Recently, chairman of the PDP in Rivers state, Felix Obuah, told supporters of the minister of state for education, Nyesom Wike, that Wike is the next governor of the state. That statement and endorsement by Obuah have pitted the minister with Aso Rock which, according to reports, is threatening to withdraw its support for Wike.
According to reports, Nigeria’s first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, is more favourably disposed to someone from the riverine areas succeeding Amaechi, as opposed to another upland person like Nyesom Wike. The first lady is a native of Okrika which is a riverine area. The First Lady who no doubts has a stake in the power game of the oil-rich Rivers State is said to have expressed her disdain over Wike’s plot to use her name in other to feather his nest and perceived ambition.
Wike is from the same ethnic group and Rivers East Senatorial zone with the present governor. Wike and Amaechi are both from Ikwerre ethnic nationality and by 2015, they would have occupied the seat of power for eight years.
It would be recalled that sequel to the 2007 elections while Amaechi and his cousin Celestine Omehia battled over who was the rightful candidate of the PDP and eventual winner of the elections, the Kalabaris led by Alabo Tonye Graham Douglas had kicked against the plan to install a governor from the upland area by the then governor. Peter Odili is from Ndoni in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni L.G.A., an upland region of the state. They claimed it was the turn of the Riverine people to produce the governor but that position was countered by the Ogbakor Ikwerre, a socio-cultural organization of the Ikwerre people who argued that the rotation of the governorship should be amongst the three senatorial zones first before considerations by the ethnic groups.
But with Wike’s strong grip on the PDP’s machinery in Rivers, the loyalty of the party chairman to him, and his overt moves already to run for the office of governor, the arrangement seems to have been destroyed.
The First Lady may prefer the choice of a governor from the Ijaw area of the state particularly Okrika which had only produced a governor during the truncated 18 month-tenure of Rufus Ada George. Sources close to her say she is determined to ensure that the imbalance is redressed, as such, she is leaving no stone untouched in this regard.
Wike’s ambition is now the most prominent political discussion in Rivers state, and several other ethnic nationalities, including the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), have condemned his alleged ambition.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports say the favoured successor to Amaechi is Senator George Sekibo, a kinsman of Mrs Jonathan. It may yet be another epic battle between Wike and Sekibo. In 2011, Sekibo was the preferred candidate of the First Lady to occupy the Rivers East Senatorial seat but was fiercely resisted by Wike who had the ambition of going to the Senate but was prevailed by Amaechi to step down and allow the First Lady have the concession. Amaechi was said to have told his former Chief of Staff to allow for a proper zoning arrangement as it would amount to injustice for the Ikwerres to occupy the governorship position as well as the Senatorial seat at the same time, thereby denying the Riverines of that position. That position did not go down well with Wike who believed that Amaechi may have conceded to the First Lady only in a bid to deny him( Wike) the position since the governor may have Senatorial ambition in 2015.