Nigerians, as well as the Peoples Democratic Party, are closely monitoring the former Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, to see if he will accept his nomination as a minister by President Bola Tinubu. This stems from his previous negative comments about the All Progressives Congress, Chuks Okocha reports.
The immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, is said to be in a dilemma since his nomination as a minister. He is further said to be under pressure as old videos of him vowing not to be a minister or of moving to the All Progressives Congress (APC) floods the social media.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is expected to decide on him tomorrow. A member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) said the party was waiting to see whether the former governor would present himself for screening.
It has been gathered that his nomination may portray him as a hypocritical person, who should not be taken seriously.
Wike had on many occasions vowed that he would not defect to the APC and that he did not want to be a minister. But he has been named in President Bola Tinubu’s 28-man ministerial list submitted to the Senate last Thursday.
The nomination came amidst speculations about Wike’s stance on accepting a ministerial appointment and his recent affiliations with President Tinubu.
The former governor’s nomination has raised eyebrows within PDP and has triggered a storm of controversies, albeit silent pressure on him to abide by his principles as an old video of Wike vowing not to be a minister, surfaced on the social media platforms.
At the Port Harcourt International Airport Omagwa, during the launch of the VIP Lounge, he made it clear that only one individual can serve as a minister from a state, and he will not be that person. He views Rivers State as an asset and does not want to be a burden on it.
The inclusion of Wike’s name in the ministerial list submitted by President Tinubu to the National Assembly on Thursday has confused and raised questions about his intention. Although a video of the former governor discussing the nomination is circulating, he has not made an official statement yet.
Even more, another video where Wike denounced the APC as a party plagued with stage four cancer also trended. Analysts are also considering the implication of the former Rivers State governor working for a party he claimed to have stage four cancer as opposed to the PDP which he claimed at that time had malaria.
President Tinubu’s decision to nominate the former governor, despite his previous statements, added a layer of intrigue to the situation, as it challenged the assumptions made about Wike’s loyalty.
As the political drama unfolds, PDP members and political observers are closely watching to see how Wike would respond to the nomination. If he accepts the ministerial position, it could potentially strain his relationship with PDP, leading to internal conflicts and dissent. It will also allow PDP to offload the former Rivers State governor, whom many described within the PDP as over-ambitious and pretender.
On the other hand, even though Wike seriously lobbied for the position, many feel if he declines the appointment, it will raise questions about his allegiance to President Tinubu and whether his previous support was merely a strategic political move.
For now, Nigerians and the political landscape eagerly await his reaction to the pressure on him and how he responds, which will likely shed light on the true motivation behind his acceptance or rejection of the nomination to be a minister in a party he once slammed as having stage four cancer.
A member of the PDP NWC had last Thursday told newsmen at the party secretariat that, “We hope he accepts it and this will allow the party to start looking inwards towards reorganisation once the presidential petition of the party in the tribunal is disposed for good.”
“He cannot be a minister in the government of the APC and still be a member of the PDP. Yes, he secured a restraining order from the court that restrained the party from suspending him, but now he cannot eat his cake and still have it back,” he added.
Also, political observers said the acceptance of Wike as a member of President Tinubu’s cabinet will lay the foundation for other members of the Integrity Group to join APC.
Apart from the former governor, who ensured that the PDP won the Rivers State governorship election and Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, others lost their senatorial bids. For instance, Samuel Orton of Benue State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State lost their senatorial bids.
A PDP source said the party was aware of the plots by members of the Integrity Group, explaining that they are bidding their time because they are aware that the presidential election could be annulled. Therefore, they want to see how things will go before the Integrity Group finally joins Wike in APC.
“We know that the presidential election could be annulled but it depends whether the cancellation will give President Tinubu another chance or he would be disqualified based on constitutional issues that would make him ineligible to contest again,” the source said.
Responding to the inclusion of former governors on Tinubu’s ministerial list, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) said it was frustrating. It declared that Nigerians were tired of some of the former governors submitted by the president to the Senate for screening and confirmation, stressing that such names are frustrating Nigerians.
CISLAC said this was not the time for President Tinubu to compromise his cabinet by pleasing “political merchants”.
The Executive Director of CISLAC, Mr. Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, expressed grave concern over some of the former governors who he noted have serious integrity issues, stressing that what the President merely did was to carry out political massaging by bringing in people he intends to compensate politically.
He queried why the much-awaited list only carried some of the former governors that had not done what was expected of them, thereby frustrating the hopes of Nigerians.
Rafsanjani further said: “I think Tinubu has been caught up in the bid to satisfy some political interests. I don’t think Nigerians are looking for a settlement of politicians. I think what Nigerians need at this point are people who can deliver, not people who will do political massaging.
“Nigerians are tired of seeing names that have no capacity, and it is clear that many of the names on the list don’t have any demonstrative capacity process in their past assignments.
“We expected Tinubu to come up with more names that are very progressive, competent, qualified and have not got any corruption baggage. Some of the names are not fantastic. They are not really what Nigerians are looking for,” he said.
Commenting on the policy direction of the Tinubu-led administration so far, CISLAC noted that what the federal government has rolled out was nothing, but somersaulting policies, stressing that the government has failed to work to establish policies that will address poverty, inequality, insecurity and job creation.
He, therefore, urged the administration to do something more drastic, progressive and revolutionary to meet the aspirations of all Nigerians.
This story was originally published by ThisDay.