• Monday, June 24, 2024
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Wike vs Fubara: a prophecy foretold

Wike, Fubara’s clash triggers APC call for state of emergency

By Etim Etim

In December, I wrote an article titled “Wike, Fubara, and the 48 Laws of Power’’ in which I predicted that Gov. Sim Fubara would emerge victorious in the war of attrition between him and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike. The intervention was prompted by President Bola Tinubu’s efforts to facilitate a truce between the two and the subsequent peace resolutions that emerged from the presidency. Gov. Fubara had eagerly conceded some grounds to Wike and endorsed the peace treaty. For some, that was a sign of weakness. A TV anchor, fuming, said to me, “The governor is too weak. He is dumb. How could he have agreed to such an agreement?’’

Read also: Wike-Fubara high-stakes feud: Blame Tinubu if Rivers implodes

But I understood the whole thing differently, having studied and participated in Nigerian politics for a while. In the December article, I wrote in the opening paragraph, “In words and actions, Governor Siminalayi Fubara has shown that he is a good student of history and power dynamics. He has surprised and outsmarted his enemies and impressed his admirers in the manner with which he’s dealt with the political crisis in his state.’’ I went further to state that “we need to pay attention to Fubara’s strategy in the context of Nigeria’s politics of avarice, corruption, and application of power to serve selfish interests.” I argued that Fubara was applying some of the laws of power well-articulated by Robert Greene in his famous book, “48 Laws of Power’’, notably the 3rd, 12th, 21st, and 33rd laws, while Wike was busy flouting the 34th law.

Today, all signs point to the fact that Fubara has used his incumbency advantage to dislodge Wike’s base from the politics of the state. He has driven away the pro-Wike members of the House of Assembly and completely taken over the legislature. There are only four members of the House of Assembly left—all pro-Fubara—as the State High Court has declared the seats of 27 pro-Wike members vacant. The court has also sacked local government chairmen appointed by Wike, and just the other day, the governor appointed eight new commissioners to replace Wike’s men in his government. Furthermore, Wike has lost the support of key stakeholders in the state, including former governor Peter Odili, who was his major backer before this war broke out. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has also recently weighed in and publicly reprimanded Wike for stoking the crisis. Gov. Fubara is reaching out to and enticing every important person in the state with money, favours, and patronage. Clearly, Wike’s influence is waning fast. My December prognosis has come out spot-on. It is a prophecy foretold.

“He has driven away the pro-Wike members of the House of Assembly and completely taken over the legislature.”

In the PDP, the FCT minister has been equally sidelined. He has made too many enemies for his own good. Ali Modu Sheriff; Ahmed Markarfi; Uche Secondus; and Iyorchia Ayu are all former National Chairman of the PDP whom Wike humiliated out of office just because they refused to be pocketed by him. Of course, the baba of that party, Atiku Abubarkar, will never have anything to do with him again. None of his other predecessors—Peter Odili, Celestine Omehia, and Rotimi Amaechi—are his friends. Odili was his major supporter until the crisis broke out. The old man has since realised that, in the snake pit of Nigeria’s politics, it is safer to side with the incumbent governor. That’s why Nasir el Rufai is treading softly with his successor, Senator Uba Sani.

A man of oversized ego and grandiose self-indulgence, Wike is now a shadow of his former self. Surely, greed, avarice, and bawdry have their limits. He underrated his successor and is paying dearly for his bad judgement. I posit that Wike’s final political disgrace will unfold during the next PDP congresses. That’s when his beloved ‘structure’ will finally collapse.

Meanwhile, presidency insiders and APC strategists are watching the whole drama with some discomfiture and amazement. First, they are embarrassed that the truce negotiated by the president has been discarded, and that’s a sign of disrespect to the president. Second, they’re astonished that the FCT minister has been practically dislodged from the state. The initial assumption within the APC was that Wike would be in control of Fubara and the PDP in Rivers, amass all the cash till 2027, and use the war chest to launch a blitzkrieg into Akwa Ibom, Delta, and Enugu or Abia.

Read also: Wike to unveil 10,000 housing units in FCT

But the steady erosion of Chief Nyesom Wike’s political standing within the PDP has belittled him before the presidency and the APC leadership, so much so that they are now having a rethink about his future political value. In terms of his official duties, the FCT minister seems to be doing well.

Many residents are impressed that he’s completing long abandoned roads and other projects in Abuja. They are not interested in the crisis in his home state. But the politicians within the APC are wondering what to make of the situation. Here is what to expect. Chief Wike will lose out completely within the PDP and will decamp to the APC around 2026 with folks like Senator Magnus Abe.

The minister will move to assume leadership of his new party, APC, in the state, but will be resisted by chieftains like Tonye Cole and all those he has offended within the party. Nonetheless, since former governors automatically assume leadership of a party in a state where the incumbent governor is from another party, Wike will, one way or another, anoint a governorship candidate in the APC and launch a noisy campaign to unseat Fubara. Will he succeed?