As permutations continue on how the 2019 governorship election in Rivers State would go, there are strong indications that the incumbent state governor, Nyesom Wike, plans to swap positions with the senator representing Rivers South East, Magnus Abe come 2023, if the senator agrees to support his second term project.
An aspect of this pact, TNN reliably learnt, would be for Abe to mobilize a considerable number of his supporters in the All Progressives Congress (APC) with special focus on its henchmen, and move them over to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the run-up to the polls.
Already, across the state, Abe's men in the APC are frantically reactivating their political structures as a way of prepping them for the battle ahead. Many of them were said to be cashing in on the rebuilding process inaugurated by the minister of transport, Rotimi Amaechi, to reposition the party ahead of the coming elections.
A chieftain of the APC, who preferred anonymity, in response to TNN enquiries on the alleged clandestine alliance between Wike and Abe, said “that's the way to go”. According to him, if Abe can be convinced to buy into Wike's offer and move back to PDP and agree to Wike's 2019 and Abe's 2023 arrangement, APC will be buried finally in Rivers State”.
When asked how sure he was that Wike would keep to the pact, the chieftain disclosed that three persons were involved. He explained that Wike wins 2019 with Abe's support, while Wike supports Abe to win 2023. The facilitator of the talks between the duo would go for Senate in 2019 and also help deliver his senatorial district.
Quizzed about concerns that with the emergence of APC's Andrew Uchendu as the senator representing Rivers East, Wike's grip on the voting strength of the senatorial district, which was the highest in the state may have whittled, he dismissed such postulations, saying “Uchendu may win in court but not on the field”.
“Magnus can deliver Rivers South East, and if Wike is able to deliver Rivers East, the deal is as good as done,” he added.
With the current trend in the APC, there are fears that there might be a mass exodus of party faithful to the PDP, given Abe's massive following across the three senatorial districts. Many of his foot soldiers were said to taking advantage of the mass discontent in the party to convince many supporters to shift their allegiance to him, and away from Amaechi.
The mass defections, a reliable source within Abe's political support group, Kairos Mas, told TNN, were being projected to take place a few days before the gubernatorial primaries in APC. According to him, “by that time we would have known what Amaechi and the party leadership are up to, whether they want a transparent primary or otherwise”.