•Rivers gov claims ex-VP’s men working for his failure at the polls
•Says politicians distracting electorate with same-faith ticket palaver •Ayu: ‘Wike is a strong party man’
RIVERS State governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday fired a fresh barb at the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),Alhaji Atiku Abubakar,saying some of the people around the former vice president could make him lose next year’s election.
Wike who has been locked in a cold war with Atiku since the presidential candidate picked Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate, warned that he should not be blamed if the PDP lost the presidential contest.
He denied suing Atiku and the PDP over the party’s presidential primary, and he got an applause for that from the national chairman of the party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu.
Ayu called him a strong party man.
Wike did not spare critics of the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“Is that our problem now?” he asked, quickly adding: “We need leadership to move this country forward.”
The governor spoke during the inauguration of the Rivers State House of Assembly Quarters, an estate tastefully completed by his administration to provide befitting accommodation for the state lawmakers.
The project was inaugurated by House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Wike said:”People have said I went to court against Atiku Abubakar. I want to say categorically that if I had a reason to go to court I will go to court. But I didn’t go to court. I just have to say it for Nigerians to know.
say categorically that if I had a reason to go to court I will go to court. But I didn’t go to court. I just have to say it for Nigerians to know.
“I have kept quiet and busy delivering the dividends of democracy for my party to win election; people are busy plotting how they will win election, but others are busy trying to see how they will lose election.
“If they lose the election nobody should call my name. I have told the candidate, you will lose this election and you will win this election because of people around you. Anybody who knows me knows that if I was going to court , I would have gone to court within two weeks after the primaries because it is a pre-election matter and after two weeks you can’t go to the court.
“The legal adviser of the party called me and I told him you know there is mischief going on; you know me very well if I am going to court it is not those kind of lawyers I would have used and I don’t even know the lawyers. I want to tell the candidate (Atiku) that it is his group that is doing all these things. Let the world hear.
“They are the ones plotting all these things thinking that they would spoil my name. You cannot. The other day they said I removed all PDP flags in Government House. We are supposed to be talking about how you will win election, not about these people. They are not doing him any favour, rather they are trying to make him not to win election.But if that is what they want, I wish them good luck.
“But after my commissioning of projects nobody should say Wike has started. When I start, I have been on my own, they are looking for my trouble. Allow peace to reign. If you say your mother will not sleep, you too you will not sleep at the appropriate time.”
Wike asked Atiku to direct people around him to return to their individual states and work for his victory at the polls.
His words: “I am busy commissioning projects, tell those who are supporting you to also go and commission projects to win their states. This is my own campaign to make our candidates to win election.
“Leave me to do my work but you are worried, concocting things every day. Social media cannot make you to win election. Election is by the people. Tell those who are with you in Abuja to go home and campaign for you. Leave Wike alone.”
Wike told the audience of how he led a plot to deny Gbajabiamila the speakership of the House of Representatives and Ahmed Lawan the Presidency of the Senate.
He accused his fellow PDP governors and other leaders of betraying their collective position by going behind him to support Gbajabiamila.
But he acknowledged that despite his plot against Gbajabiamila,the Speaker has never denied Rivers State its dues adding that he (Gbajabiamila) even intervened to ensure that money owed the state by the Federal Government was paid to it.
Wike said: “Mr. Speaker, I didn’t invite you here because you are an APC member. I invited you because of the role you played for Rivers State to get their money and I said come and see what I have done with part of that money.
“I was one of the last states that the federal government refunded money. Nobody wanted to give me because they said I was fighting for PDP. But you helped me without demanding a dime from me.
“I was one of those who plotted that you should not be Speaker. I have no regrets because my business is not to help their party that time, even now. My business is to make you people uncomfortable.
“It was in Government Lodge Rivers State in Abuja where we plotted he should not go. PDP governors sold me out. They supported you even when we had agreed as a party that Femi should not go, Lawan should not go.
“They went back and supported you. That was why you made Ndudi Elumelu, the Minority Leader even when we wrote you a letter against it. People don’t like the truth, but the truth must be told at all times. They were the people who sold PDP. The truth must be told at all time. Now they are saying we will impeach Buhari.
“You don’t have the balls. Ordinary to override the electoral law they couldn’t. They think they can use Nigerians up and down. Something you know you cannot do why did you say it out?
“I told you in my house before we came here that I plotted against you. If I see any other way to plot I will plot because we are in different parties and anything that will make you uncomfortable is my business. But you are a good man.
“You called me one day and demanded for a name for an appointment. I didn’t believe it. I gave you a name and the person was appointed. It is not about party.”
Wike said it was a similar betrayal attitude that made Atiku lose the 2019 presidential election.
He said: “In 2019 they all betrayed us. Buhari wouldn’t have won the 2019 election because you wouldn’t have had the spread. But all the states in the South South made Buhari to have 25 per cent. Rivers didn’t give Buhari 25 per cent. I challenge anybody.
“Today, people will be talking about PDP when we were supposed to have won the election in 2019, Rivers State gave the highest votes, the highest logistics. Let anybody come and contradict me. Today people are talking about PDP that they are loyal. They sold our party in the 2019 election.
“I told Atiku the other day, all these governors you think are good with you what happened in 2019? Nobody wants to say the truth. Today instead of plotting how to win an election, they are talking about Wike. Wike is not important, why are you worried? Allow Wike to rest. “Everybody go to your state and deliver. I don’t stay in Abuja. I don’t sleep there. I am here every day with my people. See our report card and see why you will vote our governorship candidate and all the other candidates. We have done well.
“Nigerians, ask your leaders to account for the money they gave to them. I can account for the money. See part of the money. Go to the judge’s quarters; flyovers one to 12, the Law School built in one year. I contested the election to render service to the people of the state.”
The governor said the legislative quarters were built to provide conducive accommodations for state lawmakers to make good laws adding that all the houses had been furnished.
He said: “Look at the environment legislators are going to live in. They will make good laws. Some people say it is money. It is not money, the little you have, show what you can do. It is about your commitment, love and passion for your state and country.”
He said persons after him would soon hear from him at the right time saying he would choke all of them.
He said: “I haven’t started politics. What I am doing now is to deliver dividends of democracy. That is my business. When I start politics, I will choke them. They think it was a mistake when I went to read Political Science, then I went again to read Law. I will choke them.
“So if every public office holder, particularly the executive, can account for the money we have gotten, Nigeria will not be like this. People like the Speaker did not play politics of party. There was nothing that was not done to ensure that the money didn’t come to us.”
Gbajabiamila: No permanent enemies, friends in politics
Gbajabiamila was all praise for Wike’s confessions saying it was an irony that those he (Wike) sat with to plot against his (Gbajabiamila’s) emergence as Speaker were the same people who worked against him at the recent PDP presidential primary.
He said though politics remains a game of permanent interest, Wike’s new journey should be permanent.
He said: “I thank the governor and my friend for a confession that had been known to all; that you plotted against me. It is an irony of life and indeed very interesting, a twist of fate that those you sat with to plot against me were the same people that sat together at your primary to plot against you.
“So, plotting is not necessarily a new thing in politics. But what is constant is that in politics there are no permanent enemies and there are no permanent friends. What you have is permanent interest. And by God’s grace, this one that you have started, this journey that you have started, that you and I both know shall be permanent.
“Please, choke them. I was impressed when you were talking about flyovers and you stopped at number 12. It is very impressive. But if you come to Lagos you will be counting flyover one all the way to 1000. And that is a fact.”
On why he accepted Wike’s invitation, Gbajabiamila said: “My presence here is, among other things, a repudiation to those who believe that political differences justify vicious assaults on the humanity of others.
“I am here to tell them that even though Governor Wike and I belong to different political parties and come from different political cultures, we are united in our desire to see a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
“And we are joined in our determination to stand together against those who wish to destroy our country by practicing politics that amounts to nothing more than a frenetic appeal to anger, fear and resentment.
“At every significant juncture of our nation’s history, this city of Port Harcourt and the people of Rivers State have played influential roles. As it was in the beginning, so it is now.
“It is providential that at this moment in time, Rivers is governed by His Excellency Governor Nyesom Wike, a tested administrator and politician per excellence, who practices politics of courage and convictions and has proven time and again his capacity to govern with vision and competence”.
Wike, a strong party man, says Ayu
Reacting yesterday to the statement by Wike that he was not the brain behind the suit filed in a Federal High Court ,Abuja, over the last PDP presidential primary, the party’s national chairman,Dr,Iyorchia Ayu described the Rivers State governor, as a strong party man.
Ayu said he was delighted that Wike promptly dissociated himself from the suit against the PDP leadership.
Said to have been joined as co-defendants in the suit were the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal,and Ayu.
Speaking at a youth event in Abuja , the PDP chairman accused some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of masterminding the filing of the suit.
Ayu said: “His Excellency, Gov. Nyesom Wike never took the party to court. It was the APC that did it.
“We know very well that they don’t believe they can win any election. They have decided to divide you. But don’t let any APC manipulation divide you.
“They are the ones sponsoring false stories of crisis in PDP. PDP has no crisis. It is a united party.
“Anyone who thinks they can come and brew crises here are deceiving themselves. They should wait for us till next year. In February, we will show them that they are the ones with crises.
“I want to make this clear before people start saying: Oh, Wike took the party to court.’ Wike is a strong party man.
“And I am happy that he came out immediately to deny that he took the party to court. And very soon, the truth will be revealed because it’s a criminal thing.”
Those seeking Ayu’s removal don’t mean well for PDP – Elumelu
Governor Wike himself got one back from the House of Representatives Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, over the agitation for the resignation of Ayu as PDP national chairman.
Elumelu said such people didn’t mean well for the party.
Some PDP top members including Wike and former Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Olabode George,had said Ayu should quit office in fulfillment of his earlier promise to do that in the event that a northerner emerged as the party’s presidential candidate.
Speaking at a public event in Abuja on Friday, Elumelu said those calling for Ayu’s removal did not mean well for the PDP and the country.
The lawmaker rather urged those behind the agitation to join hands with the party leadership and other stakeholders to ensure the victory of the PDP in the 2023 presidential election.
Wike and George are of the view that the present arrangement whereby the PDP presidential candidate, national chairman and chairman of Board of Trustees (BoT) come from the North is in conflict with the PDP constitution.
On resignation or removal of national officers, under which Ayu falls, Section 45(2) of the PDP constitution requires that the affected officer shall be replaced by another officer from his own region.
The Section says: “In the case of the National Chairman, he shall hand over to the Deputy National Chairman from his own region/part of the country who shall, without prejudice to Section 47(6) of this constitution, act as the National Chairman pending the election of a replacement”.
Section 47(6) says: “Where a vacancy occurs in any of the offices of the party, the Executive Committee at the appropriate level shall appoint another person from the area or zone where the officer originated from to serve out the tenure of the officer”.
Those seeking Ayu’s removal were calling for his replacement with another officer national officer from the South, to address the present one-sided power equation in the party