Following the defeat of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 General Elections, two states remained as beacons of hope to the broken and defeated PDP mainly due to the sheer will and personalities of the Governors and not through party strength.
Ekiti and Rivers state under Governors Ayodele Fayose and Nyesom Wike have been the loudest voices of opposition against the All Progressives Congress (APC) led government in the country, although not without consequences.
Wike has had to pay for every inch of ground he holds in Rivers as Rotimi Amaechi, Former Governor of Rivers state and present Minister of Transportation stands in heavy opposition against his former political associate; determined to wrestle the state from the PDP for the APC at all cost. This political struggle has often resulted in violent clashes between supporters of both major parties in the state leading to loss of lives and property.
Despite the antics of the ruling party however, Wike seems to bounce out of every skirmish stronger and more solidified as the main power broker in the state; the ruling party, APC has been distracted by in-fighting amongst its members.
In Ekiti, Fayose’s grassroot politics speaks for him as he is clearly loved by the local people. Credited with being perhaps the most vocal critic of President Buhari even before the 2015 elections; Fayose who calls himself ‘Peter the Rock’ (after the Apostle Peter), is clearly the dominant power broker in the state despite many attempts by the ruling party to silence him (Including withholding state allocation).
Wike is also known as a sort of bridge builder especially between opposition figures; it has become an almost normal thing for politicians regardless of party affiliations to visit Wike in Rivers and affirm cordial relations with the power man of Rivers. The never ending list of visitors and crooners alike have grown with the approach of the 2019 general elections less than 18 months away.
In 2018 alone the list of major power brokers in the country can only point to one thing; Wike has a major role to play in the forthcoming elections.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki who has just been acquitted of all charges brought against him by the CCT made a stop at Rivers state government house when the news broke
Other visitors this year alone have included, CJN Justice Walter Onnoghen, July 6; Aminu Tambuwal Sokoto state Governor, July 5; Ahmed Makarfi, former Kaduna Governor and immediate past PDP chairman, June 27; Sule Lamido, former Jigawa Governor, June 25; Atiku Abubakar, former Vice- President, June 21; Jonah Jang, former Plateau Governor, June 18; Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta state Governor, June 14; former President Goodluck Jonathan, June 12; Ike Ekweremmadu, Deputy Senate President, June 4; Fayose, Ekiti state Governor, June 3; Ooni of Ife, June 2; Abdusalami Abunakar, former Head of State, June 1; amongst others.
Wike also hosted the South-South Governors forum at the government house, Port-Harcourt.
From the above it is clear that Nyesom Wike’s Rivers has somehow become a melting pot of political juggernauts of the opposition as 2019 draws close. Will any good come out of Rivers come 2019?