“The failure of Wike to resolve this strike issue will lead to our children sitting at home. Even if they decide to go to school, they are at risk of being kidnapped”- Omotayo Williams, 14th January 2024.

    Ordinarily, this rejoinder to what one Omotayo Williams wrote on January 14, 2024 about insecurity and the minister of FCT, Barrister Nyesom Wike, wouldn’t have been necessary, but for the fact that he gave traction to my article on those sponsoring anti-Wike protests in Nigeria generally. In the material in question, entitled, Anti-Wike Protests: What if the Plan is to thwart his “Make FCT Great” Agenda?, I wrote about what the sponsors of December 6, 2023 protest in Abuja against Wike were out to achieve, among other issues. Omotayo’s dangerous insinuation above, suggesting that our children that are currently at home as a result strike, could be kidnapped, if school resumes, also elicited this riposte.

    Here is an extract of the article that touched on my view of anti-Wike protests sponsors —Expectedly, those benefitting from corrupt FCT Administration before September 28, 2023 purge, sponsored anti-Wike protest in FCT. On December 6, 2023, a group that calls itself Network of Civil Societies for Economic Sustainability, said to be a coalition of over 10,000 indigenous people of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The most laughable part of their demand during their protest at the National Assembly (NASS) according to report goes thus: —incompetence and lack of vision for the capital city as the primary reasons for their demand—. Hear the leader of the group, Adamu Kabir Matazu: —“We are here today to demand the immediate resignation or sack of Nyesom Wike as Minister of the FCT due to his deficiency in character required for his office and in a government that promises to renew the hope of Nigerians”. —-. A critical dissection of the positions of Omotayo Williams and Adamu Kabir Matazu-led sponsored group of protesters at NASS, shows striking resemblance. They are demanding for either the resignation or sacking of Wike on account of “incompetence”.

    It is therefore, safe to say that Omotayo Williams was either one of the sponsors of December 6, 2023 protest or one of the sponsored, on the day in question. Here are the reasons behind my line of thought. Williams said Wike is incompetent and unable to manage the affairs of the FCT, while Kabir Matazu-led sponsored group demanded the sack of Wike on account of incompetence and lack of vision for the capital city. If we may ask, was “incompetence” also responsible for the giant strides Wike recorded in road construction and rehabilitation with construction of unprecedented 12 flyovers in Rivers state, when he was the Governor? Is Omotayo Williams also saying that Wike’s so-called incompetence was responsible for his massive achievement in healthcare Infrastructure; education, health, sports, agriculture, among others, to which FG named him Mr. Projects? Perhaps, the hatred Omotayo Williams and his sponsors have for Wike made them to completely forget that “incompetent” Governor Wike was honoured with Distinguished Award of Excellence in Infrastructure Delivery by APC Government on October 21, 2022.

    In paragraph two of Omotayo’s article, he appeared to justify his call for Wike’s sack on account of the minister’s inability to contain the “unprecedented” level of kidnapping in FCT. Omotayo is apparently saying that the spate of kidnapping has worsened under the FCT minister. Since he did not provide comparative statistical analysis of kidnapping in FCT before and under Wike, it is safe for rational minds to believe exaggeration here.  But even at that, on Tuesday, 16 January, 2024, the minister summoned emergency security meeting in FCT, where marching order was given to security agencies in the city, to go after kidnappers. To me, the dramatization of ransom payment to kidnappers by the immediate past minister of communication and digital economy, Isah Pantami on his X handle, is the real problem of kidnapping in FCT. What confirmed Pantami’s dramatization of the reason behind kidnapping in FCT is the accusation that security agencies are not using NIN-SIM Policy to Track Criminals. Nothing can be more hypocritical than this comment. Pantami has clearly forgotten that on September 3, 2012, FG shut telecommunication network in the North to tackle insecurity. To Pantami, NIN-SIM Policy, he initiated and piloted then, was not necessary to Track Criminals, but very necessary in 2024. I will not be surprised if Pantami, by body language, is in league with the sponsors of Omotayo Williams’s anti Wike ranting in FCT.

    On paragraph 3/4, Omotayo Williams has this to say: Earlier today also, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) FCT Wing directed all primary school teachers in the Federal Capital Territory to embark on an indefinite strike. 4. The failure of Wike to resolve this strike issue will lead to our children sitting at home. Even if they decide to go to school, they are at risk of being kidnapped. I want to believe Williams is at least educated to the point to know that there are three tier of government, namely, Federal, State and Local Government Areas (LGAs). At least he should have known that Primary Schools are under LGAs in Nigeria and Area Councils in FCT are part of the 774 LGAs in Nigeria. Williams, in case you are not aware, Area Councils in FCT are not under the authority of FCTA, just as the 36 States and FCT are not under the authority of Federal Government. So, the strike by primary teachers in FCT is directed at the Six Area Council Chairmen, not at FCTA. But that is not to say that the minister of FCT, Barrister Nyesom Wike, in his capacity as the Governor of Abuja cannot intervene on advisory capacity. On the issue of the possibility of children being kidnapped, if they decide to go to school, security agencies in FCT are equal to the task on that. Who knows, the sponsors of Williams could be planning the kidnapping of primary school pupils on resumption of school, after the current strike to prove a point. Security agencies in FCT should also be vigilant here.

    Omotayo Williams and his sponsors should know that ours is a democracy that respects freedom of association and gathering. Governor Sim Fubara is a democratically elected office holder; he has not told the good people of Rivers state and Nigerians in general that he now has Co-Governor, in the person of Nyesom Wike. If Wike hosts a dinner in Rivers state, it was within his fundamental freedom of gathering enshrined in our constitution. To the best of my knowledge, no law forbids lawful rally and gathering in Nigeria of today. So, it is within Wike’s right to hold rally, provided Police permission was sought. And no report was heard that Wike defied Governor Fubara’s order against rally in Rivers state.

    Omotayo Williams took banality to highest levels when in paragraph 8 of his article, he said: It is high time Wike decides what he wants- Does he want to be an FCT minister or a local politician playing opposition to the man with the “Red biro”. Two people cannot use “red biro”. The last time I checked, President Bola Tinubu (GCFR) is still the President of Nigeria, not one Omotayo Williams. As an armature, he makes a mess of himself, otherwise, he should have known that the FCT minister is technically the deputy governor of the FCT, and so he sees the President almost on daily basis. Anytime Wike goes out FCT, it must be by the consent of Mr. President. The President reserves the right to send Wike to Rivers state, even on daily basis.

    On paragraph 9, Williams called for the sack of Wike if he continues to fail the people of Abuja. The question here is, who is Omotayo Williams talking for? Probably, the sponsors of Omotayo and co know the yardstick which they are using to measure the performance of the minister of FCT. President Bola Tinubu who made Wike the minister of FCT did so, on account of his superlative performance as Governor in Rivers state. Omotayo Williams, in case you have forgotten, Barrister Nyesom Wike is still the holder of the prestigious award of excellence on infrastructure delivery in Nigeria. He didn’t fail Rivers state, he cannot fail FCT; although, Williams and his sponsors, via disinformation, are trying to distract Wike from repeating what he achieved in Rivers state, without success so far.

    Emeka Oraetoka

    Information and Perception Management Consultant/ Researcher.

    Wrote in from Abuja. e-mail:[email protected].

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