It is not only in the United States that election campaigns seem to be heated up this season. It is also happening in Rivers State, where elections will be held to different posts on Saturday.
Former governor and now federal minister, Rotimi Amaechi has called on Rivers State people to come out and vote to shame ex-President Goodluck Jonatha who is perceived to be the godfather of the current Governor, Nyesom Wike.
Amaechi is reported to have made this statement at a town hall meeting at Afara community. He also told Rivers voters that them coming out to vote would also shame Jonathan’s wife Patience and governor Nyesom Wike himself.
Amaechi, who is called the ‘Lion of Ubima’ by many of his political supporters is seen to be involved in a proxy battle with the current governor, who is also an Ikwere man like him.
Interestingly, when Amaechi was governor, Wike was a minister. Now that Wike is governor, Amaechi is a minister.
A win for APC will be seen as a sign that Amaechi has snatched back control of Rivers State politics. Amaechi effectively lost control of that when he stepped on Patience Jonathan’s toes in the last administration through some of his policies. At that time the political structures of Rivers State were handed over to Nyesom Wike by the Jonathans. That has been the case till now.
Nyesom Wike on his own hand will be facing a fight for his political life, and he has so far won most of the battles fought, like his governorship victory at the Supreme Court. But these elections about to be held are fresh elections and the Jonathans have been swept out of power. The PDP has been reduced to being a regional party.
The APC could use ‘federal might’ to make things very difficult for Wike and his PDP on election day. For instance, if as rumored, the security agencies are positioned to block all exits from Rivers State Government House, which is the current nerve centre of PDP in the state, it would be very difficult for Wike/PDP to coordinate things on that day.
President Buhari has promised to make those that have been fomenting violence against the APC members in the state pay. If some APC leaders use that as an excuse to instigate arbitrary arrests of PDP leaders in the state, they will be choking off the strategic life blood of Rivers PDP. If that happens, then Wike can only win if he can truly command the loyalty of Rivers people.
If that happens, then Wike can only win if he can truly command the loyalty of Rivers people. Whether he has won their unalloyed support or whether what we have been seeing all this while is just window dressing, we shall soon know as Wike and Ameachi, two Ikwerre brothers, slug it out by proxy.
But one thing should please stop. The killings going on in the name of politics. Even in the United States, with all the verbal darts being thrown about by candidates like Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and fired up ex-candidates like Mitt Romney, we have not heard of any political assassinations.