Nwankwo T. Nwaezeigwe, PhD, DD
Odogwu of Ibusa
Research Fellow@Exile, Institute of African Studies,
University of Nigeria, Nsukka
By a letter dated 1st March, 2023 and signed by the Senior Special Assistant on Protocol to the Governor of Rivers State Ambassador Harold A. Koko, and titled “Restricted” Governor’s Engagement, we were informed that Governor Nyesom Wike invited “Stakeholders of Igbo Ethnic Nationality Residents in Rivers State” to meeting at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Port Harcourt, on 2nd March, 2023 at 1700 Hours. The meeting which was connected with the coming March 11 Governorship election was laden with humble plea for support painted with subtle threats of ejection of all Igbo of Southeast origin from Rivers State and re-enactment of the abandoned property saga if they fail to convince their people to vote for his PDP candidate.
The question is did Nyesom Wike invite the same Igbo stakeholders in Rivers State to a meeting to decide their preferred Presidential candidate? Woe betides any Igbo stakeholder in that meeting who will campaign or vote for Nyesom Wike’s Governorship Candidate. Nyesom Wike has money, thugs, militants and the INEC to rig elections in Rivers State. Let him deploy them this time again for the Governorship election as in the Presidential election. If Labour Party has a candidate in Rivers State, then there is no question of negotiation. He is the candidate to be voted for.
Pride goeth before a fall and a naughty spirit before destruction, so goes a popular dictum in the Holy Bible. This is what Governor Nyesom Wike has come to represent today. Indeed Nyesom Wike in the words of the literary icon Chinua Achebe is like “the little bird nza who so far forgot himself after a heavy meal that he challenged his chi.” I have severally been confronted by people who know my stand on Nyesom Wike over his shameful quisling outing in the last Presidential election. My response to them is that I do not regret ever supporting Nyesom Wike. He served my political cause during the interim of my support for him. To regret supporting him at such times will amount to regretting the services rendered by one’s pair of shoes before they ridiculously worn out and consequently put into disuse. Like a worn out pair of shoes, I think the time has come to put Wike to political disuse.
If there was any writer and public affairs commentator who exhibited absolute confidence in Nyesom Wike as a patriot, I was the person. I began to defend Wike through his late Personal Assistant on New Media Simeon Nwakudu when he was Minister of State for Education. I appeared on Nigerian Television Authority (International), AIT and Channels Television (Sunrise), including a number of Radio Stations. I also wrote newspaper articles, all in defence of Nyesom Wike’s removal of Dr. Emeka Enegere as Pro-Chancellor of University of Nigeria over his high-handedness against the Vice Chancellor Prof. Bartho Okolo.
I was also notable for my unshakable support for Wike’s denial of his Igbo identity for some stated reasons. When the IPOB demanded for his head over his support for the retaliatory killings at Obigbo by the army, I defended him. I wrote and spoke in his defence over his failed PDP Presidential nomination bid. And lately, I was a frontline fan of his escapades as leader of G-5 Governors. I confronted Dr. Reuben Abati literally for what I considered a high self-assertive insult to a sitting State Governor. I did not even consider the customary implication of describing Nyesom Wike as Odogwu, even though he is not. Yet I went so far against my standing customary law as a prescribed Odogwu of Ibusa to describe him as Odogwu.
I did all these not unmindful of the fact that Nyesom Wike has a discernible carriage of an elevated political thug clothed with the noble responsibility of a very high political office. His political carriage is evocative of someone who never dreamt of taking the Ozo title and when he eventually took it by accident of fate he adorned himself with multiple anklets up to his knees. Such a man cannot be taken as Odogwu.
The concept of Odogwu in Igbo cosmology goes beyond being a chief warrior, for not every warrior or chief warrior qualifies to adorn the garb of Odogwu. The first characteristic of an Odogwu is moral uprightness. Nyesom Wike lacks this quality. The second characteristic is that an Odogwu must be principled. Nyesom Wike lacks principle. He is a man who cannot be trusted to stand by his words. He once told Nigerians that the same APC on whose behalf he wounded and killed his people was the Lucifer of Nigerian politics.
The third characteristic of an Odogwu is truthfulness. Nyesom Wike lacks truthfulness. The fourth characteristic is that an Odogwu should not be an inordinate lover and worshipper of money. Nyesom Wike is a shameless inordinate lover and worshipper of money. The fifth characteristic is that an Odogwu should not be a saboteur. Nyesom Wike is an unrepentant saboteur. The sixth characteristic is that an Odogwu should not embark on a war of blame. Nyesom Wike has just informed Nigerians that his G-5-led Governors’ war against Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Dr. Iyorcha Ayu was not based on principle but selfish-driven and thus a war of blame.
Finally, the seventh characteristic is that an Odogwu should not shed not just innocent blood but the blood of his kinsmen and those he is commissioned by the right of his office to lead and protect. This was the same act Nyesom Wike committed when he ordered his thugs to kill and maim the people of Rivers State for refusing to vote his cash n’ carry Presidential candidate Alhaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
Nyesom Wike claims to be a Christian who openly claimed to oppose a Muslim-Muslim ticket as much as he opposed the Presidency going back to the North. How can a sensible man of his high office renegade against both his vow and the collective interest of his people? We are not talking of collective material interest, but collective spiritual interest that bothers on life. Such a man can only be a Judas Iscariot reincarnate, which equally makes him a coward like Judas Iscariot. If Nyesom Wike is not a coward let him come out and dance on the streets of Port Harcourt that cowardly dance called “agreement is agreement” in celebration of the purported Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Presidential election victory.
For the likes of Nyesom Wike, the Holy Bible has a space of judgment for them. Acts of the Apostles 1:20 puts it this way: “For it is written in the book of Psalms, let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. Like Nebuchadnezzar, Nyesom Wike has carried his people to Babylon in captivity. And like Nebuchadnezzar we pray that Nyesom Wike be visited with the same judgment.