By Emmanuel Aziken
New questions as to the intentions of Governor Nyesom Wike came to the fore after three bristling utterances from him between Wednesday and Thursday.
Is the governor about to follow Senator Godswill Akpabio into the All Progressives Congress, APC was a question some asked? That debate reverberated after he sounded his readiness to untie the cord holding the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
In the first salvo on Wednesday, the governor lambasted some of the most revered figures in the party who had been mandated to solve the crisis arising from the emergence of Ndudi Elumelu as the minority leader of the House of Representatives. Wike accused them of the worst kind of corruption in the history of the party.
Wike had wanted a Rivers man, Kingsley Chinda as the minority leader, but didn’t have his way despite the support of the national leadership of the party. Elumelu won after galvanising more members in the House.
Among the elders, Wike accused of corruption were Senators David Mark, Iyorcha Ayu, and Adolphus Wabara, all former presidents of the Senate.
Hardly had the ink on that statement dried when the governor shocked everyone with his congratulatory message to President Muhammadu Buhari on his victory at the tribunal.
The following day, the governor justified himself by alluding to claims that he was not pretentious like some of his fellow PDP governors who he claimed regularly meet Buhari in the night.
Wike’s assertions against his party is surprising to many. That is because it is generally known that the governor above anyone else had the greatest influence in the installation of the national leadership of the party with Prince Uche Secondus, the national chairman being his personal appointee.
It is thus surprising that the same Wike would be the one confronting the party.
The reason Wike is bristling is apparently because no matter his effort, he has not been able to mould the PDP into his image. Not even President Obasanjo at the peak of his powers was able to fully mould the party in his image.
That is perhaps one advantage that the PDP now has over the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC where the integrity of the president overshadows the letters of the party’s constitution.
Wike’s failed bid to appoint Chinda as minority leader, to wit, the party’s number two man in the Federal Government after the Senate Minority leader, was especially resisted by many others in the party who felt that after producing the national chairman that Rivers State should not produce the House minority leader.
But that was not the origin of the governor’s problems with the party.
Many will trace the genesis to last year’s convention when the governor failed in his bid to stop the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the party.
Though the governor had a good candidate in the person of Governor Aminu Tambuwal, the momentum with Atiku, however, took the wind off the sail of the Tambuwal campaign at the last minute. Adding salt to injury was that Wike hosted the convention!
Some say that he has yet to forgive the party, and especially the South East tendency led by Senator Ike Ekweremadu who negotiated apparently a better deal with Atiku before the convention. Ekweremadu’s problem apparently was his insistence that the South East should take its turn in 2023 and the former Deputy Senate President apparently did not envisage that possibility with Tambuwal.
Some, however, are muttering that Wike is taking on his superiors in politics. Those in that category say that Senator Ayu was president of the Senate when Governor Wike was finishing law school. Atiku, who is also the wrong side of Wike’s politics, was vice-president when the governor was a local government chairman.
But Wike has fought where few dare to dread. He is remembered for holding the battleground for Rotimi Amaechi in the period between February 2007 and October 2007.
So, given his constitutionally guaranteed immunity and the fact that he ordinarily should exit with Buhari in 2023, is there any reason why Wike would want to tear his party because of pressure from the ruling party?
Even more, the man who supposedly intimidated Akpabio out of his cocoon has lost favour after being sacked for forging the certificate with which he used in entering the University of Jos to read law.
Other guesses for Wike’s vituperations pointed at the election tribunal. It is claimed that his enemies want to entrap him at the Supreme Court. And that he may well have now panicked.
However, Wike’s infidelity to his party had been an issue.
The governor had ahead of the last convention threatened the PDP that he was not bound to remain in the party.
So, if Wike were to leave the PDP, would he go to the APC where his erstwhile boss and predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi holds sway?
Just imagine, who between Amaechi and Wike would be the leader of the party were the governor for one reason to switch over to the APC?
It looks preposterous, but who believed just about a year ago that Akpabio would sit together in the same room peacefully with the likes of Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, Nsima Ekere, Don Etiebet and all those that left the PDP because of him?