Nyesom Wike, the incumbent governor of Rivers State, is no doubt one of the most influential politicians in the South Southern part of the country. The blunt and outspoken governor might not be the favourite of many of his party men. Still, it remains a fact that Wike was highly instrumental to the relevance and many of the successes the PDP as a party recorded in the south after they were dislodged from being the ruling party to the opposition in 2015.
Wike lost the presidential primary to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in a fashion that oozes betrayal from some of his allies. Moreover, Atiku Abubakar also ignored him in his choice of the vice-presidential candidate and picked Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. Although Wike had vowed not to leave the party, the series of closed-door meetings he has been having lately might be a means to an end. After all, he is a politician.
Governor of Ebonyi Dave Umahi visited Governor Wike on the 18th of this month at his private residence. This was the first time Umahi visited Wike after he dumped the PDP for the APC. Wike and Umahi contested and lost the presidential primaries of their respective parties. It’s tough to predict the theme or direction of this meeting. Was the visitor trying to convince his host to his party after the ‘gang up’ he suffered in the PDP? Time will tell.
Peter Obi, who left the PDP and became the presidential flagbearer of the Labour Party, also visited Wike on the 22nd of this month. This visit sparked a lot of conversation and optimism among the ‘Obidient youths’. Peter Obi had to clear the air and revealed that he visited Governor Wike to discuss vital issues of national interest with him. What are these issues that took Obi to Rivers? Your guesses are as good as mine.
Three days after the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe dumped the PDP after citing injustice for his exit; he visited Governor Wike and held a private meeting with him. These two men were not pleased with the outcome of the PDP’s presidential primary; the gimmicks at the primary are more likely to be central to their discussion.
Wike also received the PDP senate leaders, led by the new Senate Minority Leader, Philip Aduda, in Port Harcourt. Aduda replaced Enyinaya Abaribe, who defected from the PDP to APGA. Deputy Minority Leader, Minority Whip and Deputy Minority Whip were other senators on the entourage. One could easily predict the thrust of Wike’s meeting with these senators behind closed doors in his private residence. These men will persuade Wike to swallow the bitter pills he was served, remain and work for the party at the 2023 general election.
On the 24th of this month, Rabiu Kwankwaso, the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), equally met with Governor Wike in Port Harcourt. NNPP needs support from the south to give the new party a national outlook. Although the purpose of this meeting is still unclear, it cannot be unconnected with the next year’s general election.
The romance of Wike with politicians from other parties is a point of concern for the PDP. Wike might deliver Rivers’s votes to the presidential candidate of another party, but he is not likely to leave the PDP. As a second-term governor who did not pick the ticket for the Senate, he needs to play his cards right to maintain his political relevance.