Politics

Flashback: How Wike Insisted Godfatherism Would Not Work In Rivers State, Promised To Stay Out Of State Affairs After Leaving Office



Former Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who vowed against godfatherism in Rivers State, is now reportedly trying to exert his influence over his successor, Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

Wike, who served as the governor of Rivers State for eight years between May 2015 and May 2023, has been struggling to manage political events in the state.

In a widely circulated interview he gave in 2020 while serving as the governor of Rivers State, Wike, who is presently the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), stated that although godfatherism may have been successful in Lagos State, it would not be successful in Rivers.

Wike said, “It may happen in Lagos State, but it will not happen in Rivers. We are quite different.

“As governor, I will come and go, I can’t stop it. I must come and go. Odili (referring to Peter Odili, who was the state governor from 1999 to 2007) came, and he left. You have never heard Odili saying that you will do this, you will not that. The day my tenure by the grace of God finishes, I will go.

“When you are in a position to think that what is happening in Lagos State, we will do it here; it may be difficult. You cannot continue to say you must be godfather of the state; that is the problem. It is not possible.

“The day I leave here in the name of the Almighty God, I have no business to say I must,” produce my successor, “why must I produce? Why? What have I hidden? People of the state should be able to say this is who they want to produce.

However, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, has expressed regret for supporting Governor Siminalayi Fubara to succeed him as the governor of Rivers State.

Several allies of the past Governor of Rivers State had shown interest in succeeding him, but Governor Wike endorsed his former Accountant-General for the position.

After defeating 16 other contenders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary in Rivers, Fubara, who secured 721 votes, thanked Wike for his support.

After winning the March governorship election, Fubara fell out with Wike less than six months into his term, and efforts to reconcile them have been unsuccessful.

The crisis reached its height when a Rivers High Court restrained lawmakers loyal to Wike from parading themselves as members of the state assembly.