Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and his former Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, John Bazia, threw caution to the winds when they engaged each other in a war of words while on a live television programme on Monday night.
Bazia, who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after he was dropped from Wike’s cabinet, and the Governor were on a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, when the anchor asked the former Commissioner to describe his former boss. He said:
“The governor, Wike, I must tell you that all those who are with him, they know what they are going through.
“But you have been seeing him on TV and the way he has been behaving in Nigeria. Sometimes, you will be baffled if that is an enlightened and educated mind; the way he carries himself.
“He forgets that he holds the exalted position, the office of the governor. He behaves like a thug…”
When the anchor turned to Wike to get his reaction, the visibly upset governor who felt insulted by the words of Bazia, quickly interjected and replied:
“You sit down there and somebody who said I appointed him had the temerity, the audacity, to say I behave like a thug, and you are asking me that question to react to what somebody I appointed as commissioner.
“However, let me tell you: look at him talking now. When he was commissioner, did he look that haggard?
“A thug appointed you commissioner; you never knew that he was a thug but he appointed you a commissioner.
“So, only when he removed you that you then know that he behaves like a thug.
“You did not resign, you were working with a thug all the while until when the thug did not bring you back as a commissioner for a second term in 2019, you then realised that he behaves like a thug.
“Now, look at the kind of characters we have and these are the kinds of people that you want me to respond to: somebody who stole the ‘kola’ of traditional rulers and up till now, he has not gone to court to challenge our allegation that he stole ‘kola’ given to traditional rulers and clergymen.
“Why did he not resign when he was commissioner? When I won my second tenure, he was lobbying that I was going to bring him back, but when I appointed another commissioner, he knew that he would not come back.”