By Dr. Ugoji Egbujo
Gov Wike spends days and nights hugging TV cameras and lamenting profusely about injustice in the PDP. But he doesn’t tell his audience and backup singers that the deciding injury happened when Atiku jilted him for Okowa. After all, Wike, who refused Power shift in 2015 to stubbornly succeed another Ikwerre man in Rivers state, rebuffing all equitable efforts to transfer power to other zones, has no moral right to discuss power rotation.
It’s comical watching Wike preach sermons on equity and power rotation. Rivers state cried for power rotation in 2015. Had Atiku chosen Wike, Ayu would have been acceptable, and anybody demanding Ayu’s resignation would have met Wike’s venom. Today, Wike wants Ayu booted out so he can regain control of the party with another lackey and fix a leash on the candidate.
When Wike discusses the current power structure in the PDP, he deliberately omits Gov Okowa and mentions only Atiku, Ayu and Tambuwal. Okowa isn’t thuggish, so Wike won’t reckon with him. Well, he has even declared on TV that Okowa paid Atiku. Blackmailing fellow governors means boldness. The only saint in the PDP is Wike, who wooed northern delegates with his academic credentials rather than money.
Clowning is taking centre stage as diligence. Hypocrisy now wears garish suits and roams as the champion of social justice, ready to dance in self-adulation. Opportunism has joined the parade, and it marches around as equity croaking for inclusiveness. Rascality has adorned the mask of courage, and it is more than willing to guttersnipe, blackmail and tarnish.
When will the charade end? And who knows where Wike and his political gang will meet this weekend? They have been to Madrid and Turkey. They have been to London too many times. They could be flying to California to continue their fight for justice for the ordinary man. These days, it appears the fight for the ordinary man is best done in shiny suits with a backup choir singing hallelujah as the god of small things lobs bricks at his political opponents. The last time Ortom appeared on Tv, he wore a crazy-coloured suit.
If Wike were interested in true justice, he would have supported the call for power to shift not just to the South but to the Southeast. But Wike, who champions self-interest as justice, wouldn’t have that. Wike rightly insists a northerner shouldn’t succeed a northerner, but did he ever wonder why a man from the Southsouth should rule when a man from south South ruled the last time power came down south?
Why didn’t he remember that his zone had produced a president? And since he claims he is not Igbo, and couldn’t have hidden under the Igbo presidency project to push his ambitions, he ought not to have contested. Why can’t Wike see that his failure to come all out for equity, his willingness to shortchange the Southeast, was the main reason the ticket was thrown open? Hadn’t Wike preached electability instead of inclusion and equity when equity meant Southeast or Igbo presidency?
Wike submitted to the primaries, contested and lost, yet he wouldn’t even want another qualified Igbo man to be vice president. If Wike were fighting for Justice, shouldn’t he have fought for his friend Ikpeazu PhD or another member of his gang to be VP? Wike’s idea of justice is underlined by opportunism and self-service. Wike fought for half a power shift because with Rivers’ financial muscle, Wike would have been the clear favourite and beneficiary. It has always been about Wike.
Now, Wike is restless. The first problem for Wike is that his options are few. The stooge he wants to install as governor in Rivers is wanted by the EFCC. He must keep him in holes and caves, out of the reach of the claws of the prowling Eagle. He must support him trenchantly to win him immunity so that the can of the investigation into the 117 billion naira money laundering matter can be kicked further down the road.
Wike can’t openly defect to the APC or Labour party. That will leave the electorate jaded. But having sworn never to leave the PDP, it now appears he has to remain a chameleon until he chooses whether to swallow his pride or accept some face-saving crumbs and support Atiku; or stay under the umbrella and damage PDP’s presidential quest from within. To play a mole from within will be humbling because he can’t do it loquaciously.
If he stays in the PDP and supports Asiwaju, he might strengthen Tonye Cole inadvertently and risk temporary political oblivion. Staying in the PDP and supporting Obi might leave him with the least damage politically. The second problem is that Atiku appears fairly fed up with the antics of a loudmouthed politician who was perhaps a jobless graduate when Atiku was aspiring to be president in 1992, and who was probably a Port Harcourt political hustler / peripatetic contractor when Atiku was vice president in 1999. If Atiku wins, Wike might reap cold political consequences even if Wike repents today. We all know the young can grow rapidly, but nothing rankles the elderly to wing-clipping vengeance more than witnessing the humiliating self-indulgent rascality of moneyed youths.
On the day of judgment, we shall know how much Rivers state spent on media during the reign of this self-acclaimed important governor. Wike can summon and fly in the senior executives of the four largest television houses in the country to Portharcourt to watch him belch and rehash worn-out gossips. The chat was a gossip session, an obsequious banter with riverine Jeriamiah dropping rumours and dripping nuggets of blackmail without ‘receipts’.
It has become a habit of presumptuousness, petulance and profligacy. And perfidy. When he isn’t alleging that his party chairman collected a one billion naira bribe, he is concocting tales about the romantic interests of his former boss. When he isn’t insinuating that the presidency is engaging in anti-party activity, he alleges that Tinubu might have toyed with it. The same hackneyed beer parlour tales he has told at project commissioning ceremonies with backup singers. Atiku was perhaps so tired of the bickering he left the country and returned to his country home in Dubai.
As a matter of urgency, some elder statesmen must reach Atiku to accommodate Wike so that crayfish-bending circumstances don’t convert a serious governor into a flippant talebearer. We can be our brother’s keeper.