A pressure group, Rivers Leadership Advancement Foundation (RIVLEAF), has described as “funny and disturbing”, the claim by the Rivers Government that it had uncovered a plot to declare a State of Emergency on the state.
The government had also claimed that some Abuja-based politicians were behind the alleged plot and had vowed to “do anything to achieve their aim”.
While faulting the governor’s actions in marshalling the state’s anti-COVID-19 strategies, the group urged him to allow his deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Banigo, a medical doctor to provide what it claimed would be a better leadership against the pandemic.
RIVLEAF’s reaction is contained in a statement signed by Onyeche Peters, its Director of communications, a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), on Wednesday.
“As a pressure group, we find the statement emanating from Governor Wike as funny and disturbing, especially as the same governor had severally boasted that he was beyond the reproach of the Federal Government and, could do and undo as he so wishes.
“At every little opportunity, Wike has threatened the Federal Government with all manner of underhand tactics and innuendoes, pontificating like a man that has killed a game and conquered all.
“It is therefore shocking that the same governor is now suddenly afraid of the monster he has been nurturing and feeding with lies, propaganda, and blackmail. He is now like a man who kills with the sword but shivers at the sight of another person carrying a sword.
“We urge Wike to abandon these diversionary tactics that lead to nowhere and focus on policies and activities that will ensure a well-coordinated approach to tackling the rampaging coronavirus, which his administration has sadly mismanaged.
“Since the first reported case of coronavirus in the state, he has struggled to have a decent campaign, with so many confusing signals, actions, statements, and policies all coming from the governor himself.
“Since the governor announced lockdown in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas, there have been no concrete and coherent plans going forward.
“He is quick to accuse others of playing politics with the COVID-19 situation, but he is the greatest culprit of politicising everything, hence so little has been achieved in terms of mass mobilisation of the people and support from all relevant quarters.
“Wike should forget imaginary Abuja-based politicians and self-induced fear of the state of emergency; he should rather roll up his sleeves and constitute a think-thank that can give him solid admonitions on better methods going forward.
“If the governor lacks the guile, finesse and temperament required to handle critical situations like this, he can as well allow his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Banigo, a well-qualified medical doctor by every measurement, to lead the team and brief him regularly.
“This is the only discerning thing to do and not looking for ways of diverting attention from his ineptitude and lack of direction that belie the office he occupies,” RIVLEAF said.
Dr. Banigo was a former executive director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA.