Governor Nyesom Wike escalated his spat with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership yesterday, declaring that the PDP G5 governors will not support the party’s presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, in next year’s elections.
He also stepped up his attacks on National Chairman Iyorchia Ayu, threatening to sue if the allegations were false. Wike made the claims at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt, where the Rivers State chapter of the PDP launched its campaign for the 2023 elections.
Since the conclusion of the party’s presidential primaries in May, Governors Wike, Seyi Makinde (Oyo State), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) have been at odds with Atiku over their insistence that Ayu steps down for a member of the party from the south.
Efforts by the Atiku campaign to persuade the disgruntled governors to change their minds have been futile, as they have consistently boycotted Atiku’s campaign rallies.
At yesterday’s rally, Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike declared that the PDP presidential candidate was on his own because Rivers people would no longer waste their energy working for “their enemies.”
Governor Wike made it clear that yesterday’s campaign launch was only for the state’s governorship candidate, Siminialayi Fubara, as well as state candidates for the 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 the 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 the 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”.