Rivers Crisis: It’s disappointing Wike fails to manage his anointed successor, says Laolu Akande

Laolu Akande (top), former Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and his successor, Governor Sim Fubara. FILE PHOTOS

By Oluwafemi Popoola

Former Presidential aide and veteran journalist, Laolu Akande, has described the ongoing rift between the minister of the Federal Capital Territory and former governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, and his successor, Governor Sim Fubara, as “disappointing.”

As the two former allies got locked in a fierce political battle that has become a public spectacle, the former editor rebuked the FCT minister for not managing the conflict very well.

Speaking on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Thursday, December 14, 2023, Akande, who is the TV’s in-house political analyst, dissected the political crisis rocking the state and chided the FCT minister for failing to live up to expectations as an experienced and astute politician by using his expertise to resolve the matter before degenerating into in a bigger crisis.

“It is disappointing that the FCT Minister is not managing his own anointed governor, he clearly owns an anointed governor and the responsibilities are more on him than the governor,” Akande said.

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He added, “It is said in the Yoruba language that when two people are fighting, regardless of the fact of the fight, the older one will always be the one to carry the brunt because people are going to say that ‘hey, you are supposed to be the wiser one.’

“Honestly, my first impression, just to answer your question is that the fact that, Mr Wike has allowed this to happen and I am not saying the governor has no responsibility. But Mr Wike is a senior partner in this matter and it is not good for him at all. Let me just put it like that. It’s not good publicity for Nyesom Wike.”

Appreciating the rising political profile of the FCT minister, Akande said Wike is one of the current Nigeria’s prominent politicians alongside President Bola Tinubu, mentioning that the former governor commands a great deal of respect from many Nigerians and as such should be able to manage the expectations around him.

“I think the most obvious point to make about what is happening in Rivers State is that it is very disappointing and that is been measured about it,” Akande stated.

Continuing, “A lot of people had significant admiration and quite a bit of respect for the FCT Minister. Just like you referred to, a number of times I have been in the room when the Vice President (Osinbajo) went there (Niger Delta for peacekeeping) representing the President. You can tell very easily that Wike was just the kind of guy that gets things done. He got a reputation and he was called ‘Mr Project.’ There is quite a bit of political regard you have to give to him.

“Quite frankly, I think in this country today after the President, Nyesome Wike is the most prominent politician of the day.”

“So when somebody has attained that level of political relevance, one of the things that it means is that you really have to carry yourself with a lot of grace, with a lot of measured management of the expectations around you,” Akande concluded.