Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday, escalated his longrunning war of words with the leadership of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), declaring that neither he, nor his G5 governor allies, would work for the party’s presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, at next year’s elections.
He also doubled down on corruption allegations against National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, challenging him to sue if the accusations were untrue.
Wike made the claims when the Rivers State chapter of the PDP launched its campaign for the 2023 elections at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Omagwa in Port Harcourt.
Governors Wike, Seyi Makinde (Oyo State), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), have been at daggers drawn with Atiku since the conclusion of the party’s presidential primaries in May over their insistence that Ayu steps down for a member of the party from the southern part of the country.
Efforts made by the Atiku camp to make the aggrieved governors have a change of mind have yielded no result as they have consistently boycotted Atiku’s campaign rallies.
Any hope of Wike’s camp making up with Atiku’s became even more remote at yesterday’s rally as the Rivers State governor declared that the PDP presidential candidate was on his own as Rivers people would no longer dissipate their energy working for “their enemies”.
And that much was obvious as the 38,000-capacity stadium was filled to the brim without the image of the party’s presidential candidate anywhere in sight.
Ayu, also played no role as he was conspicuously absent while his duty of handing over flags to candidates was performed by the PDP Deputy Chairman, South, Taofik Arapaja.
Governor Wike made it clear that yesterday’s campaign flag-off concerned only the state’s governorship candidate, Siminialayi Fubara, and state candidates for National Assembly and House of Assembly elections.
He said: “Here in Rivers State, I will not support anybody who says that no other person from another ethnic group can be President.
“Nigeria belongs to all of us. Whether you are Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba or Igbo, from anywhere, you are entitled to be President of Nigeria.
“So, when you go on national television and tell anybody, ‘don’t vote for the Yoruba, don’t vote for Igbo’, you didn’t even mention where I come from.
“This means nobody identifies me, which means I come from nowhere. But God knows I come from somewhere.
“God is the one who says where you should come from. It has nothing to do with party. It has to do with my identity.
“By the grace of God, I come from somewhere and we must show I come from somewhere. I believe in party but I believe in equity, fairness and justice.
“I tell them don’t insult me and my people. You go to town hall and you tell them lies.
“I said if you believe in restructuring of Nigeria, if you believe in devolution of power, if you believe Buhari made a mistake of appointing service chiefs from one area, then I say what you should do is to correct it from the party.
“What the G5 is saying is equity, fairness and justice. The constitution of the party says we must share elective and political offices but you say you will take everything. I will not agree”.
Ayu already building private university, says Wike
Wike also continued his tirade against Ayu, insisting that the party chairman lacked the moral rectitude to lead him and Rivers State to any campaign.
He alleged that within one year in office, the party chairman was already building a private university in Benue State, wondering what he would do if given power.
The governor, who in an interview last month alleged that Ayu collected N1 billion bribe money from a presidential aspirant in Lagos, said: “I will continue to say this. If anybody feels hurt, let him go to court and challenge me.
“No man who is corrupt will lead me to a campaign. I have challenged Ayu. You are corrupt and you cannot lead me into any campaign.
“Rivers will not be led to a campaign by Ayu. Rivers State is hurt and angry.
“I went to Benue State, Ayu, you have not stayed one year in office and you are fighting corruption. How do you fight corruption?
“You took N1billion. I told you, you took N100 million and the money we realised from the primary. Ayu, sue me. Sue Wike.
“And you are building a university in Benue State. You have not gotten up to one year. Assuming you enter office, what will you do?
“You cannot fight Rivers State and go free. Challenge us to a debate. We are integrity governors.
“Who are those who killed PDP in Ogun State in 2019?
“Ask them who ran for Ogun State Deputy Governor in 2019? Who are those who killed PDP in Ogun State in 2019? Now they come to media houses and begin to talk.
“They had EFCC problem in 2015 with their wife. They came to me to rescue them. I was not Mr. Donatus, but today I am Mr. Donatus.”
Rivers gov challenges Akwa Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa, Edo to account for derivation fund Buhari paid them
Earlier at a banquet organised by the PDP in honour of the G5 governors who were in Port Harcourt for the party’s state campaign flag-off on Friday night, the governor declared that he had used his own share of the derivation funds owed the Niger Delta core states of Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa and Edo since 1999 and released by President Muhammadu Buhari to execute and inaugurate projects in the state.
He challenged his colleagues who got same money to account for it.
Wike said: “I thank President Buhari and people had been sending me messages, saying why did I say that? But I say why won’t I say that?
“I am not an apostle of Buhari. Most of you go to the Villa in the night but I haven’t gone. The truth of the matter is that Buhari released monies that were not paid to us since 1999.
“The money was paid to some states in the Niger Delta. Let every state come and account for the money. I as Rivers governor can account for it.
“There is one man who married 20 wives, and we said no you can’t extort states of over 400 million US dollars. One man. He said he did work, which work? But we say we won’t allow him take that money.
“He said I should tell Rivers what I did with the money. Today, part of what I did with the money is the Law school. Yesterday, part of what I did with the money is ninth flyover, the tenth flyover.
“Let him also tell his boss to tell his people what he did with the money.”
The governor said he was patiently waiting for the day the party would sack him as advised by some persons, insisting that he was not scared of such threats.
“They say they will sack me. I have been looking for the day they will sack me. Then they sack me, I pepper you. You will know that khaki no be leather,” he said.
He said: “People called me and asked me why I should commend President Muhammadu Buhari. I said it and I have no apologies to anybody. I am not a fan of President Buhari. If there is any governor that has criticised President Buhari, it is me and others from the integrity group.
“I said that Buhari approved the monies that nobody paid the core Niger Delta states of Akwa Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Edo. Every money that they took from us, he approved and we got the money.
“And that is the money I have been using to build the Law School, 12 flyovers, the Cancer Centre, the first road to Trans-Kalabari, Sakpanwa to Konor, dualise Ahoada.
“People must say the truth. I don’t know the day I will die, but now that I am alive, I will tell the people the truth. They tried to break us but they failed. They will never break us.”
Speaking on the Integrity Governors, he said: “The Integrity Governors want to rescue our party and rescue Nigeria. Let me assure you that the integrity group will not lose any of its state governors.
“No amount of gang up will make us to lose Abia, Enugu, Benue, Oyo and Rivers States.
“Let the world and Nigeria hear. This state will not continue to sacrifice for anybody. You must sacrifice for this state. We have suffered enough. We have worked for this party and we will not, it doesn’t matter what people will say. Death will come when it will come.
“But you conspired to think that Rivers State will be no state and I tell you, no way.
Wike suggested that Atiku was already planning to exact his pound of flesh from the governors who have opposing his candidature.
He said: “Just like all of them here, you have not won election and you want to jail Benue governor. You have not won election and you want to jail Enugu governor. You have not won election and you want to jail Oyo governor. God will not allow you.
“Because they stand for the truth and say they will support Wike, therefore all of them will come down. They will never come down. They cannot be governors again. Only Seyi, he will still be governor. He has worked for Oyo State and you cannot threaten him.
“What have we done. We say by our party’s constitution, President should go here and chairman should go here. But you say no you will take everything, we also say no we won’t allow that. History will be on our side that we are saying the truth and nothing but the truth.
“What you must do to chase away your opponent is operation show your report cards.
“Mr. President said we have done well, and if he says so, who are these people?”
Governor Wike took a swipe at a Delta Senatorial Candidate and Businessman, Ned Nwoko, for asking him to account for what he did with the money.
He reeled out the projects he executed with the money and called on Nwoko to ask his principal in Delta State to also account for his.
He said: “I am in support of PDP in Rivers State until you meet us. The governorship, the Senatorial, House of Representatives and Assembly I will fully fight for them to win elections.
“Here, I will not support anybody who doesn’t like Rivers State. I will not support anybody who doesn’t want equity, fairness and justice.
“If you want Rivers State to support you, come and say you believe in equity and justice.”
In his solidarity speech, Governor Ortom described Wike as a man who believes in equity, fairness and justice saying they decided to work with him in the interest of the country.
He said they believed before the primary election that it was only fair that after the eight years of Buhari, the presidency should go to the South.
He said: “We respect Wike because he fears God. We have chosen to work with him. With what I have seen now, I want to congratulate the incoming governor. We believe in the same ethics with Wike.
“For the sake of equity, after eight years of Buhari, the next President should go to the south. Your son contested but some said he lost. The issue of running mate was frustrated by enemies of progress.
“They have not been able to deploy the conflict resolution mechanism to resolve the crisis in PDP. Work with governor Wike, at the right time, we decide what to do. Anything outside equity and justice, we are not there.”
On their part, Ugwuanyi, Ikpeazu and Makinde called on Rivers people to vote for Fubara and other candidates of the party in the state.
Fayose asked the party leadership to resolve the ongoing crisis in the party before it becomes too late.
He said: “Governor Wike and G5 don’t want to be president; they are saying what is fair is fair. I plead with them to come and let us find a solution to it.”
Makinde said: “Let me congratulate the incoming from the governor to the House of Assembly. You should remain focused until we have the mandate of the people. Sim Fubara will be your governor.”
The PDP Deputy Chairman, South, Ambassador Taofik Arapaja, hailed the courage of the G5 for standing for equity and justice, saying their action had given hope to Nigerians