Rivers Guber: Wike In Last Minute Battle As Abe, Jackrich, Dumo Dare Him *How the contest will be won, lost7 min read
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike is fighting the last battle of his life in his effort to indirectly retain power in the state. He seems to be working extra hard to secure power for his governorship candidate, Sim Fubara, of the PDP.
Apart from wooing leaders and members of other political parties, including the Labour Party, LP, Wike is also literally begging Igbos in the state.
Apparently, Wike must have realised that the Igbos and those from other parts of the state who are supportive of the Peter Obi presidential project, are angry with him for the role he played in denying Obi victory in Rivers.
He is moving from point to point, holding consultative meetings with all those he considers important, in a last minute move to assuage the people.
Although it is generally believed that Wike’s candidate will win the election, there are speculations that the victory will not come easily. Candidates of the other major political parties are fighting hard, not taking anything lightly.
Some of the candidates include Magnus Abe of the SDP, Dumo Lulu-Briggs of the Accord Party, Soboma Jackrich of the Labour Party and Dawari George of the Action Alliance, AA.
He is one of those who picked a female as his running mate. He was senator for the Rivers South East Senatorial District of Rivers State. He was first elected to the Nigerian Senate in 2011 in the April 2011 but lost a return bid to Senator Olaka Nwogu.
Abe is a political gladiator, as long as politics is concerned in Rivers State, he is a strong supporter of the APC presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. A disagreement with his friend, Rotimi Amaechi, is believed to have made him abandon the APC for the SDP.
He is believed to be very popular among the masses, especially in Ogoni land. Having served as commissioner, secretary to the state government and at a time, a member of the state house of assembly, people believe that he has good knowledge of the state and can serve well as governor. The belief is that he has funds to pursue his ambition, especially as a strong supporter of Bola Tinubu and as member of the NNPC Ltd board.
Abe has been vigorous and deliberate in his campaigns. He has also suffered attacks in the hands of suspected opponents, who believe that he can be cowed by those attacks.
From the Ogoni axis, Abe is likely to pull so much weight on Saturday when the people file out to vote. Even in some of the upland communities, Abe will also have a good showing. But it is doubtful if the impact he will make will be enough to secure victory for him.
Lulu-Briggs is a household name in Rivers State, largely because of his late father, Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs and because of his own track record in politics and business. This is not his first attempt. Dumo, as he is popularly called, has been a candidate before but unfortunately, has not been able to actualise his dream of ruling the state. He is a member of Accord and the governorship candidate of his party.
Born on June 13, 1964, he hails from Abonnema, a town in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state. He attended Ahmadu Bello University, where he got a degree in law. He is a politician, lawyer and businessman.
In Akuku-Toru LGA where he comes from, his Accord Party was not among the first five which scored good votes at the poll. But again, Accord in Rivers State did collapse their structure and supported the LP candidate who came third, scoring 1, 700, while APC had 3,182, PDP 3,131, NNPP 14 and others respectively.
He is the Dumo that his supporters believe will ‘do more’ if he emerges winner. He began his political career as the Social Democratic Party Candidate, House of Representatives Akuku-Toru Federal Constituency in 1992. From 1996 – 1998, he held the position as the Grassroots Democratic Party national assistant legal adviser.
In 2018, Dumo became Rivers State APC governorship aspirant before he defected to Accord. He is also the chairman of Platform Petroleum, and has continued to sustain the legacy of his late billionaire father and founder of Moni Pulo Limited, O.B.Lulu-Briggs.
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He is known as a sweet talker, with sugar coated words. Dumo had escaped a purported assassination attempt during a visit to Etche Local Government Area of the state, to ascertain the damages made on his party secretariat in Igbo-Etche.
Dumo unveiled what he called a “robust plan to make Rivers State one of the largest economies in Africa within the next two decades.” He promised to increase Rivers’ Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from the present N9 billion to N25 billion a month in four years.
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According to him, the manifesto, titled “Prosperity For All – My Binding Covenant,” was created to offer prosperity for Rivers people, but claimed that over “98 per cent of our people have been left behind”.
The Accord party is not really popular in the state, just as the Labour Party was not popular in Nigeria before the last election. Peter Obi came as the face of the LP and made a serious impact everywhere. Accord party’s Dumo can even do more in Rivers State, given the proper support. But votes from the Kalabari kingdom may be divided, as the people have interest in various political parties and have not come together to push for a common goal.
If money will determine who wins, Dumo will make a strong impact. If popularity will be one of the yardsticks to choose Wike’s successor, Dumo will do well. In his Kalabari area, his kinsmen are even divided along party and sentimental lines. One of his brothers, Asari Dokubo is seriously in support of the APC candidate, Tonye Cole. This means Asari will not work for his success.
Hilda Dokubo, another daughter of the Kalabari kingdom, is now the acting chairman of the LP in the state. She will be expected to work for the party’s candidate. Maybe, if the Kalabaris had united, it would have been easier for them to make a serious impact. Maybe Dumo would have won.
She is the only woman vying for the governorship seat of Rivers State in the forthcoming March 11th gubernatorial election. It is speculated that the Peter Obi factor is likely to favour her in the polls.
But her undoing may be funds. Besides, her party people are seriously divided. Some of the leaders, now suspended, had even endorsed the PDP candidate, against the interest of Itubo. It is not clear if the party leaders were enticed to do what they did against their party candidate. But the division in the party will affect Itubo.
AMAOPUSENIBO SIMINALAYI FUBARA
Sim, as he is popularly called, is the one anointed by the incumbent governor of the state, under the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Born in Opobo Town in Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, he served as an accountant general of Rivers State , from December 23, 2020 to May 2022. Now, he is the flag bearer of PDP for the March 11 gubernatorial election.
Sim, regardless of allegedly being declared wanted by the EFCC, polled 721 votes to defeat his closest rival and a former commissioner for finance in the state, Isaac Kamalu, during the party’s primary.
Sim’s network is very strong, largely because of Wike, the man who is putting his best to secure victory for the PDP. It is doubtful if Sim will lose the election. of all the prophets who have foretold what would happen in Rivers, none predicted a loss for Sim.
If there is one war that Wike is not ready to lose, it is this Saturday’s election. If it is money, Wike has brought and will not be tired of bringing. If it is connections, Wike is connecting everybody that matters to the Sim network. Wike may not mind losing whatever he holds dear, as long as Sim wins on Saturday. That is the extent to which Wike will go, to secure victory for Sim.
Unfortunately, Sim himself has not been talking. Wike is doing all the work for him. And it is what it is-Sim will win, even with a bloodied nose. But he will win.
Winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the United Kingdom Oil and Gas Council in 2017, Pastor Tonye Cole is the governorship candidate of the APC in the state.
He is of the APC and had tried to contest the 2019 election, but was stopped by a court order, courtesy of Wike. Just like Wike is backing Sim, Rotimi Amaechi is backing Cole. But Amaechi has not been around in the state to fight for Cole. He only appeared a few days ago, from the blues, and started with meetings with Ndigbo, where he tried to resurrect the abandoned property saga, apparently to win the heart of Igbos in Rivers.
Cole is believed to have some money of his own for the election, but it cannot be compared to what Wike is bringing for the same election and for his candidate.
The division in the Rivers chapter of the APC is another factor that will affect Cole. It is doubtful is he can make a serious impact. He may not even come out second.