As the yuletide season unfolded in Rivers State, it was not just the usual festive cheer that filled the air but also an unexpected display of political theatrics, symbolised by bags of rice bearing the faces of Governor Siminalayi Fubara and Minister Nyesom Wike, The PUNCH reports.
The intervention of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu appeared to momentarily soothe the tension between Fubara and his estranged political mentor, Wike. An eight-point resolution emerged, ostensibly calming the political storm, yet the undertone of unity seemed elusive.
Despite public pledges to honour the presidential resolution, the body language of both leaders conveyed a different narrative, fostering doubt about their commitment to its implementation. Their actions during the season hinted more at consolidating their support bases rather than embracing genuine reconciliation. The strategic dissemination of rice bags, personalized with their faces, became a symbolic tool. Fubara’s distribution of 100 bags per ward and Wike’s allocation of 2,000 bags per local government aimed at securing favor among various stakeholder groups, from political factions to market unions and non-indigenous communities.
These rice distributions, laden with political symbolism, sparked discussions across social media platforms. The visual contrast on the bags, with Fubara in native attire and Wike in a formal suit reminiscent of his tenure as Governor, added another layer to the narrative. The modus operandi for distribution differed as well. Fubara’s team organized centralized collection points, announced through specific notices, while Wike’s aides delivered directly to stakeholder groups at their preferred locations.