I am compelled to react to Chief Tony Okocha’s latest writing on the political crisis in Rivers State captioned “The Untold Stories” and dated July 1, 2024. 

It is not uncommon to find online the writings of Tony Okocha, laced in verbose diction and combative imagery. It has intensified since he was named the Caretaker Chairman of Rivers APC.

This time, Tony Okocha goes on a lengthy excursion, enumerating how former Governor Nyesom Wike picked up a lowly civil servant, Siminalayi Fubara and promoted him ‘up and down’, made him ‘this and that’ and finally foisted him on Rivers State as the governor. 

Tony Okocha contends that by this action, former Governor Wike can rightly regard Governor Fubara as his investment in the business enterprise called Rivers State. He says that Nyesom Wike has the right as a bona fide investor, to supervise and control his investment because no right thinking investor will allow his investment go down the drain. 

If the theme of Tony Okocha’s “The Untold Stories” is bizarre, the style is even more curious. The writer comes across, all at once and at the same time, as the state chairman of the opposition APC and the hatchet man for the ruling PDP.  

He calls out former Governor Nyesom Wike for manipulating the electoral process in favour of incumbent Governor Siminalayi Fubara but does so in the overall interest and under the influence of the same Nyesom Wike. 

He sets out to portray Governor Siminalayi Fubara as an ungrateful beneficiary of Wike’s benevolence but ends up presenting Nyesom Wike as an outlaw. He tends to idolise Wike but ends up exposing Wike as a megalomaniac. He says Wike is a benevolent man yet paints the picture of him as a brute. A man of subterfuge. A “movie director” in a “Palace Coup”. 

Tony Okocha deliberately renders a story full of contradictions and ambiguities to hoodwink his readers. No amount of negatives can sufficiently describe “The Untold Stories”. It is two-faced, double-dealing and deceitful. 

In the end, Tony Okocha said nothing new in “The Untold Stories”. There is nothing “untold” in the story. It is not a new story. Rivers people know the story even more than Tony Okocha and do not need anyone to tell it to them. 

Rivers people have since moved on. They have moved pass Tony Okocha’s stories. Nyesom Wike may have invested Governor Fubara for profit but the investment has since gone bad and Rivers people are happier for it.

As it stands, Governor Siminalayi Fubara is the Moses of our time. Like the biblical Moses, he may have been picked by the roadside and raised in Pharaoh’s palace. It is the reason he is called Siminalayi “the poor has birthed a prince”. He may have killed an Egyptian during his years of tutelage but he remains destined and equipped to lead his people out of bondage. He cannot be stopped by Pharaoh because the Red Sea awaits his detractors. 

Rivers people are happy with Governor Siminalayi Fubara who was planted by Nyesom Wike to continue their enslavement but has become the leader of the New liberation movement. 

It is easy to see why Tony Okocha wrote “The Untold Stories”. He wants to keep the flames of the political discord in the state burning. He pokes the fire so that it burns higher. He is a major beneficiaries of the spoils of war. He wants to impress his paymasters so as to  remain the State Chairman of APC and the Rivers State representative in the NDDC. He wants to keep both jobs for himself. 

By this writing, Tony Okocha disrespects Rivers people and undermines his readers’ intelligence. He may have also turned a fifth columnists. He knows that President Tinubu’s attention could be drawn to all the acts of lawlessness and corruption he rightly ascribed to Nyesom Wike.

The worry is that Rivers State is blessed with so many distinguished and decent people who are doing exploits in Nigeria and abroad. Unfortunately, they stay away and keep silence about happenings in the state, allowing people like Tony Okocha to foul the political space and disturb the peace in the state. 

Rivers State has had indigenous governors in the past who either served out their tenures or were sacked by the military. Diete-Spiff, Okilo, Ada-George, Odili. These were governors from various ethnicities in the state. They served and retired back to their homes while their successors also served in peace. Why must it be different now? Why can’t Rivers people be allowed to live in peace. Why has peace eluded the state since 2013? 

Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo


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