Time Other Governors Decouple From Wike’s Self-Immolation Politics
By Reno Omokri
Only an unreasonable man fights because he wants to fight. Reasonable people fight for their interests. And that is something I will urge the members of the so-called Integrity Group, also known as the G-5 to take note of.
Some of them have interests they are fighting for. They may dress those interests in altruistic terms, like the need to ensure power balancing, and the desire to get others to keep to agreements, which they assumed, but which were not promised.
But the bottom line is that they have their interests. Some of them have personal political interests for 2023, others have to secure their financial security. I get it.
But it is important for these governors not to be the fly that follows the dead body into the grave.
The arrowhead of their association is Governor Nyesom Wike. He is not a man known to get along with people. He likes to be the alpha dog. He can temporarily suppress his desire to dominate if he needs you. But when he has used you, he moves on.
If in doubt, ask yourself when last you saw him with Mama Peace. For those who do not know, Dame Patience Jonathan is from Rivers State and she played a leading role in helping Wike triumph over Rotimi Amaechi in their epic 2015 showdown.
But what is their relationship today? How many times in 2022 have you seen Wike with former President Jonathan, who made him a powerful minister?
Whether it is Rotimi Amaechi, who he served as Chief of Staff, or any of his other benefactors, the thing is that Nyesom Wike is not a person who maintains relationships with his benefactors.
And the reason he is fighting now is because he is angry. Angry that he lost the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential primary in a free and fair election. He himself said on the day of the primary that he would not leave the PDP if he lost and that he would stay and work with the winner.
It was always clear that Wike would lose the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential primary. Governor Umar Ganduje told him so to his face, when he visited Kano on Tuesday, April 19, 2022.
It was clear to everybody but Wike. The bulk of primary votes come from the North, and by his comments and actions over the years since he became Governor in 2015, Wike has severely alienated the core North.
That he is and was not aware of that is due to his hubris.
For example, on Friday, June 24, 2019, Wike pronounced Rivers State as a Christian state. His exact words were: “I repeat once again without apologies, Rivers is a Christian state. That is why nobody can touch us.”
Now, not only is that unconstitutional, it is also most unwise. No military dictator, no matter how strong, has ever declared Nigeria a Muslim or Christian nation. No military Governor or Administrator has ever declared a state to be a Muslim or Christian state. It is unprecedented in Nigeria’s socio-political history.
Yes, Sharia Law has been declared in some states in the past, but those states remained secular and the declared Sharia Law only applied to Muslims.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) makes Nigeria a secular state.
Chapter 1, Part 2, Section 10, of the constitution wisely provided that “The government of the federation or of a state shall not adopt any religion as state religion.”
And yet, Wike unilaterally went against that. Now, imagine you are a Southern PDP primary delegate, would you vote for a Northern Presidential aspirant who declared his state to be a Muslim state? Of course not. That is scary!
The truth is that in not electing Wike, the PDP dodged a bullet. The fellow may be powerful for now, but he is uncouth and uncultured, and literally ANYTHING can come out of his mouth.
For example, Wike is sadly misinformed when he claimed on Friday, December 30, 2022 that President Obasanjo knelt down to beg Waziri Atiku.
President Obasanjo did not at any time kneel before then-vice-president Atiku, and Waziri Atiku never requested that from his boss. That is beer parlour talk unworthy of being spread by a sitting Governor.
Chief Obasanjo is still alive. The media may want to seek his insight into these claims by Wike. Reliance on false rumours have in the past made Governor Wike to fight phantom enemies, which is why it is very necessary to put a guard to your tongue, lest one reduces the prestige of the office one occupies.
Let us go back to the premise with which I started this piece. Wike is not fighting for his interests. His interests have evaporated forever. He will not be president or vice. No major party that has watched his behaviour in the past six months, would still give him a ticket now or in the future.
And he knows that as soon as he gets his man Friday elected as Governor, the man will turn against him. So, Wike has nothing to lose. He is fighting because he is angry. And when you are angry, you are not able to take rational decisions.
But then, the other four governors have their own salvageable interests. They have political careers with a future. They have ethnic nationality questions that are existential.
No matter how much money they are getting from Wike, they still cannot afford to be servile to a man who is a bull in a china shop, where they themselves are the china.
They must begin to think long term and win-win. If they allow Wike to take them down with him, their actions will have consequences for their own peoples. And they must remember that they are in politics to serve their people, rather than to serve a man whose ego has been wounded and is deflating faster than the vagueness of the Zimbabwean dollar.
Think about your people and then think about yourselves and your families.
First of all, even Wike’s argument is weak. Power rotation is a construct of the PDP constitution, and has nothing to do with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
And in the PDP, the last elected President was from the South. As such, in keeping with our constitution, the next PDP President should come from the North.
But beyond that, how can you consider supporting a man with links to drug barons because you do not want the Presidency to go to the North? It is like allowing a thief to make away with your father’s property because you do not want your brother to inherit it. The thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy!
The tag-along governors should understand that their interests are not tied to that of their ring leader. In fact, he has no interest. His ego was bruised by his loss. That is why he is fighting. Not for North or South. If he had been offered the running mate slot, he would have been quiet today!
He cannot deny that he wanted the running mate slot after his foreseen defeat in the primary. He lobbied for it. I urge Nigerians to go back and find out the date when he began his tantrums. It began on June 18, 2022. Exactly two days after Governor Ifeanyi Okowa emerged as the running mate. Why was he quiet up until that time?
This is just a case of sour grapes. A scorned woman seeking to destroy a happy home in the People’s Democratic Party. A man driven to the point of uncontrollable rage because somebody else is in a spot that he thought he would be in. Yet, he says it is God that gives power. If he really believes that, then why would he be fighting his party? He should let God decide who He wants to give power to!
Finally, these other governors may want to think of what they want eventually, not what they want right now. Because I can assure them that their ‘leader’ is not thinking about the big picture, for the simple reason that he thinks he is himself the big picture!
They have elections to come. They will need party agents at the polls. The state chapters of the party need to work with the national leadership to present a united house before the Independent National Electoral Commission. If this unity does not materialise, it will affect them more than those they want to hurt!
On Obasanjo’s Endorsement of Peter Obi
President Obasanjo is a good-hearted man. He has always wanted a President from the Southeast, or one from the South-South, with Igbo roots. He believes that is the best way to heal the wounds of the civil war. He is a man who strongly believes in the unity of Nigeria. In 2007, he wanted Governor Peter Odili, but Governor Yar’adua insisted on Governor Goodluck Jonathan as his running mate. Peter Odili said as much in his book, which was corroborated by others, including Nuhu Ribadu and Nasir El-Rufai.
What Obasanjo did is understandable, but it will not matter in the election. Therefore, the Peoples Democratic Party would not be wise to attack it, as Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress have done. President Obasanjo has done so much for Nigeria, in peacetime and in wartime. Whether we like his stance on anything, we must respect his status, and place in history, and respectfully agree to disagree.
Sadly, the strictest parents often raise the baddest adults. Children hardly lie or steal because they are bad. Children are neither bad nor good. They are neutral. It is their environment that makes them good or bad. Often, the reason children lie and steal is because they are afraid of punishment. Stop beating your child, or over punishing them. Give them unconditional love, and maybe their behaviour will improve. Cut your children some slack. Be warm enough that they can approach you. They must not fear you to respect you. In fact, fear in childhood often breeds hatred in adulthood. So, make your home a loving sanctuary.