It is amazing how very close pals could turn into formidable enemies. When two people are close and work together to get to greater heights, you expect success to cement their relationship. You expect them to be comrade in arms and be there for each other at all times and have each other’s back. You expect them to celebrate each other and continue to work to advance their fortunes and surmounting adversities together. In an ideal situation, this is what one would expect.
But this is not what has obtained in the relationship of former Governor Rotimi Amaechi (popularly known as “The Dollar Man”) and his former Chief of Staff now Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike. After Governor Amaechi seconded Mr. Wike into the cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan, things began to fall apart between the two. A lot of variables have been propped as being responsible for this ugly turn of events, but it is important to note that one could only go by their public recriminations against each other since it is difficult to know what transpired behind closed doors between the two.
Based on the public case made by Governor Amaechi, the ambition of Mr. Wike to become the governor of Rivers State was not fair to the other sections of the state who should have equal rights and access to the post. Governor Amaechi’s position was that the state belongs to all and all should be made to feel a sense of belonging. They should not feel excluded. This, according to Amaechi, is because two Ikwere sons should not rule the state consecutively to the exclusion of others.
It is difficult not to see this point being made by “The Dollar Man” Amaechi. Though, one is not from Rivers State, this is a position of a statesman. It was clearly an effort to encourage inclusiveness, fairness and balance. It was evident that as human beings ambitions could be blinding most of the times. Only very few human beings have the innate capacity to control their ambitions and not allow them to grow morbid. But this was not the case with Mr. Wike. He wanted to be governor and not even Amaechi could stop him, regardless of whether it was fair to others or not.
Having become a minister in GEJ’s cabinet, Mr. Wike developed a swollen head. He felt he was now bigger than his former boss. He felt that he too could become governor and did not hide his desire. That his former boss tried to dissuade him did not go down well with him. He was determined to go ahead with his ambition. Then, there arose the feud between the first lady, Patience Jonathan and Governor Amaechi. Mr. Wike saw an opportunity and sided with the first lady to be able to realize his ambition and became a declared enemy of his former boss.
Since then, it has been war. While Amaechi was able to consolidate his hold on the state as the governor on seat, Wike was appropriating all the advantages of the Federal Government and deploying them against Amaechi. In the course of this war, neither of the parties spared anything. They both broke the law, spent stupendous amount of money that could not be justified by their legitimate incomes. They both engaged in a lot of illicit activities to weaken the other. That alone is a justification of corruption case against the two former friends.
Some of Amaechi’s foot soldiers have accused Mr Wike of betrayal. They believe he has been treacherous to their man, Amaechi. As a result of this there was nothing that Mr. Wike could do that the supporters of “The Dollar Man” could view favourably. But Mr. Wike’s foot soldiers are also quick to ask why Amaechi’s supporters are whining? They pointed out that it was in the same Rivers State that Dr. Peter Odili who mentored Mr. Amaechi was betrayed by “The Dollar Man.” They did not see anything wrong in what their man, Wike did and they are willing to do battle with Mr. Amaechi “toe to toe” and to no end.
As we speak, Amaechi is under investigation from his foe, Mr. Wike, who has set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to probe his (Amaechi’s) activities as the chief executive of Rivers State. Mr. Amaechi’s followers have been attacking Mr. Wike for instituting the probe against their man while they are hypocritically praising President Mohammadu Buhari for going after President Jonathan’s tenure as the Executive President of Nigeria. Amaechi’s followers are relishing the humiliation of GEJ and members of his cabinet because he was at loggerhead with “The Dollar Man.” Yet they do not appreciate that Mr. Wike, regardless of the way they may perceive him, has the same right as the chief executive of the state to probe Oga Amaechi.
Mr. Wike’s election is controversial. He probably has a case to answer given what transpired during the election that brought him to the government house in Port Harcourt. It is most probable that he might still lose the seat to his opponent supported by Mr. Amaechi. It is also probable that his election might be confirmed as the duly elected governor of the state. But until the status quo changes, he still has the responsibility of governing the state the way he wishes as long as he would be willing to account for his own stewardship too after his own tenure. Thus, as far as Mr. Wike is concerned now, he felt that Mr. Amaechi has been very corrupt and he needed to get to the bottom of it.
To compound “The Dollar Man” Amaechi’s situation, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has initiated corruption investigation against him and other past governors including Babatunde Fashola of Lagos. From indications, President Buhari has nothing to do with the initiating of this investigation and has exercised no effort whatsoever to intervene or restrain the ICPC on this matter. President Buhari obviously is willing to allow the chips to fall where they may. For the followers and admirers of Amaechi as well as his social media troops, this must be bad news. This is because Mr. Wike alone could no longer be blamed for the woes of “The Dollar Man.”
How this would turn out, only God knows. But it would be interesting to see how “The Dollar Man” would navigate the two investigations without being blemished and without some of his dirty linen being yanked open for the public to behold. Certainly, Mr. Amaechi must be under serious pressure right now. His focus right now should be how to come out of these investigations with his integrity reclaimed and his dignity sanitized. Without doubt, his social media troops, paid public relations agents, his publicity hounds and his mainstream media paid agents have their jobs cut out for them. Now, the “lies” against Amaechi would be seen either to be “lies” indeed as well as efforts of “mischief makers” to “blackmail” the “The Dollar Man” or that Amaechi is indeed reeking with corruption. The truth shall be known and it shall either set “The Dollar Man” free or send him to jail.
But Mr. Wike should not jubilate because it is “not yet uhuru.” With the continued investigation of GEJ’s administration, klieg lights might still search him out for his own acts of commission or omission as a Minister. He also might still have a case to answer on corruption when his ministry comes under focus. He is as vulnerable as a leaf dancing on the stream. But he has an advantage over “The Dollar Man,” he still has immunity as the sitting governor of Rivers State and can postpone the dooms day. Yes, only a postponement, because judgment day shall come eventually either under President Buhari or someone else.
But unfortunately for Amaechi, he is no longer in office. There is no immunity to protect him any longer. It is a reason he is desperate to get a ministerial appointment under President Buhari to possibly, postpone the doom’s day too. No one knows what the ICPC or the River State Judicial Commission of Inquiry would confirm, but if President Buhari does not give Oga Amaechi a job, “The Dollar Man” is in for trying times.
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”
– John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961.