Entertainment & SocietyWhy Nyesom Wike is Forever Indebted to John Mbata

Why Nyesom Wike is Forever Indebted to John Mbata


Recently, Senator John Azuta-Mbata celebrated his 63rd birthday amidst pomp and pageantry. One person who made it a point of duty to attend the birthday celebration was Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. Wike attended not necessarily because he needed to fulfill all righteousness but primarily to honour and show gratitude to one of the men that took a chance on him early in his life when it wasn’t desirable to do so.

Mbata was elected Senator for the Rivers East constituency of Rivers State, at the start of the Fourth Republic, on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He got re-elected in 2003 and after the end of his tenure, he didn’t seek another reelection.

Mbata took a chance on Wike, when he was just out of law school, having seen the potential and restlessness in Wike at that time and decided to convert it into a productive use. He made Wike his personal lawyer and put him in charge of his land and property transactions. Through him, Wike got his first big break. It was a big break as he had just gotten married and needed to quickly fulfill his duties at the home front.


In 1998, Wike joined PDP and had an ambition to contest for the local government chairmanship of the Obio/Akpor in Rivers State. Knowing he did not have the means to do so, he approached Mbata who gladly sponsored his election, and against all odds, ensured that Wike won both the party’s primary and the main election itself. That was Wike’s turning point and he never forgot that good deed.

Although Mbata as earlier stated never sought any elective position, he never lacked. Wike kept Mbata’s construction company busy with local contact from his state government. No one knows what Wike’s life would have turned out to be if Mbata had turned his back on him. He may or may not have become successful, either as a lawyer or in whatever he decided to venture into.

The lesson in this? When people who owe you nothing decide to take a chance on you, by giving you a ladder to climb up the food chain, don’t forget to show gratitude when you finally get halfway or to the top of the food chain. Or better still, pay that kindness forward.

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