By PRECIOUS IBINABO DAVIDS, Port Harcourt
Former National Spokesperson of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP), Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has described the election of Nyesom Wike as Governor of Rivers State in 2015 as a sham, charade, tragic and unfortunate.
Eze, who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and was an ally to Governor Wike when the latter served as Chief of Staff to former Governor Chibuike Amaechi, stated that had there been no internal sabotage, APC would not have lost the 2015 gubernatorial election to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as was the case. Eze stressed that APC lost to internal sabotage and wrangling within its fold orchestrated by some chieftains of the party who conspired with external foes to undermine the chances of APC during the gubernatorial election. According to him, the sabotage was contrived to pave way for Senator Magnus Abe to contest the 2019 gubernatorial election using the platform of APC.
Eze, in a statement he personally signrd and circulated to media organisations, maintained that not minding that Wike used security agencies and militants during the 2015 general elections to intimidate the electorates and the opposition political parties as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to influence the outcome of the election to his favour argued that had Senator Magnus Abe, Senator Wilson Ake, Chief Allwell Onyesoh, Elder Chidi Wihioka, Hon. Barry Mpigi, Chief Tony Okocha, whom he described as “great party stalwarts and Commanders at their various political enclaves”, and others not named, had played their parts to support the party and march Wike with all his tricks, Governor Wike would have by now be “singing a different song in the politics of Rivers State”.
He reiterated that if not for the internal sabotage against Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who was the gubernatorial candidate of APC during the 2015 general elections, there was “no way a candidate like Wike would have defeated a shining star of Rivers State politics like Peterside in a free and fair election as the difference between the two great sons of Rivers State is very glaring and outstanding.”
” Not minding that Wike is a deadly political strategist and tactician, but to defeat one of the most educated and highly performing politicians like Peterside who have distinguished himself during his days as the most audacious Commissioner of Works Rivers State ever had and a member of the seventh National Assembly where he made the difference as the Chairman of the Committee on Petroleum Resources, Downstream of the Federal House of Representatives is unthinkable and unimaginable. It is simply unimaginable for Wike to defeat a person like Dr Peterside who has within less than two years made the Maritime Industry in Nigeria the most outstanding in Africa and becoming the first Nigerian to head the Maritime Industry in Africa” Chief Eze emphasised.
Chief Eze argued that with Wike no longer calling the shots for security agencies, militants and INEC, his chances of winning the 2019 governorship election in Rivers State are zero if he dares to contest.
“Apart from being disposed off of his normal rigging instruments the politics of Upland and Riverine dichotomy in Rivers State is another factor that will work against him. This abused factor by enemies of the unity of Rivers State will surely determine who wins the 2019 gubernatorial election in Rivers State come 2019”, Eze stated. The reason, he said, is because other ethnic groups in the state, can no more tolerate the domination of governance in the state by the Ikwerre ethnic group. Eze noted that there is anger across Rivers Stsre that while other ethnic groups had yet to test the governor’s seat, the Ikwerre would have held the office for consecutive 16 years should Wike be allowed to do another four years.
“It is also on record that since the advancement of democracy from 1999 till date no body from the riverine area of the state had been elected as a governor despite the area’s enormous economic contributions to the state coffers.”
In strengthening his argument for a governor of riverine extraction, Eze explained that the upland section of the state has occupied the governorship seat of the State since 1999 till date. He named Dr. Peter Odili, who governed from 1999 to 2007, being 8 years, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi from 2007 to 2015, another 8years, and current holder, Wike, 2015 to 2019, being 4years. “The total comes to 20 years of unbroken grip on the office by the upland area. It will be the greatest wickedness and injustice against the riverine area should any of the political parties fields a candidate from the upland against the riverine area of the state again come 2019.”
He emphasised that it is to avoid a shameful defeat, should he contest the governorship in 2019, that Wike is lobbying to be selected by PDP to be chosen as the presidential running mate to the party’s presidential flag-bearer come 2019.
Eze further argued that the upland and riverine dichotomy does not favour Senator Abe either for 2019 and advised him to rather work for the emergence of a governorship candidate from the riverine area. “Except PDP would decide to adopt him as its governorship candidate to at least appreciate his efforts in working to weaken APC in Rivers State, let him rest his ambition for justice and equity which he preaches.”