By Abiodun Komolafe
If we go back to the history of Nigeria, the truth is: dear fatherland has learnt nothing. In the days of Obafemi Awolowo and Ladoke Akintola, this was how they started inventing stuff that had never been in existence; and that has continued to trouble the Nigerian state, even till this day. Therefore, what’s yet unclear to the likes of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, and his protégé, Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State is that, since society is like a cyclical entity, the chicks will always come home to roost. Since what goes around comes around, whether Wike, who was governor until May 28, 2023, has his way or Fubara forces his way through, whatever it is now will surely come back.
Nigerians must learn that, if we crave a just society, there is a price for it. So, whosoever wins an election should be sworn-in; and whosoever loses should go home and prepare with a view to re-climbing the horse that has fallen him or her. If we don’t have that understanding, if it is not internalized and, most importantly, if it is all about power at all costs, then there will always be problems of unimaginable proportions to contend with. That’s what’s happening to the political gladiators in Rivers State. Since nobody wants to lose, doing the careless permutations and reckless realignments with the winning forces has been the catalyst for Nigeria’s sorry pass. In Nigeria, governance is secondary, if not tertiary, while self is primary, and the ultimate. That’s why, even the villagers are getting used to high figures. The prices of our cars for official duties are in billions of naira and expenditures over some few things are in trillions. But there is nothing to show for them. So, what type of society is ours? Look around: the roads are horrible and infrastructures are non-existent. As a matter of fact, one can take segments and keep writing.
There is a serious lesson in the Wike-Fubara feud: when one aligns with a force just to achieve one’s goal, one must be cautious of how one invests in that goal. For example, when was their agreement solidified? One doubts if it’s up to ten years. But look at how it has faltered and fallen like a pack of cards? Well, Wike may not yet understand that power calculus is a very dicey thing: once you are out of power, your power turns to powder. But again, when was Fubara brought in that he has grown wings to the extent of showing his true colours? What has he swallowed within such a short period of time that he now wants to bite the finger that fed him, so soon? Why didn’t he do that when he was campaigning and begging the people, including Wike, for votes? Yes, Fubara should have told Riverians not to vote for him because of Wike but because of what he (Fubara) was capable of doing. Had the then governorship candidate been bold enough to tell that to the people – and the people voted for him – he would not have been under Wike’s shackles.
Incontestably, there are inevitabilities of certain events in life. The philosophers attempted to unravel them but they couldn’t. Even the scientists had to quickly agree to some certain things that lie in the hands of fate which are beyond the understanding of mere mortals. The First Republic lasted at the backbone of the practice of politics in Great Britain. So, when situations that were not typically similar to our own homegrown political incidences started arising, problems started showing up. For example, ‘Operation Wet e’ was never in Britain; and ditto for the ‘Wild, Wild West’. The Awolowo-Akintola fracas, which once defined politics in Western Nigeria, didn’t happen in Britain. It’s because Nigeria’s leaders could not match it; and … that signaled the doom of the First Republic.
Back in those days, the Awolowos of this world had examples from other climes, especially Great Britain to fall back on. In other words, they always found examples in the West. As such, politicians of that era were under obligations to obey or conform to the doings of the party because there were examples to draw from. It’s not that it was easier to do so, it’s because they had no choice.
Indeed, that’s where the Whites are wiser. They determine what happens from the crown to the government. They see themselves as certain special people who run the affairs of the state and, be it at work or in the church – in everything they do – they conjure their thinking around the fact that they’re going to give an account of what they do here on earth to a superior power, whether they like it or not. Over there, the judge is not just the judge because the system has so made him. Instead, he is the judge on behalf of the people and he or she will give an account. Indeed, that’s what regulates that society.
Go to Britain! The Lord Chancery has a responsibility to the King, not the Prime Minister. So, the Prime Minister cannot just wake up one day and decree that a Brewery be built in Ijebu-Jesa, my Native Nazareth. No, it doesn’t go that way! Those people are not used to that arbitrariness. Theirs is a clime where orderliness reigns supreme; and that has become a tradition. They have a regime of usages that nobody, even when he or she wakes up from the wrong side of the bed, can just deviate from. It will be strange to them. Nigeria’s problems emanated – subsequently became aggravated – because, culturally, all the laws and the norms being practised in Nigeria were foreign in context and content. As a matter of fact, they were migrated social structures.
Politics contains an attachment, and that attachment is on its own a whole independent and different ballgame. When the man, Fubara and Wike were doing their things and plotting their graphs, it was not in the open and it was not debated democratically. Surely certainly, the fallout is what’s now coming out and bringing everybody together. At that time, the nitty-gritty of that concocted connivance was never meant for public consumption but, now, it has become public property. So, Nigeria’s political gladiators should learn one or two lessons from that. As Yorubas would always say, ‘Oro ti a ni ki Baba ma gbo, Baba naa ni yio pari re’ (The father of the house would be finally consulted to resolve all the knotty issues that were previously hidden from him). As fate would have it, all that was cooked in secret, Wike and Fubara will now have to tell the world how it all happened.
Tragically, while Wike may not yet appreciate the structure and the texture of the trouble in which he has courted, Fubara may have yet to grasp the shape and the size of the amazing mess in which he is conveniently immersed, all because of the struggle for power and relevance. Now that they have signed up their individual destinies, the clear prescription for Wike is to learn some lessons in power from Rotimi Amaechi, his predecessor in office. Before Fubara also contemplates outshining his master, let him grab a copy of Robert Greene’s ’48 Laws of Power’. Otherwise, he may need to sit at the feet of Chris Ngige a la Okija Shrine to avoid finding himself in the cycle of crises, again and again.
A word is enough for the wise!
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!