Politics: How Wike Destroyed PDP, Moved To Cripple Fubara’s Administration, Sacked Amaechi  From APC

By Lateef Adegbite

Those who thinks that Nyenson Wike, immediate past governor of Rivers state is still a member of the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, may have to do a rethink. For much of last year and now, the PDP, National Working Committee, NWC, under the close watch of Umar Damagum, was said to have given the aggrieved erstwhile   governor of Rivers state who had lost the party Presidential ticket to Atiku Abubakar, Vice   President under Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration room to stop his anti-party activities and return fully back to the party but he had snubbed the party but that was how far it could go.

Timothy Osadolor, a member of the party NWC, may have spoken the mind Damagum, the party NCW Acting Chairman that the party will sanction him soon, insisting that the aggrieved Rivers state governor ‘’is technically no longer a member of the party’’.

According to him, the FCT minister who engages in ‘’double-speak on various issues’’ is now playing a Leadership role in the All Progressive Congress, APC, in Rivers, his home state to sack Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of the state    and a –one-time minister of Transportation during the during former President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration, and who had nurtured the party into prominence in the state.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

 President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, may have taken adavantage of the crisis in the PDP at the national level to integrated Wike fully into the ruling APC, by allocating to him the state ministerial slot for working against Abubakar, the party flag bearer     by aligning himself  with `Tinubu, the APC , Presidential Candidate  to win the Niger Delta  state in the February 25, 2023,  election. It was not surprising why the Lagos state born Nigerian President appointed him as the minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT. 

 Despite destroying the Opposition PDP, at the national level, he was said to have mater-minded the defection of 27 Lawmakers of the Rivers state House of Assembly from the ruling PDP, in the state to the APC, leaving out only four members of the House in the PDP.   

The power –hungry FCT, minister, was said to have gone a step further to take his pound of flesh from Siminalayi Fubara, the state governor, by ensuring that six Commissioners nominated by him to help stabilizing the new PDP government in the state resign their appointment.

Some of the Commissioners who were said to have resigned   includes Zacheaus Adango, a Professor and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and Commissioner Justice, Chuwuuemeka Woke, Commissioner for Special Projects, and Dakrima George Kelly, the Commissioner of Workers.

Other Wike’s nominated Commissioners in the Fubra’s Administration who were said to have also bowed to pressure to resign their appointment from  the PDP government in Rivers state includes the Isaac Kamalu, the Commissioner for Finance, Commissioner for Social Welfare, Mrs. Chinwenwo Aguma and Prof. Chiedu Mmom, Commissioner for Education.  The FCT minister to have taken the bold initiative to force the Lawmakers to to defect to APC and the Commissioners who are loyal to him in the Fubara’s government to resignto cripple the Administration and force Fubara the figure head governor of Rivers state to defect to the APC.

Wike may have read the handwriting on the wall and the body language of Fubara, the state governor that he may not to bulge that had sought the intervention of the Nigerian President to save the situation fro degenearating that may not be to his favour and the APC in the state.

The  FCT minister had  lots of demand which he had wanted  Fubara, his estranged political godson  to fulfill ranging from withdraw  of all court cases related to the crisis in the state,  recognize the Leadership of the House occupied byhis loyalists along with the 27 lawmakers who had defected to the APC. The FCT minister was said to have also demanded from the governor   to represent  the state 2024 budget of  N800.3 billion , which  had earlier been passed by the four Lawmakers loyal to him  to the Amaewhle  led APC, Assembly for debate and passage.

 Wike may have , known that Fubara , his successor will not listen to him , let alone fulfill the  demand that he has to engage the services of the President to help out to remain politically relevant in the  state and still enjoy the loyalty of the Lawmakers the political appointees in the Fubara’s Administration.

He was said to have taken advantage of the Presidential intervention to insist that the salaries and benefits for all the defected Assembly members and staff to be restored.  He was said to have also extracted a promise from the governor who has agreed ‘’to resubmit the names of the resigned Commissioners to the House for Approval, meaning that it is still going to be business as usual of the master-servant relationship.

Given that the former Rivers state had appointed his loyalists as Caretaker Chairmen of Local government Areas in the state before his exit from office in May, 29, 2023. The Local government Caretaker Committee Chairmen had been dissolved by Fubara, which Wike did not find funny.

 The former Rivers state governor had declared that the dissolution of the Local Government Caretaker Committees was ‘’nod and void. The governor’s demand that Wike compel the 27 Lawmakers loyal to him to drop the impeachment proceedings initiated against him speaks volume.   

David Briggs, a former Commissioner of Workers under Peter Odili’s Administration, who had addressed the press after the peace meeting at the Presidential Villa at the FCT, had said that Tinubu intimidated Fubara, the Rivers state governor into signing the eight –point peace resolution with Wike, his predecessor and political mentor.

The former Rvers state Commissioner of Works had said that the governor, who had worked under Wike’s Administration as the state Accountant General   had signed the resolution agreed at the peace meeting under duress, following threats issued by the President to sack him if he fails to sign the document.

Many believe that the Nigerian President may have adopted the same strategy used in addressing the Ondo state crisis in Rivers state. Recall that he had ordered the Ondo state House of Assembly ‘’to transfer  power  from Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN,  the sick governor of the state, who has a health challenge  to Lucky Aiyedatiwa, the deputy governor to fill the Leadership vacuum  that had been created in the state in Rivers state.

Gov. Sim. Fubara Of Rivers state

In the signing the Abuja, Peace deal,  at the instance of The Nigerian President who was said to have threatened to wield the big stick as former President  Obasanjo did to some governors during his time, the Rivers state governor had said that ‘’there is no price that will be too big  to ensure that peace  prevails in the state’’.

 He was said to have told those that cares to listen that he was prepared ‘’to continue to pay the necessary price that would guarantee peace in the state’’, meaning that he would be ready to dump the PDP, on which platform he had won the governorship election on March 31, 2023, in the south-south state to APC, for peace to reign.

Sule Lamido, a founding member of the PDP, and a former governor of Jigawa state had said that there was no basis for the crisis that had erupted in the Rivers PDP between the FCT, minister and Fubara, the state  governor if the NWC, had been alive to their duties. For accusing the NCW of the PDP, of Abdicating their responsibility in the Wike and Fubara rift may have encouraged Debo Ologunagba, the party Publicity Secretary to acusse Lamido  of working  for the APC.

The worry of many  was that the crisis between Wike and Fubara, the Rivers state governor may snowball  into something bigger before the 2027 general elections as the party has been tipped  to suffer more  serious consequences that the ruling  APC  which is waiting in the wings has put the necessary machinery motion to accommodate other aggrieved  PDP members  is expected to benefit from the crisis.

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