This is just as the future of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the State remains bleak.
Recall that Tinubu’s alliance with Wike started during the presidential election, with the former governor snubbing his own party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
Things got to a climax when the President appointed Wike as a member of his cabinet. This was considered as a way of compensating Wike for the role he played during the election.
With these developments, and Wike’s hesitation to open up on his political stand, the fate of the APC in Rivers State and that of the PDP now hangs in the balance.
Wike, a chieftain of the PDP, had on many occasions declared that he cannot be suspended by the party.
Recall also that the ex-governor had sued the PDP seeking to stop any form of disciplinary action against him.
In the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/139/2023, he had prayed for an order directing all parties to maintain the status quo and stay all actions in the matter relating to the threat to suspend or expel him by the 1st to 5th respondents pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion.
He asked the court to enforce his fundamental right to freedom of association which was allegedly about to be breached by the respondents.
However, the court held that the PDP has the right to suspend or expel Wike if the action is done in accordance with the law.
The PDP is yet to take any action against the former governor, a decision that has put the party in Rivers in a comatose state.
It is the same scenario in the Rivers APC where the likes of former Governor of Rivers State and leader of the APC in the State, Chief Chibuike Amaechi, 2015 governorship candidate, Dakuku Peterside, 2019 and 2023 governorship candidate, Tonye Cole, among others in the camp of Amaechi, have been silenced.
Wike is said to be in control of the faction of the APC led by Tony Okocha that cooperated with the PDP to ensure Tinubu’s victory in the last election.
Speaking to newsmen on these issues, the national Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba said he would have preferred to speak on other pressing national issues than waste his time on the alliance between Tinubu and Wike.
According to him, Wike and Tinubu should be able to tell if their marriage was built upon a plot to kill the PDP, insisting that no individual, no matter how important, was bigger than the political party.
His words, “I don’t have the time to comment on the marriage between Wike and Tinubu.
“The two of them should be able to tell the objective of their marriage- if the objective of their marriage is to kill the PDP.
“A party is not an individual. A party is beyond an individual. That is what most people don’t know.
“There are individuals that are very important in the party, no doubt, but the party is bigger than an individual who goes and the party remains.”
Also commenting on the matter, the Publicity Secretary of the APC in Rivers State, Darlington Nwauju said the Rivers APC was more concerned in making the President understand the importance of balancing his appointment and being guided by the party’s constitution which mandates him to give priority to members of the party in his appointments.
He admitted that the President has the right to appoint whoever he deems fit to serve in his cabinet but maintained that the Rivers APC was not comfortable being sidelined by its own government on national level.
“The APC leaders visited the national secretariat of the party yesterday.
“These issues you raised are not secret. They are issues we’ve also looked at and analysed as a political party.
“Given the fact that the party has gone through a lot of struggles right from the formative stage.
“We believe that the party has suffered a lot from the opposition in Rivers and has made a lot of sacrifices by not just in terms of resources but by losing human lives.
“In one LGA alone, Ogba-Egbema Ndoni, we lost 150 persons to violence and this violence was purely for political reasons. So we believe that given the history of the APC in Rivers State starting from 2013 when the party was muscled using federal might in 2015.
“And in 2019, external forces made sure we were not able to have our name on the ballot to contest in the general elections. So a party that has suffered all these tragedies should not find itself in the position that we’ve found ourselves in.
“So that was why the leadership of the party decided to visit the national Secretariat. And the responses we got from the national Chairman of our party, Abdulahi Ganduje, are enough for our leaders because after that meeting yesterday, we had to go back to reappraise and to know if we got the kind of response we should get from our political party.
“We believe in the leadership of our political party to take up our complaints, fears and worries as a political party, to see that some of these errors are corrected. I would like to restrict myself not to talk about someone who is not a member of our political party.
“The immediate past Governor of Rivers State is not a member of the APC. So I wouldn’t want to discuss persons who are not members of my party,” he said.
Speaking on Wike’s appointment, Nwauju said, “We must not deny the fact that, constitutionally, Mr. President is the President of Nigeria. And beyond the boundaries of political parties, he has the rights to appoint whosoever he considers fit to carry out any particular function in his cabinet.
“We are running a presidential system and in a presidential system the bulk of selection and decision lies with the President.
“So we must submit to the fact that the President has the constitutional right to make appointments.
“Our political party’s constitution too, which serves as a guide, allows those who have been elected either at LGA, State or National levels to give priority to members of our political party. So these are the issues. Striking a balance is now the duty of the leadership at those levels.
“How can we be comfortable [with the appointment of Wike] and you saw us talking about it and you see a series of protestations and also we’ve made our position abundantly clear on the fact that appointments have been given to persons who are not members of the party and those protestations have been noted.
“He has agreed to take up these issues. You need to balance the interest of members of your party and the larger interest of the society.
“So as members of the political party of Mr. President, we’ve said, ‘yes you have the right to make these appointments but we want you to also consider members of your political party’”.
Asked if the President is, by his body language, angry with the Rivers APC, he said, “I’m not a suit-sayer. I cannot begin to imagine that the President is angry with the APC in Rivers State. The presidency should be answering that question.”
A political analyst and top member of the APC in the State, Wanendah Wali, said the former Governor was free to make his choice on how he intends to drive his political career.
He said, “Democracy is about choice. You cannot tell anybody what political choices they want to make.
“If the former Governor of Rivers decides to be part of the APC government, I don’t see anything wrong with it.
“If he decides to leave the PDP and join the APC, I don’t see anything wrong with it. And if he decides not to join any political party… [there’s nothing wrong with that].
“After all, this isn’t the first time somebody who’s not a member of the ruling party is made a Minister… I truly don’t see any issue there.
“We have just gone through an election circle and the elections are over. So what we should be talking about now is governance.
“The PDP, until court says otherwise, they’re the government in power in Rivers and should focus on governance and the APC should be watching what they’re doing and in case they’re not doing well, should be like a gatekeeper for Rivers people.”