The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Monday opened up on the Peoples Democratic Party presidential primary and accused some PDP governors of sabotaging him.
Wike, who said this at a reception organised for him by the people of the state in Port Harcourt after his arrival from Abuja, venue of the primary, stated that he was not a second class citizen.
He said had told the winner of the PDP shadow election, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, that those hanging around him had no electoral value.
The governor, who came second during the party primary which was held in Abuja on Saturday, stated this as there were indications on Monday that the PDP governors would soon meet as part of moves to pick Atiku’s running mate.
He said some PDP governors ganged up with some vested interest groups to derail the quest of southern Nigeria to produce the next president.
According to him, it was the agreement of the southern governors that the presidency should come to the South, and he did not betray that agreement.
Wike in a statement by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri in Port Harcourt, described as shameful the inability of some of those who were part of the agreement to stick to the agreement when it mattered.
The governor accused them of selling out, and frustrating the collective efforts that would have secured the PDP presidential ticket for the South.
The statement reads, “I contested in an election(primary)based on the principle and agreement with all Southern governors and leaders of the South that the presidency should go to the South during this period. We have done our part. We never betrayed anybody because it is not in our blood to betray. But it is a shame to those people, some of the governors from the South, they are thepeople that were used to sabotage our course.”
Wike said it was disheartening that some governors from the South due to their inordinate ambition could jettison the collective interest of the people they claim to represent.
“Look at a region ganging up, then you, your own region cannot gang up. You became tools to be used against the interest of your people, and you think you have won, you have lost.
You will continue to be perpetual slaves. Rivers people, you don’t need to bother yourselves. PDP needs us. If they say they don’t need us, they should wait,” he added.
The governor explained that he was propelled into the race to offer service and advance the interest of Nigeria, adding that In the process, he was confronted by a few individuals who wanted somebody they could control and he declined to be such a puppet.
“The winner(of the ticket) also saw it. They underrated us, but now, they will not underrate us again. We have all it takes to do whatever we want to do.
It is a matter of you being firm, it is a matter of you being hopeful. There is nobody that is born greater than us in this country, therefore , we cannot be second class citizens. We can’t.
“We just used this one to tell them that enough is enough. We made them not to sleep. We made them not eat. We made all of them from wherever they said they come from to know that there is somebody who can take them on. This country does not belong to one particular zone. If people are afraid of talking it is their business. I cannot be a second-class citizen in my country.”
“Some of them, their in-laws are governors in the ruling party, but they want to interfere in what happens in the PDP. Some of them, their brothers are governors in the ruling party and they want to interfere in the PDP,” he alleged.
Wike said with the presidential primary over, and given his pledge to work for whoever emerged, Rivers State will work to deliver PDP and all its candidates in the 2023 general election.
The governor recalled that in 2019, despite the failure of the candidate he supported to clinch the ticket, the Rivers State gave PDP massive votes and refused to negotiate with the All Progressives Congress to give them 25 per cent votes.
The governor said he has told the winner of the PDP presidential flagbearer that most of those hanging around him do not have electoral value.
“I told Atiku Abubakar this afternoon when he came to see me that some of these people following you here, they don’t have votes, they are empty. I have votes; So, I have something to offer. Do they have something to offer to you? In 2019, I was the only governor from the south-south who never negotiated with the present government. They came, I said no, I was not going to be party to that. And that is why APC never had 25 percent in this state. but all the other states in the south-south, the president got 35 per cent to 40 per cent. I said I was not going to sit down with them and negotiate”, Wike stated.
He said it was imperative for people from the North or South to deliver the kind of votes that Rivers State would deliver in the 2023 general election in order for the PDP to win the presidency.
Wike said it was wrong for the party to have allowed the governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, to speak a second time after the time allotted to each of the aspirants to address the delegates.
Meanwhile, Wike has assured that he would not abandon his party despite his defeat at the presidential primary. He promised to support the party’s flag-bearer.
Tweeting via his official twitter handle @GovWike, the governor said, “I made a vow to the PDP that I will support whoever emerges from the #PDPPresidentialPrimaries and I am not going to go back on my word.
“We cannot abandon the @OfficialPDPNig, we will be fully supporting H.E @atik
In a related development, Atiku on Monday, met with former senate president, Bukola Saraki in Abuja, The PUNCH has learnt.
Atiku had defeated Saraki and others at the party’s presidential primary in Abuja on Saturday night.
The Monday meeting, according to sources privy to the meeting was to aid reconciliation and to ensure that the PDP defeats the opposition and the ruling APC.
The meeting was also attended by a former senator representing Kogi west senatorial district, Dino Melaiye.
Ohanaeze debunks remarks on Atiku candidacy, welcomes him in South-East
The apex Igbo Socio-cultural Ohanaeze Ndigbo, on Monday, debunked the statement credited to it that Atiku ‘’will never become Nigeria’s president”.
A statement by Ohanaeze spokesman, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, titled, ‘Ohanaeze Ndigbo debunks remarks on Atiku Abubakar’s candidacy,’ enjoined Nigerians to ignore it.
Ogbonnia said that the purveyors of the report were “mischief makers, impostors, charlatans and unscrupulous social climbers who have shamelessly leeched on the invaluable footprints of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to issue press releases for narrow, perverse and illicit pecuniary interests”.
The statement partly read, “The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to a reckless publication currently circulating in the media indicating that Ohanaeze Ndigbo “blasts Atiku and vows to work against his PDP candidacy in the 2023 polls; and that Atiku Abubakar, will never become Nigeria’s president”.
The release added that “the Igbo would rise up against Atiku, adding that his presidential campaign would be rejected in the South-East”.
‘’Ordinarily, Ohanaeze Ndigbo would have ignored the said press release, but silence in this circumstance will tend to give validity to such fallacy by the unsuspecting public. It is the unwholesome activities of such maladjusted, impish scaremongers that has been the bane to Igbo cohesion. For the avoidance of doubt, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural body, led by Ambassador Professor George Obiozor has not issued any press statement on the candidacy of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
“Ohanaeze awaits with keen interest the full outcome of the ongoing primaries by all the political parties before it can issue a press release with respect to the Igbo position on the 2023 general election. We remind the general public that the Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide is Ambassador Okey Emuchay, MFR and that any claim to the contrary is to say the least, devious and irresponsible.”