OpinionOPINION: Rivers State Crisis: Time to Expel Wike From PDP

OPINION: Rivers State Crisis: Time to Expel Wike From PDP



July 08, (THEWILL) – The internal squabbles and power tussle in the Peoples Democratic Party ahead of the 2027 Presidential Election has boxed the party into a suffocating struggle for survival.

While the APC as the ruling party has continued to beat the PDP to total submission, the latter on its own has failed woefully as a major opposition party.

There are many different groups and forces within the party trying to firmly dictate what happens and some of them are very vicious. However, two groups led by Atiku Abubakar and Nyesom Wike are the most powerful among them. But one thing they have in common is that they are all scheming for their selfish interests.

Wike has not hidden his interest in becoming president of Nigeria. Those who have followed his political development closely can testify that after he was appointed minister of state for education he tenaciously pursued his presidential vision calculatedly with all the tools at his disposal. The tenacity he attaches or his exhibition in pursuit of this dream gives the impression that he gives no fig. This attitude appears to have been what led to his clash with Rotimi Amaechi (former Rivers State Governor), his predecessor.

Amaechi, who never knew that Wike nursed the ambition to occupy the same position he was scheming for in Aso Rock has in recent times confessed publicly that on many occasions he regretted recommending him for a ministerial position. Therefore, statistically, their conflicts over who controls Rivers State seemed anchored fundamentally on their selfish interests. It appeared like they wanted to have a very strong political and financial base basically to dictate things in their envisaged presidential election campaigns to their personal advantage. This interest was the genesis of their political enmity that led to the political militarisation of Rivers State at that time.

A similar scenario is again playing out between the current Governor, Similayi Fubara and Wike. The only difference, for now, is that Fubara has not shown any interest in occupying the number one position in Nigeria like Wike.

Wike’s Actions and unfolding events over the years seem to have continued to portray him as someone who is very desperate to be president. He seems ready for any political adventure and can step on any toe as long as it will bring him close to the fulfilment of his desire. That could be why it appears he wants to control every important political structure in Rivers State, regardless of other stakeholders’ stand in the state, particularly Governor Fubara. The role he played in supporting President Tinubu of the APC against his own party candidate, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, during the last presidential election was a huge betrayal and anti-party act that called for drastic punishment.

Wike succeeded in winning the political war against Amaechi in 2015 and taking total political control of Rivers State after the 2019 elections, he then critically considered the next thing that could be a hindrance to his presidential ambition in 2023. In his calculation, presumably, since the PDP’s constitution does not allow the North or South to produce the chairman of the party and the presidential candidate at the same time, the continued stay of Prince Uche Secondus from South-South like himself as the national chairman of the party would be the obstacle or the biggest hindrance to his presidential aspiration. In his well-thought-out plan, he smartly led the “Secondus must go” campaign, hiding under equity and switched all his energy and resources to making sure that a northerner became the national chairman. The game was to pave the way solely for the South to produce the presidential candidate and he believed convincingly that he would be the one to emerge.

Having succeeded in influencing so much in installing a northerner as PDP’s chairman, Wike started advocating the zoning of the presidency to the south as stipulated by the PDP’s constitution. As expected, it was obliged without any uproar. For the sake of equity, unity and inclusiveness, some PDP stakeholders reasonably thought it wise that the zoning of the party’s ticket to the south should be exclusively reserved for the South-East. They argued that since the South-West and South-South had all produced presidents, it would be fair enough to also support the people of the South-East to produce a president.

Wike, who wielded enormous influence in the PDP at the time, refused the noble idea because he wanted to be president. Consequently, party members from the North jettisoned zoning, and the position of presidential candidate was then thrown open. This scheming and other politically shameful dealings that allegedly took place within the party forced people like Peter Obi out of the PDP.

During the presidential primary of the PDP in Abuja, Nwike was taught the political lessons of his life as he fell to the combined punches of political alliances and experiences of Atiku Abubakar. His subsequent actions worked assiduously against the interest of his own party and Atiku Abubakar in favour of the APC and Tinubu.

In a normal working society and a political party, he ought to have been expelled or heavily sanctioned for such a grievous offence. But the PDP is what it is, like Nigeria, many of its members are alike in terms of character. Some of them came from the APC and may be planning to leave the PDP and that is why they are silent in the face of the obvious spat, arrogance and insults from Wike.

Wike is currently fighting the Governor of Rivers State who was elected under the platform of the PDP. He is currently serving as a Minister under the APC, but it seems he is using the position against the interest of his acclaimed own party, yet members of the PDP keep mute in a better-described attitude of self-hatred and despair. After destroying the party, he is likely going to dump the PDP for another party like his loyalists in the State Assembly are alleged to have done. So, his ambition is paramount and nothing else matters to him.

Wike wants to be the “Jagaban” of Rivers State politics and will not back down until he gets to his destination unless he is forcefully stopped by being knocked out politically. Remember, in his quest to actualise his presidential ambition, Amaechi and Secondus fell victim. But the earlier Wike realises that Fubara is a sitting Governor and as such the landlord of Rivers State, the better for him. But Fubara must seriously activate those powers he has as a landlord now or he goes down in history as an impeached governor. His moves to probe Wike’s administration is one of those commendable landlord’s moves, and his swearing in of the Caretaker Committee Chairmen of the local governments was a well-targeted uppercut of a landlord. PDP must follow the same steps now by expelling, suspending, or at least forcing Wike to stop his dangerous steps against Fubara and the interests of the PDP.

Will Fubara suffer the same fate as Amaechi and Secondus in the hands of Wike? Will Wike be successful in his alleged indirect influence of impeaching Fubara? Or will Fubara succeed in finding Wike culpable of misappropriation of Rivers funds as he probes his administration? I see Amaechi coming back to the PDP and giving Fubara the support he needs because all does not seem to be well with him and Tinubu in the APC. Time will tell. But one thing is certain in this political war, as 2027 draws near, the reality of the PDP members’ silence will forcefully confront them and regrettably compel them to face the injurious consequences of their unceasing lukewarm attitudes to Wike’s actions. Anyone who thinks that Wike as the FCT Minister under the Bola Tinubu Administration will work against the interests of Tinubu or the APC in favour of the PDP or any PDP candidate is a political toddler – a neophyte. Expel him from PDP now before he does more damage.

*** Written by Uzoma Ahamefule writes from Vienna, Austria

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