It is a classic tale of love turned sour. Rotimi Amaechi and Nyesome Wike used to be inseparable. They are both from the Rivers East senatorial district. While Amaechi is from Ikwere local government, Wike hails from Obio Akpor local government within the same district.
Wike literally rose to prominence in his early political days on the back of Amaechi. Through the benevolence of the immediate past governor of Rivers State, he became a local government chairman. He then served as Chief of Staff to the current Minister of Transportation.
When it was time to recommend a nominee from Rivers to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Amaechi turned to his trusted Chief of Staff. Wike became Minister of State for Education in 2011. But from that point, their collaboration ended. Wike got to Abuja and forgot his boss in Port-Harcourt.
He saw a golden opportunity to become a kingmaker. He was fed up with serving a demi- god. He found a new ladder in former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, who is also from Rivers State. Their interests coincided, as Mrs. Jonathan was looking for a new kingmaker to replace Amaechi.
The former governor, to her, was becoming too uncontrollable and needed to be put in check. Wike offered himself a willing tool. Backed by federal forces, he started challenging Amaechi. In less than a year, he had captured the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) structure in Rivers from the sitting governor.
He ensured his men won elections across local governments in the state. Even when the party was factionalised, his men became the recognised executives. A rattled Amaechi ran to the presidency but met Mrs. Jonathan stood solidly behind Wike. The game had changed. Power had changed hands.
From then now, the duo will no longer see eyes to eyes. A disgraced Amaechi had to abandon the PDP for All Progressives Congress (APC) when he ran out of ammunitions. He boasted he would deliver the state to APC but failed woefully. Wike had rallied the locals to see Amaechi as a saboteur, aligning with foreign forces to fight a son of the soil-Jonathan.
The APC lost the governorship and presidential elections in Rivers to Amaechi’s chagrin. He really was no longer in charge. Wike had taken over. Even when a rerun was ordered, Wike got reprieve from the Supreme Court. His mandate was revalidated.
But the two former associates have been beating the drumbeats in the run-up to the National Assembly rerun in Rivers State. At stake, are the three senatorial seats and five federal constituencies as well as 12 House of Assembly seats.
Read also: Wike has no regard for Rivers people, Amaechi says
Wike needs to win to consolidate power in Rivers. Amaechi, and by extension, APC wants to have infiltrators in government to fight Governor Wike from within. This has created tension with several political killings, assassinations and violence in the oil-rich state. No fewer than 20 supporters of both parties have died in different parts of the state.
Both camps are leaving nothing to chances. They have been exchanging hot words in the last one week. While Amaechi condemned Wike as a tout who cannot change his ways, the governor said his former political godfather was in need of dire psychiatric evaluation and treatment.
Wike had even gone as far as calling on the United States of America, China and African Union to send warships to ensure free and fair elections. No doubt neither camp is willing to concede any grounds or lose come Saturday.
This has heightened fears of violence and breakdown of law and order. The fact that Amaechi has abandoned his duties as a minister for now, and declared he will be in the state until after the reruns further arouse suspicion. The Minister of Transportation said he will be awaiting the thugs that the governor will send after him.
Wike, on his part, has ordered indigenes to stone Amaechi wherever he is sighted in the state. Rivers is boiling but its two leading sons are poised to even stoke the fire even harder. They are unrelenting in deploying everything within their means to fight a battle they consider as personal affronts.
Wike is raging that he, is the all-in-all as the sitting governor. But Amaechi is also a Minister, a two-term former governor and Speaker. Besides, the governor was his godson. Now only God can tell how much damage and destruction will take place before, during and after the reruns on Saturday.
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