By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Though neither Governor Nyesom Wike nor his predecessor, Chibuke Amaechi is on the ballot for Saturday’s election, the stakes however, seem to be highest for the two former political allies turned adversaries.
wike-amaechiWike had reportedly used the leverage and connections with security agencies at the time of the 2015 general elections to take the ascendancy over his former principal. After the bloodstained election of 2015 ended, Wike’s Peoples Democratic Party, PDP carted away nearly all the prizes at stake including all three Senate seats, all 11 federal constituencies and 30 of 31 state constituencies.
However, the elections which were marred by large-scale irregularities were queried by the courts. The three Senate seats, eight of the federal constituency seats and ten of the 31 state constituency seats were annulled and are now up for election. For the two major gladiators, the stakes are indeed high. For Amaechi, the election is an opportunity to regain his political momentum in the state.
For a man who governed the state for eight straight years from 2007 to 2015, the fact that his political structures were nearly wiped out after Wike’s takeover in 2015 must have been sobering.
He is, however, comforted by the fact that the 2015 elections in the state were universally assessed as below acceptable democratic standards. This Saturday is also an opportunity for him and his beleaguered forces to rediscover themselves and prove their worth.
For Wike, the Saturday elections are not just about proving his worth, but also to check any possible encroachment into his political fiefdom. Wike and Amaechi The contests into the 10 House of Assembly seats are especially touchy. Victory for the APC in the elections could give the opposition party a foothold that could in due season give his political antagonists an opportunity to split the House as was done during the Amaechi era.
It would be recalled that while Amaechi was the governor that the House of Assembly was shut down after a minority of four members loyal to Wike took over the House and claimed leadership of the House. The fear by some Wike associates is that a similar scenario could play out if the APC can claim a majority or possibly all ten seats being contested this Saturday and use it as a foothold to splinter the House and destabilise the Wike administration.
Victory for either of the contenders in the National Assembly re-run elections would also consolidate them in Abuja and help to project their party’s interests in the federal capital.
Constituencies where elections’ll hold The twenty one constituencies where the elections will hold are: Rivers East, Rivers West, Rivers South East, Akuku-Toru/Asari Toru, Degema/Bonny, Okrika/Ogu-Bolo, Etche/Omuma, Ikwere/Emohua, Khana Gokana, Eleme/Tai/Oyigbo, Opobo/Nkoro/Andoni, Eleme, Gokana, Asari-Toru I, Asari-Toru II, Andoni, Khana II, Etche II, Ikwere, Bonny, and Degema. Vanguard