Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers State, has accused Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of telling lies during his recent interview with Arise TV.
Atiku, former vice president, had in the interview, insisted that contrary to popular belief, he didn’t snub Wike in his choice of running mate but chose Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta State among the three names recommended by the party’s leadership.
However, Wike, who spoke on Friday morning at the Port Harcourt International Airport, said: “Thereafter he (Atiku) appeared before Arise Television, see the statements he made. So many lies were told.”
He told reporters, “I have decided to be quiet because PDP is a party I love so much. I have moved on to conclude my social contract with the people of Rivers. However, it is time to let Nigerians know the truth.”
Governor Wike faulted the speech by Atiku on the day he unveiled Governor Okowa as his running mate.
He also accused the former vice president of telling lies against him, as well as using some chieftains of the main opposition party to spread falsehood against his person.
The governor vowed to respond to both the party’s flagbearer and the party chieftains whom he described as Atiku’s ‘attack dogs’ one-by-one and line by line in due time.
He said posterity would not forgive him should he fail to set the record straight and promised to clear the air after the commissioning of the projects lined up for inauguration by the state government.
On the reconciliation committee set up by the PDP leadership, Governor Wike stated that former Vice President Atiku had yet to send any delegation to him.
He, however, said a former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, met with him in Spain, although in his personal capacity.
According to the governor, the former vice president came to his house to beg for support but suddenly does not know the way to his house any longer.
He went on to challenge anyone to identify that he or she was sent by the PDP candidate to speak to him about the issue in the PDP and the aftermath of the party’s presidential primary.
Governor Wike who said the idea of setting up a committee was only being seen in the media, however, insisted that he would remain in the PDP and help rebuild the party.
“I am not a slave and will not be a slave. I am freeborn of the country,” he declared.
In the party’s presidential primary held in May, Atiku polled 371 votes to emerge as the PDP’s flagbearer ahead of Wike who scored 237 votes to come second in the contest.
Former Senate President Bukola Saraki (70); Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel (38), Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed (38), Former Senate President Pius Anyim (14), Mrs Tari Diana Oliver (One), and Mr Sam Ohuabunwa (1) shared the remainder of the valid votes.
Weeks after the primary was held, the PDP presidential candidate named Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate in the forthcoming election.
This, however, led to a disagreement among party stakeholders as some commended the choice of Okowa while others rejected it, saying Atiku should have picked Wike who was the runner-up in the primary in the stead of his Delta counterpart.
In a bid to address the perceived grievances of the governor, the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the PDP set up a reconciliatory committee to meet with Wike of Rivers State over the fallout of the party’s presidential primary and crisis trailing the nomination of a running mate.