Brothers' Rivalry And Rivers Of War...In Whose Interest?

By Oby Ndukwe

In politics, they say there are no permanent friends nor permanent enemies but permanent interests. But these interests may be affected by how long the friendship or enmity lasts. No doubt, there is always room for reconciliation of differences but the wounds inflicted may take such a long time to heal and even when they do, the scars remain.

It is a different ball game when two people or two groups of people who are closely knit fight. All caution is thrown to the wind and every thing, the good, the bad and the ugly previously done in secret are now in public domain. It may not necessarily be a case of beating the drums of war but a case of Brothers' rivalry.

The first recorded story of two brothers who fought and it led to the death of one is that of Cain and Abel, the two sons of Adam and Eve.

But the first recorded case of brothers' rivalry was that between Esau and Jacob. There was a pre-destined order by God that one shall be stronger than the other as the older one shall serve the younger. Though Esau came out first and should have had the birthright, Jacob, the supplanter used the experience he had acquired from their mother to upstage his elder brother and take what was originally his. That set the stage for a battle as Esau sought to get his rights back though rather with tears. It was too late to fight.

Now, a similar scenario is playing out in Rivers State, a state that has never been in opposition to the government and party at the centre. Unfortunately, something strange has been imported into the politics of the state that occupies a prime position thanks to the registered over 2 million voters by INEC.

In the entire Niger Delta region, the voting strength of the state is like a beautiful bride sought after by any presidential candidate. And for a period of almost 16 years of our uninterrupted democracy, the state has consistently helped any presidential candidate it so supports to win the elections. Rivers state comes after Kano and Lagos states.

In 2015, the case may not be the same as the state now is ruled by the opposition party, APC against the PDP at the centre.

The current governor, Rotimi Amaechi who was formerly the leader of the PDP in the state left after being frustrated out of the party by the agents of the Federal Government under Goodluck Jonathan. The Minister of State for Education, Nyeso Wike became the tool in the hands of the President and his men against Gov. Amaechi.

Amaechi and Wike are brothers and have been together politically since 1999. They both hail from the Ikwerre ethnic nationality. Like siamese twins, though of different attributes, they both depended on each other for survival in politics.

In 2007, it was Wike who stood by his brother to reclaim his mandate in Court. That feat earned him the position of Chief of Staff to the Governor. He was to become Amaechi's third eye and the power house of the government. Wike's job unofficially also included "cleaning the mess of the governor". It was a case of trust in a brother who is closer than a friend. Not even the members of Amaechi's immediate family could come in between them. Like twins, they were inseparable in spite of allegations of sabotage, betrayals and corruption levelled against the powerful and rich aide of the governor.

For four years, their journey continued even though with land mines on the way. They were able to manage their problems until Amaechi decided after his first tenure to elevate his brother as Minister. He probably did not expect that his once loyal and closely knit brother would become his greatest rival in politics. The man he sent to become his eye in the Presidency fell for the delicious food at the King's table and so he turned against his brother.

For the governor, he had done so much for Wike who should be perpetually grateful to him, but Wike had since imbibed the popular adage that its only a matter of 'permanent interests'.

His interest now had changed from just eating from the crumbs that fell at the Master's table but to join the league of oil moguls in Nigeria. His treasury has been catapulted courtesy of his new found masters in the seat of power.

What we are not sure of is what Amaechi had done or not done for his brother to expose him and subject him to political brouhaha. Besides, why was there nobody to intervene until things got messy?

The governor was accused of nursing the ambition to become President in 2015. If that is so, would Wike not have fared better if he had supported him to achieve that? Why would he not be happy if Amaechi becomes President? There was a switch in loyalty.

Rather than throw his weight behind his other half, he chose to become the pain in his neck so much that the Amaechi political family has been shred into pieces.

Wike on his part wants to become governor after his brother has exited office in 2015. Apart from efforts by Amaechi to stop him, the other members of his party, PDP, are kicking against the Ikwerre domination of the seat of power in the state. Amaechi unconsciously has found allies in the Ijaws of the state in stopping Wike at all cost.

This brothers' rivalry has plummeted to a crescendo which has further widened the gap between the different ethnic groups and tribes that make up the state. Wike has justified his ambition by what he describes as power moving from Ikwerre North, where Amaechi belongs to Ikwerre South, where he comes from. But the main bulk of the people apart from those on Wike's payroll are poised for war.

The bloc votes from Rivers State would now be balkanized. There is no likelihood that the governor is ready to return 2 million votes to Jonathan if he seeks re-election. It is not also possible for Wike to deliver the 2 million votes to Jonathan.

So in whose interest is the brothers' rivalry?

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