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2011 ELECTION: LANDSLIDE VICTORY OF PDP IN RIVERS STATE, CHALLENGES AND THE PRINCIPLE OF ANYA-NELI VIZ-A-VIZ THE INGENUITY OF CHIEF BARR WIKE

By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze
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A goal or objective according to Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia is a desired result a person or a system envisions, plans and commits to achieve while it defined victory (from Latin Victoria) as a term, originally in applied to warfare, given to success achieved in personal combat, after military operations in general or, by extension, in any competition. In mythology, victory is often deified, as in Greek Nike or Roman Victoria. Archetypical victories of good over evil or of light over dark etc

In Nigeria the general election is seen in some quarters as battle and war aimed at electing new generation of leaders. That of 2011 was held within April 9th to April 26th, 2011 where different sets of elections starting from the National Assembly, Presidential to the gubernatorial and State House of Assemblies was conducted and in Rivers State PDP one of the political parties demonstrated that it was not only a force in the State but the dominating political party in the State. To achieve success in the election, PDP in Rivers State set in motion and constituted a Campaign Re-election Bid under the watch of a great mobiliser and grass root politician in the person of Chief Barr Nyesom Wiki the Chief of Staff to the Rivers State Government to pilot its affairs and set the goal for the accomplishment of this project that is today celebrated in the State as a revival of hope and future of the State.

As stated and defined by the Wikipedia dictionary, the re-election of Gov Amaechi was a victory of good over evil or light over darkness if those who know the politics of Rivers State very well can attest. A key actor in the State politics, Prince Tonye Princewill captured the outcome of the elections in the State proficiently when he stated, “I wish to state without any equivocation, that this victory is historical because it serves to put to rest once and for all issues of credibility the Governor had in his first tenure ranging from the method of assumption of office to the constant alluding to his political association with Odili who is regarded as the harbinger of the doom and gloom that plagued the state in the era of militancy and wanton disregard for security of lives and property. With the final shedding of every umbilical tie to such a despicable era, we can confidently say that Rivers State is on the verge of a New Dawn under the Stewardship of Amaechi. It is therefore apt to say that Amaechi's victory is also a Vote of Confidence by the people who have seen his commitment to the new order and believe in his resolve to berth a "new" State”.

Based on the victory recorded by PDP In Rivers State in all the elections; on 27th April, 2007 at the Government House in Port Harcourt, Rivers State of Nigeria by 5pm Chief Barr Nyesom Wike an enigma of a man, a workaholic, a visionary, futurist, determined, detribalised leader who anchored the 2011 Re-election bid of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi the Executive Governor of Rivers State formally submitted the result of his work as the Director General of the 2011 Chibuike Amaechi Re-election Campaign to the Executive Governor. In a brief speech delivered before some PDP Chieftains that includes the Deputy Governor, Engr Tele Ikuru, Dame Judith Amaechi the wife of the Executive Governor, Chief G.U.O Ake the indefatigable State Chairman of PDP, Chief Uche Secondus the outspoken National Organising Secretary of PDP, Dist. Senator Magnus Abe among others, he stated, “Your Excellency Sir, today is epochal in the annals of River State as I present to you on behalf of the 2011 Amaechi Re-election Campaign Team not only the result of the gubernatorial election were you won with a landslide and convincingly but other results showing that our great political party (PDP) is the dominant party in Rivers State. According to the results declared by Prof Joseph Ajienka the Chief Collation Officer for the 2011 Rivers State gubernatorial election under the watch of Elder Aniedi Ikiwak the INEC Residential Electoral Commissioner for Rivers State showed that PDP won all the 32 House of Assembly seats in the State while the icing is of course the governorship seat won convincingly by you with over 85% votes over the duo of Dr. Abiye Sekibo of ACN and Sir Celestine Omehia of APGA and other contestants. According to the results by INEC with 1,401,464 total votes cast and with 27, 995 invalid votes while out of the 1,373,469 valid votes cast, you polled the staggering sum of 1, 178, 529 to beat your closest rival Sir Celestine Omehia of APGA who scored 112,528 votes with Dr Abiye Sekibo of ACN who polled 60,241 and Chief Goddy Nwikpo of ANPP with 3,912 coming third and fourth respectively. This equates to approximately 85% of the vote, a feat that has earned you a return to the seat of power for a second term.

Permit me to also inform you that the State not only delivered the highest number of votes among all the States in Nigeria 1.8m but ensured that all the seats contested in Rivers State in the general election was won by the party including 3 Senatorial Seats, 13 House of Representatives and 32 member of the State House of Assembly. With this submission of this report it becomes imperative to formally close the Campaign Organisation Secretariat but before doing that may I on behalf the Campaign Team congratulate you for a well deserved victory and pray that the feats that made the Rivers State indigenes termed you as a developmental magician will be surpassed in your second tenure. Though our task was very assiduous but your great achievements and your exemplary leadership made the assiduous task a bit lighter.

In my treatise submitted for public consumption during the general campaign exercise by the Chibuike Amaechi Re-election Campaign within March, 2011 titled “2011: the principle of “Anya-Neli”, Chief Barr. Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike and the political future of Rivers State – An overview of an Insider”; in which I made attempt to explain the principle of anya-neli, the mission and vision of its exponent, Chief Barr Hon. Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike. I decided to critically examine this new political concept that was becoming a decimal in the politics of Rivers State by this enigma -who in the course of the campaign proved himself as the new political force and encyclopaedia of Rivers State politics. Now that both the campaigns and elections are over and the results declared as shown above the need to review the results of the elections, the inputs, impact and effect of the principle of Anya-Neli becomes imperative resulting to this new attempt and write-up.

For avoidance of doubt particularly for those that may have not read the first attempt the need to review the past work may become necessary in this regard for the reader to follow up. In the first attempt, I made attempt to present the principle of Anya-Neli as a current political reengineering culture being evolved in Rivers State a State situated in Southern part of Nigeria with Port Harcourt as its capital to reposition the State as an exponent of true democratic culture and a dynamic force in sustaining and improving on our democratisation experiment in Nigeria. Though Wikipedia defined Political engineering as a concept in political science that deals with the designing of political institutions in a society and often involves the use of paper decrees, in the form of laws, referendums, ordinances, or otherwise, to try to achieve some desired effect within a society it was Benjamin Reilly Ph.D. that defined political Engineering as when political parties in theory represent the political expression of underlying societal cleavages and parties and party systems have not usually been thought to be amenable to overt political engineering.

The word 'Anya-neli' is a political word coined from the Ikwerre language and has an array of uses in context ranging from carefulness, alacrity, watchful, cautious, alert, vigilant, wary and observant. The essence of this new principle and concept in the politics of Rivers State urges one to be on guard to protect each and every vote that will be cast in favour of PDP candidates in the state at the April polls. As Director General of Amaechi 2011 Re-election Campaign bid during the course of this campaign, it has become second nature for Chief Wike to end what I have come to refer to as his “Charge Speech”, where he mandates specific PDP stalwarts to deliver their various words on election day; with cries of 'anya-neli!, anya-neli!!, anya-neli!!'. It is the gusto with which he has applied himself to this act at all campaigns that stirred my interest to research and understand the idea behind such passionate cries and if it in any way had any far reaching implications on the political stage of a state like Rivers State.

To say that the Amaechi campaign train operated like a well oiled military onslaught with Wike as Chief Strategist at the helms of affairs, would be underestimating the obvious, this is because apart from the new doctrine of anya-neli he is so passionate about, any keen observer of the campaign is amazed at Wike's prowess at mentioning the names of every stalwart charged with delivering the wards in their various states. And if one recalls that a total of 319 wards in contention, then it would not be amiss to give kudos to the man who is able to seemingly without effort reel out names off hand at each campaign. He is also quick to add that political relevance in the next dispensation will be based on ability to deliver wards at the polls. This charge in my opinion is a major form of political engineering which gives a sense of responsibility to party stalwarts and negates the principle of “business as usual” by keeping everyone on their toes.

According to the results as declared by INEC and submitted by Chief Wike, PDP won all the three Senatorial seats in contention with the 13 Federal House of Representatives at stake. The details of the results shows that in the Rivers South East Senatorial Zone – Hon. Chief Barr Magnus Abe of PDP polled154,218 votes to defeat Nomate Toata Kpea of ACN with 34,978 and Baria Jack Ledo of APGA with 3,679. 2. Rivers East Senatorial zone had incumbent Senator George Sekibo Thompson of PDP with 198,414 votes dusting Lasbry Amadi of ACN with 58,182 and Chigozie Orlu of APGA with 13,605 votes. 3. Rivers West Senatorial zone had incumbent Senator Wilson Ake of PDP winning with 134,931 votes dusting his closest rival from ACN with 6,446 votes. The 13 members elected under the PDP platform include 1. Hon. Mrs Betty Apiafi (Ahoada/Abua), 2. Hon. Chief Andrew Uchendu (Ikwerre/Emohua), 3. Hon. Dr. Sokonte H. Davies (Bonny/Degema), 4. Hon. Honourable Asita (Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni), 5. Hon. Dr Dawari George (Akuku Toru/Asari Toru), 6. Hon. Barr Kingsley Okey Chinda (Obio-Akpor), 7. Hon. Chief Dakuku Peterside (Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro), 8. Hon. Bright Gogo (Okirika/Ogu/Bolo), 9. Hon. Ogbonnaya Nwuke (Etche/Omuma), 10. Hon. Bar Ken Chikere (Port Harcourt 1), 11. Hon. Chief Barry Mpigi (Tai/Eleme/Oyigbo) and 12. Hon. Moris Kporone (Khana/Gokana), 13. Mrs. Blessing Nsiegbe for Port Harcourt 11.

The 32 members of the Rivers State House of assembly, including the incumbent Speaker, Rt. Hon. Tonye Harry representing Degema Constituency were also elected under the PDP platform.

The pressure and strategies adopted by this great tactician hardly obtainable another place may have caused the Omehia cohorts to throw caution to the wind by the inhumane treatment meted out on Peter Esele, TUC President in Ubima and also the assault on Police Inspector Josiah Udo exposing the type of governance he wanted to offer to the State if he had been mistakenly voted in.

The interesting development about the gubernatorial election in Rivers State is Dr Abiye Sekibo the ACN gubernatorial candidate's abysmal outing losing out in his ward 4 to Governor Amaechi (1001 to PDP's 1105) and the Okirika Local Government with ACN scoring 7,411 to PDP's 21,414. Dr Sekibo's outing did not come to us as surprise. If one may recall during the campaigns the tireless Director General of the Amaechi Campaign Team Barrister Nyesom Wike in his speech that reverberated around the whole of the town and by all intents would have sent Dr Abiye Sekibo scuttling out of town if he was anywhere near the vicinity charged the Okrika people to ensure that Amaechi is re-elected come April 26th April as he especially fired on all cylinders when he charged Honourable Soe Dikibo, one time Commissioner in the State to ensure he delivered Ward Four to PDP come April. He was emphatic in his call for victory at this particular ward because it incidentally is the Ward of Dr. Abiye Sekibo, the ACN gubernatorial candidate. In his words “uproot the so called base of doom and watch the other areas will be delivered”, that this was aptly acted upon ensuring that Dr Sekibo was humiliated at his ward.

According to Dr Sampson Parker the political Leader of Okirika being their representative in the Rivers State Executive Council as the Commissioner for Health who saw to the defeat of Dr Sekibo in Okirika reacted to the development thus, “I am surprised about the fuss being generated about the defeat of Dr Sekibo in Okirika Local Government Area as if it was a big deal. Yes. Dr Sekibo as a onetime Secretary to the Rivers State Government and also erstwhile Transport Minister that put him as our respected political leader but he squandered all the opportunity and we have proven to him through the losses he incurs in his own ward that his relevance in the political equation in the State is no longer there besides the First Lady of Nigeria and our sister, Her Excellency Dame Patience Jonathan organised a rally and counselled us that we should not play opposition politics. Apart from the call by Nigerian First Lady, the former Governor of Rivers State Chief Rufus Ada George and all our Traditional Rulers have also asked us to vote for Gov Amaechi and it will be foolhardy to ignore all these patriotic calls and listened to a drowning man who wants us to vote for an opposition political party in the State”,

Prince Tonye Princewill in a remark which he posited in one of his Bill Boards in Port Harcourt, “85% of those who voted chose Amaechi. With great Victory comes Great Responsibility”. He went further to implore the governor to ensure that his performance rating in this new tenure justifies the 85% confidence reposed in him. I am confident that he would be able to carry out his duties in an atmosphere devoid of distractions, since we are certain that the duo of Omehia and Sekibo following their lack lustre performance at the polls will hopefully return to their Abuja base to pursue other more viable interests devoid of whinging.

But who is Chief Nyesom Wike?. A lawyer by profession, a political tactician and strategist of the first order, bold and fearless and ready to die for any cause he believes in. An attempt was made on his life January, 2008 when his vehicle was riddled with bullets resulting in near fatal injury of his driver Emeka Mba. Although Chief Wike escaped unscathed, the car has been preserved as a reminder of what he has had to endure to stand for what is right and just. Recalling the incident Wike would rather refer to it as the day he died because of his passion for and commitment to the ideals and vision of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi for a new Rivers State.

Married to the quiet and unassuming beautiful Mrs Sussett Wike, they are blessed with two boys and one girl. He is one of the most detribalised Nigerians, surrounding himself with staff and aides from different parts of the country. A democrat to the core, he detests injustice in any form. A philanthropist of note and within the Amaechi's camp, the fear of Wike is the beginning of wisdom if you want to remain relevant.

From 2003 – 2006 he was the National President of All Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), the umbrella Forum through which all the 774 Local Government Council Chairmen in Nigeria interface and interact on issues affecting the Politics and policies of Nigeria while from 1999-2007 he was the Executive Chairman of Obio-Akpor Local Government in Rivers State, an office he used to redefine and exhibit his special brand of governance. He constructed the Local Government Secretariat that stands as one of the best in Nigeria and a great edifice to behold. His tenure witnessed various developmental initiatives in the local government and he is remembered most especially for empowering a lot of youths, elderly women and men, the physically challenged. An ardent hand at grassroot mobilisation, He is credited with founding the formidable political vanguard in Rivers State - the Ikwerre Youth Movement (IYM) that decides and determines to a large extent the political tide in the state.

The fact therefore remains, that never in the annals of politicking in the State or any part of Nigeria has one individual exhibited the skill and ingenuity developed by this new enigma of the Politics of the State in delivering charges and mobilizing the people to action. In one of such campaigns at a particular Local Government rally, the traditional rulers in attendance stood up in salute of this new revelation in the arts of campaigning in the State as he reeled out names and charges to people. So much so, that Mr. Julius “De Genius” Agu, a renowned Rivers Born Comedian and Entertainer who compeered at most of the rallies, was forced to call him the embodiment and encyclopaedia of the Rivers State Politics based on his ability to reel out names of politicians in the State without any paper in hand.

This dogged fighter regardless the great success he recorded as regards this election, still believes that the results were not as outstanding as expected and when I confronted him on why he should not be happy by the wide margin that the Governor and his candidate used in defeating his opponents he reiterated and posed back the question to me, “Chief Eze, from where could Sir Celestine Omehia of APGA get the total votes of 112,528 he scored, I ask you? What about the 60,241 votes credited to Dr Abiye Sekibo of ACN knowing very well that these people neither campaigned nor have any serious program or vision for Rivers State? What I suspect is that they got these votes because of your constant mention of them in your press statements that may have made the unsuspecting public choose to take them seriously while the fact remains that they have no structure in Rivers State to make them even Local Government Chairmen not to talk of being elected as Governor of a State like Rivers State! After this encounter, I could only wonder what type of man this was and concluded that maybe Norman Vincent Peale, a great Philosopher may have had his kind in mind when he stipulated that “People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things, when they believe in themselves, they have the first secret of success”. In the same vein, another great thinker, Horace, in his own summation, said “it is courage, courage, courage, that raises the blood of life to crimson splendour. Live bravely and present a brave front to adversity”. While Bruce Barton, another renowned Philosopher, summarized it by saying “Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstances”. These assertions made by seasoned Philosophers simply mean that no person born of a woman will leave remarkable legacy without being bold, courageous and determined. In Rivers State another name of Chief Wike is 'Mr. Complex task Fixer' so may be both these great Philosophers above and Wikipedia Dictionary had him in mind when it stated that, “achieving complex and difficult goals requires focus, long-term diligence and effort. Success in any field requires forgoing excuses and justifications for poor performance or lack of adequate planning; in short, success requires emotional maturity. This is Chief Wike the proponent of the Anya-neli concept in the Rivers State politics and who against all odds saw to the re-election Rt. Hon. Chuibike Amaechi the fact remains that politics of Rivers State may not be the same again as the inputs of the Anya-neli exponent cannot be underestimated in the socio-economic and political future of this great State that has become the richest State in Nigeria by the reclaiming of its 86 oil wells from the Akwa Ibom State.

THE FUTURE OF RIVERS STATE UNDER GOV AMAECHI

According to Rt. Hon Chibuike Amaechi the Excutive Governor of Rivers State after his re-election by the good people of Rivers State, he stated that “I will complete ongoing school and hospital projects, get youths employed, hold more town hall meetings and ensure more transparency in the administration of the state. My focus will be consolidation, complete what I have started. I won't leave behind any project that can become an abandoned project. I will complete the secondary and primary schools, health centres, the Monorail, focus on the new city and ensure that we do the internal roads, provide potable water, provide public facilities, complete the new university and the malls we want to build in the new Greater Port Harcourt city..We will focus on the general hospitals before we leave, but we believe we should take medical services to the people. I see an army of unemployed youths, and they need employment, if you want to end militancy. The key to employment is Agriculture. We shall focus on Infrastructure and Agriculture to create employment and there will be capacity building, for every project; we must send people for training. The ones who are not graduates will work where they have skills. I will continue to tell you how much we receive every day that we receive it and tell you how we spend it. There must be accountability in this government. The money we hold is not ours, it is your money. You have a responsibility to ask us that question, what have we done with your money?”

In a comment sent in by Dr.Vincent Ehule who resides in Riverdale Georgia, he stated – “Governor Amaechi, thank you, thank you for your accomplishments for the people of Rivers State and Nigeria as a whole. You have made me proud as a Nigerian and son of Ikwerre. I live in the USA but I keep up with issues in Nigeria. I think you and Governor Fashola of Lagos should form an alliance and try to take the mantle of leadership in Nigeria. The country needs both of you. May God bless you and you have a long life'

Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt