Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has denied that he ever promised to publicly announce his choice of presidential candidate.
The Rivers State governor, who is believed to be backing Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the February 25 election, said he never told the public the method by which he would disclose his choice
While replying to a reminder served him by a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, about his promise to announce his preferred presidential candidate in January 2023, Wike denied ever making any such promise.
“You have the guts to tell me I should name my presidential candidate. Are we at the same level? Failure and success, are they the same?” Wike wondered.
“Look at the man who is always failing every day. He does not understand the activities of G-5. I have told most people who don’t know, G-5 that we’re fighting is like guerilla warfare. The more you look, the less you see.
“I never told anybody one day, I will bring a camera and announce to you this is who will go. I said I will tell Rivers people the candidate they will support. I did not tell you the method of saying it. I did not tell you I will bring live coverage and say it. But Rivers people know.
“Look at this small boy whom I flogged in 2015. I don’t know where they say he comes from – is it Abia or Opobo side, which of the areas? Envy! I flogged him out in 2015.
“He has not recovered from that. He thought they would give him a ticket in 2019, but he didn’t get [it]. They sent him to be NIMASA. Ask him, what did he bring for Rivers people?
“You have a position, you cannot help your people, and you’re coming out to open your mouth, simply because you didn’t get [the ticket] and they did not give you a second term to be DG of NIMASA,” he said.
Meanwhile, Wike, while expressing worries on the alleged encouragement by the state solice Command in the prevalence of violence, he said the development has continued to push some political actors to act lawlessly with their political activities.
According to him, the state government would be compelled to deploy its Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps to maintain law and order if the Nigeria Police continued to allow political parties in the state to violate law and order.
Wike, who made the assertion at the state PDP Port Harcourt rally, held at Elekahia, said the command cannot support people who were breaking the law, just as he advised the State Police Command to rise to the occasion and safeguard the laws of the state in order to forestall a break down of law and order.
“And this is what I want to tell the Nigerian Police, Rivers State Command. You are the one supporting them to disobey the law to cause violence. Police, if you don’t want to do your duty, let us know. I will release our Neighborhood Watch Safety Corps instead.
“If you don’t do your work, we will take over your work from you. You cannot support people who are breaking the law. You know the truth of the matter. You are scared, so that they don’t transfer you. Your duty is not to be permanent anywhere. As far as you are a security man, you can be sent to anywhere, any day.”
Wike who vowed to hit back at the Dr. Iyorchia Ayu-led PDP after the party’s national chairman replaced his lawyers handling some important cases for Rivers PDP at the Court of Appeal, has withdrawn the conditional approval granted Atiku to access the facility 48 hours to the rally scheduled for Febuary 11 was one of the governor’s reactions to Ayu’s action.
The governor cancelled the approval in a letter dated January 31 written by the Commissioner for Sports, Christopher Green, and addressed to the Director-General of PDPPresidential Council and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.
The letter accused the Rivers Presidential Campaign Organisation of planning to share the use of the facility with a “faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by Tonye Cole.”
“Credible intelligence available to the government of Rivers State and recent developments now show that your Presidential Campaign Organisation is working in collaboration and in cahoot with a faction of the APC led by Tonye Patrick Cole and that it is the intention of your presidential campaign organisation to accommodate and share the approved facility for your campaign with the said faction of the APC.
“Government records show that the activities of the APC in Rivers have always been married by violence due largely to irreconcilable internal conflicts within the party including shootings and killings in the course of protest arising from the nomination process of delegates for primaries and detonation of explosives in the course of campaigns”.
The letter said the state government would not risk damage to a state prized asset like the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium that could arise from the alleged planned collaboration with Toney Cole-led APC.
“In the circumstance, the Rivers State Government has come to the painful but inevitable decision to withdraw the approval earlier given to you for the use of the stadium and the said approval is hereby withdrawn,” the letter said.
Spokesperson of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council in Rivers, Leloonu Nwibubase, who confirmed the development said they were not surprised by the Governor’s action.