For many keen observers of political events in Rivers state the governorship election appears to be between the candidates of the All Progressive Congress, APC , Dr Dakuku Peterside and Governor Chibuike Amaechi on one side and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Barr Nyesom Wike and wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Mrs Patience Jonathan on the other side.
Though the First Lady, Mrs Jonathan is not visibly involved in the day to day campaign of Wike the way Amaechi has taken to stumping for Peterside, but observers know that she is one of the power brokers pulling the strings for Wike.
The campaigns have been very vigorous on the two sides as each of the two major candidates have left nothing to chances. They have gone round market places, motor parks and communities selling their programmes.
Another interesting and dramatic aspect of the campaign is the effort by the two top contenders, Barr Wike and Peterside to win the Christian community.
|Wike & Peterside|
They have been very visible in churches. Charles Awiko said the only thing they had not done was to serve as usher in churches. “I am sure they would gladly do so to win the vote of any church if they had been asked to do it”, he said.
Like Amaechi who has led his APC members on several long walk campaigns to show that the party is popular among the people, Wike on his part has done some walk. There was a day he trekked from GRA bus stop on Aba road through the Port Harcourt Polo club road down to his campaign office to showcase his popularity among the people.
Another intriguing aspect is the effort by the two camps to explore protest as a campaign strategy.
It had been endless protest by members of the PDP and the APC in the state in the last two months. Barely twenty four hours after the APC and some 15 other parties marched in Abuja calling for the transfer of the state Resident Electoral
Commissioner, Dame Gecilia Khan allegedly on account of her alleged bias towards the PDP, PDP partisans embarked on a similar exercise on Aba Road in Port Harcourt denouncing the action of the APC in Abuja and also calling on the national Chairman of INEC, Prof Atahiru Jega to ignore the demand of the party.
Another curious angle to the campaigns this time is the involvement of pastors. There have been conflicting prophecies on what will be the outcome of the election.
For instance Apostle Eugene Ogu reportedly prophesied that Peterside would win the election. On his part, Bishop Elkanah Hansen during a prayer session with some clergy men organised for Wike recently said the PDP governorship candidate would win.
Propaganda is another tool that have been widely explored by the two parties in the campaigns.
Violence has also been very visible in the campaigns. The two parties have continued to blame each other for alleged cases of political killings in the state. The most recent case was the murder of Chief Christopher Adube, an APC chieftain alongside two of his children and three others on Good Friday night at his residence in Obrikom community, Ogba Egbema Ndoni local government area.
His son Henry Adube believed his father was murdered because of his political affiliation.
Despite the anxiety, the state Commissioner of Police, Hosea Karma and leaders of the various political parties, including the state government have continued to appeal to voters to come to exercise their franchise tomorrow.