Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has reportedly commissioned about 50 Rivers State youths with N40,000 to downplay the intensity of Rivers State Security Crisis and launch series of smear campaigns on perceived political opponents of the governor on social media.
The N40,000 which is believed to be their first annual salary for 2 years was shared to the Facebook influencers after a private dinner which was held at the Rivers State Government House between Governor Wike and the Social media influencers and hosted by the governor’s aides on new media. Also notably present at the meeting was the newly elected National Chairman of The People’s Democratic Party, Uche Secondus.
The governor reportedly enjoined the social media influencers to downplay the intensity of the severe security crisis in the state. The governor also urged the influencers to launch smear campaigns on his perceived political opponents including notable personalities like Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the former executive governor Of Rivers State, Senator Magnus Abe, Dakuku Peterside, Tonye Princewill, Dumo Lulu Briggs and other alleged dissenting voices.
This move came a day after the terror attacks and murders of over 23 people who were killed in Omoku area of Rivers State by cultists allegedly under the Rivers State Amnesty program. No arrests have been made regarding the terrorist attacks and a ransom of N200 million was promised by the governor to anyone who would provide viable information leading to the arrest of the terrorists.
Wike’s success with installing his stooge Uche Secondus as PDP National Chairman may have placed him as a godfather in Southern Nigeria but as his popularity decreases in Rivers State over his failure to manage the security crisis, it is no surprise his desperation has led him to the point of commissioning social media influencers to try and control public narratives in Rivers State especially on the issue of security.
The Rivers governor has been serially accused of sponsoring cult groups and militants in a bid to keep the streets of Rivers State safe. There are strong rumours in the streets of Port Harcourt that half of the State House of Assembly members belong to cult groups.
It is apparently a move that has backfired as crime and violence has reached an all time high, a crisis that begs for a declaration of a state of emergency in the security sector of Rivers State. While the governor will deny these allegations, he recently recognised ex militant Ateke Tom and promoted him to a third class Chief, a move which apparently spurned a lot of Rivers residents and indigenes whose friends and relatives have been victims of militant violence in Rivers state in the past years.
Dede Amadi writes from Ogbumnuabali, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.