In what appeared as a twist, the Minister of State (Education) Nyesom Wike has issued a press statement wherein he called on the public to disregard any governorship poster of him whenever they appear, stating that such posters did not emanate from him. The statement has raised a lot of curiosity for many observers, including this report, who have been following the political activities in the state. You will recall that on the 15th April, 2013 a court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, in circumstances that appeared very controversial ousted Chief G. U. Ake’s led executive of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) which is said to be loyal to the Governor of Rivers State and replaced that with Chief Felix Obuah led executive committee, which is loyal to the Minister.
But fresh facts have emerged regarding the issue of the alleged poster and the claim of the Minister for State on Education, Chief NyesomWike. A source very close to the Minister and also close to one of the Minister’s big five, who spoke exclusively to this reporter on condition of anonymity,made this revelation. Whilst speaking to the reporter, he brought out his phone, and as if to reassure the reporter of his closeness to the Minister and authenticity of his information, pulled up a picture of the poster and showed it to the reporter.He revealed that ahead of the proposed visit to Rivers State by the first lady of Nigeria, Dame Patience Goodluck, the Minister had directed his team to flood his posters in the streets of Port Harcourt and other part of Rivers State, a strategy which he proposed and adopted to test the waters. They had agreed that the posters would do two things for them. Foremost, it would serve as notification to the first lady and perhaps project the Minister as one of the possible options for the first lady’s consideration for the governorship of Rivers State in 2015;and secondly, it would elicit reactions from the first lady either ways which would enable them reappraise their strategy for the Minister’s 2015 Gubernatorial ambition. Of course, it has been rumoured that the first lady is allegedly disposed towards the Okirika-born Senator of the Federal Republic, George Thompson Sekibo as replacement for Governor RotimiAmaechi come 2015.
The source said the Minister had met with five of his key confidants, namely:Emeka Woke, Chika Boms, Iwayekwokwo, Hon. OK Chinda and BomaIyaye and directed that his posters should be made public a day or two before the arrival of the first lady in Port Harcourt. “Oga called the five of them, they are the main men, to plan on how the posters would come out. The posters were all printed in Abuja and delivered to Port Harcourt two weeks ago. We kept them in one of his properties at Woji Road, GRA that would be used as Campaign Office later. When they met at the weekend to discuss Madam’s visit and other things, OK Chinda advised that it was risky to continue with the plan for poster since INEC had warned against such act, so oga now directed Emeka Woke and Chika Boms to take the posters to Emohua to destroy them, that was where the problem started.”
It was gathered that Emeka Woke and Chika Boms boggled the arrangement. The duo had reasoned that taking the posters to Emohua would be risky since the distance was far and decided to take it to Elekahia. Curiously, out of the 10 bundles produced in Abuja, which the Minister verified of personally and caused to be delivered in Port Harcourt, only 9 bundles were found at Elekahia. The source added; “at Elekahia they discovered there were 9 bundles instead of 10 bundles, so as they were worried and asking around, O.K Chinda advised that they should alert oga and so OK told him.”Indications are that the group is however not certain whether it was a case of sabotage or error in haulage from Port Harcourt to Abuja. What is however certain is that it had thrown the group into serious confusion and panic.It wasfurther gathered that the policemen and driver who were detailed to deliver the posters to Port Harcourt, as well as the security guards in charge of the property at Woji Road, GRA may have been relieved of their services to the Minister. It was revealed that the Minister, who was apparently taken aback and rattled by the sudden disappearance of one of the bundles of the posters, was “visibly angry, shouting and yelling on top of his voice and began to drink like he had not done for a long time.” He was said to have been under serious pressure that evening that he almost past out. It took the effort of his personal physician to calm him and put him to sleep, with a promise that his media team would deal with the issue before the next day.
It has become apparent and obvious that the alarm raised by the Minister was not borne out of honest fear of a third party action intended to blackmail him, but a mere damage control, not being sure in whose hands the tenth bundle had fallen. This astounding revelation has certainly narrowed the seeming gaps created in the Minister’s press statement. In the statement signed and issued by the Minister’s Special Assistant (Media), Simeon Nwakaudu he said “we want to categorically declare that thisis an orchestrated evil plot by these political mercenaries aimed at presenting the Minister of State on Education as an over-ambitious politician. The fundamental aim of this plot is to create the impression that the minister is flouting the directive on the ban of 2015 political campaign by the Independent National Electorial Commission, (INEC).(Emphasis mine) In the statement, the Minister who is not given to words was very critical of his choice of words. He never denied the ambition of contesting for governorship; his concerns wererather about the possible actions of INEC should any of “the lost posters” eventually find their way into the streets of Port Harcourt. From the emphasizes, it was more out of fear of disqualification by INEC and not pains of blackmail that moved the Minister to cry fowl in the event that his governorship posters.
Last couple of weeks, the Minister had been in the news over is alleged gubernatorial. Supporter of Governor Rotimi Amaechi believe that the crisis in the PDP Rivers State was not unconnected with the ambition of the Minister to succeed Amaechi, which the Governor and his supporters believe is not in the interest of justice, equity and good conscience and had vowed to fight against such ambition.
Report filed by Ndamati EzebunwoOwabie Political Analyst and Journalist from Rumuepirikom, Rivers State.