Sure, to redeem his 2019 PDP Presidential Primary election home defeat by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who clinched the coveted Candidature of the party, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezebunwo Wike is not taking anything for granted as he has begun in earnest the campaign for delegates’ support for realizing his 2023 Presidential aspiration. Since 2021, the Rivers State Governor has been throttling around Nigeria especially all the Peoples Democratic Party-controlled States where he had already established mobilization contacts to each of the delegates who are supposed to vote at the Convention that will produce the Presidential candidate for PDP.
His strategy first, is to establish his Grassroot Development Initiatives—GDI which has spread in the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria. This is done so as to be used to garner support for his Presidential Campaign proper should he clinch the Presidential candidacy of his party. Earlier than now, the Rivers State Governor has designed a new strategy of bringing into his state elder PDP party members where he usually spoils them with good hospitality which Rivers state is well known for. In disguise of commissioning Projects which his administration executed, the Rivers State Governor in a few months had brought into Port Harcourt, Professor Jerry Gana former Minister for Information where he commissioned Umunwanwu Government Secondary School in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State. The National Chairman of PDP, Dr Iyorchia Ayu had come to Port Harcourt where he also commissioned projects, Abia State Governor Dr Okezie Ikpeazu had severally come into Rivers State where he did the same thing others had done. Again, Ex-Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State had been to Rivers State to Commission Projects, Oyo state governor Engr. Seyi Makinde who is a son in law to Rivers state where he also commissioned projects. The Bauchi State Governor Alhaji Bala Mohammed had been invited to Commission Projects in Rivers State, Adamawa State Governor Alhaji Ahmadu Fintiri had severally visited Port Harcourt where he commissioned projects and former members of the National Assembly are not left out in the strategy deployed by Governor Wike so as to win the 2022 PDP Presidential Primary election as standard Flagbearer of his party for the 2023 Presidential election. Governor Sam Ortom of Benue State had come to Rivers state to also commission projects. In all these, Gov. Wike has one mission which is getting all these people to his side and defeating whoever will challenge him at the PDP Presidential Primary election which is slated to take place on or before August 2022.
On the other hand, the Governor of Rivers State has not spared any serving Governor who doesn’t support his 2022 PDP Presidential Primary election bid. Such individuals or groups of politicians are usually reduced to nothing before any other person who may give them a voice. The Deputy Governor of Edo State Mr Philips Shuaibu had had a running battle with Rivers State Governor Wike and Governor Godwin Obaseki has never been spared with vitriols of verbal garbs and jabs which drew the attention of the leadership of the party. Because of this on the eve of Monday 14, March 2022 the party scheduled a major meeting at Abuja the Federal Capital Territory-FCT as the main issue in the discussion included how to unify the party ahead of the 2023 General elections and the face-off between Rivers State Governor and his Edo State counterpart Mr Godwin Obaseki was also discussed and settled.
Elsewhere in Nigeria, from the Imo state House of Assembly Bye-Election campaign to that of Cross River State, Rivers State Governor Wike has become ubiquitous crisscrossing the length and breadth of Nigeria’s landscape all in the search of Delegates support for the 2022 PDP Presidential Primary election. At Akwa Ibom, he donated a humongous sum of money as relief while at Sokoto State Fire victims he donated Rivers State hard-earned money worth about 500 Million but ignored Mile 3 Nkpolu Ultra-modern market Bishop Okoye area fire victims. At Benue State, he is said to have constructed road projects close to some Billions of naira.
For Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi’s defection brouhaha Rivers State Governor had claimed to be the brain behind his legal infractions with PDP which had legally removed from office pending the outcome of his approach to the Appellate Court for a reprieve. Inside Bayelsa State, he constructed a modern Law School Auditorium worth more than hundreds of millions of naira. Rivers State Governor Wike is in dilemma as his political future in 2023 after handing over to the next Governor of Rivers State remains in doubt given his frosty political relationship with most Governors who hold strong ties to delegates at any Presidential primary election in 2022.
In 2019 Rivers State Governor Wike supported Sokoto State Governor Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal who is currently nursing the presidential ambition for a re-match with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who defeated him at Port Harcourt. But Governor Wike is now asking for a Southern Nigeria Presidential candidate for his party which is not in tune with Northern political bigwigs who control the Peoples Democratic Party. Atiku Abubakar had already indicated interest to return as a Presidential candidate should he be given the ticket at a Presidential Primary election or via consensus. The Sokoto State Governor too is out with his ambition while Bauchi State Governor is keeping his two eyes focused on clinching the Presidential ticket for PDP.
Wike in public statements had told his supporters to wait and see how the outcome of the PDP Presidential Primary election will shock many Nigerians if it is not zoned to Southern Nigeria which Southern Governors in a non-partisan meeting in 2021 had resolved that in 2023 Presidential candidates of major political parties should be allowed to come from Southern Nigeria.