The Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, is gradually winning the battle of supremacy in Rivers State, seizing every opportunity he gets to demonstrate that he is on top of the political crisis rocking the state even though he is a serving minister, whose current base is Abuja.
Some of the moves he has made in a state that boasts of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who is a fearless and bold as Governor, to some observers defies logic, because no sane politician from the state is supposed to withstand the firepower of Amaechi, who has for whatever reason frontally taken on President Goodluck Jonathan on some issues that many expected him to be silent on.
Wike counters, and even attacks Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi in a manner that makes many to wonder if indeed they once collaborated in the past in controlling the state’s political affairs, especially in the 2011, which Wike was in control of. He knows the Governor inside out, and understands the state’s politics like the back of his palm.
His mostly uguarded utterances unsettles Amaechi’s camp, made up of mostly people who he personally chose for positions due to the power he held as then Chief of Staff. At an even in Port Harcourt last week, Wike threatened to make the state ungovernable for Amaechi, and a barely one week after, he said he won’t allow Amaechi to rubbish President Goodluck Jonathan.
When Amaechi threatened to talk, in a manner suggesting he wanted to make some revelations on Wike, the minister dared him, saying “talk and I will talk too.” When the Governor threatened to leave the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and joined another party, before he changed his mind, Wike said he was “fasting and praying” for him to go ahead with the threat.
The manner that Wike flexes his muscle, strongly suggests that he has the support of the President, and might have been acting out a script that he prepared while he was still serving as Amaechi’s Chief of Staff.
The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, recently said the genesis of her problem with Amaechi started in Okrika her hometown when a reception was organized for her by the then chairman of the council. Amaechi had sacked the council chairman shortly after the incident, because he did presented the platform for the First Lady to grab the microphone from the Governor, and lectured him on the need to hold discussion with Okrika people before he goes ahead to destroy the Waterfronts, mostly owned by Okrikas.
From that moment, Wike saw an opportunity to win the heart of the First Lady. Wike also has the support of the Police, and some influential politicians from the state who even though toured with Amaechi during the last governorship campaigns, but were dumped immediately he was reelected.
In Andoni LGA, Wike who was on the offensive said there was a mass movement against Amaechi: “The message is clear. This is a mass movement, because we want a change in Rivers State. I was a politician before I became a minister and I am still a politician. I cannot fold my arms and stay in Abuja and be doing ministerial work and somebody (Amaechi) is giving my boss conditions. I will not accept that”, he said.
Wike said: “While we were coming (to Andoni LG), I heard there were announcements going on that this occasion would not be taking place and I said this occasion would take place. We want to thank God for making it possible, that this occasion today is taking place.
“I am a loyal party person. I am a man of peace. What I said and I will continue to say, if anybody comes to destroy Andoni, will you allow the person to sleep? If somebody comes to your house to say you will not sleep, will you allow him to sleep? If you come to destroy Andoni, the people of Andoni will say we will not allow you to destroy it and they will not allow you to sleep.
“Truly, they are not sleeping. That is why they are restless. Today, you will hear a comment. Tomorrow, you will hear another comment. If they are sleeping, will they be making comments like that? They no longer have their siesta. That is what we promised them, because if you do not want people to have their siesta, you too will not have your siesta.
“We are giving them a lot of assignments. When you give students too many assignments, they will come back to the teacher and say the assignments are too many and should be reduced, for them to have their siesta. Our assignments will be too many for them and will make them not to have their siesta.
“Many prominent Rivers people are with the GDI. We are all working as one body. Those who are threatening are just wasting their time. Nobody can threaten anybody. We are all from Rivers State.
“GDI is a pressure group supporting good governance. It is a body that is supporting Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It is a body that is mobilising for the support of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“I want to thank the GDI members for standing firm. You did not allow yourselves to be intimidated. You resisted all intimidation. You were not violent. You did not take the law into your own hands, rather you followed through the process of the law, the rule of law and you challenged the Rivers State government that what they were doing was undemocratic and the court said yes and that GDI members must hold their meetings. GDI has come to stay.
“I am here (Andoni LG) and I owe no apologies. I say it that what God has said will be, must come to be. Come August 31, 2013, I am going to lead the delegates of PDP in Rivers state, with the Chairman of the party (Chief Felix Obuah), where we shall formally vote Prince Uche Secondus to be the Deputy National Chairman of the PDP. I owe no apologies to anybody.
“I want to thank our brothers and sisters in Bayelsa State. The position was zoned to the Southsouth, Rivers and Bayelsa. It was accordingly conceded to Rivers state. We are going to back him (Secondus) up. Any other person, who is going to run, I know most of them are not PDP members; they are only trying to see whether they can cause confusion. The party chairman (Obuah), who is a peaceful person, has said he would not allow that.
“All of us must be together to support President Goodluck Jonathan, our son, our in-law and our brother in 2015, when he formally comes out to declare. He is doing well. We are not supporting President Jonathan just because he is from the Southsouth, he is from Rivers State (old) or because he married our daughter (Dame Patience Jonathan, from Okrika). We are supporting him because he is from Rivers state, he marries our daughter, he is from Southsouth and he is doing well as the President.”