Nothing has exposed Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike’s despotic proclivity and lack of administrative tact like the corona virus pandemic. His primitive approach towards combating the deadly virus accentuates his flagrant disregard for rule of law, due process and human rights as it appears the pandemic has provided him a cover for unrestrained abuse of power.
Wike’s actions since the outbreak of the pandemic, particularly in recent times, buttress the claims that he is utterly clueless, does not understand the full import of governance, and lacks a well-articulated strategy to combat the virus.
In recent times, we have seen Gov. Wike speak and act in ways that remind us of the era of military regimes where governance was administered by edicts/decrees. We see a Governor usurping the powers of the legislature and judiciary under the guise of expediency leaving both arms of government supine and ineffectual.
For Wike, Covid 19 offers a perfect excuse to disrespect traditional institutions, violate human rights, enforce his draconian orders and quarantine democracy.
This reminds me of Marcus Tullius Cicero who once warned us to beware of the leader who sets aside constitutional rules claiming the need for expediency or security.
While lockdown is a good control measure against the spread of the virus, it loses its essence when badly enforced. One would expect that the Governor would take advantage of the lockdown to fumigate public places, ramp up testing and put up more effective measures to help combat the virus.
Sadly, what we have is the pathetic situation of demolition of properties, auctioning of private vehicles, detention of persons on essential duties, overriding Federal/Presidential authorities with ignominy.
Obviously, Wike’s claim of fighting an invisible enemy is deceptive and diversionary. The only fight we are seeing here in Rivers State is against Rivers people and not the virus. Lockdown should be protective and not punitive, but for Wike, it is an instrument of oppression, suppression, create further hunger and misery.
We must rise up as a people who are legitimately part of Rivers state and question where Wike derives the wide-ranging powers he is exercising arbitrarily against innocent citizens who carry out legitimate businesses in the State and pay taxes to the government.
We can not continue to be victims of Wike’s caprices. Governor Wike’s decision to auction cars and demolish properties belonging to the same people he is constitutionally obligated to protect for merely breaking a lockdown order is unconstitutional, ultra vires and unpopular.
There is no better time than now to speak up against Wike’s highhandedness before it mutates into a full blown authoritarianism or even full anarchy. He must be made to understand that Rivers state is not a conquered territory and its people are not slaves.
They deserve to be treated with respect and protected by the government. The Federal Government of Nigeria also owe Rivers people full protection under our laws especially in view of the fragrant abuse of power by the Governor of Rivers State. ‘A stitch in time saves nine”