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Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, proclaiming the Rivers State House of Assembly

A lot has been said about the state of ‘insecurity’ in Rivers State with heightened efforts by elements within the All Progressives Congress (APC) to promote the notion that they are being persecuted in order to achieve key objectives in their agenda to conquer Rivers State, having failed to do so both at the polls and at the courts.

The blame, as structured in their narrative, is placed, rightly or wrongly depending on the argument, on the doorsteps of the Goveror of the State, Chief Nyesom Wike, the obvious target of the Party. He is being shown, not even as not doing anything to end the minute pockets of security issues mainly emanating from one local government area among 23 others: Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area (ONELGA), but as being behind the ‘onslaught on the APC.’

While the allegations of complicity are all false and malicious and aimed at deliberately discrediting Gov. Wike, it is important to clarify on the role and powers of State Governors in relation to the provision of security, and the protection of lives and property.

The duty of a State Governor in Nigeria as it relates to the provision of security is to offer the right leadership and provide the necessary logistical support to the security agencies that are all under the command and control of the Federal Government and emblazoned in the person of the Commander in Chief, our President.

No State Governor in Nigeria, in spite of the fact that they largely fund the Security agencies within their domain, have the powers to command or control them, as of right, without the endorsement of the security high command. While indeed we do, as a people, profess to operate a Federal system of government, we know for certain that our security and fiscal systems are unitary in structure and under the command and control of our President.

As part of his duty to Rivers people, Gov. Wike towers about the highest among Governors in the current dispensation in providing logistical support to the security agencies, from the Police to the Army, Navy and the others. In his first month as Governor, he provided over 60 patrol trucks fitted with state of the art communication gadgets for the Police alone and continues to support the military in their bid to tackle insecurity in the country. His efforts are widely reported and as always, commended by the agencies themselves.

This is the reason, it smacks of mega mischief and national sabotage for leaders of the All Progressives Congress to allege that he promotes insecurity in Rivers State or is doing nothing about it. These false allegations are largely made by politicians pursuing partisan rather than nation-building agendas.

Granted, we cannot rule out the need for partisanship in our social interactions and governance but the kind that devalues the import of patriotism and promotes anarchy is destructive to any society. The deliberate and intense effort of the APC to paint, amplify and broadcast a gloomy picture of perpetual doom in Rivers State will not serve it any good either now or in the future. Not even claiming ownership of every victim of cult related violence in ONELGA will accord the Party any advantage.

Nigerians have seen it all played out before and the mere fact that the APC has been unable to offer leadership or promote national cohesion having secured the mandate of Nigerians mainly by propaganda is a self-attesting indictment.

Propaganda does not administer governance.

We have all learnt our lessons and if the APC thinks that Nigerians will fall for its schemes again, then they are not reading the signs well from all the rerun elections conducted in the country since after the last General Elections.

Governor Wike swore to an oath of office that bars him from undermining the wellbeing of Nigerians under the radar of his governmental influence. To this day, there is no proof that he has for a split moment acted contrary to his oath of office. He continues to champion the wellbeing of Nigerians including calling for credible elections and condemning excessive use of force against unarmed civilians by the military; actions by the Governor that have attracted condemnation from the APC and admiration and commendation from majority of Nigerians.

That Governor Wike means well for all Nigerians within the circumference of his governmental influence is a fact known to even his most brutish detractors and that, indeed, is what is at the heart of the angst against him and the bid to oust him by any means necessary, irrespective of the consequences to Nigeria and Nigerians.

Otherwise, what possible justification is there in the Federal Government constantly changing security chiefs deployed to the State at will, and too frequently that the security of the State is being compromised?

The Governor himself alerted Nigerians in a recent radio interview about the redeployment of the State Director of the Department of State Security (DSS) by the Federal Government and the deployment of a new Director with a partisan script to follow. We have lost count of the number of Commissioners of Police that have been redeployed from Rivers State since May 2015 and there are unconfirmed reports that the current one is to be redeployed as well.

How can these actions enhance security in Rivers State? Are these not the very institutions that are charged with mandate to provide security? Can the Governor as ‘Chief Secretary Officer’ effectively officiate over any security structure that is constantly being undermined by frequent official interjections by the Federal Government? Can we even say a Nigerian Governor is effectively a chief security officer in a State that he doesn’t command or control the Police? Is our warped Federalism not a contributory factor to insecurity in Nigeria? Can the Federal Government absolve itself of complicity in the real or perceived state of insecurity in Rivers State? Should a State Governor who has provided leadership and logistics to the Security agencies be blamed for their inability to tackle insecurity? Is he responsible for redeployments within security institutions that appear to exacerbate the security situation in the State? Is APC really justified in dropping the blame at the footsteps of Governor Wike? Are the sons and daughters of Rivers State who call themselves orphans and saboteurs within the APC justified in undermining the growth and development of Rivers State by promoting false narratives? Do they really love Rivers State? What have they themselves done to support the recovery efforts of the current government or even to enhance security? Must everything end in partisanship? Where are the patriots among them? Is there any?

The truth must be told. This is not an attempt to excuse Governor Wike as there’s no reason for that. He is doing everything within his powers to ensure he delivers on governance, which includes the protection of lives and property. But most importantly, Rivers people must know that both the efforts of Governor Wike and their own wellbeing and security will continue to be undermined by institutions that promote partisanship against the demands of governance in these challenging times.

Written by Oraye St. Franklyn, Senior Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, Social Media.