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‘Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools that don’t have brains enough, to be honest.’ — Benjamin Franklin.
Ever since Rivers State Governor Nyesome Wike lost out in the PDP primaries to Atiku Abubakar, his life hasn’t been the same. The aftermath has left the liquor-loving Governor of the oil-rich Riverine State in a phase of his life that he never envisaged. The loss at the PDP primary practically turned him into an activist, a campaigner for southern equity, an anti-corruption crusader, and a promoter of decency in politics, all of which before now, were on different parallel lines with his principles. The entire shenanigans are both laughable and sad at the same time.
Wike had been nursing big political dreams from his days as a first-term Governor. In 2019, his game was to run as Vice Presidential candidate to the Governor of Sokoto State who he supported with so much dexterity during the Port Harcourt convention. In return for that support, Tambuwal showed him the other side of Nigerian politicians this year when he opted to step down for eventual winner, Atiku Abubakar in a contest Wike believed he was poised to win.
After losing the primaries in June, he was said to have nursed expectations of grabbing the vice-presidential slot. Shortly after, a PDP committee that was set up to select a quality candidate with the wand and sagacity to win elections was said to have favoured Wike. But he was later overlooked for undisclosed reasons, with Atiku preferring Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State. Having seen this, Wike felt he was left in the lurch to seethe with anger. He then concluded he had been handed the short end of the stick and declared war, with the National Chairman of the PDP as his launching pad.
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In response to Wike’s moves, the Atiku camp, even though they knew they had breached the PDP constitution where they jettisoned zoning for brinkmanship, began poaching Wike’s men with the intent of whittling his sphere of influence. By their calculations, if they succeeded, they cast Wike in the wilderness and render him a general without troops, which would either frustrate him out of the party or force him to remain in PDP marooned.
This explains why Wike now spends days and nights targeting TV cameras and profusely lamenting about injustice in the PDP. Wike has perhaps forgotten that haven refused Power shift in 2015 in his native Rivers state where he rebuffed all equitable efforts to transfer power to other zones, he has lost all moral right to discuss power rotation. But this is Nigeria where everything goes, and politics of foolishness is the norm.
It is amusing to see Wike discuss justice. If he were interested in true justice, he would have supported the call for power to shift not just to the South but to the Southeast. But Wike, who champions self-interest as justice, wouldn’t have that. Wike rightly insists a Northerner shouldn’t succeed a Northerner, but did he ever wonder why a man from the South-South should rule when a man from the same South-South ruled the last time power came down South? Had Wike supported the call for a Southeastern Presidency in the PDP, perhaps the story would have been different but sadly, that is not the case.
Today, the same Wike is championing the call against marginalisation. He is at the forefront of the fight for the inclusion of the Igbo. Yet, this was a Wike who submitted to the primaries, contested, and lost, while not wanting another qualified Igbo man to be Vice-President.
If Wike were fighting for Justice, shouldn’t he have fought for his friend Ikpeazu, Ifeanyi Ugwanyi, or another member of his gang to be VP? Wike’s idea of justice is underlined by opportunism and self-service. Wike fought for half a power shift because with Rivers’ financial muscle, he would have been the clear favourite and beneficiary. For Wike, it has always been about Wike.
On the day of judgment, we shall know how much Rivers State spent on media during the reign of this self-acclaimed important governor. Today, rascality has taken over the entire air in the state. Wike can summon and fly in the senior executives of the four largest television houses in the country to Port Harcourt to watch him belch and rehash worn-out gossip. But he should be reminded that it is only people drenched in an inferiority complex that engage in such.
To further showcase his emptiness, he recently went on an ‘appointment’ spree. First, he announced that he would be recruiting about 10,000 political aides. When that announcement wasn’t getting him the kind of attention he wanted, he went on to increase the number to 50,000, 100,000, and further to a whopping 200,000. It is advisable that people who love Wike should advise him right before he appoints the entire citizens of Rivers State as political aides.
Today, Wike is in a fix. He cannot openly defect to the APC or Labour party because that will leave the electorate jaded. But having sworn never to leave the PDP, it now appears he must remain a chameleon until he chooses whether to swallow his pride or accept some face-saving crumbs and support Atiku; or stay under the umbrella and damage PDP’s presidential quest from within.
To play a mole from within will be humbling because he can’t do it loquaciously. The point here is that head or tail, Wike has been demystified. By May 29, 2023, he will come to the full realisation of how empty he is. He can continue to delude himself and drink more bottles of head-spinning liquor, but he should not forget his date with anti-graft agencies when he leaves office.