In recent times, the group of five Governors of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has grown to become a public nuisance. Last December, through their garrulous leader and spokesman who doubles as the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesome Wike, they had promised to name a Presidential candidate in January and join his campaign train, despite the furore generated by that proclamation, it is one week into February and the spinless Governors are still hiding under their disillusionment.
Over the last eight months, the G-5 Governors who also call themselves the ‘Integrity’ group of Governors, made up of Governors Nyesome Wike of Rivers State, Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Seyi Makinde or Oyo State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State have been shuttling between Nigeria and London wasting their states’ resources and seeking attention. They have continued to insist that their motivation was justice and equity, however, every action they have undertaken simply points to the fact that they are only after their personal interest and political survival.
They have continued to behave like children seeking maternal attention in such a shrill tone that has become quite irritating to those that were hitherto admirers. What the Governors clearly failed to realise is that they have lost public sympathy. Despite the attention they generated during their hay days, they are now like a bull in a china shop, who are determined to take their party the PDP, and its chances in the 2023 polls down with them. They have concluded that it is either their way or the highway! Interestingly, four of the five G5 Governors are on the ballot for 2023, three going to the senate while one (Seyi Makinde) seeks reelection as Oyo state Governor.
To gain public sympathy, these Governors had cried bitterly about the marginalisation of the south. They cleverly presented themselves as voices of the South who were not happy that the North was holding onto the positions of the presidential flagbearer and national chairmanship positions in their party. What they succeeded in doing was to fool some Nigerians into ignoring the fact that the claim was merely a smokescreen and that Atiku’s refusal to choose the loquacious Wike as his running mate in June last year was the real offense for which they have been badly rattled.
Since July 2022, the G-5 and their acolytes in the Integrity Group including former Governors Ayo Fayose and Olusegun Mimiko, former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Olabode George, have been crying wolf against the PDP and Atiku; threatening hard to crash the PDP building since Wike lost his ambition of emerging as Atiku’s running mate in June 2022. They have been insisting that power must shift to the South, yet, before the primaries, they refused to emphatically name the South-East as the zone that should benefit from such an arrangement.
While introducing his colleagues during the flag-off of his campaigns at the Mapo Hall event in Ibadan recently, Governor Makinde chose the funniest word in the English dictionary to introduce his colleagues when he introduced them as Monkeys. The Engineer-Governor introduced his fellow jesters as ‘Old Monkey, Second Old Monkey, Young Monkey’ and so on. The word ‘Monkey was quite instructive as one can easily conclude that indeed, Governor Wike and his goons have been monkeying around (playing silly games, as the dictionary puts it) with Nigerians in their desperate chase of political survival.
Before the 2015 election, a similar situation had played out when Wike’s arch-rival and predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, and four other PDP Governors, including Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano, Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto, Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa formed a group and later defected to APC. An action adjudged to be crucial to former President Jonathan’s defeat. This group of five Governors did not hang on to the party displaying foolery and childishness, rather, they left the PDP completely with all their structures and fielded candidates in APC, they contested under the banner of APC and they won. That is exactly what many would have expected of the G-5 Governors who from all indications lack the requisite courage to fight like men. They have only confirmed to Nigerians that they are spineless cowards!
Recent happenings have shown that the G-5 Governors are now singing in discordant tunes. While speaking in Port Harcourt, a week ago, Governor Wike recanted and declared that there was never a time he promised to announce his preferred presidential candidate on camera. The people of Rivers State, he added, already know who to vote for on the 25th of February. That piece of gibberish clearly showed that Governor Wike does not rate his followers. One will wonder if he wasn’t going to mention who his preferred candidate was, why then has he remained vocal about his intention to work against his party, the PDP?
The failure of the Governors to name a candidate with less than 20 days to the elections clearly shows that they have now chickened out of a promise they made without anyone putting a gun to their head.
In conclusion, the G-5 Governors can continue to delude themselves and overestimate their importance but they must understand that they were elected to serve the people of their respective states and not to dance naked in public on the altar of disjointed political machinations. The people of Rivers, Oyo, Benue, Abia, and Enugu deserve better and they must do everything possible to make their lives better as they wind down their administrations which end in barely 4 months. The dance of shame is becoming nauseating already.