Wike factor and PDP strategies for 2023: The governors meeting in PH

0
205

By Ignatius Chukwu

Governors of major political parties usually form a powerful caucus and rotate their meeting to their states. This time, Rivers State played host to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors in Port Harcourt and it looked like an ordinary event. It wasn’t. They were there at the instance of Gov Nyesom Wike, the governor who has played host to his colleagues far more than any other.

Dazed in 2015 but Wike stepped in

The PDP looked dazed when they lost the presidential election in 2015. They were used to winning until they had the shock defeat and it seemed difficult to know how to manage loss.

Almost every PDP leader including the then president seemed to be reeling on the floor, but Wike, then Rivers governorship candidate for his party, sprang to his feet first. He took control, reviewed the field and found that there was still much to fight for; brick House in PH. He was said to have rallied the reeling PDP forces and they fought to capture the Rivers guber seat. This seat has proved very vital to this day.

First workshop on how to be opposition party

Next, he organized a huge workshop for all the PDP leaders in Port Harcourt on how to be an effective opposition party. The best brains tutored them.

The first benefit was that this workshop prepared the minds of the leaders to the dignity of opposition role. Next, it showed them that winning Aso Rock back was possible and that four to eight years was not death. They were taught other tricks of an opposition party that would keep the ruling party in tears. This is especially with the realization that a ruling party in Africa is always an orphan. The masses always turn haters fast. The rulers walk alone, they may have learnt. Playing to the gallery is an art, not a shame.

Wike helped to create these attitudes in the party. Now, it seems to be paying off. Apparently emboldened by these successes and the deluge of calls and consultations heading his way from all branches of the party, Gov Wike began his rise into the horizon of the shadow national leader, such that he easily decided who got what in the party. This however came with some difficulties like in the case of Modu Sheriff, clash with Abubakar Atiku forces, and the confrontation with the man he installed, Prince Uche Secondus.

He has used his position to get the south-south to begin to talk together, the south-east governors to attempt some togetherness (even if it did not last), and other caucuses.

Keeping the APC and Presidency uneasy

The best thing an opposition can achieve is to create a situation of discomfiture for the ruling party. If this be so, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been uncomfortable so far. What most governors cannot say, they nod it to PH and it gests said.

Gov Wike once told newsmen in Government House in Port Harcourt that he is always bold because whereas some other governors sneak back to Aso Rock at night to seek favours, he does not. Most often, he would want to mention names of such governors, but would apply restraint, last minute.

He also disclosed many times that he has many persons that inform him of things at all levels. So, he said, he is ahead of the ruling party at all times.

Ahead 2023     

Right from the forcing out of Secondus, the making of a new PDP national chairman, many court victories, to the zoning of the presidency, Gov Wike has been active.

He has used donations around the country to make many northern states to relate with Rivers State like a brother-state. He donated N200m to Benue State in their hour of need during IDPs crisis, donated N500m to Sokoto for market fire relief, etc. Most PDP states thus look up to Rivers State and their governor.

He has also so endeared himself to the hearts of Nigerians that any person one meets on the streets anywhere in Nigeria would mention Wike as his/her hero. Only the elites may have contrary opinion.

When states in the south were merely lamenting against open grazing, he was first to ban it and was first to enact a law against. Others followed. This brought huge love from across the south.

During corona virus, Gov Wike took on federal agencies and opened the eyes of most Nigerians to see that a state could be stronger than the federal might. He led raids and stopped many federal workers from moving with impunity. Many hailed him and saw him and his party as the heroes of the masses.

PDP governors meeting in PH

In Port Harcourt By Boat weekly column, the meeting in Ph was captured this way: “They called it PDP Governors Forum meeting in Port Harcourt but many political analysts saw it as one of the last days of deciding major steps that would sting the APC and snatch the presidency.

“Two trending topics in Nigeria at the moment are where the presidency should come from and the electoral bill. Each seems dicey. Choosing from the north would negate the party’s major legacy to Nigeria, rotational presidency; and choosing from the south without know where the APC will zone it could make them play into their hands. Port Harcourt was seen as a place to work out the options and keep in the cooler.

“The party which seems to strike from its strongest segment, the governors, knew it played off its hands early by berating the NASS for adding direct primaries in the Electoral Bill, but when it found that President Muhammadu Buhari was not going to sign it, they changed quickly into lover of the Bill. In PH, they may have worked to harmonise that position and they came out saying NASS must override the presidential assent.

Gov Nyesom Wike threw a bash for them in the night of their arrival where Iorchu Ayu, national chairman, said rescuing Nigeria and making it great again is realizable.

“He said the expected leadership they will offer at the national level will change the negative characteristics associated with the All Progressives Congress (APC) that have been used to deepen the divide among Nigerians in the country. 

“He emphasised that the APC leadership has been unable to harness the rich diversity of Nigerians into better fortunes that should strengthen the bond of brotherhood and promote peaceful coexistence. 

‘Ayu said: “Unfortunately, a very poor leadership has presented Nigeria at home and abroad as an extremely divided country.

‘When the communiqué came out Monday, they brought up economic matters showing the battle ahead in the elections would be fought on economy and security. They had warned the APC ahead, that is. “We must change this narrative and the only way to change this narrative and harness not just the culture, but the environment and the richness therein, is to back the Peoples Democratic Party which is determined to produce a new leadership for this country.”

‘He went on; “The PDP will definitely produce the next president and take the country back to the days when we were in power, when we cleared all foreign debts, when we were developing this country at reasonable speed.  

“We became the richest country on the African continent. But today we are the poverty capital of the world. All that will change. Unfortunately, a very poor leadership has presented Nigeria at home and abroad as an extremely divided country. We must change this narrative and the only way to change this narrative and harness not just the culture, but the environment and the richness therein, is to back the PDP which is determined to produce a new leadership for this country.” 

‘Ayu, one time senator, also enthused that Nigeria will bounce back again with the PDP at the saddle because the project of rescuing the country and making it great is realisable. 

‘The PDP national chairman stated that the expected leadership they will offer at the national level will change the negative characteristics associated with the APC that have been used to deepen the divide among Nigerians in the country. “The PDP will definitely produce the next president and take the country back to the days when we were in power, when we cleared all foreign debts, when we were developing this country at reasonable speed.  

‘He maintained that the current inept rule of the APC led Federal Government, which has pulled the country backwards economically, has to be changed.   

‘Ayu gave the assurance at the gala night event hosted by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for PDP governors, at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Port Harcourt on Sunday night.  

‘In his welcome address, Wike said the gala night event is a pride to the usual meeting of PDP governors that is rotational. He stated that such meetings have always been used to discuss salient issues of economy, political, and others that bothers on how to chart a virile Nigerian society.  

‘On his part, the Chairman of PDP Governors Forum and Governor of Sokoto, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said the PDP governors and other party leaders were already working in synergy towards rebuilding the party.’

Conclusion:

The strength the PDP shows today cannot be discussed without the name of Gov Wike, and should the party succeed in capturing back power as Ayu has been assuring everyone, the man in the Brick House will surely be a huge factor.

(First used in BD Sunday)

$$