RESPECT IS NOT SUPPORT
I thank God that after placing a 2008 picture of Wike in EFCC captivity in This Day newspaper, a few days before the election; I can still walk freely around the soot-soiled, garbage infested Garden City. I made such sacrifices for Rotimi Amarchi’s cause. It would therefore be uncharitable for any APC die-hard to castigate me, if I reveal now my respect for Governor Wike.
I do not support him but I have come to respect him. His aggressive behaviour has always been the impression that put off a lot of folks but I have learnt since 2015 that though he can be quite bellicose, there is a super-computer in his head. This must be what his foes do not get. Perhaps, they do and just do not know how to deal with it. There is no script for confronting an aggressive mannered politician with one of the sharpest political minds in the country, the super planning director of the greatest political brigandage in Rivers electoral history, a heist so breath-taking that Governor Amaechi was locked out of Abonnema: stopped at the bridge on the eve of the governorship election while on the day, unconscionable thumb-printing would be commissioned in Buguma under the mandate of gun-toting militants and in the full view of security forces. It was so superbly planned all over Rivers State that it left Amaechi, once nicknamed Ninja gasping with mortification and a final count of sixty something thousand votes; totally demolished but for the gratitude of Muhammadu Buhari now president. It is not easy to so totally outmaneuver Rotimi Amaechi.
When and how did Wike learn to pull off such a dastardly stunt? Some quite partisan people have since floated the idea that he was the stuntsman behing Amaechi’s October 25, 2007 Supreme Court victory. Many will disagree with strong evidence. Almost four years later, he was the aggressive director-general of Amaechi’s second term election campaign organisation and afterwards walked away with the numbers of every relevant political player in Rivers State in every ward. It was a dress rehearsal for the invasion to come in another four years. How could Amaechi not see it?
When Wike alongside his co-planner Obuah pulled off the greatest judicial heist in PDP history, tossing out a duly elected party chairman and his exco and replacing him with the unfathomable Felix Obuah who believes that goodies should ‘go round’, even President Jonathan must have been impressed. In one unprecedented judicial swoop, he hijacked the party from his former boss and from then, Amaechi was increasingly shoved towards the exit until he defected to the APC. It was surgical; it firmly placed Wike on the road to the governorship and placed Amaechi on the implacable path of being instrumental to Jonathan’s downfall. Was this not the same Wike who had allegedly induced developments at the Supreme Court in Amaechi’s favor? He has probably proved to be the most effective deal maker in Rivers politics since 2007.
Wike has since taken over the Rivers political landscape, replacing Amaechi’s often tactless but relatively benign antics with something more malignant. Personally terrified, I withdrew from venturing political opinions about the Wike administration. His stalwarts have since beaten the Amaechi side twice in state and national run-off legislative elections. He has proved to be wilier than the minister for transport. Or perhaps, the system which affords a Rivers State incumbent governor all the power and money he needs to dominate his constituency, may account for the victories.
One picture has stuck to my mind; a picture of Governor Wike counting votes with electoral officials at the recently concluded Etche legislative elections while Amarchi was nowhere in sight. How does one beat such total even if unscrupulous focus? There are many reasons why I can not support Wike but I respect the things that make him formidable; his frightful determination, his readiness to pay for whatever he wants, his focus, shrewdness and underestimated intelligence.He is a formidable mind and a master organiser of schemes. Those who do not respect Wike can not possibly be as smart as he is.
RESPECT IS NOT SUPPORT