As the rerun governorship election in Rivers State draws nearer, the two main actors in the battle, former Minister of Education and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party who emerged elected governor at the April 11 poll, Mr. Nyesom Wike and All Progressives Congress, Dr. Dakuku Peterside are getting ready for battle to see who emerges at the end of the day.
This is coming at the backdrop of the ruling by the Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal that nullified the April 11 governorship poll and ordered a fresh election in the state.
Although, Wike has approached the Appeal Court to throw away the judgment of the election tribunal, however, it is still believed that the appellate court will uphold the judgment. The matter is still expected to get to the Supreme Court before the final resolution which must be done before the expiration of the order of conducting a fresh poll within 90 days.
Wike at the April 11 poll pulled 1,029,102 votes, while the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, came second with 124,896 votes and Mr. Tonye Princewill, the governorship candidate of the Labour Party, got 10,142 votes. But the Tribunal in its ruling ruled that Wike failed to substantially comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Many stakeholders are already divided over where the pendulum would swing should there be a rerun.
To some, Wike stands a better chance because of the payment of workers’ and pensioners’ backlog of salaries and pensions which could make the people give him sympathy votes. Some others see the tribunal judgment as witch-hunting and because of that; Wike is believed to still have the upper hand at the rerun.It is also believed that the people of the state are still not happy over the way Jonathan lost the presidential election to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The people of Rivers State and the entire Niger/Delta region are still believed to be angry over the way they lost the presidency to the APC and that is why Wike may enjoy the sympathy of these people when it comes to a possible rerun of the governorship election.
However, other who spoke for Dakuku Peterside opined that the pendulum may swing his way because of the influence of Abuja. Again, it is believed that since Ameachi who ruled for eight years is from Ikwerre, Rivers people may not give Wike a second chance because he is also an Ikwerre man. Also, Amaechi’s influence will come out to play especially now that he has been made a minister.