- Ahead of the 2023 presidential polls, the stakes are currently high as the major political parties continue to interface with major stakeholders
- The ruling party, APC, the PDP and the Labour Party looks primed as the big three in the race
- Meanwhile, the juggernaut in all of these permutations is the big presence of Governor Nyesom Wike in the frame
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike is shining brightly like a star as he has lately become the cynosure of all eyes in the nation's political arena following the constant search for his support by different political parties across the country.
Wike and Rivers State are very strategic as far as the 2023 election is concerned. Rivers does not only have the population but has the financial capacity to pull a presidential election. And Wike being the executive Governor of the state has all it takes to convince his people on who to support.
Wike boasts about Rivers political strength
Recall that during the commissioning of Orochiri-Worukwo flyover in Port Harcourt, Wike had boasted that anyone who plays with Rivers people does that at his or her own peril, stating that Rivers people will only know those who know them and can only vote for those who care about them.
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According to him:
"We are fully in charge. We are fully what? In charge! And we are on ground in the state and we are not supporting any politician or group of politicians who fail to recognize the political strength of our state.
"Very soon, we will make a decision on who to support. Politics is not about going to Abuja to have a meeting, but to show proof to the people of what you can do for them. So remain calm. We will tell you what we are going to do."
Wike aggrieved over Atiku's choice of Okowa
Recall that trouble started after the Peoples Democratic Party's primary which saw Atiku Abubakar emerging as the party's presidential candidate. Wike who contested against Atiku and others emerged second in the contest after Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal stepped down for the Turaki Adamawa.
Expectedly, the majority of party members and Wike's supporters wanted Atiku to consider him as his running mate. Also, a committee set up by the party to recommend a running mate for Atiku has forwarded Wike's name. But considering a reason best known to him, Atiku opted for Ifeanyi Okowa from Delta State. And this has since angered Wike who had threatened to work against the party unless certain conditions are met.
What does Wike want?
Wike wants to negotiate for a place in the party. He wants to remain relevant and key in the running of the party. The Rivers State governor believes that when everyone left the party, he singlehandedly funded it and deserves to be heard.
One of the conditions given by the governor is to sign an agreement with the party and Atiku Abubakar that should the party win the 2023 election, he won't be left out of the scheme of things. Another strong request which appears difficult to the leadership of the party is his request that the national chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu should step aside.
According to reports, Wike believes Ayu was responsible for his ordeals within the party. Meanwhile, sources said Wike and Ortom brought Ayu to power.
Sources also told Legit.ng that Ayu is currently not on good terms with both Wike and Ortom. Ayu is a politician from Benue State and an ex-senate president.
Wike dangles in the middle
Since the PDP crisis got to the crescendo, Wike has become the cynosure of all eyes as different political parties lobbied him for his support ahead of the 2023.
In less than two months of the disagreement, Wike had met with leaders across all the major political parties including his own PDP.
Wike meets Tinubu, others in London
On Monday, August 22, Tinubu flew from France to meet the Rivers State Governor in the United Kingdom for a meeting.
The meeting which was held in the presence of Governor Samuel Ortom, Governor Seyi Makinde, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, and other PDP chieftains held in a closed door.
But Legit.ng gathered that the aim was to get Wike to work for the party in the 2023 election considering the political strength of Rivers State.
A source had revealed that the meeting was successful meeting as the APC and Tinubu are hopeful Wike will work with them.
Wike is yet to address the media on the outcome of the meeting. Neither the APC nor Tinubu has given any details on what transpired in the meeting.
But the meeting automatically became a door opener for other meetings as parties began to sense danger ahead of the poll.
Wike meets Obasanjo, Peter Obi, others
On Thursday, August 25, the Rivers State governor met with the camp of the Labour Party's presidential candidate, Peter Obi to further negotiate his support for the Labour Party.
Others in the meeting which was held in London, the United Kingdom, were former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, Labour Party's presidential candidate, Peter Obi, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, Seyi Makinde, Okezie Ikpeazu and a host of other party leaders.
Though the outcome of the meeting has remained concealed, it's clear that the meeting was part of the move to ensure that Wike supports the Labour Party.
A source told our correspondent that the meeting was successful as Wike has so much respect for both Obasanjo and Peter Obi.
He said Obasanjo believes in the redemption of the soul of Nigeria through Peter Obi and appealed to Wike to consider working with him.
"Obsanjo hailed Wike for what he has done so far in Rivers, and urged him to join Peter Obi to rescue Nigeria," the source said.
Recall that Wike had met Peter Obi and others in Port Harcourt earlier.
Wike face to face with Atiku Abubakar
Finally, Wike and Atiku Abubakar met for the first time since the bruhaha. The meeting happened in London the same day Wike met with Obasanjo and Peter Obi.
The outcome of the meeting has not been made public yet, but a source told Legit.ng that the PDP is on the verge of returning Wike back officially, considering that the campaign will soon start.
According to the source:
"I was not exactly in the meeting, but my principal said Atiku agreed to all Wike's terms and conditions. The next phase will be the action phase. We are hopeful everything will end soon"
The source said that Atiku had displayed that he is a unifier by agreeing with Wike's terms and that such was an indication that he will unify the entire party and the nation.
Recall that despite Wike's threat of working against the party, he had never threatened to leave PDP.
A top aide of Governor Samuel Ortom had earlier said that one thing that is certain is that Ortom, Wike and the rest are not leaving the PDP.
The source told Legit.ng in a chat that the meeting with Peter Obi was held behind closed-door, but that despite the meeting, Ortom and Wike were going nowhere.
It is yet to be seen where Wike will dangle to.