Sunday 12 February 2023

G-5 ln Anti-Climax, Relapses lnto Struggle For Self Survival.

Politics is a very sweet game. At the same time, it is bitter depending on how it happens to individuals. That is, the end of the stick the player is fortunate or unfortunate to grab. Whether in the contemporary times or in time past, people pay direly for making wrong calculations in politics. Some high flying politicians are known to have fallen out of favour with the powers that be and paid with their lives. Some out of over ambition have also died, either prematurely or ignominiously.

Some die-hard supporters, who follow their principals sheepishly without knowing the real cause of the fight, always get sacrificed in the crossfire.A case in point was Absalom, the handsome son of King David who staged an insurrection against his father. His ambition was so sweeping that he began to steal the hearts of many people away from his father. A smooth talker and a man loved by all, but he pushed his luck too far. The end of his treachery is story for another day.

There was a man that found himself on the wrong side of history while the power play lasted. His name was Shimei, son of Gera. He aligned himself with Absalom and abused and taunted King David mindlessly. On the day that David was running away from his kingdom to avoid being overthrown by his own son, Shimei was on ground to pour invective on the king. Not only that he used his mouth to abuse, he was also said to have climbed some hills from where he threw dust and pebbles at the fleeing king. He pelted the king and all his officials with stones. He shouted and cursed, “Get out, get out, you man of blood, you scoundrel!” Although David’s men like Joab had wanted to attack Shimei, the king resisted them. But in the course of time, Absalom lost the ambition, Shimei tried to unmake his mistakes, but it was too late. What happened to him should be a lesson for those who do not count the cost before embarking on certain actions.

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State had in the last few months, enjoyed vantage positions on the pages of Nigerian newspapers. Many television stations had hosted him as he showcased his talking powers and his ability to wield power dangerously.Since May last year when his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), held its presidential primary in Abuja, Governor Wike has remained a pain in the neck of the umbrella association.

He contested the PDP presidential ticket and lost to Atiku Abubakar in circumstances he believed were not transparent. A closest ally of his, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State had also played a fast one on him, by stepping down for Atiku. It was a treachery that Wike may not forget in a hurry. The National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu was reported to have described Tambuwal as the “hero of the Convention.” All these aggregated to create an impression that there was a plot to stop Wike by all means. While he was still writhing under the career-threatening pummeling, the selection of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State by Atiku as his running mate riled Wike excessively. Since that time, he began to distance himself from the party. He demanded that since the presidential candidate came from the North, Ayu should step down since he also comes from the North, for proper balancing, but no one is listening.

He decided to gather some equally unhappy serving governors around him, including Samuel Ortom of Benue; Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu and Seyi Makinde of Oyo State. Some other former state governors and chieftains of the party also joined him.

The group, which called itself- G-5 and lately- Integrity Group- held several meetings within and outside the country on their next moves. Nigerians expected to hear from them on the new party to adopt since they made it clear they were not going to support the PDP candidate. They dawdled and wagered.

But it appears they have lost the momentum. Nothing much is heard from the group except occasional threats from Wike. The other four governors appear to have realised the battle ahead of them and have decided to play it cool with Wike.While Makinde is struggling to get a re-election on the PDP platform, Ortom, Ikpeazu and Ugwuanyi are fighting their battle to win their senatorial election.

The recent development in Abia State has shown that the G-5 may be existing only in name. Following the sudden death of Uche Ikonne, a professor and PDP governorship candidate in Abia, Ikpeazu was in a dilemma as Abuja headquarters took over the decision of replacing its candidate. Ikpeazu had no choice but to turn 360 degrees in order to have his candidate, Okey Ahiwe approve for him. He had to play ball.

In Oyo, Makinde cannot sustain the “hermaphrodite’ game of playing ‘Wike and PDP’ all at the same time. There is no way the PDP in Oyo will successfully sell half Makinde and half Atiku. Something must give.Some observers have said that apart from his loud cry over the killing of his subjects in Benue State, Ortom cannot say his performance in office can keep the state under the PDP beyond May 29. It was also said that his decision to join Wike may have openly given the state away to other parties.

For Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, observers say that he has been cautious in following Wike, by restraining himself from making comments. His association with Wike, it is said, is just limited to the picture opportunities they had during their meetings. Feelers from Enugu indicate that the PDP may win the governorship but the people may have chosen the party to vote for, for the president.

The question on the lips of many Nigerians today is, where are those hangers-on and past governors who danced the Wike’s “As e dey sweet us, e dey pay dem; as e dey pain dem, e dey sweet us” Timaya’s lyrics.

The G-5 association seems to have outlived its usefulness. Wike seems to have eaten his cake and may not have it.Reports say he has surreptitiously elected to work his way to join the APC, a party he had described as “cancer.”Darlington Nwauju, publicity secretary of the APC in Rivers State, recently chided Wike’s alleged move to join the broom party through the back door.

“Today, we are surprised that the Governor of Rivers State who once referred to the APC as ‘cancer’ and has mocked our party, that anyone who would try to continue with the legacies of the APC is an enemy of the people of Nigeria, surprisingly, we have reliably gathered of the instructions to Council Chairmen across the 23 LGAs to canvass support surreptitiously for the presidential candidate of the APC, thereby making moves to join the APC through the backdoor rather than staying put with his ‘malaria’ party and solving their internal squabbles,” Nwauju.

It was further alleged that Wike approved the use of the Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt for the use of the APC Presidential Candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the same venue he nearly denied Atiku Abubakar the use of.

“We also welcome the approval granted the Presidential Campaign Office for the use of the Liberation Stadium for the 15th February 2023 Presidential Rally of the APC and its Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu in Rivers State and we want to clarify that this approval was sought by the Campaign Council through the Honourable, James Faleke (Secretary of the Campaign), who has also reverted to the State Coordinator of Tinubu Campaign, Tonye Cole, and not Tony Okocha as the latter is struggling so hard to erroneously portray. Tony is not and cannot be Coordinator of an APC event as he is merely a member of an NGO (non-governmental organisation) under the presidential campaign council (PCC) promoting the candidature of our Presidential candidate. He has no right to address the media either on behalf of the Presidential Rally Committee/LOC or the APC in Rivers State. What we know is that Tony Okocha is working hard to justify his pay from Governor Wike.

“Tony’s NGO has nothing to do with the preparations by Rivers State APC to host its Presidential candidate on the 15th of February 2023. We are surprised that the PDP in the state is so interested in using the likes of Tony as decoy to join the APC,” Nwauju said.

By Olufemi Aduwo

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