The late Chief Somorin, an Egba aristocrat was a rich man who loved the display of affluence, public acclaim and power.
In those days of yore in Egba, one of the earliest pre-independent days shortly after the Egba United Government, became history as a result of Amalgamation in 1914, riding or owing a well-decorated horse was equivalent to owing a car and symbolised status and class for the Rich Egba elite.
It was both the sign of wealth and power and show of affluence in those days.
But on one sad day, he was so happy enjoying the ride on his well-fed and decorated horse that the beating of the drums that normally heralded his presence and made the stallion to dance took a dramatic but sad turn.
The horse danced so well (probably due to excitement after being over-fed, coupled with the sound of the drum that normally heralded its owner’s presence) that, the owner, Chief Somorin fell off and broke his back and died right in front of his compound now a popular area in Abeokuta, capital of the Egba nation.
The rest is history. The people composed a song that goes thus:
Eni ba ri iku Morin,
Ko ni fi oore se esin.
It means, “He who witnessed the fall and death of Morin won’t pamper his horse the way Somorin did.”
The horse got excited and threw him down.
Today, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Minister, Nyesom Wike, is a man who courts and loves controversy. In and out of power, he has always loved controversy as a means of staying in public focus.
Although his role in the period preceding the emergence of the President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government cannot be brushed aside by history, he was part of those who played high politics and intrigues that produced the result thereby making history by the outcome of the tough presidential contest.
However, today, evidences abound that Wike may be threading on the path of the fate that befell Chief Somorin earlier referred to.
His recent actions and pronouncements suggest that he may also be part of those who will unmake the government he helped to put in place either in the eyes of the public or affect its romance with the Nigerian people.
Give it to him, during his eight years’ tenure as Rivers State Governor, he effectively combined governance with politics, public relevance and display of power, in the main opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
At the end of the day, his being the point-man who rallied four other aggrieved PDP governors behind Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, made the difference in the elections.
But today, Wike may surreptitiously be ridding his public acclaim to a point where he will not only injure the government he is part of but also attract hostility to its leaders, especially President Tinubu .
He also has to take time to know when not to ride too rough on the horse in order not to be thrown off by the same horse he rode to public acclaim and relevance.
They say that he riding the tiger must be careful not to end up in its belly. That saying comes handy.
Things and living are tough in Nigeria today and both President Tinubu, his party men and others in government know it.
The resetting of Nigeria’s economy and psyche is not only unsettling the public and masses who always bear the brunt of economic measures of policies like withdrawal of fuel subsidy and also carry the weight more than the affluent.
Last week, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, announced the inclusion of a budgetary provision of N15 billion to complete the building of what it described as a befitting house for Vice President Kashim Shettima.
The money is an addition to the N7 billion previously spent on the abandoned State House.
Wike’s FCT proposed spending is coming at a time when the masses have just been inflicted with a wasteful purchase of N160 million per Sports Utility Vehicle, SUV, for each of our 468 legislators. The legislators had contemptuously claimed that only the state-of-the-art cars can ride on our roads that are not car worthy in the first instance. Were they riding on such exclusive cars before and during their campaign for office?
Who claimed only such luxury SUVs are the only cars they could ride to get comfort?
Coming at a time when the price of a bag of rice and other staple food items have made those who elected them into the hallowed chambers power poorer is a base and unthinking choice.
This is in spite of inadequate palliatives provided by government most of which fell in wrong hands.
Besides the N15 billion for the Vice President’s residence, Wike’s FCT also budgeted N2.5 billion for publicity for its programmes.
You ask yourself whether it is the noise of the extravagant projects that will feed the stomach of the hungry.
While building a befitting official house for the Vice President is not questionable, allocating such a humongous amount at this time and season is not only insulting to the citizenry but also contemptuous and shows gross insensitivity.
After all, former Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stayed inside Aguda House for eight years.
Wike’s budget is also coming even as the House Committee asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate how the initial N7 biilion released for the project developed wings in the characteristic Nigerian way and flew away without it being implemented and no question asked.
Yes, Wike displayed excitement on his appointment and assumption of office, such should not be at the expense of the people and country he claimed to be serving.
Also of importance is Wike’s meddlesomeness in Rivers politics to the extent of taking his FCT brief as his second job.
While nobody questions his holding tight to his political structures back at home, he should be told before his boss Tinubu pokes fingers at his face that his primary job in Abuja is suffering.
Wike and other ministers, including those who announced a N1.5 billion budget for the procurement of cars for First Lady’s office, should be told that their frivolous spending to take care of those who claim to serve the people is a mockery of the system.
Leadership is about sacrifice and not maintaining a larger than life lifestyle which is at variance with the parlous state of our economy and grinding poverty in the land.
A word is enough for the wise.
Wike and co should bridle their horse before the unexpected happens.
They should also be told the honeymoon period of the masses’ patience with Tinubu is almost over, occasioned by sheer insensitivity of their actions.
Wisdom is profitable and our leaders should seek it.