It is not news that Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike fell out with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) leadership and the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, after the party’s presidential primaries in May.
Wike had led 4 other PDP governors, namely Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, to the insist on the dismissal or resignation of the party’s national president, Iyorchia Ayu.
Wike, who has threatened to work against the party’s interests in the upcoming presidential election, has been receiving pleas from major political parties who have been lobbying for his support in the presidential election.
Some of the southwestern governors of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) visited Governor Wike a few months ago as part of consultations in the buildup to the 2023 presidential election with the party’s presidential candidate, Bola. Tinubu presumably also held some meetings with Wike and his group outside the country.
Even Labor Party presidential candidate Peter Obi and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) candidate Rabiu Kwankwaso are not left out, having on several occasions visited Governor Wike in Port Harcourt in an apparent attempt to rally his support. in his presidential aspirations.
Talks: Once again, Peter Obi, at the inauguration of the Nkpolu Oroworukwo flyover in Port Harcourt, publicly appealed to Governor Wike to support his presidential ambition by promising to talk to his party people and negotiate to allow the PDP to get other positions in the state.
- Obi said:I’ll talk to my people and we’ll negotiate. If we leave him the state (referring to Wike), he will leave us the federal. We will negotiate it. We know you’re in charge.
- “We will not fight you. Anyone who quarrels with you doesn’t know what he’s doing. I won’t try. I’m begging you. Please give us this one and take the other one. We’ll leave it to you. I will accommodate them in the other..”
The strategy: The question on everyone’s lips is ‘why are the votes for Governor Wike and Rivers State so strategic for these presidential hopefuls, especially for Peter Obi, who publicly pleaded for their support?’
Population: According to the latest record published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Rivers State is among the top 4 states with the highest number of registered voters, more than 3.5 million.
More than 1.56 million citizens voted in the 2015 presidential election, with the then-ruling PDP garnering more than 1.48 million of those votes. However, the number of voters dropped sharply in the 2019 presidential election to over 670,000 due to widespread violence across the state.
In any case, the state is very strategic for any candidate or party that wants to win the presidential election due to the large number of eligible voters in the state.
The wiki factor: Governor Wike is an accomplished politician, well known for his tenacity and leadership qualities. Wike, who was local government chairman in Rivers State and a minister under President Goodluck Jonathan, is said to have spearheaded efforts aimed at sustaining and galvanizing the PDP after its shock defeat in the 2015 presidential election.
He seems to be at the forefront in terms of political dynamics in the Rivers State and has remained the strongest political figure in the state since the 2015 general election, with a wide political network. Despite several cases of alleged intimidation and widespread violence, his party, the PDP, won nearly all elective offices in the 2019 general election, a confirmation of his political strength in the state.
Also, recently at the inauguration of 100,000 special assistants on political unit affairs, Wike announced plans to increase it to 200,000. This large number of people, which is unprecedented in the country’s political history, is expected to be its foot soldiers in the upcoming general elections.
Huge Financial War Chest: The task of running for a presidential election in Nigeria is very daunting, especially when it comes to raising funds for a big project.
Rivers State is considered to be one of the richest states in the country, with huge deposits of crude oil and gas. It is no coincidence that most of your governors under the current political arrangement, from Dr. Peter Odili, to Rotimi Amaechi and now Nyesom Wike, have reportedly been very generous when it comes to mobilizing and distributing funds to promote his politics. interest.
Wike has been described as the PDP’s largest single financial contributor, with reports suggesting that he has been funding a large number of the party’s state chapters.
Money is very critical in elections, and Governor Wike seems to have access to it in abundance. If Governor Wike decides to support Peter Obi this will be very important, especially as the Labor Party is said to have no structure, unlike the 2 main political parties with many elected officials.
Growing Political Influence: Governor Wike, who has a reputation for being quite explicit in what he believes in, has recently seen his influence grow in some parts of the country, especially in the South, with an almost larger-than-life image.
Not only does he have friends within the PDP, but he seems to have friends and influence across party lines and in different parts of the country.
… Why Governor Wike is strategic for Peter Obi’s presidential ambition Read more about … Naijaonpoint.