The declarations for the office of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers state and Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom State may have come as a huge shock to a lot of people.
Wike, for example, had told some very close friends and political allies sometime last year, that he was not going to contest any election. In fact, he had said that he had two major elections to deal with in 2023. One, the election of his successor and then another election, which TNN will not mention specifically. But an election, with him as a frontline participant, was not part of it.
But it happened in far away Benue State where he declared his intention to contest the presidential election. Pronto, his allies from a section of the north bought his nomination form-as we were made to believe-and delivered to him. Since then, he has not rested. With his private jet, he has visited virtually all parts of the country preaching one message-give me the ticket.
He has been so audacious and daring wherever he visits. He presents himself as the best, the alpha and the omega of the PDP. As far as he is concerned, it is either he gets the ticket or the PDP will kick the bucket.
While his he is going round the country trying to convince, or force, or intimidate or threaten the delegates and PDP stakeholders to give him the ticket, his state is gradually turning to a safe home for rodents. Refuse heaps have taken over major parts of his state.
Wike sees himself as the lord and saviour of Nigeria. He may be right. He may not be. But he has carried on like that for weeks now. It is doubtful if he ever sleeps or eats, from the way he is looking. The hunger for the PDP ticket seems to have taken the better of him. Some had even thought that he may settle for the position of vice president. There were thoughts that he may be pair with the Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed or with his friend, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State. Afterall, the fiery prophet, Primate Elijah Ayodele had predicted that he, as well as Udom and a few others were likely to become vice president. But he has since dismissed and he has done so with the braggadocios vaunt of a Goliath. He boasts that he is well prepared to battle the APC and deal with whoever the ruling party presents as its candidate. Wike believes he is financially ready, and also ready all-round, for the battle, only if his party will accept to give him the ticket. Perhaps, his decision to invite all the people that matter, from all parts of the country, to commission some of his projects and flag-off up-coming ones was part of the strategy to collect the ticket. Maybe.
His counterpart from Akwa Ibom State is going about his own in a calmer, less intimidating approach. However, just like Wike, Udom had claimed that his form was procured for him by Nigerians through a private radio station based in Abuja, the Berekete family. But what he forgot to tell Nigerians was that before that day, he had invited the Berekete family to Uyo, lodged them at the world class 5-star Ibom Resort for days, at the expense of Akwa Ibom State people.
Udom did not also tell Nigerians how the money for his form was contributed. The bank details of the 10-10 kobo and 20-20 naira that the people contributed for him were not shown to anybody. Udom neither spoke about how long it took Berekete family, who had also hosted him in their Abuja studio to raise the money for his form. But he is a deacon in Qua Iboe church. He is also an old man. And deacons, as well as old men are expected not to be telling lies. So, he did not lie to the country. Maybe.
He has also started going about trying to convince the party to give him the PDP ticket. Again, like Wike, his own Uyo has become a home for rodents. Refuse dumps have taken over the state capital.
Udom has already visited some prominent northerners- General Ibrahim Babangida, Nigeria’s former military ruler; General Abdulsalami Abubakar, among others. Wherever he went, he told them of his dreams for Nigeria, but he has never told them that it took close to four years to complete and commission one flyover bridge in Uyo, neither did he tell any of them that the factories and industries he promised Akwa Ibom people since 2015 are almost only on the drawing board, with the natives still roaming the streets in search of jobs that are not available.
Will Wike make it? Will Udom make it? Are they merely gambling? How far can they go? Let’s watch.