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The Nigerian world was awoken to an article with the above-referenced title in the DAILY SUN newspaper of Friday, September 2, 2016 at page 16. The point for this rejoinder is not about the person of Robert Obioha writing under the column 'Afara Lane' (whatever that means). After all, he is a totally unknown quantity in the politics of Rivers State.
It is rather drawn from the expediency to address the carelessness and indiscretions of the writer in wading into a terrain beyond his personal experience and mental capacity to discuss so that the reading public would be relieved of the toxins planted by Obioha. Furthermore, the fact that this is another evidence and full disclosure of the ways of a vile regime led by Chief Nyesom Ezebunwo Wike which will stop at nothing in its mission to deceive the unsuspecting public about the true nature of affairs in Rivers State made setting the records straight necessary.

To begin with, nothing detracts from the truth than the description of Dr Dakuku Peterside as fantasising on contemporary issues in Rivers politics. Coming from a rich background of active grassroots political orientation and participation from his days as a students union activist at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology through being elected National President of the National Union of Rivers State Students (NURSS), Peterside had long arrived as a household name in the Rivers polity. He had even before turning 30 been identified as one of the core men behind the ascendancy of Dr. Peter Odili as Rivers governor in 1999. One recalls, with delight, the description of Peterside by the 'Independent Monitor' newspaper in her x-ray of Odili's Restoration Team in those early years as "a young man with the head of an eighty year old."

Peterside had moved on since then through the ranks to experience and contribute his quota to the development of Rivers State serving in different offices at local, State and federal government levels and was found worthy to lead the State. Hence his nomination to vie for the office of governor on the progressive platform of the APC in 2015. With the exception of Tonye Princewill and, perhaps Nyesom Wike, entrusting him with such huge responsibility is by itself very rare for Rivers politicians of his age in the sophisticated politics of the land. The absurdity to describe the opinion of such a major player in Rivers politics as fantasy begins from this point.

The assertion that Peterside is "a bad loser, who has vehemently refused to face the reality of being utterly defeated by a popular candidate and the choice of the people of Rivers State in the keenly contested governorship poll" is the most warped reasoning anyone can throw into a discourse. Except for a paid hatchet writer who writes not from the facts and his conscience but does so to do the bidding of his paymaster!

The point is, months after the Supreme Court of Nigeria settled the question of the 2015 gubernatorial contest, it is the failure and incapacity of Wike to address the consequences of his well-documented bloody ride to power that is the problem with Rivers State. The inability of Wike's government to secure the lives and property of Rivers people and those who live and do business here is a direct function of the terms and conditions of his contract with the underworld in his unconscionable greed for political power generally, and to succeed the immediate past governor in 2015, in particular. The worst hit are those in the political opposition beginning with the voters to the leadership of the All Progressives Congress. Thus, it is sheer tomfoolery to expect that Peterside who was the standard-bearer of the APC would have Rivers people who are still being butchered at will by the stakeholders of a government which scavenged its way to power abandoned to their fate. Indeed, the most cruel thing to do is for Peterside to shut his mouth while those avenging the opposition to Wike's ascendancy continue to kill Rivers people to decimate the ranks of the opposition ahead of practically strolling back into Government House in 2019. He cannot, and would not, be mute because the apex court decided that Wike can rule and reign over the same people he bruised and brutalised in his quest for power. That would be the height of betrayal of the trust of millions of Rivers people, particularly the dead, who were denied the right to vote for the governor and representatives of their choice by gunmen backed by Abuja officialdom at the time.

For emphasis sake, Dr. Peterside did not say anything that should suggest a mutiny or some plot to remove Nyesom Wike from office through any unconstitutional means. What he told the crowd of his party faithful at the Rivers East rally in Okehi, Etche was simply to reassure them that the reign of this Herod would end soon. Thus, it would take only a political neophyte, a man alien to Rivers politics or a character full of mischief to have same misinterpreted to mean anything outside of the euphemism of telling the audience that the year 2019 is not that far away.

But the unease of Wike and his co-travellers is understood. A people who murdered sleep and can no longer find its soothing comfort have no business chasing shadows. Wike's bloody ride to power, which resulted in the past and ongoing human carnage in Rivers State, is a siamese twin with his character and needs a confession to be redeemed. Not blaming others for speaking truth to your conscience. Unfortunately, amidst his terribly confused state of mind, Wike has transformed to a by far more directionless man than the one who bullied eggheads like Henry Odein Ajumogobia (SAN) to the PDP ticket to wilfully disrupt the power sharing formula in the State by presenting himself for the governorship in 2015. Such a character that seeks power without the decency and simple courtesy of obeying rules of political accommodation in a plural society such as Rivers; seeking the people's votes with a blueprint or plan of policies and programmes of what he will do in Government House, cannot be a "popular candidate and the choice of the people of Rivers State..." to qualify Peterside for the description of "a bad loser". Ditto for the impudence to describe him as "defeated". Wike as Robert Obioha's paymaster, his conscience (that is if there is still a semblance of same in his anatomy) and history knows that Rivers people did not vote for the fellow the hired writer misjudged as "popular". Guns and bullets did! Obioha must be a citizen from Mars to be ignorant that even the Supreme Court took judicial notice of the unprecedented violence unleashed on defenceless Rivers people as basis for kicking out Wike's reckless challenge of the relocation of the Election Petitions Tribunals to Abuja.

Nothing further tells the pitiable story of Obioha's delusion and self-catering disposition as a hatchet writer than that silly assertion about Peterside's assurance to his party men foreboding trouble for the October rerun elections in Rivers State. Which is worse: repeatedly asking INEC officials to write their Wills before coming to Rivers State to conduct elections and maintaining pacts with violent groups and secret cult members to force your way through the ballots or encouraging your supporters that the reign of the locusts would soon end? Or are both Wike and Obioha convinced that the alleged popularity of Wike confers on him the inviolable capacity to stop time from running and the calendar from counting down to 2019? If Obioha is looking for where to find the hubris of INEC's inability to conduct free, fair and credible elections in Rivers State, Dakuku Peterside is the wrong direction to travel on when he is already at his destination.

Of course Peterside was absolutely correct to tell his audience at Etche that "the end has come. Rivers people cannot be deceived by lies and propaganda, no matter how well crafted". Perhaps, in a terrible hurry to get to work on his spin, Obioha did not bother to scrutinise from what pedestal the owner of such re-assuring words to a people totally distraught to the point of absolute hopelessness spoke. Peterside is no newcomer to productive governance and even Obioha's principal Wike knows. Peterside was the Works Commissioner who delivered massive roads infrastructure under the first term of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as governor while Wike was Chief of Staff in Government House. A man with such work ethic can from the vantage point of knowledge and personal experience arrest the thief of time that Wike is and present his political apostasy to the people in undiluted colours. A million Robert Obiohas cannot re-write that reality script for us. Not even the attempt to give Wike the credit of Rivers State witnessing "peace, order and development since Governor Nyesom Wike assumed office" would fly.

We know that those being distracted by someone's maladministration and the grave insecurity occasioned by his boys are patriotic and God-fearing Rivers people. Such statements like Peterside's at Etche distracted no one who rode to power without a single development plan and runs a government on a secret budget and virtually everything on an ad hoc basis. Therefore, the attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the unwary that Rivers people and friends of the State will be, or are being, shortchanged by Peterside's frankness fails. It is the lot of political criminals; the type the legendary Olufela Ransome-Kuti (later Fela Anikulapo-Kuti) called "Vagabonds in power" to work in deceit, but that of men of conscience to confront them with the wholesome truths! That is a lesson Wike and co must take home.

The fallacy of drawing misinformation from a certain Samuel Nwanosike and insisting that "the APC is a new party in the state..." and therefore cannot win elections in Rivers State by Obioha is a great disservice to journalism and an attack on the integrity of the hallowed fourth estate of the realm. Fact is, the APC is new in Rivers State like in the rest of Nigeria but the operators in the party are not new to Rivers politics. So where lies the justification to dismiss it as incapable of winning elections in the State? We can examine the emptiness in the minds of those holding such mean views by a simple juxtaposition of the APC and the PDP at national level in comparison. It is younger yet sent the latter packing in 2015. The APC is not also "overheating the Rivers State (sic) polity" and should not be asked to stop what it never began, or is involved in. The party is also not engaged in any "resort to blackmail, threats and underhand tactics..." Nyesom Wike, the PDP in Rivers State and hatchet writers like the uninformed Robert Obioha should have the courage to look in the mirror for the guilty.

Finally, Wike, the PDP and their goons should begin to seek out ways and means to atone for the mindless bloodletting they have brought upon our once peaceful State so that the souls of APC chieftains like Chief Christopher Adube (and his family), Hon Clever Orukwowu, Hon Monday Eleanya, Dr Vincent Eeabe and hundred others will rest in peace. They should approach the spirit of Ken Atswuete for forgiveness having slain this lawyer for working in line with his just calling hours after promising on radio to expose the daredevils in the PDP who are brandishing illegality to frustrate the APC from enjoying the fruits of her victory in Tai LGA at the March 19, 2016 rerun. That is the restitution Rivers State urgently needs. Not the effrontery of power mongers who perceive every solemn truth as an affront or a fantasy.

…..Mr Dokubo wrote this piece from Port Harcourt.