By Markson Chiwekwu
One of the major takeaways from Governor Nyesom Wike’s interview on Friday was that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP laid the foundation of the ensuing crisis in the party when it discarded the principle of zoning.
According to Wike and some of his supporters, the party should have zoned the presidential ticket to the South following the principle of rotation as engrained in the constitution of the party.
Many who heard Wike and were familiar with the conversations in the PDP would sum up his claim as being clever by half.
Anyone with a correct historical perspective of developments in the PDP knows that since he emerged as governor of Rivers State, Wike has been the most influential person in the PDP. That influence with all reality is not far from the claim that he is about the most generous donor to the party.
His influence has been positive and negative, albeit some would say, mostly negative. It was based on his influence that the plan to zone the office of national chairman of the PDP was jettisoned and his friend, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff was brought in singularly by him and another governor at that time from the Southwest.
We are conversant with how Sheriff almost destroyed the PDP. Well, he may not have singularly influenced the emergence of Senator Ahmed Makarfi, but it was not against his wish. Makarfi stabilized the party and again the plan to zone the office of National Chairman to the Southwest was derailed and his ”personal person,” Prince Uche Secondus was ferried in to supervise Wike’s investments in the PDP national headquarters in 2017.
The rollercoaster continued until the second half of 2021 and as Wike’s presidential permutations began to unfold. It was about that time that Wike removed the very Secondus that he forcefully positioned as National Chairman. The removal of Secondus removed the lid on Wike’s purposes and plans and many began to take notice.
At that point in time and as has been reported in some newspapers, Wike began the plot against the agitation for the zoning of the presidency to the Southeast. It was based on this permutation that people like Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and Peter Obi began to canvass for support for the presidential ticket.
Indeed, Atiku Abubakar who also had an eye on the presidency was also agitating for the zoning to either the Southeast or the Northeast. Many around Atiku say that he would have been satisfied with the zoning to the Southeast and was prepared to back Obi. Many in the party know this. But Wike moved against this.
His first plot was to distabilise the PDP in Obi’s fiefdom, Anambra, using his friend, Chief Chris Uba.
Chief Chris Uba successfully destabilised the PDP to the extent that the party could hardly file a candidate for the governorship election of 2021. That plot was in line with Wike’s plot to ensure that Obi did not have a governor in Anambra to back him for the 2023 presidential ticket. That was because the former governor was the greatest threat to his aspiration.
The next agenda was to ensure that zoning was discarded. Contrary to his claim that the PDP discarded zoning, Wike was party to the plot to throw open the presidential ticket because he knew that if it were a matter of zoning then the permutations would have favoured the Southeast.
If he were really genuine in his claim why did he not start this agitation for zoning before the national convention? It was all because he believed that with the money at hand and the dislocation of candidates from Kano that he could easily achieve his objective.
to win the ticket.
The sermonizing about zoning and all that amount to being clever by half. Wike destroyed zoning in Rivers State with his emergence as governor. With his attitude and the way he is carrying about, PDP members should be thanking their stars that he was not allowed near the ticket.
The half-truth about zoning was only one as he threw many things into the air including the N1 billion bribe claim against Ayu. Hope he saw the cash.
Imagine the powers and fury that President Wike could have been!
•Chiwekwu, a public affairs analyst, writes from Port Harcourt