The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) must be miserable and feeling threatened at the moment. The party is worried that one of its big guns, major financier, and incumbent governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, is unhappy and could take some unpleasant decisions in a fit of his  palpable anger. This can unsettle as well as alter some political calculations in the PDP ahead of next year’s general election.

Wike, an advocate of southern presidency, had put up a good showing at the May 28 presidential primary of the party in Abuja, where he clinched the second place, coming very close to the ticket. The politics under the table that tilted victory in favour of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was a huge disappointment to him. He would later allege gang-up after the primaries and eventually resolved to move on.

Yet, another opportunity came up: the presidential running mate. Although Wike had, while pushing for the presidency, said the vice president’s position was not a consideration for him, Atiku, too, was said to have promised to pair with him for the election, while brokering truce, shortly after the primary.
That had triggered something new in Wike and set anew the options before him. As vice president, you’re just microseconds away from being president, he might have thought to himself, and so, he went for it.

To his shock, that, too, vanished – right before him. While the party leadership had reportedly set up about four advisory committees on the matter, one of the committees, however, voted and 14 out of the 17 members – a majority of them governors – voted in support of Wike.  
Atiku ignored the recommendation and opted for Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, who has just declared his certificates missing, as the most suitable partner for the onerous task of returning Nigeria to its pride of place in 2023.

Wike is, therefore, angry and has been speaking subliminally through his proxies – leaving no one in doubt that he is prepared to rock the boat. But, at what cost to him, personally, and to his party?

He had previously stated and continues to affirm that he would never leave the PDP for any other party, given his place in the political equation of the party, state and country. But his rumoured meeting with the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu, in France, weeks after the one he had with the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, in Port Harcourt, and another meeting with the presidential candidate of NNPP, Rabiu Kwankwaso, almost created some panic.

That has since been denied, as the carrier of the alleged misinformation, Joe Igbokwe, was roundly denied by his party, the APC, and Tinubu, and even stereotyped as fake news carrier by his own people. For Igbokwe, it’s a permanent damage, as no word from him may be taken seriously. This, nonetheless, something fishy is definitely going on with Wike as far as his options are concerned. What, therefore, are these plausible options?

First, assuming Wike has changed his mind about defection and is now considering leaving the PDP for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). If he defects, then, there would be too many challenges to deal with in the party. This is because, in the APC is another former governor of Rivers State and immediate past Minister of Transportion, Chibuike Amaechi, under whom Wike once worked as Chief of Staff.

Amaechi is out of office but certainly not out of reckoning. His recent visit to Port Harcourt is a testament to that fact. Besides, of the seven new ministers appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, Amaechi was believed to have nominated two – for Rivers and Akwa Ibom states – an indication that he remains as strong an issue in every consideration.

Besides, managing the two tendencies (Amaechi and Wike) is certainly going to tricky for APC and Tinubu, because the decision could compromise the battle for the soul of Rivers, which Amaechi had undertaken since 2015. Of course, the starting point would be seniority in the party at the state level.
At the moment, Amaechi controls the structure, but with Wike in the party, it remains to be seen how this will pan out, else, another Ogun and Zamfara states’ scenarios might be loading. So, this option seems dead on arrival.  

The second option is to stay back in the PDP, strike a deal with APC, and play the spoiler for his party. This is even a more dangerous gambit for him. Yes, Wike boasts huge financial chest, but Rivers is a traditional PDP state. So, what happens if he loses at the end of the day?

After all, Amaechi was once governor and controlled as much resources, but he has also been unable to take back the state he governed for eight years as governor and another eight years as Speaker of the House of Assembly, apparently because he is no longer in PDP.

Wike may want to learn from Amaechi, because if, in spite of playing anti-party, PDP eventually wins the presidency in 2023 as well as the state, then, it would be game over for him. His situation will be worse than whatever Amaechi might have found himself in now. After all, Amaechi had the federal government to run to.
There’s a third option, which is that Wike may choose to stay back in PDP but remain indifferent to whatever is being done in the party, except paying attention to Rivers, so he could retain the state. With the presidential and National Assembly elections slated for the same day, what then happens to his candidates for the other elections?

The snag here is that since politics is no less an investment for the players, it is what you put in that you will get back, if the investment finally yields result. What this means is that he might not be entitled to anything if the party won the presidency, at the end of the day and without an input from him.
The last but not the least option, which many have considered his best bet, is to outgrow the pain, see the disappointment as an act of God and yield to the overtures of the party and Atiku, in collective and shared common interests.

This, most definitely, is not going to be without some horse-trading, negotiations and compromises, but it would leave him better, when compared to other options flashing before him at the moment. It might be painful; it is one to end well, ultimately.
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom and a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, have come out to say so much in their recent media exposures. While Ortom suggested that Wike be properly pacified in collective interest, Fayose thought it was game over – that the time to leave had come – stressing that, staying back could haunt Wike for the rest of his life.

Well, Fayose is no longer a member of PDP, although a friend of Wike; his reasoning is expected to be completely out of sync with the projected successes of the PDP. But Wike, at this point, must be able to talk to himself and consider all the options open to him in his quiet moment very carefully.
Above all, and importantly, too, Wike must know that staying politically relevant post-2023 is a battle that is beyond merely boasting some huge war chest. Enduring relationship will enable survival, which will in turn, actualise the much-needed relevance.
But, if what Wike said upon returning from his vacation in Turkey, was anything to consider, then, he might have resolved to embrace the last option, which is his best shot at the moment.

However, everything remains fluid and mercurial, until they are concretely sealed. 

Source: This Day


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here