Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has explained how he nominated presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi as running mate to former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar in the buildup to the 2019 general elections.
Wike also said reports that he worked against Obi in the February 25 presidential election is false.
Recall that Obi polled a total of 6,101,533 votes. He trailed behind Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who got 6,984,520 votes.
Following Obi’s loss to Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Wike has been accused of working against the former Anambra State Governor.
Speaking during a media chat with selected journalists in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, Wike said he only advised the people of Rivers State to vote for the unity of Nigeria.
“I take exception to Peter Obi’s comments that I came out against him. People are not being sincere, people are not appreciative,” he stated.
“In 2019, ask Peter Obi, I was one of the teams that chose Obi to be the Vice Presidential candidate of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. When we met at Abubakar’s house, he said these are the names, I will choose Obi.
“Obi was invited while we were at Saraki’s house in the night. I was fought by people like Ekweremadu, Umahi, and Pius Anyim. Every blame was on me, why will I be the one that will say Peter Obi should go?”
Following his fallout with Atiku after the PDP primaries that produced the former Vice President as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 general polls, Wike and his cronies making up the G-5 demanded the resignation of Senator Iyorchia Ayu.
Ayu, the PDP National Chairman is from Benue, North Central Nigeria just as Atiku is from Adamawa, North-Eastern Nigeria.
The G-5 governors consist of five aggrieved governors of the PDP. Apart from Wike, others are Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
They argued that for the interest of equity and justice, Ayu should resign in line with the PDP zoning agreement. But the governors’ demands were ignored, a situation that made them not to support Atiku’s presidential bid.
The outcome of the February 25 presidential elections showed that Tinubu defeated Atiku in the oil-rich state despite being controlled by the PDP.
During the interview, Wike said he never told Rivers people to work against Obi for Tinubu. He explained that he told his people to rather vote for Nigeria’s unity.
He added, “I never told Rivers people to vote for the candidate (of the APC). I told Rivers people (to vote) for the unity of Nigeria.
“As far as Rivers State is concerned, their position is that ‘look, we want a power shift.’ And there are two candidates from the South – Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Peter Obi. If Rivers people have chosen to vote for Asiwaju, and the same Rivers people also voted for Peter Obi, that tells you that their decision was to vote for a Southern President.”
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