By Odimegwu Onwumere
The emergence of Barr Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike as the gubernatorial flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Rivers State for the 2015 elections was an accomplishment through tumult. It was known that about sixteen fellow party’s competitors were shortchanged in a kangaroo primary that the dust has yet not settled.
Some of the persons who cried foul on how Wike emerged as the party’s flagbearer are decamping to other available political parties to pursue their political careers. Yet, Wike sees himself as the next governor of Rivers State, after the tenure of the incumbent Hon. Chibuike Amaechi government expires in May 2015.
(Amaechi and Wike)
As a Supervising Minister of Education before coming home to pursue his deficient political ambition, Wike was sycophantic. One of his sycophancies was the boast that his number one main-concern was to ensure the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 and, not the succession scuttle in Rivers State.
But where is he today? Is it not dangerous in a place when a man speaks from the sides of his mouth? This is the person we have in Wike! As Nigerians knew, Wike made that comment when he paid homage to an ex-militant leader, Chief Soboma Jackrich (aka Egberipapa) in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Not humiliated by his perceived ties with the “militant”, Wike double-barreled his mouth and described Amaechi as a “drowning politician”. While the primary election that saw him up as the state’s PDP flagbearer was fingered by aggrieved party men and women as controversial, the same Wike, when at the den of the ex-Militant, was asking the members of the party to work, come together as one and, ensure President Jonathan’s re-election.
His self-seeking ambition today to become governor did not allow him to seeing that a house divided against itself will fall. But in April while on the allegiance tour to the ex-Militant, Wike said: “A house divided against itself cannot stand. My priority is to ensure the re-election of the president in 2015 and not who succeeds Governor Rotimi Amaechi. The governor (Amaechi) is an insensitive, irresponsible and drowning politician.”
Has that ‘house’ today not been divided by Wike? How can Rivers masses take such a man who says different thing in one forum and another in the other forum seriously? The man who once said that he had no interest in who succeeds Amaechi, but today, he is fighting dirty to succeed the same Amaechi. Wike has never been open to tell the masses when he visited any intellectual in Rivers State (if he actually did), but was quick to inform that he visited an ex-Militant (for who knows what?) in prolongation of his talks aimed at enhancing the chances of President Jonathan ahead of the 2015 presidential election.
However, no matter how Wike meanders to convince the Rivers State masses to believe in his governorship ambition and vote for him, Glory is in the Most High that many people know who Wike is and do not take him seriously. The Former Chief Security Adviser to ex-Governor Peter Odili in September was credited with a statement where he fingered Wike as the source of the acid relationship between President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Amaechi.
As a Rivers State chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, according to media reports, the Former Chief Security Adviser to ex-Governor Odili said: “The issue of the crisis between Amaechi and the President is a self-made scheme of a particular aspirant who feels that such is the best way to achieve his ambition. And that aspirant has been able to bring fire at the backyard of the President to say ‘well, if you don’t support me, this fire will burn you. But if you bring me, I have the capacity to off this fire.’ And so, Mr President is being arm-twisted.”
The Former Chief Security Adviser to ex-Governor Odili was tall with his statement that the PDP should not play to the rigmarole script of Wike because: “If the PDP brings a candidate other than Wike, we can achieve that peace, but if Wike is the candidate for 2015 governorship in the state, we cannot achieve that peace. Wike’s candidature will also generate bad blood for the party…”
The scarce peace that was about to return to the PDP in the state following the exit of Amaechi was swept away when Wike refused to abide by the dictates that Ikwerre, where Amaechi comes from, has been governor for nearly eight years and should give way for the more than 20 ethnic groups in Rivers State to produce governor.
Wike who is also from Ikwerre believes that other ethnic groups were garbage since he believed that he singlehandedly sponsored the PDP in the state after the exit of Amaechi from the party. As if the Former Chief Security Adviser to ex-Governor Odili knew, the candidature of Wike is causing tension not only in the party, but to the good people and residents of Rivers State, who have vowed to resist his emergence as governor in 2015.
Not even the conspicuous endorsement of Wike by Mrs. Patience Goodluck Jonathan will save him. Although, this writer is not a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and not against any political party in the country, it holds water the swagger by the APC in the state that “Wike Won’t Get Up To 10 % Of Votes In 2015”.
It is an informal signed-agreement even by those who are not residents of Rivers State. It is as if the name Wike translates to trouble, because according to an observer: “Wike’s emergence as the Rivers PDP flagbearer was mired in controversy when 16 other aspirants were physically prevented from attending the governorship primary election of the state.”
A recent press release by the APC in the state, stated that, “Wike would have tried to be man enough and allow the G16 to contest and defeat him flatly instead of allowing himself to be imposed as Rivers PDP governorship candidate through what has been generally accepted as the most fraudulent and kangaroo governorship congresses ever in Nigeria’s history.
“This is a man who is perpetually afraid of competition and who never believes in a free and fair election, hence we are not surprised that he brazenly used his stooges and clowns in the PDP to frustrate and rig out the 16 better qualified gubernatorial aspirants. To say the least, Wike’s governorship ambition is both ungodly and unholy, while his emergence as the PDP’s candidate is shabby, dubious, shameful and undemocratic… For having the temerity to levy a false accusation against the APC when all that we have been doing is to state the facts regarding Wike’s unreliable nature, his lack of preparation for the weighty responsibility of governorship and the wickedness of his party, the evil PDP, towards Rivers State and her people.
“We still maintain that his emergence is against the principle of zoning after the Upland section of the state has ruled for 16 years through Dr. Peter Odili and Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi at the detriment of Riverine section of the State.” Apart from the APC lamentation, pundits of the politics of Rivers State knew that Wike was living in the past, because he could not match even the unpopular APC candidate, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, in any election.
Hardly are notable citizens of the state want to associate their names with Wike’s. Last time, Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas who is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party dismissed claims that he endorsed the governorship aspiration of Wike. Graham-Douglas made the statement through his personal aide, Mr. Ken Robinson that though he accidentally met with the former minister at a church service in Port Harcourt, the meeting which was tagged “chance meeting” did not translate to an endorsement of Wike.
Ms Annkio Briggs who is a Niger Delta activist and spokesperson for the Ijaw Republican Assembly, said in a report of November 13, 2014: “The PDP would not win the state if it decided to choose the immediate past Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, as its governorship candidate.”
Briggs further stated: “The situation in Rivers State is going to be bloody because it seems as if the PDP national appears to be listening to one person alone in a state of multi-ethnic nationalities. The PDP must dialogue with all the stakeholders if they want to win the state. Wike has not finished the fight against Amaechi; why does he want to share the spoils of the war? There are ministers in other states. I have never heard them say they are fighting for President Goodluck Jonathan in order to become governors in their states. But Wike has been deceiving Nigerians”.
Odimegwu Onwumere, a Poet/Writer, writes from Rivers State.