BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
The race to succeed governor Chibuike Amaechi has assumed feverish pitch in Rivers State. In the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP where about twenty persons have so far indicated interest to contest the governorship election the party is largely divided along the lines of those opposed to the governorship bid of former Minister of state for Education, Mr Nyesom Wike and those on his side.
Those against Wike’s governorship ambition say it would be unfair for the former minister to succeed Governor Amaechi who is from the same Ikwerre ethnic nationalit.
According to one of the governorship aspirants, Mr Gabriel Pidomson, Ikwerre would have done eight years by the time Amaechi ends his tenure in 2015 so the proper thing to do would be to give other ethnic groups opportunity to compete for the plum job.
Though Governor Amaechi is no longer of the PDP but he shares the sentiments of those opposed to another governor from Ikwerre. According to him, for sake of fairness other ethnic groups should be given the chance.
Crack in the party
Meantime, the leadership of the PDP in the state has ruled out zoning of offices, insisting that offices should be competed for. State Chairman, Mr Felix Obua said the party was promoting the values of democracy with its resolve, stressing that only the best and widely accepted would fly the party’s flag in all elections.
The crack in the party played up clearly when the National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu in company of Mr Wike and some other national officers of the party made a stop over visit at the party’s secretariat on Aba road recently. Virtually all other governorship aspirants except Prof Don Baridon boycotted the event
Some of them told Vanguard that they were not aware of the visit of the National Chairman. Meantime, what many viewed as the climax of the tension in the party manifested at the Legacy House, Abuja where supporters of Wike and those opposed to him allegedly clashed leaving several persons injured.
Apart from the opposition to Wike’s aspiration, the Ogoni have been arguing that it is their turn to produce a governor for the state.
According to the President of Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, Mr Pyagbara Legborsi, the Ogoni had never being governor, deputy or speakers since the creation of the state, stressing that it was time for other tribes to reward their loyalty and support in the past.
He said the Ogoni’s had campaigned and supported others to be governor in the past, so this should be time for others to support any of their son’s to clinch the job.
There is also another twist to the governorship tussle.
This time it is coming largely from the riverine part of the state. Nimi Walson Jack, also a governorship aspirant and several others from the riverine part of the state have argued that power should rotate between the upland and riverine divides of the state.
According to Mr Walson-Jack the riverine/upland dichotomy is the natural divide that had allegedly guided how occupants of Brick House, Government House were selected.
He said the divide informed why whenever the state had a governor from the riverine area an upland person would be the deputy and vice versa.
There are those who say that power should rotate along the three senatorial districts. Proponents of the foregoing insist that only Rivers South East senatorial district has not produced a governor since creation of the state. Coordinator, Rivers South East Renaissance Movement, Mr Dornu Nwinang , said other senatorial districts have had a feel of the office except the Rivers South East senatorial district. “ This should be our turn. He insisted
He said the upland and riverine divide are in the Rivers south east senatorial district . “ Upland and Riverine people are in this senatorial district. The Opobo are here as riverine, the Oyigbos are also here as upland. These are just some examples that you find upland and riverine in this senatorial district “, he said.
Already, within the PDP alone some of the aspirants who have indicated interest in governornorshig include Senator Lee Maeba, Engr Bekinbo Dagogo Jack, Bar Dumu Lulu Briggs, Engr Emma Georgewill,Oseleye Ojuka, Chief Larry Harrison and so on.
In the APC, the top contenders for the party’s ticket are Senator Magnus Abe who represents Rivers South East senatorial district and Hon Dakuku Peterside, member representing Opobo/Nkoro federal constituency in the House of Representatives.
Though they have not made their intentions formal, party members said the duo have been building political structures all over the state. Some members of the party who spoke to the Vanguard said Governor Amaechi may decide who picks the party’s ticket at the end of the day. According to sources, the governor as the state leader of the party may not want the APC to suffer internal crack before the general polls.
*Senator Lee Maeba
*Senator Magnus Abe
*Hon Dakuku Peterside
*Mr Nyesom Wike
*Chief Dumo Lulu Briggs
*Dr Abiye Sekibo
*Prince Tonye Princewill
*Senator George Sekibo
*Engineer Emma Tubotamuno Georgewill
*Faafaa Dan Princewill
*Hon. Ibinabo Michael West