Rivers State, governor, Nyesom Wike has taken strong exception to Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi’s statement alleging he denied him of victory in the State in the February 25th , 2023 presidential election.
Wike has clarified that there was never a time that the G-5 governors or the Integrity Group endorsed Obi or another candidate as their preferred candidate for the 25 February presidential election.
Wike was speaking during a media chat on Wednesday in his home town, Rumueprikom, describing Obi’s accusation that he manipulated the electoral process to his disadvantage as unfortunate.
“I don’t work for INEC, I don’t have INEC documents with me. I am not an ad hoc staff of INEC and so I am not in a place to rig election for anybody. It is when you have the materials of INEC that you talk about rigging. But I take exception to Peter Obi’s comments that I came out against him. People are not being sincere, people are not appreciative.”
The Rivers State governor maintained that his primary preoccupation as far as the 2023 presidential election was concerned was for a southern Nigerian to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, whose tenure ends on the 29th May, 2023.
“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. So, amongst them one must always get the highest vote. If you look at the votes, APC won, followed by the Labour Party. So that tells you what the decision they took. That is the decision of Rivers people.”
Wike said he was among those who recommended Obi to be Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s running mate in 2019.
“In 2019, ask Peter Obi, I was one of the team 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 (senator Ike) Ekweremadu, my own friend the governor of Ebonyi State, (David) Umahi, and Pius Anyim. Every blame was on me, why will I be the one that will say Peter Obi. Why should I choose for the South East. Did he come out to say governor Wike was the one who supported me to be the vice presidential candidate? He didn’t say so.”
He declared that the G-5 governors and the Integrity Group never during any of their meetings unanimously endorsed Obi or any presidential candidate of southern Nigeria extraction.