Preparations for 2019 elections have caused desperation of all sides in the legislative rerun elections taking place today across 21 constituencies in Rivers State.
Although the elections are for senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly seats, it was gathered that the high stakes in the elections involved the strategic position of Rivers State in the politics of the South-South and the South-East.
To this end, there is a clear indication that the gladiators in the two main political camps in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), were poised for a do-or-die battle, even as concerned stakeholders have expressed concerns over the safety of the lives of the people, the electorate and the adhoc staff appointed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the elections.
It will thus be a battle of wits among the contending factors as the people of state file out to elect their representatives into the 21 constituencies across the state, including the three senatorial districts, eight federal constituencies and 10 state constituencies.
Newsmen gathered that underlying the rerun exercise is a resumption of hostilities between old political friends-turned foes, with Governor Nyesom Wike and the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, as the arrowheads of the two camps in the state.
Today’s elections are said to be nothing but a continuation of the pre-2015 battle as what is at stake is supremacy between PDP and APC, as reflected in the utterances of the gladiators in the build-up to the elections.
While the elections would bring to end the pains of an election-weary people of the state who started tortuous journey some two years ago, it was learnt that the two power-brokers in the state, Wike and Amaechi, were back in the trenches and locked in a popularity contest and a battle for the soul and control of the state.
What would make the elections more interesting, Saturday Tribune learnt, would be its after-effect on the political fortunes of both the governor and his erstwhile boss and his immediate predecessor.
Amaechi was said to have been rewarded with a ministerial appointment for his pivotal role in the epochal dislodgement of PDP as the ruling party at the national level, having been in power for 16 unbroken years.
He was thus said to the poised to ensure victory for the APC candidates in the elections as a way to further prove himself as a force to reckon with as anything to the contrary would whittle down his bargaining power in the party.
In what has been described as deep-seated acrimony and acute political supremacy contest between the former allies, a win for Amaechi and APC would further deplete the waning control of PDP in regional politics.
At the federal level, a win for APC would act as a boost to its rising image as the ruling party, but while Amaechi will not want to go on the political journey without consolidating his hold on the state, Wike, on the other hand, would seek to keep his power house intact, thus further serving as a buffer for PDP, in state, regional and national politics.
More importantly, it was learnt that Wike, being a thorn in the flesh of Amaechi, would want to win the legislative elections, as a means to enjoy an undisturbed and undistracted tenure.