2023 – Wike’s Silence Worries PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is worried over the silence of Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, after humiliating him out of the race for a running mate to the party’s presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar.

It was gathered that Wike’s unusual silence has unsettled the party and kept leaders of the PDP guessing his next line of action.

The PDP was said to be more confused following Wike’s decision to keep his next strategies close to his chest despite receiving high-profile visitors from the PDP.

Unlike the outcome of the presidential primaries when Wike returned and lampooned his colleagues from the South for betraying the region’s quest to produce the next President, the governor had chosen to remain quiet after suffering what many observers referred to as public ridicule in the process that led to the choice of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as Atiku’s running mate.

The Governor and his loyalists in the party were said to be pained that the party threw up a process designed to embarrass its strongest mobiliser.

They were unhappy that Atiku rubbed it in by publicly reeling out Okowa’s supposed qualities that made him a better choice than Wike without considering the feelings and the electoral capacity of the Rivers governor.

It was believed that Atiku had long chosen Okowa but merely dragged Wike into the race to create a semblance of competition.

The silence of Wike over his treatment turned Rivers State into a Mecca of sort compelling high-profile visitors to consult with the Rivers Governor.

The presidential candidate of Labour Party(LP) Peter Obi; Bauchi Governor Bala Mohammed; the presidential candidate of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso, were among persons that had visited the governor.

Others are the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Philip Tanimu Aduda, Minority Whip, Senator Chukwuka Utaxi, Senate Deputy Minority Leader, Shuaibu Lau, Senators Danjuma Laah and Barry Mpigi.

Even a former Niger Delta Minister, Elder Godsday Orubebe, who recently dumped the PDP, and a former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, visited Wike.

They all separately met with Wike behind closed doors.

There were unconfirmed reports that the Rivers Governor might hold private meetings with the APC governors, APC Presidential Candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and President Muhammadu Buhari.

A chieftain of PDP, Ogbonna Nwuke, said the caliber of the visitors was an indication that Wike had come of age in national politics.

He said: “It is also proof that Governor Wike has potential not just to be a national player but also someone, who has the political capacity to influence events around him.

“Secondly, those, who are coming from the PDP are an admittance that some injustice had been done to somebody, who had worked tirelessly to build the PDP. Some value had been placed on his participation and contributions by the PDP and it is an attempt to get him to stay in line”.

Nwuke, however, said the governor had promised not to leave the PDP and had done nothing suggesting that he was on his way out of the party.

He said: “Frankly, the visit has turned Port Harcourt into a kind of Mecca and has proven that out of Rivers State something good can happen. It shows that the Rivers State has come of age and you cannot undermine the contributions of Rivers to national development.

“I am proud of the fact that Wike has proven to be a man. When you look at the convention, you will find that he was not disgraced. If not for the last moment rally by the North, Wike would have won that primary election. He is not humiliated. He is focused and that is why you see these visitors coming”.

On why Rivers was particularly pained by the way PDP handled the issue of Atiku’s running mate, Nwuke said: “At the beginning, if we want to be sincere, Wike had no interest in the Vice-President.

“He had said it. But they kept on nudging him and making the point that the party would rather fly with him. In some high-level conversations that took place prior to the announcement of a running mate, all the indicators were that Wike’s partnership with Atiku would benefit the party.

“For the avoidance of doubts, the flag bearer has the responsibility of choosing his running mate, but the rigmarole was not necessary. He should have just done what he wanted to do. If you read Atiku’s speech while picking Okowa, you would begin to imagine what kind of thought was going through his mind. That speech left itself with many interpretations.

“Rivers has taken note of it and there is a Kalabari proverb that says nobody eats hot yam in a hurry. We are looking up to our leader because he knows that he can take the right decisions. We are hopeful all will be well. He has many more years ahead of him and he has proven that with his eyes focused on national interest, he could help lift Rivers and national interests as well.”

Nwuke wondered why the silence of the governor was disturbing the party and lampooned a former Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, for saying that Wike “talks too much”.

Describing Aliyu as a man without electoral value, Nwuke said: “Governor Wike talked because there was a need to build strong opposition in the country. He talked because there was a need to lift PDP from defeat. Buy people, who did nothing and wanted to be seen as local heroes opened their mouths and talked anyhow”.

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