RIVERS STATE PDP: THE WIDENING CRACK.

All seem not well within the camp of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the PDP in the state. For over three years, the state governor has been able to keep a leash on the state chapter of the PDP and his cabinet. While it appeared rosy on the surface, unknown to many not a few of the governor’s associates and party faithfuls have steadily complained of the Governor’s penchant for taking unilateral decisions, not giving appointees a free hand to function in their offices and/or the refusal of the governor to make funds available to them as expected.

 

Signs of rumblings within the team of Governor Wike emerged way back in 2015 following the resignation of his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Opunabo Nko-Taria under unclear circumstances. Nko-Taria’s resignation was followed by that of the Commissioner for Information, Dr Austin Tam-George. While Dr Tam-George didn’t state the reason for his decision, a government source claimed that the resignation was not unconnected with the high-handedness of the Governor in suspending commissioners in the cabinet and also the hijacking of his official duties by the Governor’s Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Mr Simeon Nwakandu.

 

The defection of Hon Martins Mannah, member representing Ahoada East constituency 1 in the Rivers State House of Assembly wasn’t a surprise to those in government circles and even fellow PDP members I’m the house. Hon Mannah had accused Governor Wike of not releasing constituency project funds meant for members of the Assembly and Speaker of the House Ikuinyi Ibani of also withholding allowances and other privileges that members ought to enjoy. While some members of the house openly disassociated themselves from the accusations made by Mannah, they secretly acknowledge that his accusations weren’t far from the truth. A member of the State Assembly was quoted to have told his supporters that he is yet to achieve anything since he was sworn into the Assembly and wonders what will happen if he loses his reelection to an opposition candidate.

 

Members of the State Executive Council are not left out of this season of complaining as aside the SUV’s given to them by the Governor, a lot of them have been left in the cold as the governor controls everything from his office making it difficult for the commissioners to ‘see anything’ aside their salaries which according to an aide to one of the commissioners, comes with a shortfall intermittently; “no be wetin you see you go collect” he added. Aside the lack of funds, most commissioners, special advisers, personal assistants, board chairmen and other government functionaries have effectively been rendered redundant., with many resorting to staying at home and being only seen when needed by the governor to escort him to a function.

 

The absence of Senator Osinakachukwu Ideozu at the Rivers West Senatorial District rally which was attended by Governor Wike further lends credence to the fact that it isn’t entirely rosy within the PDP in the state. Governor Wike speaking at the rally reminded the people of the district that “I had told you people in 2015 that not all those who are with us then will be with us in 2019”, an admittance of the fact that the party has lost some members to other parties.

 

The absence of Senator Ideozu at the rally is attributed to his realization that the state chapter of the party isn’t favourably disposed to having him returned to the Senate. While the state PDP chairman Bro Felix Obuah is said to be working towards the return to PDP of Prince Chibudom Nwuche – who won the first senatorial primaries in 2014 before Dr Odili got involved, to run for the seat, the state governor is said to fancy Hon Betty Apiafi a three term member of the House of Representatives to get the ticket, a situation that may likely pitch the governor against the highly influential party chairman.

 

The poor state of refuse handling within the state has also been attributed to the cold war going on between Go Round and Mr Projects. The governor has been accused of not releasing funds to the Obuah led Waste Management Agency to carry out its mandate, hence the heaps of refuse sited in many corners of the state. This the supporters of the party chairman believe is a deliberate ploy to water down the influence of the state party chairman, and paint him as having failed in his duties.

 

The Rivers East Senatorial district isn’t also left out in the impending struggle, while it is almost certain that Senator Olaka Nwogu who was sacked by the Court of Appeal will not get the ticket again, party faithfuls have called on the governor to allow a serving member of the House of Representatibe who recently decamped to the party to fly the flag of the party, however the governor is said to be more interested in fielding another Ogoni son.

 

As the 2019 elections draw nearer, political watchers within the state forsee a situation where loyalists of the governor may be lured to the opposition for financial benefits as the complain that only a certain set of the old guard of leaders within the party are being empowered continues. Members of the Legacy Group within the party resigned their membership last week, siting marginalization and neglect as their reasons.

 

While the fear that the APC will not be accommodating has restrained disgruntled PDP members from leaving the party and the rumours that they are certain people the state APC leader Rotimi Ameachi isn’t prepared to work with, it’s left to be seen how Governor Wike will paper over the cracks within his team, carry everyone along and present a united front against the opposition which is determined to send him packing from the brick house.

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted on: August 15, 2018, by :

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