In the midst of a deepening political feud with his successor, Governor Siminalye Fubara, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, has issued a warning to politicians, urging them not to destroy the very platform that propelled them to exalted positions. The metaphorical caution, “Don’t pull the ladder you use in climbing,” comes as the political imbroglio in Rivers State threatens to spiral out of control, with the state legislature factionalized and key resignations adding to the complexity of the crisis.
Wike’s remarks were delivered during an address to traditional leaders of Ogbaland who visited him at his Port Harcourt residence to congratulate him on his 56th birthday. Led by Nwachukwu Nnam-Obi III, the chiefs took the opportunity to seek peace in the midst of the escalating political tensions in the state.
The context of the feud
The ongoing political feud between Nyesom Wike and Governor Siminalye Fubara has dominated headlines, capturing the attention of political observers and citizens alike. The struggle for control over the political structure of the oil-rich state has led to a widening divide, marked by a factionalized state legislature and the resignation of nine commissioners believed to be loyal to the former governor. The stakes are high, and the implications for the political landscape in Rivers State are profound.
Wike’s warning and call for peace
Addressing the traditional leaders, Wike delivered a stern warning against the destructive tendencies of political leaders. He emphasized the importance of maintaining the structures that facilitated their rise to power, cautioning against actions that could lead to the collapse of those platforms. “Don’t pull the ladder that you use in climbing. When you are coming down, the ladder may not be there. And leave the ladder too so that other people can also climb the ladder,” Wike declared, urging a sense of responsibility among politicians.
Wike’s warning carried a broader message about the fragility of political power and the consequences of internal strife within political parties. As the feud between Wike and Fubara intensifies, the minister’s words serve as a stark reminder of the potential repercussions of unchecked political ambitions.
In response to the traditional leaders’ call for peace, Wike assured them that he and his team would heed the call for tranquility in the state. Committing to a non-violent resolution of political differences, Wike emphasized that the crisis in the state should not be colored by ethnicity. Contrary to the notion that the political turmoil has ethnic undertones, Wike pointed out that the March 18 election in Rivers State was not driven by ethnic considerations but rather by a collective pursuit of unity.
“We didn’t vote based on ethnicity… but for the unity of Rivers,” Wike asserted. “We shall never be part of violence but will always support peace.” The minister highlighted the existence of rules within political groups, drawing a parallel with the traditional institution. He emphasized that just as an Oba must adhere to the rules of the traditional institution, politicians must also recognize the boundaries and obligations inherent in their political affiliations.
As the political landscape in Rivers State remains in flux, Wike’s words reverberate as a call for introspection and a plea for peace in the face of escalating tensions. The metaphor of the ladder serves as a powerful reminder of the delicate balance of power and the need for political leaders to navigate their ambitions with caution to avoid catastrophic consequences for themselves and the state they serve.