Opinion | Between Gov. Wike And Candidate Atiku: Why We May Not Support Atiku Abubakar

By Kerley Sowunari George

There are those who say Governor Nyesom Wike’s recent utterances and theatrics are unbecoming and directed at undermining his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

These people who seem to believe that Wike is not a student of history, seem to have also forgotten all of Atiku’s history of undermining his own political party from when he served as the second highest position in the land, Vice `President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?

No history can be more confounding that the history of how a serving PDP Vice President went against his own boss, a serving PDP President of Nigeria in the dying years of the Obasanjo administration.

In 2007, as a serving PDP Vice President, decamped to Tinubu’s Action Congress of Nigeria to run for President of Nigeria against the PDP Candidate Umar Musa Yar’Adua.

In the history of democratic rule in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, no other Vice President has come so close to undermining his principal the President.

Not even in the years of military dictatorships where a Deputy Head of State, Oladapo Diya was nearly sentenced to death for culpability in what may have been a phantom coup plot, did Nigerians see that measure of self engrossed rebellion that Atiku pursued against a principal who personally selected him for the position of Vice President.

In 2011, Atiku insisted that the position of Presidency should go to the North and staged a walk-out from the venue of the 2011 PDP Presidential Primaries in Abuja when things did not go his way.

During the build-up to the 2015 Presidential elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar decamped yet again to the opposition coalition now renamed All Progressive Congress (APC) to contest the Presidency, conceding eventually to General Buhari.

The truth is that serving Southern Governors had decided on a Southern Presidency across board. It was a decision that was agreed between Southern PDP Governors. It was also agreed between Southern APC Governors. It was then jointly agreed upon by Southern Governors across party lines.

If something went wrong on the side of the PDP Governors and its other stakeholders such as Atiku, what is wrong if Wike continues to remind them, as he has always done, that his people will not be able to commit IF they do not have access to a much higher stake?

In 2019, Nyesom Wike did not give his backing to the Atiku movement. In the end, Atiku lost.

Northern Nigeria spoke in one voice. They voted to continue under Buhari for another four years. In landslide numbers. Instead of an Atiku. That spoke volumes.

The fact that Atiku eventually got Obasanjo’s forgiveness and endorsement, Goodluck Jonathan’s backing and a successful trip to the United States to clear his name did not change anything.

It is bad enough that Atiku’s running mate in the 2019 Presidential Run has chosen to answer his own name in the 2023 Presidential elections. That should be of far more concern to the Atiku Camp.

I will wait to see how Atiku Abubakar will go through any plot to undermine Nyesom Wike, a serving Governor of Rivers State and get away with it.

Wike has said time and time again that he is NOT Dr Peter Odili.

Some day Wike is a less experienced politician than Atiku. They seem to have forgotten the basics and the fundamentals in this new political conversation.

Wike is a tested, trusted and proven grassroot politician of more than twenty years standing.

Academically, he is far more educated having graduated in Political Science from the University of Port Harcourt and then went ahead to study Law in Rivers State University.

He rose from the ranks. Elected as Chairman of Obio Akpor Local Government Area in 1999, he went on to serve for two terms and was also elected National Chairman of Local Government Chairmen in Nigeria (ALGON).

Wike can be garrulous and near cantankerous but the truth remains that Nyesom Wike is the most dependable political mobilizer in the People’s Democratic Party today.

Wilke may be loud-mouthed but Nigerians are tired of quiet non-performing politicians and political leaders who prefer to sit lame and feign dumbness (or deafness) while the country burns to the ground.

It has been more than seven years of Buhari as President and a Professor of Law, Yemi Osinbajo as President, Rotimi Amaechi as Minister for Railway Transportation, Barrister Fashola as Minister for Works, Housing etc, El Rufai as Governor of Kaduna State, etc etc.

Hitherto loud mouths that have all become quiet because they fear the vindictive and retributive antics of strongman Buhari.

Those who have problems with Nyesom Wike speaking up should know better.

Wike is a responsible captain of a political ship which has just survived 7 years of its darkest history thanks to the same group of people who today seek to divide the party.

There is nothing wrong with speaking up when your ship is drifting at sea because the people who have caused it wreck in time past, strange marauders, perpetual seasonal visitors and unrepentant political prostitutes, have returned for what appears to be another vengeful political sojourn.

It is the natural duty of a captain to save his ship.

The Niger Delta Political Action Coalition will not back a PDP Presidential Candidate that does not possess the #energy required for realpolitik. We will not support a Presidential Candidate whose ambition is divisive, retributive and implosive. We will not support any presidential candidate who cannot walk the talk in UNIFYING Nigeria and Nigerians.

The Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not a temple for Ambition Achievement.

Kerley Sowunari George is Convener, Niger Delta Political Action Coalition (ND-PAC).