In the past couple of months, there have been a lot of speculations about who Governor Nyesom Wike will support to emerge as the next Governor of River State in 2023. Even though some people have been engaging in subtle campaigns and positioning themselves as the Governor’s candidate, but he has since declared that he has no candidate yet.
Still many stakeholders are watching closely to know who the Governor will back to succeed him in office. Just recently, the Governor gave a vital insight about one important quality that his anointed candidate must have. He did so earlier today at the commissioning of the dualised Rumuola Flyover Port Harcourt. So what is the quality Wike is looking for?
A Governor who would not be intimidated by the Federal Government
Since 2015 when the All Progressives Congress won the presidential election, Wike has emerged as a leading opposition voice against the APC led federal government. He has refused to be cowed by the antic and might of the FG and has been consistent in his character. Wike says he wants his successor to have a similar attribute so that in the case People Democratic Party does not win the presidency in 2023, the Governor can stand his ground based on the interest of his people.
In essence, he wants a governor that is firm and will be man enough to speak out against FG’s policies and programmes that does not favour Rivers people.
One issue that will define the selection process for the next Governor in River State
Zoning is likely to be a dominant issue that will influence the decision about who becomes Wike’s successor. However, the zoning template adopted by the founding fathers in the state has not been followed strictly. It was jettisoned in 2015.
For example, Peter Odili who is from Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area became was Governor between 1999 and 2007, he handed over to Rotimi Amaechi and Ikwere man. Amaechi was later succeeded by Wike, also an Ikwere (upland) person.
Now many stakeholders in the state have been campaigning for the next governor to be picked from the riverine area, which includes Ogoni land.
Wike has not said if he will agree to that zoning method. However, there is likely to be a crisis if the riverine area doesn’t get their turn in 2023. That could see many PDP members defect to the APC which is likely to field a candidate from the riverine.
So, this is another issue that will be uppermost on Wike’s mind as he does his search for a successor.