Rivers Re-Run: An Ikwerre Wrestling Match

Have you listened to, or read the media campaigns for the Rivers re-run elections? You will be surprised to hear or read stuff like this; "Come out and support our governor Nyesom Wike! Vote PDP", or "Support Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi,vote APC".

Then you will suddenly become confused. First question you may wish to ask is; "Are Wike and Amaechi contesting for any position in the re-run elections"?

Your confusion will become more exacerbated when you hear both Governor Nyesom Wike and Minister Amaechi talk about "dealing" with each other during the elections.

"I am ready for Wike"
"See small bomboy"
And they go on to talk about how they will defeat each other during the elections. The words they fling about are reminiscent of pre-wrestling/boxing match oratory by wrestlers and boxers. The hatred is so frightening that I am worried everyday that it may all spiral into violence which will engulf several innocent people. But, who cares?

Then there this one; "If he[Amaechi] dares come to anybody’s polling booth and you see him, beat him thoroughly.”

The problem is not with beating Amaechi up “thoroughly”, it is about who among the poor electorates will fling blows the direction of the Minister for Transportation, who is protected by security agents. I mean, person wey never chop belleful fit fight minister? What the Governor should have said is; “ If Amaechi comes to your polling booth, call me, let me beat him up thoroughly”. After all, the governor looks very strong, and may even floor Minister Rotimi with just a few blows!

Governor Nyesom Wike is not contesting for any position(at least, not on Saturday), neither is Minister Amaechi. But suddenly, this whole thing has become all about them. There are a lot of Rivers people who are ignorant of who the real aspirants are. All they know is that voting PDP on Saturday means voting for Governor Wike, and voting APC means voting for Minister Amaechi. A quick question then is; “why are the re-run elections all about Nyesom Wike and Chibuike Amaechi? I will tell you why.

For both of them, it is not about Rivers State or her people. It is about ego, and personal victories. Governor Wike boasts of being undefeated in any election; Amaechi recently had a bitter-sweet sensation(he allegedly won the presidency for President Muhammadu Buhari, but then failed to deliver Dakuku Peterside at the state level).So for both, it is now about proving who is the better wrestler in this wrestling contest called Rivers politics.

Champion Wike needs to(like Floyd Mayweather) retain his undefeated status. Minister Amaechi is still reeling from Dakuku's(and by extension, his) loss at the Supreme court(allegedly his first political loss. Although some from the Wike camp claim Amaechi's former victories were owed to Wike's political guile, and gleefully ascribe those victories to Wike).

So here we are. Several positions to be filled; several candidates from both the APC and PDP, and all we hear of is how Wike will deal with Amaechi, or how Amaechi will deal with Wike. To prepare for this final wrestling match with his Ikwerre brother, Rotimi Amaechi abandons his Federal position, and returns home to fully immerse himself in the Ikwerre secret potion that guarantee victory. Governor Wike on the other hand forfeits other governorship duties, and makes the wrestling match a priority. He has since been going round the state, promoting the fight, and flexing his “undefeated muscles”. Their supporters have since gone deaf with drumming, and on social media, somebody like me may soon get kick in the mouth(or hand, since I use my hands more than my mouth)

Nobody wants to ask why something that concerns several people from several parts of a multi-ethnic state has suddenly turned to an Ikwerre contest. We have all been caught up in the excitement of the wrestling match and the possibility of witnessing two grown men strip themselves naked in public that we have forgotten that we are tools in a fraternal battle.

On Saturday, the wrestling match will take place. Have you ever read of an Ikwerre wrestling match in any of Elechi Amadi’s novels? I am talking about the wrestling matches where men tied single wrappers round their waists, with nothing covering the upper body, and grabbed each other with iron-like arms. That is the image that keeps banging on the doors of my imagination any time I think of Saturday. It is either Wike flings Amaechi to the ground and strips him of what is left of his manhood, or Amaechi skips over Wike's head and restores his semi-crushed manhood.

One way or the other, ofu ihe ga eme na Saturday.

*Nnaemeka Oruh, who is Editor-in-Chief of Ikenga Chronicles tweets with @liliemmyz, and sent in this piece from Port Harcourt.

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Articles by Nnaemeka Oruh