Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has said some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors ganged up with some vested interest groups to derail the quest of southern Nigeria to produce the next president of Nigeria.
He said it was the agreement of the governors of Southern Nigeria that the presidency should come to the South, and he did not betray that agreement.
The Rivers State governor made the explanation at a grand reception organised by Rivers people on Monday in Port Harcourt to welcome him back from Abuja after the PDP presidential primary.
Wike in a statement by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, described as shameful the inability of some of those who were part of the agreement to stick to the agreement when it mattered.
He accused them of selling out, and frustrated the collective efforts that would have secured the PDP a Southern presidency ticket by him.
“I contested in an election (primary) based on the principle and agreement with all Southern governors and leaders of the South that presidency should go to the South 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 the people that were used to sabotage our course.”
Governor 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 ganged 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.”
The governor explained that he was propelled into the race to offer service and advance the interest of Nigeria. In the process, he was confronted by a few individuals who wanted somebody they will control and he declined to be such 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 answer second class citizen. 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 to 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 PDP. Some of them their brothers are governors in the ruling party and they want to interfere in PDP”
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 failure of the candidate he supported to clinch the ticket, Rivers State gave PDP massive votes and refused to negotiate with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to give them 25 per cent votes.
“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 (Rivers). But, all the other States in the South-South, the president got 35 percent to 40 percent. I said I was not going to sit down with them and negotiate.”
Wike said he has even told the winner of the PDP presidential primary, Atiku Abubakar, that most of those hanging around him do not have electoral value.
He pointed out it would be imperative on such people from states, whether in the North or South, to deliver the kind of votes that Rivers State will deliver in the 2023 general election in order for PDP to win the presidency.
Governor Wike said it was wrong for the party to have allowed the governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, to speak for a second time after the time allotted to each of the aspirants to address the delegates.
Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, in his remarks, described the governor as an emancipator, who has solved a particular nagging problem in Nigeria, that’s the issue of minority question.
Chairman, PDP Rivers State, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, commended Wike for his resilience and that the entire State and the Niger Delta are happy that he spoke for them.
Speaking on behalf of Rivers elders, former president, Nigerian Bar Association, Onueze O.C.J Okocha, (SAN), observed that Governor Wike, contested the PDP presidential primary because he was motivated by his desire to serve the country and bring back PDP to governance in Nigeria.
“You have done us proud. You’ve done Rivers State proud. You’ve done the country, the teeming masses of those who are yearning for capable leadership, you’ve done them proud. And they will continue to believe in you, they will continue to place their hope in you.”
Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government, Hon. Samuel Nwanosike, while speaking on behalf of Rivers’ youths, said Governor Wike has demonstrated that Rivers State and indeed, the Niger Delta cannot be underrated in the political equation of Nigeria.
“A Rivers man has dared and shook the foundation of Nigeria. Dike Oha (Ikwerre), you have given them restless night. You have made them change their political equation night upon night. You have made them in Abuja and the entire northern, southern, western, all part of Nigeria realise that a leader has emerged from Rivers State and a leader has emerged from Niger Delta.”
The chairman of Port Harcourt council, Hon. Allwell Ihunda and Dr. Juliet Berwari, who spoke on behalf of all the council chairmen and women respectively, said Governor Wike has shown capacity despite the conspiracy against him.