Those wishing to read the mind of the new Federal Capital Territory minister, Nyesom Wike, may have to listen to Tony Okocha, perhaps the former governor’s strongest political ally and man-friday at the moment.
While the swearing-in was going on in Abuja, Okocha, a Rumuigbo chief and the legendary Obi Wali’s kinsman, disclosed to newsmen that restoring the Abuja Masterplan was top on Wike’s mind.
Okocha pointed at what he called defacing of Abuja, flooding, and deviation from masterplan, and said Wike was going to take these problems head-on.
Addressing a press briefing in Rumuigbo before hosting allies to a lavish party instead of going to Abuja, Okocha said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu did not make a mistake in picking on Wike. “Wike will surpass President Tinubu’s expectations. The president as a driver needs competent conductors.”
He said Abuja’s beauty is drifting into slums. “Even flooding is coming to the FCT. People are breaking the law, developing on waterways. Water must find its way, thus flooding and erosion. Abuja Masterplan is a beauty but it is deviating. BAT may have intention to restore it. You do not need a push-and-start personality as FCT Minister.”
Okocha began as Wike’s personal assistant when Wike was Obio/Akpo local council chairman before serving as then Gov Chibuike Amaechi’s chief of staff in the Brick House in PH. Much later after office, he fell out with Amaechi (Minister) to become Wike’s most trusted ally. He wrote a book on his career and said he knew very well each of the two masters he served.
He said some road projects in Abuja have been abandoned despite huge funds that went to the FCT. “President Tinubu thus needs a lionhearted person to confront the situation.
Insisting that a labourer deserved his wages, he said President Tinubu did not make a mistake in appointing Wike in the heat of controversies over choice from Rivers State where three camps contended for the slot: The main APC, the Wike PDP camp, and the Magnus Abe SDP camp.
Okocha said: “Many did not see it coming. They never believed that the Asiwaju would win in Rivers State or even win in Nigeria; and that Wike will become part of the FG and FCT Minister. Before now, PDP always swept Rivers State and even in the 2023 elections, the PDP swept the House of Assembly seats, the three senate seats, and 12 out of the 13 Federal House of Representatives seats; then governorship. It is only in the presidency that the APC won. People should pause and ask who did it: It is Wike. He broke the jinx in Rivers State.”
He said there were distractions from people he considered minions when the battle to make Wike minister raged. “They levied allegations against some of us but we said, bring up your evidence, your facts. They did not.”
He said it was Wike who delivered Rivers State to Tinubu and thus, a labourer deserves his wages: “That was and is still my slogan. I did not invent that slogan. Nature made it.”
He commended the media for remaining objective and steadfast to the truth in the Rivers political events.
On why he did not go to Abuja on the swearing in day, Okocha said he had to stay behind to host and rejoice with those that could not afford to go to Abuja. “They need my company. I cannot go and enjoy alone. This party is for all APC and all progressives.
“We thank President Tinubu for rewarding results in appointing ex-governor, Nyesom Wike, as minister, especially Minister of the FCT or Governor of the FCT. Wike is the right person to be there. He is not a pushover and not a neophyte.
“We congratulate ex-Gov Wike again. He has the pedigree. He was former minister of state (education), former full minister of education, former supervising minister of education (super minister), former two-time governor, now he is back as minister in Abuja. We urge him to translate these attributes to results. He is a multiple award winner, so he has to use those instincts to do great exploits in performance.”