When the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyorchia Ayu referred to Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and his fellow lone rangers as children, many people found the expression harsh, or at least inappropriate going by the deft moves to reconcile the party ahead of the 2023 elections.
Now, with the benefit of hindsight, many people will begin to better understand what Ayu was trying to say. As a popular saying goes, ‘What an elder sees while sitting down, the young ones may miss even while standing on an elevated platform.’
Wike has so far parried all sincere efforts to get him to see reasons as to why he should let bygones be bygones and reunite with the majority of the PDP stakeholders. Democracy has always been known to be the game of numbers, in which the minority have their say, even as the majority have their way.
Losing a primary election is not the end of politics.
Actually, what happened in the PDP primaries is a way of telling him to do more to have his way in the future. The delegates have decided that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar should be the PDP flag bearer for the 2023 presidential election.
Wike had his delegates, but their votes were outnumbered by those of Atiku. It is like a game of football, no team can win it all the time. You win some and lose some. This explains why winners do all in their power to remain on top, while others continue to plot their downfall, so they can also have the experience of what it feels to be champions. But they play according to the rules.
The fact that Wike came short of his aspiration in this election circle does not mean the end of his politics. Tomorrow is another day, and no one knows what tomorrow holds. So Wike has his future ahead of him with bright chances unless he decides to make it otherwise.
Well, the PDP, right now, has resolved to forge ahead with or without Wike, and this is encouraging.
Indeed, the political trajectory of Peter Odili is a lesson for WIke and both have a lot in common. Like Odili, Wike was twice elected governor of oil rich Rivers State. And now in his final term of four years, Wike almost emerged as the running mate to Atiku Abubakar, the same way Odili narrowly missed being on the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua ticket in 2007.
To show his bitterness about how he was edged out, Odili wrote his experience in his biography titled “Conscience and History: My Story”. In the book, he narrated how he went from being a front-runner in the 2007 PDP presidential race to an anointed running mate of Yar’Adua, only for him to be left with nothing at the end of the day.
Odili told the story of how he had the privilege of being shown the typed copy of the prepared acceptance speech of Yar’Adua, where it was clearly stated that he had been nominated by the then president-to-be as his running mate.
But at the last minute, Odili’s name was dropped and Goodluck Jonathan of Bayelsa State eventually became the running mate to Yar’Adua. This bears some resemblance to the Wike story, how he lost out to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State. Odili eventually congratulated Yar’Adua and Jonathan. But still, politically speaking, where is Odili today?
Former Governor of Jigawa State Sule Lamido has also related this same story for the benefit of Wike, advising the Rivers State governor to emulate Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmad Lawan and his predecessors Peter Odili, and Rotimi Amaechi, who showed maturity when they lost the presidential tickets of their parties.
“A day to the PDP’s presidential convention, which Peter Odili of Rivers State was bound to win and was also bound to win the presidential election, he was stopped by the party which went on to nominate President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who did not even show interest. He was promised a vice presidential ticket, and yet, he was not given. He took everything as the mature man that he is.
“Look at the APC, Vice President Osinbajo was humiliated; the Senate president was also humiliated and even his countryman, Amaechi was given the same treatment; they took it as mature men and did not go about complaining as Wike is doing. This is called maturity.
“Do you know why? This is because the party is supreme. You cannot be bigger than your party. Party is organic.
The convention has come and gone. Osinbajo, Lawan and Amaechi have shown maturity because their party has spoken. If Wike is in the APC will he be talking and behaving as he is doing now?”
Today, if you go through the newspapers or scout social media platforms, you will see the things Wike said, and these claims and vituperation have effectively been documented in history for generations, including those unborn.
From claiming to be aware of the underground moves of Okowa to become the vice presidential candidate of the PDP (as if that is not politics), to alleging (without any proof) that Ayu collected N1 billion from Lagos and threatening to mention who gave the money, Wike has openly contradicted himself.
Take the issue of former PDP chairman Uche Secondus as an example. Wike first said Secondus was removed for performing below the expectation of PDP members, now just a month after, he is saying that Secondus was removed to pave way for a Southern president.
He had also challenged members of the committee set to nominate Atiku’s VP to say if he lobbied them to nominate him.
Wike also accused Atiku of being insincere in backing Ayu, adding that the PDP flag bearer does not have Kano and Lagos.
Like those ex-governors who have misused their days in office and are now running helter-skelter, scheming their way to the Senate, forming WhatsApp groups for former governors (as Wike himself allege), the Rivers State governor should ask himself where he will be after May 2023 if he refuses to work for the PDP.