Biokpomabo Awara, the 2019 governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in Rivers State, has strongly condemned Governor Nyesom Wike’s leadership style in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the globe.
In a telephone conversation, Awara condemned Wike’s demolition of two hotels in the state and further described the incumbent governor’s overall strategy in the fight against the virus as “dictatorial” which has unleashed untold hardship on the people.
“I condemn it. It is actually an act of dictatorship because whether we like it or not, that property would have been used for other things. There are better ways of dealing with things like that. They have violated an order; it’s to arrest the violators, not the buildings because two things are involved: once you destroy a building, you have destroyed the economic power of a particular people, and you have destroyed the source of livelihoods of the workers” he said.
“So, the two cardinal points of governance (protection of lives and property) were gone against, and I felt the House of Assembly should have taken it up, but I don’t know what is happening,” Awara further said.
Nyesom Wike, penultimate Sunday, ordered the demolition of two hostels in the state for allegedly flouting the COVID-19 lockdown order, and personally monitored it.
The two hotels—Prudent Hotel, Alode, Eleme, and Etemeteh Hotel, in Onne—were brought down after Wike issued an executive order banning hotels from opening for business in the state to curtail the viral spread, and repeatedly warned that any hotel that violateed the order would be demolished.
But, Awara, a member of an opposition party, said the demolition was not the right way of applying laws, adding that there are always caveats to every law or directive that every government gives.
“It’s actually painful that we would have dictatorial leadership that would be doing that. We have a system where the aim is not to stop spreading the virus, but punishing the people. So, to me, there might be a preconceived anger that he is actually bringing out,” he alleged.
Awara urged Wike to do a peer review of the strategy deployed by his brother governors across the federation, on how best they are tackling the COVID-19 pandemic without causing the citizens more pain, adding that the deployment of a macho-style approach on Rivers’ people in the course of fighting the global COVID-19 pandemic should not be accepted by all men of good conscience.
He also urged Wike not to undermine the pains of the people in order to avert a total breakdown of law and order, stating that he needs to mind and consider the real people who are supposed to be beneficiaries his decisions.