Gradually, he is being taken seriously as a force to be reckoned with in the nation's political circle. Arguably, he is the next big thing from the South South political front.
The mere fact that the Nigerian Police Force cum security operatives allegedly laid siege in his hotel during the just concluded Edo State Governorship election to stall his movement speaks volumes of the influence of the man....even outside his state.
It was also alleged that the Inspector General of Police ordered for him to leave Edo State. But his supporters which includes the executive of his party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) adviced the IGP to equally order other governors who stormed the state for the Governorship election to leave. Again, this is an allegation.
He was the man who moved and worked assidiously to ensure Uche Secondus become Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national chairman. He has since become the rallying force and point of his party and geopolitical zone which includes Edo State....talking about South South.
He stood behind the candidacy of Atiku Abubakar as PDP Presidential candidate in the 2019 election against all odds. The Convention saw heavyweights like Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Aminu Tambuwal among others as aspirants during the primary. But he calmed nerves to push for Atiku...and indeed pushed Atiku through.
Pundits say, he is the engineroom of PDP. Here was a man who emerged as Minister for State (Education) under the Goodluck Jonathan administration. From there he emerged Governor of River State in a hotly contested election in 2015.
He secured his second term bid in the face of another tough election in 2019 infested with acrimony. From that election he has continued to muscle his way through despite the challenges and bottlenecks or impediments. He doesn't move like a man whose party is in the opposition.
He is courageous. He is bold. He is dogged. He is fearless. He suits the Nigerian political terrain or atmosphere. He ruffles feathers when or if the need arises. He fights in the gutter if and when his foes are ready to go dirty.
He once said, "In our kind of politics if, they push you, you push them. If they punch you, you punch them...and if they kick you, you kick them. That is the only reason why they will flee from you".
Today, he has helped Godwin Obaseki to secure his second term agenda. As soon as Obaseki fell out of favour in his former party the All Progressives Congress (APC), he switched over to the PDP. His first port of call was Government House Port Harcourt where he went to seek help.
Obaseki got that support. He rallied round Obaseki by mobilising governors of the PDP to support the project of returning Obaseki to Government House, Benin.
One very prominent and distinctive feature of Obaseki's victory is that it dismantled politics of godfatherism in Edo State. Obaseki fought the battle of his political career and life against Adam Oshiohmole.
Oshiohmole the embattled former Governor of Edo State and former National Chairman of APC tested his popularity and political might in this election. He knew his political structure cum dynasty was threatened.
He galvanised support for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. He pulled the political machinery of APC even from Abuja to Benin for this election. If his candidate had won, Oshiohmole would have indirectly being in-charge of the affairs of the state. But that will not be as he has been swept aside by the tsunami of PDP and Obaseki. His structure was dismantled just as that of Chibuike Amaechi was crippled in River State.
Today, Obaseki is Governor of Edo State. Many contributed to the success of this project....but the support of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike cannot be underrated, under-estimated or undervalued.
Obaseki owes Wike loads of gratitude for not only standing by him in trying times but for rallying support for him in a short period leading to the Governorship election.
Desmond Ekwueme is a renonwned Nigerian Journalist based in Lagos, Nigeria.