Rivers: The Godson and his Godfather By Kassim Afegbua

I featured on an Arise TV Program, last month, where I “advertised” myself as a gubernatorial aspirant in search of a godfather that will help me achieve my gubernatorial aspiration in Edo state, and make me the democratically elected governor of the state come 2024. My interviewer laughed at my response to his questions about the behavioural demeanor of godsons to their godfathers that is often reduced to cantankerous political altercations like that currently on in Rivers State.

When the Rivers political imbroglio started, I instantly condemned the Governor, His Excellency Sim Fubara for exhibiting such bad behaviour against his mentor and benefactor, who toiled night and day to rein in all the centripetal and centrifugal forces to coalesce into the vehicle that led him to the Government House. I was disappointed that only barely five months in office, Governor Fubara is leading an onslaught against the man he called “father” not too long ago. What is wrong with us as a people, that we can’t show simple appreciation to our benefactors who stood up for and with us in our aspiration to secure the governorship seat in the first place? Why must two adults who are supposed to deploy effective communication tools to navigate the rough edges of the power corridor and live by example for others to follow be seen to be so embattled as though there is no tomorrow? Why will a godson grow wings and even so soon to fly through the murky waters of politics under the pretext that he wants to be his own man.

Those who are pushing Governor Fubara into a contest with the Honourable Minister, Nyesom Wike are misleading him on the path to Golgothar. They are pushing him into a lagoon of political crocodiles that will chew him raw. By the time the imbroglio consumes him, he will sit back a lonely man, agonizing about his political misadventure. Robert Greene was very apt in his description of power, setting out templates and a set of laws captured in his 48 Laws of Power. One of which is that “you must not outshine your master,” arguing that power follows a pattern and flows from the corpus of the master who dishes out diktats and commands in plotting the acquisition and distribution of power. If anyone wants to act smartly to outshine his master, he must be ready for the consequences which may come in different shapes and forms. With Fubara, my fears about people who exhibit some quietness or pretend to be unambitiously quiet and calm have been confirmed. The several times I visited Rivers State Government House when Governor Fubara’s project was being cooked as Wike’s successor to be, I had my reservations about Fubara’s mien and comportment. He was generally seen as unambitious, and as one whose desire for the position of governor was very fain but I saw more than that. If anyone had predicted that Governor Fubara would look Nyesom Wike in the face and disobey him over anything, that in itself could have been a red-herring for Wike. If Fubara is not a student of power, at least he should understand the tempers of power, both in its acquisition and distribution.

The process that birthed Fubara as Governor of Rivers State was visibly combustible, with so much tempers and frictions, but Nyesom Wike stood as the protagonist in the whole drama. Fubara was in the background, feigning to be a “gentle boy” who could hardly ruffle anyone’s feather. Wike was on a rampage to ensure that all negative forces were put at bay. Rivers state became the hot spot in the last election but Wike was able to weather the storm and Fubara was delivered as governor. This action that Governor Fubara has put up, throwing up tempers in Rivers State to the extent that the State House of Assembly was earlier burnt, was symptomatic of a man who was ready to fight this needless combat. He doesn’t need to raise his voice against Nyesom Wike; It is unnecessary. After the House of Assembly episode, the true character of Governor Fubara began to manifest; and clearly those who are plotting his downfall have eaten deep into his membrane. When the chips are down, if he doesn’t act fast to save his position, he will live to lament and agonise his failings at the end of the day. Those political foes and pretentious friends urging him to enter a contest with Nyesom Wike, are just interested in his downfall; and his inability to decipher their motive might just be his political death knell. First, Nyesom Wike is currently a Minister of the Federal Republic, manning the all important nation’s capital. He has access to the aprons of power, and still maintains political relevance with the powers-that-be and so, cannot be ignored. Entering into contest with Wike, from his position as Governor, is not a smart move. Fubara is testing the strengths of State and Federal might against each other. Expectedly, Abuja will have an edge over state forces, because all the instruments of power are domiciled within the labyrinth of Federal might. Fubara is ill advised and he will pay dearly for it.

Just yesterday, about 27 members of the State House of Assembly, who are loyal to Nyesom Wike defected to the party of Mr. President, the APC. That action alone has altered the political mix in Rivers state. We now have a complete adversarial House of Assembly, that can pull the rug from under the Governor’s feet if/ when push comes to shove. Expectedly, the Governor immediately summoned a cabinet meeting to analyze the unfolding scenario. With 27 members versus 5 members, the scale of relevance has just tilted in favour of Nyesom Wike. It is a matter of time before Governor Fubara would smell his backside. Power has its elemental currents driven by interests that are common to all. The political destinies of the 27 members would gradually bake the cake that will be served at Fubara’s valedictory service. Nyesom Wike’s involvement in the current APC-led Federal Government is deeply engraved, plus he knows the ropes. Should anyone pick a fight with this mind, who just introduced new dance steps to the virtuoso of Tinubu’s mandate slogan, that one must stand ready for a staccato of rhythms that won’t be in their favour at the end of the day. I seriously doubt that Governor Fubara can stop the current run to his impeachment; the handwriting on the wall is very legible. I can’t wait to see what the backroom plot of those who advised him wrongly would yield after he has been brutally pummelled. Future governors will have this whole episode to learn from. The entire political architecture of Rivers state will very soon be in the APC’s blueprint. That is more than a coalition.

Governor Fubara’s lack of basic emotional Intelligence to read between the lines has brought Rivers State to this point. When the President of Nigeria intervened at the initial stage, if Fubara was reasonable, he would have succumbed, and showed signs of penitence, and reassured his boss that he was indeed sorry to have attempted to ruffle the boss’ feathers. One had thought the Governor would further deepen the conversation for rapprochement with the President, seeking Wike’s pardon to let bygone be bygone; but his real enemies, the agent provocateurs, masquerading as his friends encouraged him to continue digging his own grave; what folly. Now, the rhythm has changed almost spontaneously; for 27 House Members to depart from your inner circle to embrace another party in one whimsical stroke, is for Governor Fubara to understand that he is not in charge of his home. He now needs to apply an acute and expeditious antidote to be able to see the light of day a governor in that state; for those the gods want to destroy, they first make deaf and dumb. That is the lot of Governor Fubara, and heaven will not fall if he falls under the sledge hammer of impeachment. The smell of the coffee is already permeating the treasured walls of Rivers Government House. Fubara’s story will be taught to children in their History classes.

The existence of godson and godfather cannot be swept under the carpet in any power contest, both in terms of acquisition and distribution. Godfathers are important in helping to drive the political process of power acquisition; and in requital, pepertual recognition and respect is what the godfather deserves and gets. Governor Obaseki showed such bad behaviour as an ingrate in Edo state to his benefactor, Adams Oshiomhole, but has recently, albeit pretentiously, made a U turn and is trying to cultivate Senator Oshiomhole’s patronage by giving him a poisoned award that blurted my senses even further. Governor Obaseki is now trying to woo Senator Oshiomhole to also support his annointed candidate. But the hurtful pains of bad behaviour cannot allow Oshiomhole lean towards them; not again, not when he wants APC to return to Osadebe Avenue. From Governor Obaseki, to Father Alia, the Benue state Governor, the ingratitude virus is spreading and destroying the way for those of us who are in search of godfathers to advance our aspirations. Comrade Senator Adams Oshiomhole is twice shy now, having been dealt a bad blow by his errant godson, Governor Obaseki. Yes, it is difficult to read the mind’s construction in the face alright, which saying has been driven home by these inglorious fellows; and as such, the issue of trust has sadly, become hard to come by. And like Roosevelt said, “those who are leaving office contemplate their successors like they contemplate death.” And the circus of staying true to trust and good behaviour continues ad infinitum; and ditto for the pain of betrayal and the scar.

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