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Published On: Sat, May 16th, 2020

Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, A Friend That I Am Indebted To

By Chief Malcolm.Emokiovo Omirhobo
LAGOS MAY 16TH (URHOBOTODAY)-To all men, whether good or bad , sane or insane have friends and relations and on that premise with all humility I say without fear that Ezenwo Nyesom Wike is my friend. He is not just a friend but a friend to whom I am eternally grateful to and as well indebted to and in that wise I must not fail to give him the testimonial that befits him while he is alive , hale and hearty , which is why I am condemning in strong terms his recent demolition of two hotels in Port Harcourt , Rivers State for flouting lockdown order.
That act of the Rivers State Government I must say without mincing words is rash , hash, irresponsible, illegal , unlawful and unconstitutional but that notwithstanding I still maintain that Wike like all of us is human .
My path and Wike’s path first crossed in 1992 at the Faculty of Law ,Rivers State University of Science and Technology Nkpolu – Oroworukwo, . Port Harcourt Rivers State. In our class then which Wike’s wife Honourable Justice Eberechi Suzzette was part of , both of us had something in common which we down played and that is the fact that both of us had bagged our first degrees before proceeding to read law .

Barr (Chief) Malcolm Omirhobo

While Wike had a BSC in Political Science from the University of Port Harcourt, I had a BSC / ED in Economics from Bendel State University. While I started with our class from year one because , I applied to the University with my A/Levels result and not my degree result Wike applied with his degree result and joined us in year two .
Sometime in 1996 , in our final year, Wike was the lead counsel of the team of campus lawyers of which I was a member representing our university during a highly publicised moot court trial with the faculty of law, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State . Against the rules of practice and procedure , I insisted that I be allowed to address the court and without any qualms after going half way into the trial Wike magnanimously obliged me by introducing me to the court to take over the case . When the other side and the presiding judge opposed it , he pleaded on my behalf , after all it was just a moot court trial . To tell you what, I mismanaged the opportunity and got the shame of my life . I goofed because unlike Wike who out of experience have an idea of procedural law , I did not. I knew the principles and theories of law quite alright as a studious and hard working student , I lacked good knowledge of procedural law which then was not taught in the Universities but only at the law school . As a result of my poor showing , we were out shined by our visiting adversaries and the case was adjourned sine die . After the whole episode Wike did not blame me or alter a word .
The moot court trial favour is not why I am grateful to Wike but what he did for me in 1993 three years earlier when I ran into difficulty in our third year second semester and Wike unconditionally bailed me out twice . That semester as usual my Father had given me my allocation for the semester in advance and in full but I used part of it to assist a friend pay his school fees and I thought I could weather it out but I was wrong, I got stock mid way into the semester as I could hardly afford a meal and I could not call for help from home because that will be highly irresponsible and insensitive of me bearing in mind that I was given an additional opportunity to study law after a first degree while I was supposed to be working and taking care of myself and besides my Father had ten other siblings of mine to care for in school .
So I decided to go begging.
I targeted three persons to appeal for help from and one of them was Wike . After classes, I excused him aside and told him in this exact words , “Wike , I am broke , I have nothing on me and as a foreign student I don’t have any where to get help .” Wike as loud and jocular as ever laughed , yab and teased me for using the word foreign student but I defended
myself by letting him know that I am Lagos based and with compassion and understanding Wike asked me to see him in two days time and when we met he reached into the breast pocket of his suit and handed over to me the sum of N35 ( THIRTY FIVE NAIRA) or so . I can’t remember the exact amount but the money kept me going for over one week and on the second occasion there was no protocols at all, he did the needful without any ceremony. With these kind gestures from Wike , I became indebted to him and told myself that I owe him one but then I asked myself how I am going to pay him back ? It was something I could not fathom because on Campus Wike was a big boy , he was already a politician and businessman , more experienced and exposed in certain ways than most of us then in our class
We proceeded to law school and I still held my gratitude to Wike to my chest and before you knew it Wike became the local government Chairman of Obia akpor , local government area , the richest local government in Nigeria , then went on to become the Chief of Staff to Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi the governor of Rivers State , from there to become a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and now the Governor of Rivers State on his second term.
Of course I am so happy of Wike’s achievements in life because he has done very well for himself and made us his friends proud nevertheless I advised myself to keep my indebtedness to Wike in silent mode until when he must have left office as governor or retirement time but this is no longer possible because there is no better time to do it but now by telling him thank you for helping a classmate unconditional when as innocent young men both of us did not know what the future held for us and also more importantly to counsel and encourage him to be on the right track
Frankly , I have not seen Wike since our call to bar ceremony in Abuja and enrollment as Barristers and Solicitors of the Supreme of Nigeria for over twenty two years now and I never made any attempt to see or visit him even though I have the privilege of having been
classmate with him and his wife. To crown it , I have never attempted to reach Wike to the disbelieve of many through a bossom friend of mine who was also our classmate and who happened to be my room mate and school father who is working for Wike as a senior and highly respected aide till tomorrow.
On the above note , I want to state here that I am not writing this to seek or curry favours from Wike neither am I trying to help launder his image because as it stands today I am a contented and self actualised man . That is to say , that I am doing this write up to pay a friend back in the little way that I can by counseling and encouraging him to be focused , forge on and be strong .
Consequently , I advise my friend to retreat and in his quiet time make a critical self evaluation or self assessment of himself and thereafter make the necessary amends and refocus himself in the act of good governance , and the adherence to the rule of law at all times .
Honestly and certainly Wike is not the worst of the thirty six state governors in Nigeria who have one way or the other breached the rule of law or exhibited some form of bad governance. Come to think of it because he is a governor in the opposition party, who is unpretentious , not hypocritical and does not lick the boots of the powers that be in Abuja he is being starved of necessary funds and assistance. from the Federal Government . Let’s be candid by asking how much have been given to the Rivers State Government during the Covid 19 lockdown by the Federal government to combat the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic ? How many people received palliative from the Federal Government in Rivers State ? How many Federal Government projects have been executed in Rivers State in recent years? How many aids or financial assistance have the Federal Government given to the Rivers State in recent times. ?
While I can understand the tough and hard times Wike and his State are going through as a result of the strained and sour relationship with the Federal Government of Nigeria , my candid advise to Wike is that he must not let his frustration get the better part of him . He must humble himself , swallow his pride and make the necessary amends and restitutions to the people of Rivers State so as to win back not only their trust and confidence but that of many Nigerians who admire and respects him for his doggedness, boldness , courage and frankness and more importantly he must not fail , refuse and/or neglect to bear in mind that power is transient .

By Chief Malcolm.Emokiovo Omirhobo . A grateful friend .

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