PLAYHOUSE POLITICS, which Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State, lately embraced, resonated in Lagos, during his visit, on Tuesday, to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State. He was in Lagos at the invitation of the wife of Lagos State Governor, to attend the National Women’s Conference, organised by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials, COWLSO.
Wike, at the event, tactfully endorsed Sanwou-Olu, the governorship candidate of the ruling APC, for second four years tenure, ahead of the 2023 election; in preference to his Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship candidate, Olajide Adediran, known as JANDOR. The event was held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos. Wike donated N300 million in support of women’s committee project.
Wike said Sanwo-Olu has performed very well as governor of Lagos, and would support a performing governor, outside his political party. Wike said: “If Sanwo-Olu is not doing well, even if he belongs to my party, I won’t come. For me, if you are in my party and you are not doing well, you won’t see me. If you are not in my party and you are doing well, you will see me. I will not regret to say I am in support of you [Sanwo-Olu]”.
And added: “On behalf of the women in Rivers State, my wife, who has extended her greetings, I support this with a sum of N300 million so that you can continue this laudable project.”
Some analysts and political observers remarked that there could be nothing strange about Wike inviting guests from different political parties, to Rivers States to commission projects, as he had done recently. But wondered how he, a PDP governor, would visit APC’s Lagos State stronghold, to endorsed Sanwo-Olu; against his own party, PDP candidate, who is a strong contender for the Lagos State governorship race in the 2023.
Wike has been an unapologetic critic of the ruling All Progressives Congress, for non-performance, plunging the country into economic crisis, agonising insecurity, under developing the country and impoverishing the citizens. In addition, Wike had compared the problems in APC to “cancer”; and compared the problems in PDP as “malaria”. And stated that he cannot leave malaria, PDP, for cancer the APC. Obviously alluding to rumours that he may decamp to APC due to the crisis in the PDP.
LAGOS STATE CHAPTER of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Tuesday evening, reacted to Wike’s endorsement of Sanwo-Olu for second term. Hakeem Amode, PDP Publicity Secretary, Lagos State, indicted Wike’s conduct and stated that PDP in Lagos State will render Sanwo-Olu, jobless in 2023. Amode stated that it would have been disappointing if Wike had attended any event without his “usual rant of a drowing man who will clutch at straw”.
Hakeem Amode stated: “I only wonder how Governor Wike, who didn’t support Jandor and at the same time couldn’t stop him from picking the party ticket in Lagos, despite his supposed might within the PDP, would apportion to himself the decision of generality of Lagosians in the forthcoming election”.
Further, Amode’s statement noted: “While we won’t but acknowledge Governor Wike’s developmental strides in Rivers State which have witnessed influx of other state chief executives including Sanwo-Olu for commissioning, it is worrisome that Wike will call Sanwo-Olu a performer without asking how many times he has invited anyone to Lagos for the commissioning of ordinary borehole in his almost four years in office as Governor.
“My dear Governor and leader, we promise to render Sanwo-Olu jobless and send him to the club of you former Governors next year. Only God, who has seen Jandor and Lagos PDP this far, and the generality of Lagosians, can determine his fate at the polls in 2023, not your endorsement. We will continue to sell our breath of fresh air agenda to Lagosians with the promise of a better tomorrow. Lagos needs a breath of fresh air!”
WIKE’S BURDENSOME disposition, presently, has pitched him, and at dagger drawn with his party, the PDP, over his defeat by Atiku Abubakar, at the PDP presidential primary in May, 2022. He also lost the vice presidential ticket to Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State. He has been wagging atrocious war with both Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential candidate, and Iyorcha Ayu, the party’s national chairman.
Wike aligned with some governor-friends within the party, described as “G-5 governors”, in fighting what he said is for “equity, fairness, justice and inclusiveness” in the party. With indecorum words, Wike has severally, lashed at Atiku Abubakar; and the party’s national chairman, Iyorcha Ayu. He alleged and labelled Ayu as “corrupt”. Allegations Ayu debunked.
Analysts believe that Wike’s allies are skilled, sound and refined, and may not imbibe his style and demeanour in disparaging his party. Inside sources noted that his allies are hanging on with him because of the favour Wike may have shown to them, and they have become his stooges. They argued that any genuine, firm and informed position, his allies may take against Wike’s actions, will incur Wike’s wrath. They could be playing along with Wike.
They further argued that Wike championed Ayu’s choice as national chairman of the party. Ayu visited Wike in Rivers State to commission projects. Both Ayu and Wike became good friends, and must have had good times together. Presently, Ayu has become Wike’s enemy and whipping boy, perhaps, for not supporting his presidential and vice presidential ambition.
It is seen by some analysts that Wike is fighting selfish and ambitious political lifeline battle, for his future political career, after leaving office as governor of Rivers State in 2023. Wike has fought many political battles from different fronts. Stirred up controversies, made grave enemies locally with [Rivers State] where he held the State hostage; and nationally [across the country], that may consume him politically, when he is out of power in 2023.
The reality confronting Wike, according to analysts, is that power is transient. In few months, after the 2023 elections, Wike will be out of power. The phobia of being out of power, and what becomes of his future political career could be hunting him.
Analysts further argued that Wike, could not be fighting for “justice, equity, fairness and inclusivity” for PDP national positions for the South, as he has claimed. That Wike cannot be a lone voice, or one-man riot, fighting the South PDP course, a region with vast and distinguished PDP chieftains.