Why Wike Can’t Afford to Lose, Okowa Caught Between God And Politics
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State told Nigerians only God could stop him from being the running mate to the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Well, God has answered his prayers. There is a saying that says, “God Doesn’t Like Ugly.” Well, it is very true here because the same God, according to his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike, would tell Okowa, God does not like anyone who acts in an ugly manner and treats others in an ugly manner.
The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential candidate, Atiku, apparently did not want someone like him, who once directly or indirectly challenged his master in another presidency, so the explosive, tenacious, and independent spirit of Wike internally concerned him. The disciplined, receptive, responsive, and manageable spirit of Okowa, a praying, shrewd physician, appealed to him.
But Nigeria’s type of politics fits Wike’s extraordinary personality and might shape Atiku’s possible presidency. Politically, Wike is a nasty attacker, a confidently fearless man, attractively stubborn, an untiring powerhouse, and a straight shooter, and commanding voice.
Nigerians, especially those with membership in the PDP, are aware that in the PDP primaries, Atiku won by getting 371 votes, pulling ahead of Wike, who got 237 votes to clinch the party ticket.
In fact, Wike’s votes would have gotten much higher than the scores he got if not for the sudden and tactical decision of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, who stepped down just before the voting of the delegates at the presidential primary convention and supported Atiku, a fellow Muslim Northern kinsman. Wike, in his usual explosive, egotistic, gutsy, daring, brutal and resisting way, saw Tambuwal’s actions as a sign of betrayal.
While the zoning of the PDP presidency was not fully set, the spirit of zoning on principle was facing the south for the sake of equity, and if most PDP northern aspirants had said, okay, such spirit would have reinforced the agreement that was made amongst Southern governors, but one of their own, Okowa, especially, reportedly betrayed it for personal future interest.
When Okowa, by his actions, apparently betrayed the trust rested on him by his colleagues, the southern governors, the entire people of southern Nigeria threw their support for Wike during the primaries. Okowa openly turned against an agreement that was made amongst Southern governors that he hosted in Asaba in May 2021, dubbed the Asaba accord, with the declaration that power must go to Southerners. Wike pointed this out over and over, especially when Okowa landed in the seat as a running mate.
As part of his ambition to keep the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a political force in Nigeria, Wike thought he would be the running mate of Atiku. He is known as a collective standard for PDP. He had been recommended by the selection committee, and they nominated him as the running mate. To Wike, Okowa who comes from a lower voting bloc in the nation is, indeed, a traitor. Wike, saw Atiku as an ingrate, a man of no gratitude. A thankless person.
Wike, known for his self-centeredness, self-seeking ways, extreme self-esteem, imposing, and dogged mindset devoted to himself acts of positive revenge.
He received support from the PDP south for the most part, middle belt leadership, and even some liberal Muslim bodies. Not for Atiku, not for Okowa. For this singular reason, politically, Wike stands out as an embodiment of the southern people, and for this reason alone, his rejection by Atiku is a rejection of them.
Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue, is with him. Ayodele Fayose, former Governor of Ekiti State, is with him. Elder Godsday Orubebe, former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, supports him. A former Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang supports him. Chief Edwin Clark, who is also the leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), is with him. Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Afenifere; Dr. Dru Bitrus, President-General, Middle Belt Forum, and Ambassador (Prof.) George Obiozor, President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, are all with him.
Okowa received a more damaging psychological rejection when PDP Delta State ex-governors James Ibori and Emmanuel Uduaghan were absent from a reception for being nominated as Atiku’s vice presidential candidate for 2023 general education.
Truth be told, Wike should not automatically be Atiku’s running mate, just because he wants to as that is a decision Atiku is privileged to take, but in Nigeria, fundamentally known to sometimes act inversely from known democracies; Atiku is now facing the dark truth about the man called Wike.
The PDP will now confront the kind of existential crisis that has destroyed political parties for a long time. I’m not sure if Atiku has suffered a full self-inflicted wound.
PDP members, under the now weak and uncertain leadership of Iyorcha Ayu, as its National Chairman, are not only divided, but baffled by what the future holds for the 2023 elections. Just two of the 13 governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were present at the inauguration of the party’s campaign council for the Osun State governorship election. Wike’s might is always a telling factor, and it is important to know that Wike apparently enabled the membership of Samuel Ortom, Aminu Tambuwal, and Godwin Obaseki into the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and some of the members turned out to be governors under the party. As such, he is one to be feared. As I write this article, tens of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have defected to the All Progressives Party (APC) in Ikorodu, Lagos State.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Atiku, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who reportedly stays between Dubai and Nigeria, will likely face a deeply opposing vision — not just about Wike but about tense Nigeria.
Atiku, once known for navigating different political parties in search of the presidency, is now a man whose hold on the PDP is getting weaker. And how his badly damaged relationship with Wike led him to become Nigeria’s president remains an open question.
One reality is clear, Wike’s divine-like control of PDP grows stronger daily, so I say to him and our physician-prayer politician, Okowa, good luck.
I do not belong to either PDP or APC, nor do I know any of these men or side with any of them. I am only here to give a psychological picture of the trap that Atiku and Okowa find themselves in, currently designed by the political calculations of Wike.
As Atiku and Wike sets off PDP civil war, risking party’s possible loss; Bola Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in particular is trying to shake off the political confusion over the vice-presidential candidacy; a sudden and historic victory Peter Obi of labour party, sought-after by Nigerians, could spring up like mushrooms. That could cause Nigerians not to ever look back to the Buhari administration where ethnic, religious, and regional underpinnings have greatly influenced national leadership. Hoping for a new thinking Nigeria.
John Egbeazien Oshodi, who was born in Uromi, Edo State in Nigeria to a father who served in the Nigeria police for 37 years, is an American based Police/Prison Scientist and Forensic/Clinical/Legal Psychologist. A government consultant on matters of forensic-clinical adult and child psychological services in the USA; Chief Educator and Clinician at the Transatlantic Enrichment and Refresher Institute, an Online Lifelong Center for Personal, Professional, and Career Development. He is a former Interim Associate Dean/Assistant Professor at Broward College, Florida. The Founder of the Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi Foundation, Center for Psychological Health and Behavioral Change in African Settings In 2011, he introduced State-of-the-Art Forensic Psychology into Nigeria through N.U.C and Nasarawa State University, where he served in the Department of Psychology as an Associate Professor. He is currently a Virtual Behavioral Leadership Professor at ISCOM University, Republic of Benin. Founder of the proposed Transatlantic Egbeazien Open University (TEU) of Values and Ethics, a digital project of Truth, Ethics, and Openness. Over forty academic publications and creations, at least 200 public opinion pieces on African issues, and various books have been written by him. He specializes in psycho-prescriptive writings regarding African institutional and governance issues.
Prof. Oshodi wrote in via email@example.com