By Tonye Banigo
As the traumatised people of Orashi region of Rivers State and concerned Nigerians struggle to come to terms with the eventual killing of the tormentor-in-chief of innocent citizens of Omoku and environs in Rivers State in the past six years, Johnson Igwedibia alias Don Wani, facts have started emerging as to the real reason the dangerous and slippery Don Wani was finally traced and killed by a combined team of Directorate of State Services [DSS] and troops of the Nigerian Army.
Don Wani killing spree reportedly started like a one-off when he killed the mother of Kachi Nwokocha, the then Commissioner for Power in Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi government in Rivers State some six years ago or thereabout. Amaechi and Nwokoacha later moved to All Progressives Congress, APC, in 2013.
As Don Wani expanded and grew his killing gang in the years that followed, the emerging political group in ONELGA under Felix Obuah (himself a shooting survivor by a rival group to Don Wani) secured the services of Don Wani for protection. The association between Felix Obuah and Don Wani blossomed from 2012 after Obuah, supported by Nyesom Wike successfully used the court to hijack the PDP structure in Rivers State when an Abuja High Court pronounced Obuah the authentic Chairman of PDP in Rivers State even if Obuah never partook in the PDP congress of 2012.
With the State Chairmanship of the PDP in his kitty and Don Wani as his kinsman and none-state enforcer of his political endeavours, Felix Obuah was ready to square up with any alternative political personalities in ONELGA.
As the former governor Chibuke Rotimi Amaechi and most of his allies moved to APC in 2013, the battle line was drawn in ONELGA where Obuah hail from. As the State Chairman of PDP, he felt the messianic compulsion to demonstrate that he held political pre-eminence at the home front of ONELGA.
As the elections of 2015 approached one of the first victims of Don Wani was a well-known political stalwart who, despite several approaches by Felix Obuah, chose to join the APC. To prove that the stakes are for the strongest, just before the 2015 elections, Don Wani and his killer gang visited the home of Christopher Adube shooting and burning one quiet evening. By the time they left, Chief Adube, his 3 children, driver and cousin were dead with the youngest son consigned to the wheelchair to this day. The killing of Chief Adube and his family members effectively announced that Don Wani, his men and their godfathers meant business.
After the killing of Chief Adube, Don Wani revised his killing manual to include beheading and taking away the heads. So when the APC Chairman of Ward 4 Franklin Obi was killed alongside his wife and son, they took the head of the late chairman away. On a single night, Don Wani and his killers visited over six homes where they killed and beheaded over 4 persons, in some cases husbands and their wives were killed together.
After the swearing in of Nyesom Wike as governor on May 29, 2015 Don Wani and his men upped their game by regularly embarking on killing and beheading spree across ONELGA. Considering the alignment between the leadership of PDP in ONELGA and Don Wani, the governor of Rivers State never lent his voice to the genocide in Omoku. At least, the victims were APC members.
Not too long ago, political pundits within the ruling party in Rivers State (PDP) started their calculations for 2019 and the years to come. Interests from their kingpins started unveiling. Unknown to many, the development activated some serious but subdued political movements. With the calculations woven around the iron-cast assumption that Wike wins a second term, the likes of Obuah started pronouncing interest for 2023. They miscalculated.
With a large bank account and a ruthless enforcer at his disposal, Nyesom Wike knew it was time to move against Felix Obuah. And to do that effectively means that the process of weakening him must start in earnest. Don Wani must give way. Don Wani simply walked into the dragnet when he sent his boys to carry out the New Year day killing of 23 innocent persons returning from crossover service.
Following the New Year day killings, Gov. Wike promptly visited Omoku where he announced a bounty of N200m for the capture of Don Wani and his boys.
State protection for Don Wani was carefully but swiftly removed making him vulnerable to the ever-prying eyes of security agents. The rest eventually became history when the DSS and the Army in a combined operation killed Don Wani and two of his associates in faraway Enugu and their corpses brought to and paraded in Port Harcourt.
Despite reports that Don Wani was captured alive, the shot that killed him appeared to have been from a very close range execution-style. This has raised dust as to why he was was executed and not brought alive to make useful confessional statements. However, ,many observers believe that powerful people behind his killing infiltrated and paid huge sum to ensure Don Wani was killed to prevent him from making incriminating statements that will expose his godfathers.
After, the killing of Don Wani, the repeated visits to ONELGA by Governor Nyesom Wike is likely to continue in more ways than one as he is expected to consolidate his support base there while ensuring that his friend’s influence is whittled and weakened considerably. This is expected to put paid to Felix Obuah’s likely 2023 governorship ambition not because the Nigerian Constitution will allow Wike to run for a third term but the governor wants to ensure that nothing will tie his hands in choosing who will succeed him in 2023. Not Felix Obuah, not anyone. All the calculations are based on the assumption that he returns as governor in 2019.