Governor Nyesom Wike has witnessed rising profile in the north in recent time. This has however, been followed by his posters springing up in Abuja for the presidency. The Government House in Port Harcourt has issued a strong denial for this, but a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state with strong base in Abuja has insisted the posters came from Wike. This has added a twist in the ever-twisting political vibe in Rivers State, south-south, and the north.
Wike’s latest table-shaking in the north is the N500million donation to the Sokoto State government towards the Sokoto Market fire. The governor flew off to Sokoto less than 24 hours after the fire incident and joined the host governor who has been his political ally to inspect the damage.
This has reverberated with the N200million he had donated to Benue State in the recent past. Gov Samuel Ortom was his co-minister of state in the Goodluck Jonathan administration. Now, both Sokoto’s Aminu Tambuwal and Benue’s Ortom have been invited to Rivers State few weeks back to commission projects where each visiting governor poured praises on Wike.
Many have seen a political handwriting on the wall. They say they see an alliance for something bigger because all the three governors are in their last laps in their various government houses. Could the presidency be on their minds?
This is coming at a time Rivers ex-governor, the Transportation Minister, and Wike’s arch-enemy, has been working hard, too, in the north with his own posters also springing up.
It is not clear if the north has ceded presidential slot to the south-south in both the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but going by the popular rotational agreement, it is the turn of the south-east because both the south-south and south-west have each tasted the pudding. If revolution is anything to go, by, the presidency should revolve to the south (west, deep south, east) after coming from the north. A group in the north however, is said to think the north has not tasted it for long because of the demise of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua after only two years, making the south to have another six years in addition to Obasanjo’s eight, making it 14 years.
Now, because of huge financial resources in the south-south and big political clout especially by the Rivers group, power seems to face Rivers State for now, notwithstanding the fact that the deep south has had it for six years.
The problem is that while many see handwriting on the wall along with huge spending by the touted persons from Rivers State northerners, the nominal personalities have continued to deny any such ambition, claiming they are currently focused on their present tasks. This had always been the story line, from Peter Odili, Chibuike Amaechi now to Wike. At last, they have been complicit.
Abuja posters is from detractors – Wike camp
A terse Govt House statement said the attention of Gov Wike has been drawn to campaign posters bearing his name which flooded some major streets of Abuja on January 25, 2021.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Wike has not informed anyone that he is interested in the Presidency of this country. This is certainly the handiwork of mischief makers who are threatened by the Governor’s rising political profile.
The statement signed by the government through the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Msirim, said: “We are amused that political detractors will stop at nothing to see how they can distract Governor Wike’s visionary leadership.
“For the umpteenth time, we wish to restate that Gov Wike is presently preoccupied with his mission to make Rivers State a better place and destination of choice.
“All the puerile antics of political jobbers aimed at heating up the polity will surely fail.
Members of the public are therefore advised to discountenance the misinformation that is currently circulating in Abuja.”
You are financing a secret presidential scheme – APC
Ogbonnaya Nwuke was commissioner of information in the Amaechi government when Wike was chief of staff. It means both men have worked on many strategies together in the past.
Now, the Etche-born Nwuke who was in the House of Reps the time Wike was minister (both worked at the federal level for Amaechi, too, before falling apart), says Wike is not saying the truth about the posters.
He stated: “The All Progressives Congress has asked the Rivers State Government to stop fabricating tales in an effort to deny Governor Wike’s interest to contest the presidency in 2023.
According to a statement issued by the party’s Spokesman, Nwuke, the APC said the governor’s real intent in splashing Rivers money in parts of the country has become exposed.
“Despite attempts by the Governor to pull red herrings over the eyes of well meaning Rivers people, the primary reason why Rivers people are being starved, shoved aside and abandoned has been revealed.
“Rivers money has been used secretly to finance a presidential project and make other Nigerians rich while our people are left to wallow in abject poverty.”
Nwuke said there was no need for the Rivers State Government to spread falsehood in order to hide the ambition of the state governor. “Everything is now in the open. Those who have received an overdose of Rivers money have decided to print posters announcing the actual intention of Governor Wike in 2023.
“Rivers State has become a goldmine besieged by fortune hunters who have free access to the treasures of the land while the landowners sit down and look. “This is why Rivers Civil Servants and pensioners are treated with ignominy; why no effort is being made by this government to invest in the welfare of the masses.
“Rivers people are not deceived by the denial offered by the State Government. The jamboree which has brought many politicians to the State in recent times in the name of project commissioning was a hidden plot to buy support for a presidential project that is doomed to fail.
“Governor Wike should have exhibited courage, not cowardice, in telling Nigerians the truth. The truth is that he is scheming. He has been exclusively funding the PDP, especially in the northern states, in preparation for his ambition in 2023.
“We wonder what Governor Aminu Tambuwal will be thinking now that the actual plan of Governor Wike, a supposed ally, is coming to light.
“As a Nigerian, Governor Nyesom Wike has a right to run for the presidency; he has a right to donate chunks of money if he has so much to lavish; those rights do not amount to the right to spend Rivers money arbitrarily.
“The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) has donated N50 million on behalf of Governors and their states. If Governor Wike contributed to the NGF donation, what was the reason for the same Governor to donate a whopping sum of N500 million to Sokoto State?
“We have spoken out on what we see as the attitude of the governor towards the use of state funds. We have spoken on the accumulation of more than N300 billion in loans by this administration. Yet, the governor continues to throw money in the air; and continues to shy away from tackling matters which directly affect the welfare of the Rivers working class and the well-being of Rivers people.
“Painfully, the money that the governor is busy wasting and spending like his personal wealth belongs to Rivers State. Rivers people are gradually speaking up. They need to speak truth to power.
“We have sympathy for those who think that they can fool Rivers people. Rivers people have their eyes on the ball and they know that the administration of Wike is clearly taking them for a ride.”
The APC urged the people to stand up and defend what truly belongs to them, saying, “Government is not thinking of the consequences of its actions.”