A Word For Wike on Atiku and Okowa
By Josh Ekpe
Governor Nyesom Wike returned from yet another foreign trip on Friday and immediately set the polity on fire with yet another raucous outpouring against Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and other imaginary enemies within his Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
After a careful study of the insinuations and assertions by Mr Wike one is at a loss over exactly what it is that the Rivers State governor wants?
A presidential primary was conducted by the party and a winner emerged. Unfortunately for Wike, he was not the winner and that it appears seems to be the problem, at least in the perspective of many objective and independent observers of the situation in the PDP.
Indeed, it seems as if Mr Wike is fudging over the fact that at the middle of the name of the PDP is Democratic, which underlines the culture of the party to be that where decisions are subject to egalitarian expression.
Thus, the decision by PDP delegates at the convention to select Atiku over Wike was not done through coercion. In fact, Wike has not complained about being rigged out.
I understand that he is peeved over the choice of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as the running mate. Unfortunately for Wike, the choice of a running mate is the prerogative of the candidate. Atiku was even liberal enough to mandate a committee of the PDP to help him pick three persons.
The committee made three recommendations; namely Okowa, Wike and Governor Udom Emmanuel. Contrary to social media claims there was no voting, a fact that Atiku has affirmed without disputation from anyone.
Atiku for strategic reasons decided to pick Okowa, a man who it is alleged had contributed in terms of strategy, financially and in several other ways towards his PDP convention victory.
That, it appears seems to be the grouse of Wike; to wit, why the candidate chose Okowa over him. It is even more surprising that the Rivers State governor had at the peak of the campaign for the presidential ticket vowed that he would not accept the position of Vice-President.
So, one is now at a loss as to why he should now be muttering and trying to bring down the roof over the democratic choice by party members of Atiku as candidate and the choice by Atiku of Okowa as running mate.
I believe that it is time for Governor Wike to look beyond himself to the general interest of the party. It must not always be about him.
I also find the language and innuendo directed by Wike against Atiku and Okowa particularly offensive. Both men are seniors to Wike in politics and in age. Even outside the political arena, both men were success stories before Wike.
By the time Atiku was vice-president of Nigeria, Wike was a local government chairman. At the same time, Okowa was already a commissioner. Atiku is an accomplished former Customs officer who retired as deputy comptroller general. Okowa on the other hand is a medical doctor, was commissioner when Wike was local government chairman and Secretary to the State Government when he, Wike was chief of staff to a governor. Indeed, by the time Okowa was local government chairman in the early nineties Wike was not in the political radar.
It is trite to say that politics involves winning and losing. Atiku had in the past lost elections, Okowa has also lost a primary election, and so have many, many, people. But they did not bring down the roof.
Methinks that Wike should learn from this his first loss and position himself for further endeavours.
He has done well in project implementation in Rivers State, he should not allow the dissonance from his loss of the presidential ticket to fall down the house he has built.
If he should look back honestly, many of the people who were following him in Rivers State have already gone back and are quietly waiting to work with the party to ensure the sustenance of the PDP in Rivers State.
Even outside Rivers State, many others including governors who weeks ago soldiered with Wike are reconciling themselves to the future of the party under the leadership of Atiku.
Wike would do well for his followers in Rivers State to join the train to victory and not be a cog in the wheel. Your Excellency, welcome home.