Revealed: How Wike moved 27 Rivers lawmakers from PDP to APC

Revealed: How Wike moved 27 Rivers lawmakers from PDP to APC

The 27 APC lawmakers of Rivers Assembly

FCT minister and former governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has been fingered as the arrowhead of the coalition of politicians working against the incumbent governor, Sim Fubara.

The political hailstorm against Fubara got to a head Monday morning when 27 members of the 32-member  Rivers State House of Assembly defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) with fanfare.

Political Economist NG reports that the plot was hatched in Abuja by Wike and his kitchen cabinet with Wike’s man Friday, Chief Felix Obuah, founder of Go Round Football club, as the go-between man. Chief Obuah, a former Chairman of the PDP in Rivers State, has been a trusted ally of Wike and is always seen in Wike’s company, from Rivers to Abuja.

A Wike camp insider told Political Economist NG reporter that the plot to ‘migrate’ the lawmakers loyal to Wike from PDP to APC had been on before the October incident in which the State Assembly imploded in an internal crisis that saw the emergence of two camps.

Since the October incident which was an aftermath of an earlier plot to impeach Governor Fubara, the 32-member house had been operating in two factions, following the impeachment of the Majority Leader Edison Ehie.

While Speaker Matins Amaewule retained 26 members who are the Wike loyalists, Edison Ehie had been operating with 4 members said to be loyalists of Fubara.

Political Economist NG gathered that Fubara’s efforts to break the ranks of the Wike’s loyalists had been thwarted by emissaries from Wike through Chief Obuah to the Amaewule camp.

“The love for and commitment of the 26 lawmakers plus the Speaker to Wike is fierce. Not even money, no matter the amount, could break it. All the efforts from the Governor to win them over failed. The bond is strong and going forward, I fear for the governor to still keep his seat and concentrate on his job. APC lawmakers are now in the majority and anything can happen,” a source familiar with the plot told Political Economist NG.

The defection of the 27 lawmakers under the leadership of Martin Amaewhule was announced with fanfare Monday morning, aftermath of intensive lobbying and meetings at the weekend. Wike was said to be in the know of every move by the lawmakers.

Another member of the Wike camp told Political Economist NG that last week’s appearance of Wike at the office of Chief of Staff to President Tinubu, Femi Gbajabiamila, during which Wike composed and danced to a song “On your mandate we shall stand, Jagaban,” was a herald of the grand defection.

Since October, Amaewhule and another member, Edison Ehie, had been embroiled in a Speakership fight, though elders of the state tried to mediate.

Ahead of the defection of the 27 members, the Amaewhule camp had effected some leadership changes.

On December 6, Mr Major Jack (PDP- Akuku Toru 1) and Mr Frankline Nwabochi (PDP-Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni 1) emerged Majority Leader and Chief Whip of the Rivers House of Assembly respectively.

The new house leaders emerged and subsequently took oath of office following an election by 27 members during plenary at the Assembly chamber.

Commenting on their emergence, Speaker Martins Amaewhule (PDP- Obio/Akpor 1) congratulated the officers while also charging them to remain committed to their new responsibilities.

Also Mr Enemi George (PDP-Asari Toru II) moved a motion to commend the speaker.

The motion was unanimously supported by members as they extolled the sterling leadership qualities of the speaker and his team.

In separate remarks, members applauded the house leadership for upholding the tenets of democracy.

Similarly, the ‘Financial Autonomy Bill, 2023’ has scaled second reading.

The speaker emphasised the importance of the bill and stated his conviction that when passed, the governor would assent to it.

The speaker, however, alleged that the governor, Mr Siminialayi Fubara, had withheld the funds meant for management of the Assembly for the month of November.

He assured of the readiness of the house to continue its constitutional functions, irrespective of negative distractions.

The bill has also been referred to the House Committee on Public Accounts for hearing and other legislative scrutiny.