By Albert Peter
There are indications that the President has concluded plans to move the supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike to head the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs which was formerly headed by Godsday Orubebe who was shown the way out few months ago to pursue his governorship ambition. The President had Wednesday appointed the former Kano State governor, Ibrahim Shekarau to head the Education Ministry.
According to a source close to the Minister who revealed to us under cover, Wike’s plan to contest the governorship election may have been truncated by President Jonathan’s kinsmen, the Ijaws who are desperate to ensure that they occupy the seat of power in 2015, after Amaechi. Wike who is known to have depended greatly on the support of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan is said to be opposed by most of the ex-militants who are largely Ijaws.
We also gathered from one of the Minister’s aides that he had resisted the new offer in exchange for his ambition. Though he had the option of either resigning from the Federal Executive Council this month of July or he would be dropped by the President, the First Lady and a few members of the President’s kitchen cabinet were said to have pleaded that he should not be disgraced out of power but he should be upgraded as a means of compensation for all the battles he fought against Gov. Amaechi who was forced to leave the PDP for the APC.
But Wike who has maintained that he will contest the election is said to have told the President that he has barely one month to stay in the office before quitting and continue with his campaign.
It is not yet clear if he would accept the new offer but if he does, then that puts to rest rumours that he is no longer in the race. But, most of his strong supporters are aggrieved and bitter over the new arrangement considering how much money and time he has spent to build the structure. They also argue that he is the only one with the machinery, strength and financial power to face Amaechi’s candidate at the polls.
Meanwhile, there are strong indications that Wike may consider the option of going for the Senatorial seat which Governor Amaechi is likely to contest. The odds may not favour Wike if the principle of zoning and rotation is adhered to. Senator Sam Mbata, from Obio/Akpor, Wike’s LGA, one of the eight that make up the Senatorial zone had taken their slot.
President Jonathan, who is likely to declare his intention to seek re-election for another four years is said to be using the fresh cabinet reshuffle to bring on board those who will form part of his campaign team. It is likely for this cause that the idea to retain Wike emanated.