The year 2023 is not too far politically, and activities have commenced with each party seeking to put its house in order and arrange its players for the next round of the game. While some are going for their second terms in office, others are rounding up their statutory tenures, especially those occupying executive positions at both the state and the federal levels.
The ruling APC is said to have concluded arrangements to zone the Presidency to the South in line with public demand. This is to ensure balance in the political equation of the country. Whoever will finally be selected or nominated to fly the party’s ticket is expected to come from the Southern part of the country, be it South West, South South or South East. This is also in recognition of the fact that incumbent President Muhamadu Buhari would have concluded his two terms of 8 years by 2023 as a northerner.
Recall that some few months ago, the 17 governors from the Southern zone, regardless of political affiliations ,took a decision and insisted that the 2023 presidency should go to the zone and encouraged themselves within their respective political parties to ensure the same. They sent out a strong worded statement to the nation on the issue and since then, every southerner has remained conscious of this. The move got the critical attention of many northerners who also believed that the most reasonable thing to do is to concede to the political decision which is not only proper in view of an 8 year Buhari northern presidency, but also morally in order.
The avowed stance of the southern governors to insist on taking over power come 2023 was borne out of concerns for the zone which they believed, have suffered strange and exceptional security and economic challenges more than ever before. The increasing insecurity occasioned by movement of herders in the zone, perceived marginalisation and imbalance in political appointments and allocation of projects, are among the burning issues.
It is in this wise that many within the PDP are rooting for the incumbent Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, who has done quite remarkable in his state in the last 6 years, to be given the opportunity to fly the party’s flag come 2023. Of the present Southern Governors who would be completing their second terms in office by 2023, Wike is one among the few who can raise his shoulders high to showcase his scorecard. He has done wonderfully well and his fame has gone round the nation as one of the most performing governors the nation has produced under the present dispensation. Within the opposition PDP, his stakes are quite high.
It could be argued that Rivers State has the advantage of a strong financial muscle that’s why he is doing well. But it’s one thing to have the money and the other to have the zeal, ideas, political will and passion to work. Not every governor with a huge financial muscle has performed while some with less finance have performed more than those with financial resources.
Within the opposition PDP in the South, Wike is seen as one with the widest political reach who relates and socialises more with the northern political class and who has fearlessly defended his state and people even at the risk of being decimated by the ruling APC that detests criticism and opposition. He has proven that as a leader, you must lead well and protect the interest of your people no matter what.
He has demonstrated sheer will and determination to lay down his life for his people and that has attracted admiration for him across the country. We equally have the likes of the Bayelsa State Governor Diri Douye, who is less than 2 years in office but doing marvellously well, Edo’s Obaseki and Delta’s Okowa who have done well for their people.
What the people of Nigeria are looking for in a leader is his level of compassion , honesty, energy, composure, knowledge of the environment and ability to identify and address common threats to their existence and the courage and confidence to defend them at all times even at the risk of life. We have such people spread across the political parties who are taking governance very seriously. Governor Zullum of Borno State, one of the first time Governors readily come to mind here. He has the Wike type of mindset and has brought some radical changes in the administration of Borno State recently. While the APC folks are making reference to him for possible pairing with the incumbent Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo, the PDP is also making its own calculations.
It is not in the habit of Melting point to promote individuals for no reason, but the truth remains that whoever does exemplary well should be highlighted for the sole purpose of encouraging other leaders to follow to raise a progressive society.
As a journalist, what attracted me into politics was the passionate commitment of some leaders to the growth and development of their people and communities. I’m heavily attracted to good performance and merit. Many who got the opportunities to serve either as elected or appointed persons in government failed to leave a mark or good legacy, while some thrived to give a good account of their stewardship.
Wike, like some few other governors, was obviously very prepared for the task of governance that he was to face. Serving as Minister of State for Education as his last political station at the federal level, and being conscious of what is expected of him, has kept him in focus.
As an opposition Governor of a very strong state like Rivers State, only his sheer will determination has kept him moving. Some people say he talks too much. But of course he has to talk because there are many things to talk about. He is at the centre of every discourse that matters to his people and only a weak leader will run away from that. Who should talk for his people?
Wike has warmed his way into the hearts of his people and many people across the nation because of his compassion and the moral sense of integrity he put into governance.
He is highly respected across the board because of his diligent pursuit of realistic human principles. He does not shy away from any responsibility.