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London ‘bride’: Is Wike more powerful than some politicians think?

Political intrigues in Nigeria preparatory to the commencement of electioneering next month are itching to the climax as party stalwarts and national leaders take horse-trading…

Political intrigues in Nigeria preparatory to the commencement of electioneering next month are itching to the climax as party stalwarts and national leaders take horse-trading to London, United Kingdom.

At the centre of attraction is Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, the reigning bride who has become the cynosure of all eyes in Nigeria’s political arena in recent weeks.

Since June when the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, ditched Wike for Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State in his choice of running mate, PDP has been embroiled in crisis.

On a number of occasions, Wike boasts of his political clout and how it can make or mar the chances of Atiku and PDP in the forthcoming presidential election. And while the party leadership makes a concerted effort to reconcile Wike with Atiku, the ruling All Progressives Congress tries to woo a new bride to its side.

Wike’s residence in Port Harcourt turned to a Mecca of some sort with some APC governors and chieftains paying him visits and commissioning projects executed by the PDP-led government in Rivers.

The political scheming became more apparent on Tuesday when Wike and the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, met in London.

In an interview with BBC Hausa service, APC’s former vice presidential placeholder, Ibrahim Masari stressed how a possible alliance with Wike could stand Tinubu in good stead to winning the presidential election.

“The meeting was basically on the 2023 presidential election and by God’s grace, we are going to work with governor Nyesom Wike. He will assist and we are going to win the election with ease, by the will of God.

“If you could remember, it was APC that caused the failure of APC in Bauchi; it was members of the party that led to the defeat of the governor from their own party. In Adamawa, too. So, what I want people to understand, someone can still assist you even without joining your party if he wants to.

“With the widespread acceptance of His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to Nigerians, I can assure you, by the will of God, he is going to win the election, with or without help,” Masari had said.

Perhaps, Atiku knew there was fire on the mountain. He didn’t hesitate to take the next flight to Heathrow Airport for a possible reconciliation with Wike, even though some PDP stalwarts like former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, had tried to downplay Wike’s influence.

While the eventual reunion between Wike and Atiku was in the offing, photos of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi, meeting with Wike in London emerged.

Others present at the meeting were Ahmad Fintiri of Adamawa, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo and Samuel Ortom of Benue State.

Although the subject of discussion at the meeting was not disclosed, many believed it would not be unconnected with the 2023 general elections.

And Atiku finally met Wike in what could be described as a last move to placate the Rivers State governor and get him to work with PDP to achieve victory in 2023.

Without doubt, Wike has been at the centre of Nigerian politics in the past few weeks and he is enjoying all attention he could from allies and rivals. While it lasts, he remains an indisputable reigning bride in Nigeria’s political scene.

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