by Ayobami Olopade
The National Secondary School, Okrika, Rivers state was the rallying point on Sunday for the Supervising Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, the Rivers state PDP Chairman, Chief Felix Obuah and ex-leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante Movement, Ateke Tom as well as hundreds of militants during the thanksgiving and inauguration of wards (12) and executives of Okrika Local Government chapter of Grassroots Development Initiative(GDI), a socio-political organisation which also has Wike as its grand patron.
Like other events in recent times, it was a time to address political issues in the state as well as throw jibes at the ‘opposition’.
Wike accused the Governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi of wanting to cause confusion in the PDP, while declaring that the NGF Chairman had left the party, “They have told you that they will take away the party structure from the Chairman (Chief Obuah) and his committee. If you have not done anything, let me tell you one thing that you have achieved. You have put the governor of a state to start making arrangements to leave the party.”
It was a particularly dramatic event as the minister of State for education performed a merry-go-round to greet his supporters when he arrived the venue just before 3pm. About twenty minutes later, Ateke Tom, who is the patron of the GDI made a grand entrance with other ex-militants which halted the programme temporarily due to the excessive drumming singing and dancing before Ateke joined Wike and Obuah on the front row seats.
The handshake which was requested between Wike and Ateke by the Master of Ceremonies just before Wike addressed the people took a couple of minutes to be completed while Wike stated “All our leaders who are here, particularly the freedom fighter, Comrade Tom Ateke(followed with loud ovation by his supporters), let me sincerely thank everyone of you that has gathered here today. Do not be provoked. Be calm. Our time will come. Nobody will stop it.”
He further said, “When you are provoked and you take action, what you may want to achieve, you may not realise it. I will continue to plead with all of you to be calm and be focused. Our agenda is to make sure that by the special grace of God, in 2015, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan returns to Aso Rock.”
In his reaction, Governor Rotimi Amaechi criticised the education minister for lack of focus and priority by campaigning towards 2015 when the members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) are still on strike.
The governor, through his Chief of staff, Chief Tony Okocha, also condemned Wike’s disregard for due process by campaigning which is against INEC’s rule of no campaign until 90 days to elections while calling on INEC chairman, Professor to sanction him for flouting the rule.
The Governor emphasised that he remains a PDP member while describing the presence of Ateke and other ex-militants, saying “Illegality is being legitimised. Nigerians are wiser.”