The prediction by opponents of the G5 that the group will be used as a means to an end by its chief protagonist and former Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, may have subtly come to pass after Wike was appointed the Federal Capital Territory minister by Nigeria’s president, Bola Tinubu, and other members left in limbo.
Before the February 25 presidential election in Nigeria, Wike, a two-term governor who stepped into political limelight under the People’s Democratic Party, led a 5-man group within the party currently made up of a serving and four ex-Governors who championed the cause of power shifting to the South….CONTINUE READING
Three of those Governors, Sam Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), however, contested but lost their respective bids to get into the Senate.
Analysts say the setback is a minus on their résumé and could make the names of the three synonymous with failure.
The last member of the group, Seyi Makinde (Oyo), secured re-election and is expected to serve out the rest of his term in 2027.
Wike, the arrowhead of the group, prides himself on never having defected from the PDP to another political party.
He formed the G5 because of alleged “injustice” he felt was allowed to fester in the PDP after the presidential primary of the party held in May 2022.
Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President, won the PDP primary. He defeated 12 other aspirants in the process, and Wike, who came second in the race, was afterwards, ignored in the pecking order of Vice Presidential candidates to run with the Wazirin Adamawa.
At the time, another Northerner, the then-National Chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu, had drawn the ire of Wike. The Ikwerre-born politician said it would be unfair if the party’s presidential candidate and national chairperson came from the same region of the country.
It was all the excuse Wike needed to fight Atiku’s presidential ambition to a standstill. He equally insisted on Ayu’s resignation, a precondition to support the flag bearer of the PDP.
Both Atiku and the PDP did not yield to Wike’s demand and the strongman of Rivers State politics ended up supporting Tinubu in the election and made it possible for the APC to clinch only Rivers State among all the South-South and South-East states. For his effort, Wike was rewarded with a ministerial nomination.
How times have changed. Nowadays, the members of the G5 no longer pose for their grandiloquent photo ops where they would usually be dressed in matching traditional attires, with walking sticks to complement their looks.
Their joint press conferences, too, have fizzled out. Every member of the G5 seems to be now saying “to thy tents, O Israel”. The loss in the Senate, too, exposed their flanks. But for Wike who is, more or less, looking like the last man standing in the group, the G5 would have sunk completely into obscurity.
Last week, in an interview with Channels Television, Wike said he didn’t have any regret for the roles he played. He said the President deemed him fit to be FCT Minister and dared anyone in the PDP to suspend him.
“The G5, more or less, was opportunistic. But they clung to the concept that power must shift from the North to the South. That was the basic argument they were advancing and we all agreed with them”
Of course, the PDP had gone for the jugular, with one of its chieftains, Daniel Bwala, saying that Wike would be suspended and expelled from the party at the appropriate time.
Bwala also said that the “quietness” of the PDP should not be misconstrued for “weakness”.
His words, “Why we hardly react generally to what he (Wike) says is because he loves drama – everybody knows that.
“Believe me, the quietness of the party is not a weakness. For everyone who is listening and sees what he is doing and the party is quiet about it, it is not a weakness. The party knows what it is doing.
“At the appropriate time, he would not only be suspended but expelled. Take that to the bank,” Bwala vowed.
Another highly-placed member of the PDP and Ovation magazine Publisher, Dele Momodu, also joined the fray.
He said on his official Instagram page, “When did Wike become the champion of the South? Was it after his bid to be Vice President to Atiku was rejected or after his request to handpick the juiciest ministerial portfolios, like the ones he got from Tinubu, were rebuffed?
“Would he have continued to flagrantly badmouth Atiku if he had selected him as his running mate?
“Wike and four other Governors were parading themselves as G5 while frolicking from Nigeria to Europe, and back. Three of them from Benue, Enugu and Abia lost their Senatorial bids, spectacularly and resoundingly.
“Where are the other “suicide bombers” today? Gone with the wind. The G5 was always about one man’s ego and ambition,” Momodu declared.
Still stressing the fate of the three G5 members who have “disappeared” from the political scene, Momodu said, “His (Wike’s) three acolytes could not deliver (during the general elections) and they have since been abandoned in the lurch.
“What happened to their regular joint press conferences,” Momodu queried.
Consequently, Wike challenged his party, the PDP, daring it to take action against him through suspension or disciplinary measures.
The FCT Minister asserted that he has yet to encounter a party leader who possesses the authority to suspend or expel him from the PDP.
“The person who will suspend me is when I couldn’t produce a governor, three senators, and Assembly members. I have not seen that person. Nobody will do it.”
Wike earlier clarified that he is working for President Bola Tinubu and not the All Progressives Congress.
“I am not working for APC. I am working for Tinubu who has trust in me to help him deliver the renewed hope agenda,” he said.
A political analyst, Moyo Jaji, said the G5 was more or less opportunistic but that their argument for power shift from the North to the South was well advanced and something most people agreed with.
Jaji, however, prefers to sit on the fence when asked whether the G5 has become obsolete or not.
He, however, said that since the “chief” among them, Wike, had been made a minister, there was a possibility that other members of the G5 might be considered, too, for appointments.
“The G5, more or less, was opportunistic. But they clung to the concept that power must shift from the North to the South. That was the basic argument they were advancing and we all agreed with them.
“But for the fact that they never left the PDP to join the APC…we still see them as PDP members. So, they are fighting for their own interests in the PDP.
“And whether it is obsolete or not, the fact still remains that their “chief” is now a minister…and who knows, others, too, might be considered for some ‘other things’.
“So, I would not be able to say categorically that the group is obsolete or not,” Jaji said.
On the waning influence of the group which he said was caused by the losses suffered in the election, Jaji said, “If you look at it, a senatorial seat is one-third of a state, because each state produces three senators.
“So, if you are vying for a senatorial seat and you cannot win it, that says a lot about your influence. Maybe that is why some people are now saying that the group has become obsolete.
“Out of five, three lost senatorial…not gubernatorial seats. Their influence must have been waning as was demonstrated by their misfortune during their adventure to be senators after being governors of their respective states,” he observed.
Jaji also faulted the allegation about Wike using his colleagues in the G5 to achieve his personal goals. In Jaji’s assessment, the members of the G5 are experienced and matured politicians who must have evaluated and weighed the pros and cons of their actions.
In addition, he said members of the G5 had their “sphere of influence” and had operated (Independently) from their respective states.
“I would not be in that school of thought where Wike is viewed to have used the other members to achieve his personal goals. This is because they are all experienced politicians…matured people who must have sat down to evaluate things and weighed the pros and cons of whatever they were out to achieve.
“So, to now blame Wike is a misnomer because he was operating in his own state…though he was very garrulous....CONTINUE READING
“Every one of them had gotten their own sphere of influence and they were operating from their states. And if they could not make it in their states, it is very laughable,” Jaji concluded.