Rivers State boils
OpenLife Nigeria reports that Rivers State, known as the garden city, is currently boiling at an alarming temperature.
The heightened tension, in the oil-rich Rivers State, is not in any way connected with militants agitating for increase in oil revenue and sustainable welfare for its citizens.
What accounts for the tension are the political interests of two of its politicians who equally occupy high ranking positions at both state and national levels.
They are both Governor Nyesome Wike and Rt Honourable Rotimi Amaechi, serving Minister of Transportation and former governor of the State.
Incidentally, the two senior citizens hail from the Ikwerre axis of the State and were both trained as politicians by the 72 years old former governor Peter Odili who managed the state between 1999 and 2007.
However, the two Ikwerre sons have materlialised, dictating the political space and dispensing enormous goodwills to retain their respective large followers.
Amongst their followers are Senator Magnus Abe, currently on the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and Uche Secondus, the embattled national chairman of the country’s opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The godfathers and sons have enjoyed sweet political relationships and have assisted one another to attain desirable political heights.
Rotimi Amaechi was ably assisted by Wike and Abe in the build up to the 2007 controversial governorship where Celestine Omehia replaced Amaechi on the ballot and was subsequently sworn in as governor until the Supreme Court ruled otherwise and returned Amaechi to government house.
As compensation, Wike was appointed Chief of Staff and Abe Secretary to the State government-two high ranking executive positions.
Wike was to later move to Abuja to become Minister of State for Education as well as Abe as a Senator.
However, ahead of the 2015 general elections, the political family was no longer cohesive and Amaechi moved to the All Progressives Congress, APC alongside Abe.
Wike consolidated at home and became the governor on PDP platform. He went further to assisting Uche Secondus to become the national chairman of the PDP.
But at the moment, things have falling apart irretrievably and the falcons no longer hear the falconers.
Wike is leading a syndicate to get Secondus out of office even when his tenure has yet expired.
As of Thursday, August 19, there were strong indications that power blocs in the PDP had sidestepped some of the agreements reached at the party’s expanded National Executive Committee meeting held on Tuesday, August 10.
It was gathered that though it was agreed at the meeting that the party’s national convention should hold in October, the Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee was advancing reasons why the date was no longer feasible.
But sources in the party said the rival power bloc led by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, dismissed Secondus’ excuse, saying it was a ploy to sit tight.
It was gathered that based on the fresh crisis in the party, it might hold another NEC meeting next month.
Crisis hit the party recently following alleged moves by a group within the party to remove Secondus on the grounds that he was plotting to install his loyalists as members of the National Convention Committee to ensure his re-emergence as the national chairman.
The party, however, on August 11, at its expanded NEC meeting held the previous day, reached a middle-of-the-road agreement to satisfy the warring groups.
In that meeting, the party rejected moves by the Wike group to remove Secondus.
To pacify the Wike group, the party moved the national convention, which was initially scheduled for December, back to October.
What could have accounted for these unending crises between two Rivers sons in a national party like PDP?
Credible sources informed OpenLife that Wike appears to be gunning for a Vice Presidential slot should the party’s ticket goes to the north as being envisaged.
His aspiration, OpenLife gathered is not in sync with Uche Secondus, thus, the beginning of the crises.
As a remedy, Secondus, on Thursday, held a closed-door meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta.
The meeting, which lasted for more than one hour and ended at 2.06 pm, was held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library.
A source at the meeting said the national chairman took his time to narrate his ordeal and troubles in running the party to the former President.
The source added that Secondus was able to convince Obasanjo to intervene to settle the crisis.
The source said the former President maintained his stance that he was not interested in partisan politics, but his doors were open for advice.
It was also gathered that the meeting between Obasanjo and Secondus was a fallout of an earlier meeting held in Minna, Niger State.
In the APC, the battle is squarely between Amaechi and Abe.
Abe has indicated interest to become governor but it sounded like a hand grenade in the ears of Amaechi who, indisputably, is the leader of the party in the State.
Amaechi’s disinterest in Abe’s aspiration is not fresh.
Rather than Abe, Dakuku Peterside became the party’s flag bearer in 2015.
There were lots of disagreement over that which led to APC not feeding candidate in 2019 general elections.
On his part, Magnus Abe, says the dispute between him and Rotimi Amaechi, is not personal even when the duo had been entangled in a leadership tussle over the control of the Rivers APC apparatus.
“It is not a personal dispute between me and the former governor and minister of transport. What I’m saying is that as members of the party, we have our rights and entitlements and if those rights and entitlement are respected in the scheme of things, the party can move forward,” Abe said when he featured on ‘Politics Today’, a Channels Television programme.
How all these tussles play out in 2023 remain to be seen.