Fishes don’t swim, they run when fire burns in Rivers. Hypocrisy downs virtue and upholds vice when the crocodile sheds tears. This is the unfolding scenario in the Peoples Democratic Party. It’s an equation without a solution, tea without sugar, laughter without joy, peace without tranquillity. When e dey pain dem, e dey sweet Wike. Now e dey sweet dem, e dey pain Wike. Life is an eternal riddle.
Wike is the Governor of Rivers State. His first name is Nyesom; quicksilver in temperament, spontaneous in action, audacious in purpose.
Some psychologists and many of Wike critics may, however, disagree and substitute quicksilver for impulsiveness, spontaneity for touchy, tyranny for audacity. But Nyesom doesn’t give a hoot!
Wike is fighting the battle of his life. A battle to survive not only today and 2023 but also 2027. The Strong Man of Rivers politics, in the bid to outfox his numerous political enemies, got a big gourd, like the proverbial Tortoise, and went in search of all the political wisdom in the world.
Satisfied he got all wisdom into his gourd, Wike headed home with the gourd on his head, whistling and singing his favourite song, “Wike pepper dem o.” He was proud of himself.
As Wike appeared on the horizon of Government House Road, a peal of drums welcomed him back home, announcing the success of his journey to the land of wisdom.
No one, except Wike, must touch the heavy gourd of wisdom. He needs to put it down from his head all by himself. If he applies wisdom, Wike can slowly lift the gourd off his head, rest it on his shoulder, and gently bring it down to the floor. Also, he can ease it onto his chest, and carefully bring it down onto the floor.
In a show of strength, however, the powerful Wike lifts the gourd high up to the sky, off his head, and the crowd roar in amazement, he staggers, struggles for balance, bringing down the gourd with a shattering thud, a colony of bees evolve from the smithereens, stinging and humming.
A great politician and powerful grassroots mobiliser, Wike is a nimble footballer, who has dribbled the entire opposing team, dribbled his fellow players plus goalkeeper, and is charging speedily towards his own goal.
Nollywood would be glad to have Wike because he’s very dramatic. In 2015 when he emerged governor, Wike climbed a footstool to personally mount the picture of former Governor Celestine Omehia, restoring the rights and privileges which the preceding Rotimi Amaechi administration had stripped Omehia of.
After more than seven years of working hand in glove with Omehia, and snoring, the Wike administration has finally woken up from political slumber to affirm the Supreme Court judgement of 2007, which states that Omehia was never governor.
In order to spite Amaechi, who’s from the same community with Omehia, Wike accused his predecessor of ‘playing bitter politics’, saying it was wrong to derecognise Omehia as governor.
Nicknamed High Tension during his tenure as Minister of State for Education, now known as Mr Project, Wike, who personally removed Omehia’s portrait from the Government House, last week, called on the embattled five-month governor to refund ‘N695.5 million state privileges’ which accrued to Omehia since Wike’s administration recognised him as a former governor.
How on earth can the Wike government pay an impostor who served for only five months N695.5 million? And Baba Buhari is fighting corruption so? EFCC, where’s thy sting?
More questions: How much has ex-Governor Peter Odili received as ‘privileges’? How much has Amaechi got in a state where the man on the street can’t live on a dollar per day. Rivers of fraud!
Like infants squabbling while playing in the sand, it’s simply childish that the Rivers State Government just realised that Omehia should be stripped of his unmerited privileges only when he visited the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who beat Wike to the presidential ticket.
It’s not only against Omehia that Wike unbarred his fangs. Former allies, Austin Opara and Lee Maeba, lost their positions as leaders of the PDP in Port Harcourt City LG and Ogoni axis respectively.
After he lost the PDP ticket to Atiku in last-minute horse-trading which involved Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, Atiku and some retired Generals in the PDP, Wike who was gunning for the nation’s presidency, quickly channelled his energy into agitating for fair representation for the South within the PDP.
Specifically and rightly so, Wike said it was wrong for the North to produce the presidential candidate of the party, Atiku; the national chairman of the party, Iyorcha Ayu; the Board of Trustees Chairman, Walid Jibrin, and PDP Governors’ Forum Chairman, Tambuwal.
But whose interest is Wike protecting? Southern PDP interest or personal interest? A few months ago when the chairmanship of the party was zoned to the South, Wike, along with his fellow PDP governors, moved against the candidacy of former Osun State governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, a retired general, who was seen as uncontrollable and too close to Generals Theophilus Danjuma, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Aliyu Gusau, and others.
Wike and his fellow PDP governors then opted for Gboko-born Ayu, who was backed by Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom. Ayu was headhunted because it was generally believed that the PDP presidential ticket would be zoned to the South as the incumbent President, retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari, is from the North.
In 2015, Wike had teamed up with former Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, to produce Ali Modu Sheriff as PDP national chairman but Sheriff was kicked out by a court judgement which affirmed Ahmed Makarfi as chairman.
In 2017, Wike produced his political ally and Rivers-born Uche Secondus as the PDP National Working Committee chairman when the South-West wasn’t united to produce a candidate for the post.
Mr High Tension’s new-found agitation isn’t for altruistic reasons, it’s for personal survival. If it were for altruistic reasons, Wike would’ve for long been clamouring for the South to have better representation in the PDP, knowing full well that the South-West, especially, has never produced the chairman of the party.
Second-guessing Wike’s plans, at this point, won’t be out of place. Mr Project is unlikely to defect from the PDP because, to maintain relevance in Rivers politics, Wike needs to ensure the success of the 13 PDP candidates for the House of Reps, three senatorial candidates and 32 members of the state House of Assembly, but he’s most unlikely to work for Atiku.
Will Wike work for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu? Yes and no. Wike, in the real sense, is likely to work for Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, but in working for Obi, Tinubu might be the ultimate beneficiary because both the PDP and the LP would invariably share the spoils in the South-East and South-South, foreclosing a sweeping lead for either of LP or PDP in the two regions that had formerly been dominated by the PDP.
Fearing a backlash for his antagonism should Atiku win, Wike would be wise to put his eggs in two baskets – supporting Obi openly and remotely wishing Tinubu gets the presidency if Obi fails while readying himself for the presidency in 2027. The cunning in Tinubu won’t fail to notice this opportunity, and would be happy if Wike worked for Obi against Atiku, but would be happier if Wike worked for him.
When Ayu described Tambuwal as the hero of the PDP presidential primary/convention after Atiku’s victory, Wike agreed with the saying that, “An honest enemy is far better than betraying friends,” intensifying calls for Ayu to resign as national chairman. Wike said some PDP leaders were not worth a naira, calling them treacherous people.
The presidential election has divided the camp of the retired generals with Obasanjo supporting Obi, and Danjuma, Babangida, Abdulsalami, Gusau, Oyinlola supporting Atiku while Buhari, the Commander-in-Chief, has publicly stuck to Tinubu.
The die is cast: Wike boils but PDP stands by Ayu; as e dey pain, na so e dey sweet. Politicians, A-Y-U normal? Apologies, Mr Macaroni.