The Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi constituted a nine-member campaign organisation in December 2010, for his re-election bid. On 17th December 2010, it was launched at the Executive Council Chambers of Government House, Port Harcourt.
What makes the team tantalizing is that Chief Barr Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike was made the Director-General of the campaing team. Other members that include Emmanuel Oko-jaja, Alamese Martyns Yellowe, Chief Ibe Eresia-Eke, Chuma Chienye, and David Iyofor etc are not debased. But Wike stands out.
Chief Nyesom Wike is Chief of Staff to the Governor. During the inauguration, Amaechi had charged the team to work hard for fruition of his re-election.
Since Wike spearheads the team, Amaechi need not worry or fear for whatever he may have termed robust task placed before the team. Wike will be the last person to indulge in any campaign of calumny because he is not a political demagogue. Wike will always concentrate on a issue-based campaign.
A man that knows his salt, Wike had responded to Amaechi not to entertain any fear. He had assured Amaechi of the team’s preparedness to deliver. This goes a long way to tell those who do not know, that Wike is a man with confidence in the Amaechi-led administration of Rivers State and has a wand of gold.
Amaechi only need, is to support Wike-led team of his re-election campaign team and watch the positive results that would be the output.
Chief Wike, because of his exemptional moral inclination and altruistic behaviour, Amaechi reposes a lot of confidence in him. If Amaechi didn’t trust Wike, and Wike trusting Amaechi, there could be no how Amaechi would have made him Chief of Staff immediately he won his case with the PDP in 2007. Barr. Magnus Abe, former commissioner for information in the Odili administration, became the Secretary to the State Government (SSG). Thankgod Idozu became the commissioner for finance. Ogbonna Nwuke became director of press. Ken Chikere was appointed Attorney-General.
At exactly 6.00pm on that faithful day that Amaechi won in the court and his thousands of supporters, who had thronged the Port Harcourt Air Force base airfield and waited to embrace him, Wike is one man many people wanted to see aswell, for his support for Amaechi.
Before Wike’s appointment as the Chief of Staff, Amaechi knew that he had a man in Wike, whom he had not to fear. And this could have given him the leverage in saying that he would head to court to challenge the composition of the Rivers Independent Electoral Commission and that this would be done Monday morning, October 29, 2007. Amaechi also had the guts and warned cultists to steer clear of the state because he knew Wike. Amaechi also challenged those who had proved that he was a cultist or supported their activities to go to court.
While Wike is the man, it is commendable that Amaechi realised immediately he won his case and said that the era when Rivers money was controlled as personal funds was gone for good. But it is not good that Amaechi-led government rarely empower those that are outside the corridors of his power or are not his close associates; there are people in this state who has done tremendous good works and have tried in numerous ways to make Amaechi’s government works, he neglected.
Amaechi should be upright in empowering people in spite of pressure from many quarters to change the course of this appeal. While Amaechi is accountable for his government. To many people, he may henceforth be accountable to every action and inaction of their woes.
While Amaechi had presented a bill on due process and procurement commission and had distanced himself from the award of contracts, the many people who have been raising their voices for him, it is either that he has seen them and feels they are irrelevant, or his aides do not want him to see them. Whatever, Amaechi should know that since he said that he would not like to be addressed as his excellency but as former speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, he is now the voice of justice, fairplay and equity for all the people residing in Rivers State, and no one should be allowed to suffer.
It is the peaceful and peace-loving Wike who could play politics of not do-or-die that can make some persons who cheered former Governor Celestine Omehia, to wear the Amaechi shirts and chant “Amaechi we know” in different fora. One knows that Amaechi has been full of smiles and chucklings when he turns around and see Wike by his side.
Former governors Sir Celestine Omehia, from the political landscape of the state, erected giant billboards in the major spots of Port Harcourt, but Governor Amaechi is said has been erecting untold developments in all the towns of the state. No wonder after his swearing-in, Amaechi read his riot act and reeled out his does and doesnts, which included the immediate dissolution of the cabinet of Omehia.
As Amaechi government embraced the opposition parties, which observers think, many will work in support of Wike, it is in that spirit that his re-election Campaign Organisation had sympathised with the family members of those who died in the Port Harcourt stampede. The empathetic message of Wike is glaring. He described the lost lives and the injured persons as unfortunate, and regretted that such occurred at such a time when the Rivers masses were willing to express commitment to the electoral process of electing their preferred candidates into office.
In his words: “We are aware that investigations are ongoing to ascertain the cause of the dreary incident. This investigation must be thorough to ensure that such an incident never repeats itself. Our hearts and prayers are with the injured, those who lost their lives and their families”. Wike has paid his dues for Rivers State, although Amaechi knows this fact.
And as Prof Nimi Briggs, boss of the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission, RSIEC, continued to promise Rivers people a free and fair election, Wike will not disappoint in his own role as the Amaechi re-election campaign director general.
With Wike, there is no how anybody loyal to Omehia or Odili can outrun Amaechi in the 2011 elections in Rivers State, as they concern grassroots campaign and mobilisation of registered voters to vote for Amaechi. With Wike, the PDP factions in the state which eventually met on Feb 11 at the polls to decide the party’s flag bearers, it wasn’t all that war as usual. Were there reports across the state that indicated violence, hijack of election materials and thuggry? Wike will never allow thuggery.
Observers of Rivers State politics will attest to this that when the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) intensified their efforts to bring alleged corrupt politicians to book, some governors, whose states have been targeted by the anti-graft agency, have declared that they have no reason to fear the body. Amaechi declared that there was no reason to be worried over the EFCC invasion because a court order preventing the body from embarking on such an exercise still stands.
Blessing Wikina, Amaechi’s Chief Press Secretary, noted that the state had nothing to hide, but that a ruling at the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, prevents the EFCC from investigating or arresting any official in the state. According to him, the state government was in support of EFCC’s fight against corruption, “but we are against its disregard for the rule of law”.
“The EFCC exists due to an enabling law. The court judgement obtained by former Governor Peter Odili, restraining the EFCC from investigating or arresting any Rivers official, including the former governor, is still valid. The EFCC cannot do otherwise unless it gets a superior order that vacates that ruling,” Wikina had said.
Wikina had said that the last time the anti-graft agency invited the Secretary to the S
tate Government (SSG) (now former?), Mr. Magnus Abbey, and the Chief of Staff, Government House, Nyesom Nwike, to Abuja for questioning over allegations of money laundering, it could not go ahead with the investigation because it was restrained by the court order.
He also said that before Governor Amaechi contested the 2007 elections, the EFCC, during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, investigated him, but did not find him wanting…
However, the Rivers masses should be in prayers the same thing does not repeat itself. In a strong voice, EFCC will never arraign Chief Barr Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike before an Abuja High Court sitting at Gudu or anywhere again for allegedly stealing, N3.7billion belonging to the state government in less than one year, but the Rivers State masses may not be happy with him if he fails to manage his cheering re-election campaign team for Amaechi properly.