Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has explained how Peter Obi eventually decided to leave PDP for the Labour Party.
Governor Wike spoke on Thursday when he hosted on a courtesy visit, the National Executive Committee of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo Worldwide, at Government House in Port Harcourt.
“Obi was running with us. I knew when Obi left. He was principled and he said he can’t stand it, people should say the truth. He went to see Sule Lamido in Jigawa, not in Dutse, but in a village that will take you more than four or five hours drive from Dutse the capital.
“You know what he told Obi? He didn’t tell him that look, you came late and I have chosen somebody. He said it is the north that will produce the next president. That was how Obi left saying why is he wasting time. Ask him, that’s how he left PDP.”
“And that was what I saw at the convention ground. Within minutes, knowing that I was going to win, your sons were all the ones who did everything, sabotaged me. I said ok, no problem.
“But I still maintained that look, if you have taken the presidential candidate you can’t take chairmanship again, give us back the chairman and I still stand by that and if you don’t do that whatever you see you take.”
Nevertheless, Wike said he feels satisfied that southern Nigeria has produced the next president of the country resulting from the 25th February 2023 presidential election.
He stated that the electoral outcome is now an undeniable justification of the undeterred advocacy embarked upon by the G-5 governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who worked so hard, contributing their quota to realize that feat.
The governor explained that as an advocate of southern presidency, it is not possible for him to have worked against the winning chances of any presidential candidate from the south.
Governor Wike, therefore, described as untrue accusation raised against him in sections of social media that he worked against Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the just concluded presidential election on the 25 February 2023.
“I supported that power must come to the south. When Obi came here, I gave him all the logistics; vehicles, and other support and paid for the stadium, but some other persons applied and I refused. You should know me too well by now.”
Governor Wike said people like him are hated because they speak their minds always, but that will not make him become apologetic to anybody.
He explained that before the election, the integrity group met in Abuja and took a decision to support the position of governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who came out strong to say that power must shift to the south for the unity of Nigeria.
Governor Wike said the agreement was to the extent that no votes in their various States should be ceded to any northern candidate, which was what really happened.
The governor stressed that a careful look at the results of elections in those States shows that southerner presidential candidates emerged in first and second positions as evidence of the massive voting support they got.
“And we also agreed we must vote for the south, no vote for the northern candidate. Our contributions, nobody knows. If you check the pattern, we agreed, the south must come first and second in any State. And check it, all the voting patterns. If Labour Party wins here, APC will take second. If APC wins here, Labour Party will take second.
“That was our position. All my campaigns, nobody can say he heard me abuse Obi or Tinubu, I didn’t do that. My campaign was against people of impunity who disobeyed the (PDP) constitution by saying there should not be zoning when there is a provision in our party’s constitution that there must be zoning of elective and appointive offices.”
Governor Wike berated the former governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, who went to the Igbos resident in the State to tell that if they supported his candidate, Tonye Cole of the APC, they will get their compensation for abandoned property.
The governor said because of election, Amaechi was stated scratching on old scars and fanning the ember of violence to disrupt the prevailing cordial relationship and peace between Rivers people and the Igbos in the State.
Governor Wike wondered why, if he loves the Igbos that much, could not implement such compensation when he was governor of the State for 8 years.
The governor also condemned the accusation raised by Chibuike Amaechi that foreign scholarship his administration floated was discontinued because of the Igbos on the slot.
Governor Wike said if that was true, what about Rivers beneficiaries, what will he say about them?
The Rivers State governor insisted that the scholarship scheme was discontinued because of the exchange rate of the dollar and the quantum of none specialized courses like philosophy, English, Law and arts students that were sponsored to study abroad.
Governor Wike emphasised that while those students were withdrawn, his administration has sustained full scholarships to students studying medical and allied profession in Rivers State University and PAMO University of Medical Sciences.
In his speech, Deputy National Legal Adviser of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo Worldwide, Dr. Peter Anele said Igbos have long sought to produce the president of Nigeria and they saw the last presidential election as an opportunity to clinch it.
He noted that Governor Wike has done the Igbos proud, remained a voice against social injustice, and marginalization of Igbos, while creating a conducive business climate for them and appointed one of them into his cabinet.
On his part, the president of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo in Rivers State, Lucky Ekeji said Igbos are not at war with the Rivers State government and assured that as a group, they have urged all Igbos in the State to support the governorship bid of Sir Siminialayi Fubara.