By Enemi George
“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.”
― Yevgeny Yevtushenko
I woke up today to the spurious propaganda spread all over social media and implying that His Excellency Nyesom E. Wike (CON) spited and mocked other ethnic nationalities during a reception organized in his honour by the Ogbakor Ikwerre ethnic nationality. Carefully doctored audio recordings and video clips have been circulated on social media to achieve this very malevolent propaganda. I received this propaganda with shock and sadness. Shocked at the extent people can go to undo others in the name of politics and sad that at this time and age some Rivers people still choose the part of blackmail.
The Event, The Speeches, The Speech
The civic reception in honour of the governor was colourfully organized and massively attended. It was aired live on several traditional and new media channels. I attended this event alongside notable Ijaw sons and daughters including my big brother Chief. Dumo Lulu Briggs and my dear sister Ann Kio Briggs, a lover of the Ijaw nation.
The governor’s ascent to the stage for his coronation as Dike Onha 1 of the Ikwerre nation and his speech was preceded by a wrestling bout which was thrilling to the enthusiastic crowd and of course to the governor, who himself is a lover of the traditional wrestling sport, which has always fascinated him. An essential and interesting component of the wrestling bout was the chanting and singing of traditional wrestling songs. The governor danced along and sang along as hefty young men engaged themselves in the competition. Of course, he could not wait for his turn to sing and prove that he was a “home boy” too.
Several speakers, such as O.C.J Okocha (SAN) and Rt. Hon. Austin Opara had spoken and had all thanked Rivers people for giving their son an opportunity to serve, even in the most unlikely circumstances.
The Governor’s Speech
In his speech, the governor thanked Rivers people for giving him the opportunity to serve, he asked his people to help him thank Rivers people, he thanked Dr. Peter Odili for his support all these years and thanked other of his friends who are not indigenes of Rivers state for their support.
He preached a Pan-Rivers movement in the interest of Rivers people and insisted that he will only be friends with those people who have the interest of Rivers state at heart. He said he can only support a Pan-Rivers minded person to succeed him, not an ethnocentric or tribalistic person.
The governor expressed his frustration about those critics, nay-sayers and detractors who rather than contribute to the growth of the state criticize every developmental project in the state. He gave an example of negative comments about the new and very ambitious 3 flyover/bridge projects which his administration had just begun. He lamented that detractors insinuate that he is only interested in developing Port Harcourt and Obio-Akpor. He debunked such insinuations and insisted that all of his projects are for the use and benefit of all Rivers people. He said he will never focus on only a part of the state. He gave instances of other parts of the state such as Opobo and Andoni which are seeing giant projects from this administration.
Merry Men Of Mischief
As is characteristic of a certain class of malevolent politicians and their cronies in River State, the governor’s speech was quickly manipulated to mislead the public and generate negative sentiments to score cheap political gains. The Nyesom Wike I know is a detribalized man desperate to bring to bear an unprecedented infrastructural revolution that will speak of him even many years after him. These merry men of mischief are once again steaming their broth of deceit with their cauldron of mischief.
“It is an occupational hazard that anyone who has spent her life learning how to lie eventually becomes bad at telling the truth.”
― Ally Carter
Enemi Alabo George, the Honourable Member representing Asari-Toru Constituency II in the Rivers State House of Assembly, writes from Port Harcourt.