are on the payroll of the Rivers Government just for one person, it is crazy.
        We all know that if Wike concentrates on governance he will be beyond his depths so he raises a lot of dusts to mask his inadequacies.

        • ubong

          It is the poor river state people that are suffering. A friedn of mine was on Amaechi pay roll during his tenure and when ihe told me about it. i was blunt t let him know my feelings about his contribution to the suffering of his people while he comes to London to waste his perople money. I do not support any nigerian politician beside president Buhari. At least we all know most of these thieves and rascals, got elected becuase they belong to a party that Buhari contested. You and I know that most of these people do not have suffering masses interest. They see nigerians as empty noise makers and very gullible people to govern and tread upon like animalsand we should not be in support of them, no matter the party. We should be able to put parttisan mindset away when it has to do with some people trying to fend anarchy and trouble that only the poor and innocent people wil be killed while their wards are protected with state instrument-police etc

          • Izonebi

            I like your objectivity. I support ideas and not political parties and that is why I support Buhari, who in my own estimation is a man of integrity compared to the former President.

            On Rivers State, I am born and bred in Port Harcourt and though I have ended up living in other cities, I have my roots there. I saw this state slide into anarchy and a complete dilapidation of infrastructures from the 90s through to 2008. Amaechi became governor and he did his best to restore the city of Port Harcourt and its environs to some level of beauty, schools were rebuilt, hospitals were rebuilt, I grew up on Olu Obasanjo Street, this was a road built with underground drainage in the 70s and ended up with open drainages in the 90s. Today I drive through Olu Obasanjo, D-Line, Diobu, Old Town and I see streets with proper sidewalks and underground drainages, I am filled first with nostalgia and then gratitude to a man who saw how a beautiful city once called the Garden City had been destroyed by his fellow politicians and he did his best to restore the beauty of the city. Rivers State became safe again, public schools in aesthetics and structure were once again a beauty to behold.

            I know it is too early to judge Wike, but the question I have always asked his supporters is, “What is Wike’s vision for Rivers State?” The Bible says out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks, Amaechi was always saying what he wanted to do as Governor at every opportunity and he ended up delivering on most of what he was talking about but in the past 10 months Wike has never at any fora stated what he wants to do and how he plans to do it. All he talks about is “Amaechi this, Amaechi that, APC this, APC that.”

            It is troubling and some people blinded by sentiments are telling me this man, is better than his predecessor? I weep for Rivers State which has just taken a million steps into the dark ages.

            A man who justifies the killings of his people by ascribing the tag cultists on them, as if that justifies why they should be killed. How do you write off the beheading of a man and his family as a cult rivalry? The targeted killing of people and their families in their homes as the clashes between rival cult groups. An evil has taken over Rivers State and the most appalling thing are the churches who give their pulpits to irresponsible men to spew invectives.

            I weep for Rivers State.

          • ubong

            it is a generic problem among nigerians, particularly among people from southern nigeria to spews the personl hatred on pages of newspaper. I do not support any nigerian who by the gulliblity of nigerians assume positon of public trust only to turn blind eyes to the condition of suffering masses. No alphabeth , whether APC , PDP , LP etc develop or empower the poor masses but the individual with human conscience that can develop and empower human being. I do not subscribe to the fact that you ,must belong to a ruling party to do what is good for human being, using their collective wealth at your disposal. It is wickedness and greed that give room to do and die politics particularly among our southern brothers. Election took place in the Northern region among political parties, yet no acrimony mong those defeated, probably they are politically shrewd, mature and intelligent to make sure maintain the political power they collectively worked for among all Northern political leaders. Wike need support and nhe must be supported and given space to deliver, if he has the mindset to do it. We should learnt from the political maturity of Northern politica leaders and accept the fact that you do not need to belong to aruling party to pay workers their salary, develop communities and provide social amnities. Peace reign among defeated northern political aspirant imply becuase from outset, they had one main political motive-to make sure they used the integrity of Buhari to get back Political Power. This was maturely plotted and executed using the establisshed division and lackof unity among different southern tribes. Again, Wike should be given chance to do what is needed and if he is not able, 4 years is not too far from now,, if people like you to sanitized the minds of the vulnerable people to do the needfuland vote him out.

    • Asuk

      You comment pretends to be the truth but it’s not. Let’s learn to accept the outcome of an election certified by the highest court of the land. This is truly the problem.

      • Izonebi

        Please where did you read in my comment where I mentioned the Supreme Court judgement? Please read, comprehend before commenting.

      • Izonebi

        can you state what is Wike’s vision, that was the real question. We knew Amaechi’s programmes and the level of achievement/non-achievement. Please what is Wike’s vision on education, health, security, power, and other infrastructures. What is his policy on engendering economic growth in Rivers State?

      • Izonebi

        Since you could not address any of the issues I raised and will rather be pedestrian can you please read again and state what the Supreme Court has to do with my comment once again reproduced below:

        Wike has upped the ante indeed, with most of the schools built by the last administration shut down. With daily killings in the Orashi region, with the return to roads built with open gutters, with the city of Port harcourt overrun with filth and a chaotic traffic situation. We should learn to say the truth not because of politics but for posterity sake.

        Amaechi had his shortcomings but he had a vision which he followed and still remains unprecedented till the distractions of 2012-15 orchestrated by no other than the present Governor.

        I have asked those in Wike’s team what is the “NEW Rivers Vision” and all you get is a thunderous silence.

        • Asuk

          At the heart of this matter is Wike as governor believe it or not, that’s the reason Apc is mad. Keep pretending.

          • Izonebi

            Obviously you have no response to my question, so I will move on. In politics the opposition will always be unhappy when it is not in power so stop thinking you just solved a mystery.
            The heart of the matter is that Rivers has just taken a major step backwards in governance, growth and development.

      • Izonebi

        Sorry for my outburst but I get frustrated when we chose to run away from the issues and throw up unnecessary conjectures. We all know Wike never had an agenda from the onset.

  • Fuzio

    Amaechi should allow his successor space to concentrate on governance. He should not inject himself back into Rivers politics after completing his two terms as governor. Peter Odilli offered him that space so no less is expected from him.

  • Arabakpura

    The summary is that there are no ELDERS in Rivers Sate who could mediate and call the two gladiators to order!

  • Asuk

    AMEACHI’S resolve not the have Wike as a successor is at the root of the crisis in Rivers state. The ultimate way to peace is for Ameachi to recognize and accept Wike as governor. These once worked closely together for years, they must forgive each other. Let the people’s vote count.