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Rivers: The Arrogance of Ignorance

By Joshua Ocheja The drama in Rivers State has resumed despite the earlier presidential intervention. The warring factions have refused to sheathe their swords. This…

By Joshua Ocheja

The drama in Rivers State has resumed despite the earlier presidential intervention. The warring factions have refused to sheathe their swords. This time, they went for bigger swords, because it is a fight to finish. And no one is willing to take the back seat. The cheerleaders have increased their tempo, and the actors are dancing hard, arrogantly, and ignorantly.

Too often, arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand. Arrogance can lead a person to ignore something important, and ignorance of others’ abilities can also make a person arrogant. This is the story of the love gone sour between Nyesom Wike and Siminalayi Fubara, Rivers State’s former and current governors.

There have been commentaries on the raging political tussle. Only recently, the governor, Siminalayi Fubara, indicated his intentions to probe the previous administration in the state. This is a salvo that would send shivers down the spine of the other camp. But my question is thus: is this necessary? Can it bring the desired peace to the state?

Many will argue that the goat doesn’t bite. But a proverb says if you chase a goat to a wall, it will turn back and knock you down. Could this be what is playing out in the state? Has Siminalayi Fubara been chased to the wall by Nyesom Wike that the only option left is to knock him down? If that is the case, the fall will be horrible and loud! But again, with the benefit of the doubt, can Sim Fubara knock Nyesom Wike down?

The arrogance of ignorance is at play in the whole debacle. Both parties need to be more strategic. They have been speaking in parables. Maybe the details are messy. They have allowed the public to form thier opinion. They have refused to come open about the issues and seek ways to resolve them. They are arrogant in the sense that they want to get headline news; and ignorant because they have turned themselves into jesters.

If I were Nyesom Wike, I would hold a press conference and state the issues and areas of disagreement. If I were Sim Fubara, I would also hold a press conference and state the problems and areas of dispute. But no, both parties have been acting like kids on the playground and making a comedy out of the whole issue while the governance of the State continues to suffer.

Nyesom Wike is also distracted in Abuja. His mind is constantly in Port Harcourt, thinking about Sim Fubara’s next line of action. If he is hypertensive, he needs to rethink. Sim Fubara is also distracted. He is unsure of Nyesom Wike’s next line of action or where the bullet will come from. That ultimately puts him in overdrive, which might lead to a fatal crash.

The recent plan to probe the previous administration is one such example. It is an overkill. Remember that he was part and parcel of the administration as the State’s Accountant General. Yes, he holds the ace as he is privy to all that transpired during the previous administration. It is like adding salt to a sore. He should expect stiff resistance. Remember that if that happens, heads will roll. That may be the only card he has left to play, and it might give him a breather. But would Nyesom Wike bulge? Is he a saint? Politicians always have things in their cupboards. Things they don’t want the public to see or know about. Now that Sim Fubara has threatened to make some of these things public, what should we expect? It is also the arrogance of ignorance because he might end up shooting himself in the foot, too. Desperate measures beget desperate countermeasures.

The fact remains that both parties are wasting our time with the unending drama. We want to see the victor and the vanquished. This fight has dragged on for too long. Rivers is not the only state in Nigeria where a former governor has fallen out with his successor. None has been this dramatic that the President had to wade in.

Let me be blunt. Both parties have disrespected the President. Despite the presidential intervention, the war is still raging. This is also the arrogance of ignorance. Albert Einstein said, “The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance.” and “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits”. Please fill in the blank spaces. I don’t want to be quoted. These were the words of Albert Einstein.

What is Sim Fubara looking for about the past administration that he doesn’t know about? What does he want to probe? Who will chair the judicial panel of inquiry? He has the facts and figures on his table. If I were him, I would bring them out and not sound cryptic. He is the state governor and has the power to do and undo things. Talk is cheap. He should act like the governor of a state. Nigerians are tired of all the side talk.

What does Nyesom Wike want? The state is not his birthright. If he feels betrayed, he should lick his wounds and move on. The world won’t come to an end. Such is life. Nigerians are also tired of his unending jabs at the governor.

Peace has to return to Rivers State. Both parties must respect the sensibilities of Nigerians. What is the fight all about? Money or control of political structure? The tussle in Rivers State is not making sense anymore. I rest my case.

Ocheja, a military historian and doctoral researcher, can be reached via [email protected]

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