Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State wanted to be the President of Nigeria in 2023. He contested for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primaries. He lost the contest. He was defeated by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
Throughout his tour of campaign as a presidential aspirant of the PDP, he never told the delegates that he would accept the vice presidential nomination if he couldn’t get the presidential ticket. In fact, he was several time on tape where he said that he was not contesting the presidential primaries in order to be compensated with the vice presidential position. He said it loud and clear that he would never accept the vice presidential ticket.
However, to the chagrin of most Nigerians the same Wike made a volte-face immediately after he had lost the presidential ticket. He showed interest in the vice presidential position without taking into consideration that Atiku could have promised the position to some of his supporters before the primaries.
Assuming that Wike didn’t contest for the presidential primaries and was promised the vice presidential ticket by Atiku, but was latter denied the position that would have been a different kettle of fish.
Atiku, as the presidential candidate of the party, had the prerogative to choose his running mate. Like I had written in the past, President Shehu Shagari chose Dr Alex Ekwueme instead of Chief K.O Mbadiwe. President Olusegun Obasanjo chose Atiku Abubakar in the stead of Abubakar Rimi. President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua chose Vice President Goodluck Jonathan instead of Dr. Peter Odili. President Goodluck Jonathan chose Vice President Namadi Sambo without imposition from any quarter.
Why should Wike and his supporters insist on imposing himself on Atiku as running mate? Since Wike lost the vice presidential slot to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, he has practically become inconsolable and implacable. His daily utterances these days do not bode well for the party and reconciliation.
Wike’s utterances these days justify and vindicate Atiku for opting for Okowa.
Some PDP stalwarts in Rivers like Chief Celestine Omehia, Rt. Hon Austin Okpara, Senator Lee Maeba, et al, showed interest in succeeding Wike as the governor of Rivers State. Wike dumped all of them and opted for a civil servant as his choice candidate. These politicians have been feeling sad and betrayed but Wike feels that they have no right to feel disappointed for not achieving their aspiration to succeed him. Wike feels that he’s the only politician entitled to be aggrieved or he’s the only one who should be pacified for not achieving his political aspiration. For him, those Rivers Politicians who were dumped for the governorship position shouldn’t have felt aggrieved. He’s the only one everybody should be pacifying.
Wike’s purported demand for the resignation of the national chairman of the PDP is not tenable. However, he must understand that he cannot always have his way in the removal of national chairman of the Party. He was instrumental to the removal of Sen. Alli Modu Sheriff, Sen Markarfi and Chief Uche Secondus as national chairman of the party. This time around, he cannot have his way. Of what purpose does it serve to remove the national chairman?
Just to feed Wike’s ego? When and if Atiku is elected as the President of Nigeria, the position of the national chairman should be ceded to the South. If Dr Iyorchia Ayu is removed now and perhaps Atiku loses the election, will the position be given back to him or will it remain in the south? It does not make sense.
Wike’s choice of words has not helped matters, especially since he started commissioned some projects recently. When he uses harsh words like “our enemies”, I will “crush them”, “I will finish them to the last” etc, how can reconciliation be achieved? Reports suggest that he has started clamping down on Rivers Politicians who are visiting Atiku by either demolishing or sealing their properties. How can genuine reconciliation be achieved in this kind of atmosphere? Does the reconciliation involve only Atiku and Wike without considering the feelings and harm done to Rivers politicians who may have lost their properties through intemperate and brash actions by Wike?
Governor Wike should soft-pedal or calm down in this seeming face-off with Atiku and the national chairman of the Party. He should realise that there’s life after office. If Atiku eventually wins the presidency without his support, these politicians that he has been oppressing now will eventually be the new godfathers of the Rivers politics. They will run him out of town even if the PDP produces the next governor of the state. Also if Tinubu wins the presidency, someone like Sen Magnus Abe will be the next godfather of Rivers politics even if he loses the governorship election. Don’t forget that he contributed immensely to Tinubu’s emergence as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Wike should realize that he can never be the champion forever, his championship will end on May 2023. New godfathers with federal might will emerge in Rivers State. What if they go after Wike’s properties as he’s currently doing to dissenting voices? Wike should realise that federal might is enormous and that’s why he has not been able to touch former Governor Rotimi Amaechi since 2015. New godfathers who may be more powerful than Wike, may emerge from next year. A word should be enough for the wise.
Maduako, writes from Abuja via firstname.lastname@example.org