Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Rivers 2015 - After Amaechi Who?

Given the impressive legacy Governor Rotimi Amaechi has built in Rivers State, it is not surprising that many are waiting on the wings to succeed him as governor of one of the country's most complex states

It is not surprising that the build up to the 2015 governorship election is dividing stalwarts of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state along two lines: Abuja based and Rivers based politicians.

The Abuja politicians are reportedly scheming to take over control of the party machinery. The outcome of the tussle will decide several factors in the political arena.

Some names already being taunted as likely contenders for the plum job include Senator Magnus Abe representing Rivers South East senatorial district, Hon Dakuku Peterside, member representing Andoni,Opobo/Nkoro federal constituency, Dr Samson Parker, Commissioner of Health in the state and Prince Tonye Princewill.

Others are Senator George Sekibo, representing Rivers East senatorial constituency the deputy governor of the state, Engr. Tele Ikiru, Fafaa Dan Princewill.

It is not known if the foregoing would be a consideration by the governor in choosing his successor from his list of loyalists scrambling to succeed him.

There are also speculations in some quarters that the governor thinks his successor should come from the Ogoni axis of the state which Senator Abe represents in the senate.

Some who spoke to Vanguard claim Amaechi is of the view that the Okrika axis of the state has produced a governor in the past. Former governor Rufus Ada George is from Okrika. He was governor on the platform of the National Republican Convention, NRC party in the state before the military struck.

The member representing Andoni, Opobo/Nkoro federal constituency, Hon Peterside is also said to command the right ear of the governor. Peterside also served as commissioner of Works during the first term of Governor Amaechi.

He is reportedly building political structures all over to run for the plum job.

At the moment what appears very visible is that the battle over who succeeds Amaechi would be a battle between the incumbent and the Abuja politicians. Many say that the Abuja politicians would be led by Mr. Wike.

The two of them may also clash over who becomes the Senator representing Rivers East constituency in the next dispensation.

Princewill, Abe and Wike: Jostling for Amaechi's job

Some are suggesting that Amaechi given his impressive record as governor of the state could be a shoo-in for the senate seat in 2015, that is if he is not drawn into the 2015 presidential contest.

Governor Amaechi has, however, consistently denied any presidential ambition, noting that since he is from the same South South region with President Goodluck Jonathan he was not going to rock the boat.

If Amaechi does not run as Vice President then the likelihood that he would clash with Wike over the Rivers East senatorial district is very strong because the rumour mill had it that the Minister is also eyeing the office.

Many are wondering what it will be like when the two political giants from the Ikwerre ethnic nationality lock horns. Obviously if they do it will be the mother of all political battles in Ikwerre and the state in general.

The governor is from Ubima in Ikwerre local government while Wike is from Rumueprikon in Obio Akpor local government area.Remarkably, before he was appointed Minister, Wike was the Chief of Staff Government House in the first term of governor Amaechi.

He was also two time Chairman of his Obio Akpor local government area. Governor Amaechi has said he has no interest in who succeeds him while Wike has vowed to resist any attempt to impose a governor on the state. Rivers people are patiently waiting watching the unfolding drama around who becomes governor come 2015.

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