People, Parties & Places

Six great reasons why Governor Wike will run in 2023, and very far

Written by Akinmade

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State is poised to secure his political future after leaving the River State Government House in 2023 and he is putting plans into action towards this end.

Ade Ishola

With all the permutations for the 2023 general elections already starting one personality whose name is becoming a recurring decimal is Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

Even though Wike has openly stated that he has not told anybody that he is running for the 2023 presidential election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain has severally been touted as a presidential aspirant and a strong contender for the PDP ticket in the 2023 presidential election.

There is much reason why the Rivers-born lawyer is considered a strong aspirant for the 2023 presidential election.

These are six major reasons why Wike is a forerunner among those that are scheming to replace President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock from May 29, 2023.

  1. His rising profile in PDP:

In the last four years, Wike as the governor of oil-rich Rivers state and member of the highest decision-making body of the PDP has consolidated his position in Nigeria’s main opposition party.

In many caucuses and cliques in the party, he is considered one of the ‘poster boys’ of the party that can be used for selling the party at least to a larger segment of the country. He has been able to use his deep pocket, strategic moves and statements to consolidate his position in the party.

Right now, his opinion and position count on which direction and stance the PDP take on many issues.

His performance in ensuring that Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State retained his position after his defection to PDP from the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) was another notch for him in the hierarchy and power ladder of PDP.

In March, some PDP’s youths in the Southwest, under the auspices of the southwest Youths Coalition (SWYC),  asked the party’s leadership to pick Wike as running mate for its 2023 presidential candidate. The youths, in a statement, said Wike on the presidential ticket will guaranty success for the party in the 2023 elections as he “remains the best material given the realities of the last presidential polls and current indications in the polity.”

“Looking at the geographical spread of our party today, South-south is the only zone out of the six geopolitical zones of the federation that is PDP.

“Also, there is no gainsaying that Governor Wike has done excellently well in Rivers State such that he has been able to relegate the APC to the precipice which the unfortunate party belongs.

“Aside from the fact that Rivers State is religiously PDP, the unprecedented, admirable and sterling performance of Governor Wike has endeared the hearts of many Nigerians to the ‘general’ of the PDP and placed the South-South as a stronghold of our great party,” the statement said.

  1. PDP’s zoning arrangement:

No matter what anybody, including Wike is saying, top strategists of the main opposition party know that PDP cannot afford to make its presidential ticket an all-comers affair. It has to zone it to the South of Nigeria, with the clamour across the country for power shift.

Recently, Wike in an interview with BBC Pigin said the PDP has not taken a final decision on whether its presidential candidate for the 2023 general election should be from the North or South but he would support the decision of the country no matter where the party candidate is from as he is interested in PDP winning the 2023 presidential election.

“I am from the Southern part of Nigeria. I will be happy if power returns to the South, but if PDP will win the 2023 presidential election by zoning the presidential ticket to the  North, I will not be opposed to it,” he said,

But that was vintage Wike, he knows his party cannot afford to zone the ticket anywhere except the South of Nigeria.

And when that decision is taken, he is planning to grab it. Out of the three zones in the South, PDP is strongest in the South-South, where he is from, all the six states are governed by the PDP. In the South East, where PDP is also strong, it has only two out of the five governors in the zone. In the South -West, PDP is the weakest across the country with only one governor: Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and no nationwide ‘sellable’ candidate.

One of the Wike for President posters

In South-South PDP, Governor Wike is unarguably the leader. Hence, he is bound to use his influence and power to win the presidential ticket when officially zoned to the South of Nigeria by PDP. His only opposition will be Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State and the party’s Vice Presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election. But Obi’s fate will be largely determined by how he helps the party to win the forth-coming Anambra state gubernatorial election. Also, many PDP politicians from the South-East might not support his presidential ambition as they are still angry with his ‘coup when he came from nowhere to emerge as the party’s vice-presidential candidate in the last presidential election.

  1. His performance as Governor of Rivers State:

Wike has had an incredible performance as Governor of Rivers, even though some of his achievements are works of his spin doctors and might be doubtful if subjected to close quality and financial integrity tests.

But he has performed in the minds of many as the Governor of Rivers State. Right from his first day in office in May 2015, he has perfected his strategy of showcasing his performance to the people of Rivers State and Nigeria of course.

His projects are commissioned in a jamboree-like atmosphere with hundreds of praise-singing placard-carrying people at the project sites. And most of these projects are commissioned by Nigerians, from outside Rivers State and sometimes not from PDP political family with national television covering!

This smart strategy has helped to create an image of a performing governor in a country where political leaders are widely regarded as inept has worked for Wike and he might be rewarded by the presidency in 2023.

  1. PDP resolve to take over Aso Rock in 2023:

No doubt PDP as a party is tired of playing opposition to APC in the last six years. Its top echelon is resolved to wrestle power from the ruling party in the general elections in 2023. The party’s chieftains, including Wike, are never tired of reminding Nigerians that the APC has ruined the Nigerian economy and only PDP can pull Nigeria out off the brink of the present socio-economic rot.

In the last few months, members of its Reconciliation Committee headed by Senator Bukola Saraki, the immediate past Senate President, have been going around the country to seek peace among aggrieved members, including some founding fathers of the party that have left its fold. This effort seems to be yielding results, especially in the resolve of many party members to get back to Aso Rock after the 2023 presidential election. So if the party goes into the 2023 presidential election as a united entity, then Wike might just be taking an office in Aso Rock, either as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or the Vice President of the most populous black nation in the world.

  1. His wide circle of influential friends:

In the last four years, Wike as the Governor of oil-rich Rivers and a politician, has strategically warmed his way into the political hearts and debt books of many Nigerians across the country. There is no hidden fact that he and Governor Aminu Tambuwwal of Sokoto State are great allies. From the permutation in PDP, one if not both of them will be on the PDP’s 2023 presidential ticket. To many, what combination it will be is just the poser.

another Wike for President poster

Wike in the last two years has been there for many states across the country in times of their mishaps. This included his N500million donation to the Sokoto State government in the wake of the Sokoto market disaster.

These assistances and donations have helped to further cement his relationship with political and other leaders across Nigeria.

Presently, his circle of friends cuts across ethnic and political divides and if he is running for the presidency in 2023 this group of influential Nigerians will play a major role in determining how far this presidential ambition will go.  Very far, no doubt if all of them rally round him in this cause.

  1. He is ready and already planning for Aso Rock :

Governor Wike recently stated that the decision concerning his political future will be taken by July 2022 when he must have completed all the projects started by his administration.

But members of his inner circle are aware that their principal is priming for Aso Rock. Some indications are emerging that very trusted allies and aides have been given specific roles in the ‘Road to Aso Rock’ project.

Another of the posters

Though it is considered top secret, some members of PDP know this just as members of APC.

Chief Ogbonna Nwuke, the Publicity Secretary of APC in Rivers State has alleged that Wike real intent was to spend Rivers money in parts of the country to boost his 2023 presidential ambition.

“The truth is that he scheming. He has been exclusively funding the PDP, especially in the northern states, in preparation for his ambition in 2023.

“Rivers money has been used secretly to finance a presidential project and make other Nigerians rich while our people are left to wallow in abject poverty,” he said.

But Wike is still denying he has started a presidential campaign, openly or secretly.

In an interview with Channels Television, Wike said the emergence of his presidential campaign posters is the handiwork of some people who appreciated his performance as Rivers State Governor and feel he should run for higher office.

“Since December last year to this period, we are commissioning projects. So people are now believing that with the commissioning of projects, I may have the intention to run for president.

“They have money to print posters for me. I thank them for telling Nigerians that they want me to run for president. No Nigerian can say I have ever met him, discussed with him that I want to run for President. That does not mean I am not a qualified person, but I have never come out to say I want to run,” Wike said.

But Wike’s statement was in contrast to that of his aide, Paulinus Nsirim, the state’s Commissioner for Information and Communications, who in January when the posters first emerged in Abuja, stated that the posters were from mischief-makers.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Wike has not informed anyone that he is interested in the Presidency of this country.

“This is certainly the handiwork of mischief makers threatened by the Governor’s rising political profile. We are amused that political detractors will stop at nothing to see how they can distract Governor Wike’s visionary leadership,” he said in a statement.

So no doubt, the facts speak for themselves, the present Chief Executive of oil-rich Rivers State is gunning for Aso Rock and he is planning a massive campaign that will shake the country when announced officially early next year.

Unless if Tambuwwal or former President Goodluck Jonathan announces first?

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