The war of words between Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike and the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi continued yesterday with loyalists of the Minister asking the governor and his supporters to move to another political party so as to test their popularity among people of the state.
But an ally of the governor, Emma Chinda described Wike as a political jobber whose major concern was succeeding Amaechi come 2015.
Wike equally described Amaechi as disobedient to President Goodluck Jonathan and the traditional institution in Rivers State.
Wike, who is the grand patron of the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI), made these views known through the Secretary-General of the GDI, Samuel Nwanosike in a parley with newsmen on Friday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Nwanosike said: “In 2011, Barr. Wike was the Director-General of Amaechi Campaign Organisation and he used the platform to get President Jonathan and Amaechi elected.
“Amaechi and six Northern Governors, who are now friends, wanted Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the PDP in 2011, but Chief Wike opted for Dr. Jonathan”,
In apparent response to a claim by the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Tony Okocha that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should call the Education Minister to order for campaigning 90 days before an election in flagrant disregard of the Electoral Act, Nwanosike said his principal was not campaigning but busy inaugurating ward and LGA chapters of the GDI.
“Chief Wike wants change in Rivers State. He has come to liberate Rivers State from mismanagement and underdevelopment. The Minister of State for Education is not campaigning, but participating in the GDI’s thanksgiving and inauguration at the ward and LGA levels.
“Amaechi and his confused supporters should move to another political party now to test their popularity. The era of money politics has gone in Rivers State. You must now be popular to win elections.”
However, Chinda, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and state Commissioner for Agriculture dismissed Wike as a joker and enjoined people of the state to continue to support the focused administration of Gov. Amaechi in its transformation agenda.
Chinda said, “Wike resisted moves by Governor Ameachi to deliver Rivers State for President Jonathan in the 2011 general elections when he was the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt. The present posture of Wike is a deception to achieve his political ambition of becoming Rivers Governor in 2015.
“Wike is playing political gimmicks. He has just announced himself clearly as a political jobber.
“I still remember that in 2011, when we were doing the presidential campaigns, Wike was the person who headed a campaign against President Jonathan.
“If not for the intervention of Governor Amaechi, Dr. Jonathan would not have got many votes in Rivers State because Wike was bent on making sure that President Jonathan was not elected.
“I know that Wike does not care if President Jonathan loses the 2015 election or not. What he wants is to see how he can use Dr. Jonathan’s name to launch his own political programme in Rivers State. He should realise that Rivers people are more than that.
“We need to tell him that we have passed the era when we say: oh, this person is there, to an era when we now say: oh, road is there; health centres, schools, employment opportunities are there.”
Chinda rather tasked the minister on the need to quickly resolve the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASSUU, strike which has been on for over three months and that of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, which will help in reducing the political heat occasioned by Wike’s activities in Rivers State.
He said: “Wike has got a plethora of problems to solve. Let him go back to his Federal Ministry of Education. He has a tall task of making sure that Nigerian universities and polytechnics reopen, of making sure that teachers do not go on strike.
“Wike is not ashamed as a supervising Minister of Education that policemen chased away with teargas at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt, 13,000 newly-recruited teachers who had gone to collect their posting letters. Till date, he has not made any comment about it.
“What kind of minister is that? We should realise that this man is just clueless and what he is doing is political jobbing.”
But Nwanosike later countered the Agriculture Commissioner saying, “In what capacity can Emma Chinda describe Wike as a political jobber when he (Wike) facilitated his (Chinda’s) appointment as a commissioner in Rivers State?”