Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on Friday punctured speculations that he and his allies in the Peoples Democratic Party’s G-5 forum met with the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu, this week in London, and struck a deal to support Tinubu against PDP’s Atiku Abubakar in the 2023 election.
On the same day, at a rally in Aboh, PDP’s vice-presidential candidate and Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa declared that his party would still win the 2023 presidential election, notwithstanding the scheming of the G-5 Governors, led by Wike.
The PDP G-5 governors – Wike, Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Samuel Ortom (Benue) have been at loggerheads with the party and its presidential candidate, Atiku, insisting that they will not support him unless the party’s Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu is removed.
Wike, who spoke on the alleged meeting and deal with Tinubu in London, while flagging-off the construction of Eneka-Igbo Etche road, said media outfits speculated and insinuated so many unfounded things without any pictorial or audio proof to affirm their claims that the G5 met with a presidential candidate in Europe.
The Rivers governor said: “I am not someone who will go and see somebody and hide. Hide for who? Who is that person that will threaten me? They said Wike had a deal with so, so, and so person. Meanwhile, no video, no anything. And some of you waste time listening to such things. Don’t you know when I want to do something, I do it? You don’t need to speculate.
“They said we had a meeting with so and so. What is your problem? Assuming there was a meeting, has Atiku not been holding meetings with governors of APC? Ask him. As he is in Dubai, don’t we know what is going on? So, why do you bother about us G-5, that you said you can win without us? Leave us alone.”
While acknowledging that he travelled out of the country, the Rivers governor also said the PDP shouldn’t be worried about him and his allies: “Just to unwind is a problem to some people. Some people say they have moved on, ‘don’t bother about G-5’. Why is he bothered about where we go to or where we don’t go to? We go to a club, you’re worried. We go and sleep, you’re worried. Yet, you tell Nigerians you don’t bother. They say there is trouble. There is no trouble, what we have is the introduction to trouble that will come.”
The Rivers State governor who insisted that he is unperturbed about the threat of expulsion, however, wondered why those desiring to expel him are displaying anxiety instead of acting out their threat, and see if they will survive it. According to him, “when the time comes, we will know who has capacity and who does not have capacity.”
Wike reiterated that the minimum demand of the members of the G-5 is the resignation of Ayu as National Chairman of PDP to allow for a southerner to occupy the office.
“We have made our demand and our demand is that the National Chairman must come to the south. It’s non-negotiable. If you say you don’t care, no problem. Let’s go to the field. No need to begin to threaten people, you will do this, you will do that.”
Governor Wike recalled how former President Olusegun Obasanjo knelt down to beg his then deputy, Atiku, to support his second term bid and the conditions the latter gave to him.
“You say we are giving conditions, but you forget history. When president Olusegun Obasanjo wanted to run for second tenure, he knelt down before his vice president and said ‘my vice please allow me to run.’ You know one of the conditions he gave him was that Tony Anenih must be sacked as the Minister of Works and that Anenih must not be in the presidential campaign council. Obasanjo obliged and sacked Anenih as Minister of Works and removed him from the presidential campaign council.”
Wike expressed surprise over the undying interest by those who said they had moved ahead and do not need the G-5 group to win the 2023 election and wondered why those antagonistic to the G5 were always sniffing around to uncover any latest move made by the group.
Okowa to G5 Govs: No Matter What You Do, PDP Will Still Win Presidential Election
The PDP will still win the 2023 presidential election, which holds in less than two months, notwithstanding the reported pact between the G-5 Governors and Tinubu, Governor Okowa of Delta State has vowed.
Okowa said God alone would determine who Nigeria’s next president would be and not the action of the G-5 governors who have vowed to truncate the Akiku Abubakar-Ifeanyi Okowa presidential ticket.
Okowa spoke Friday at a campaign rally in Aboh, as the party’s local government-to-local government campaign train stopped at Ndokwa East and Ndokwa West local government areas.
Nevertheless, Okowa expressed optimism that the five governors would eventually reconcile with the party and work for the victory of Atiku-Okowa ticket and the PDP in the general election.
Okowa said, “God has said it that we the PDP will win this election. Many things may be happening now and people may be asking what about the G-5 governors?
“These governors are our brothers; everybody is important. But what God has said will happen, nobody can change it. So, even if some of them decide to support APC, some will still remain with us because there will be division among them.
“The real truth is that I have strong political eyes and I have observed that no matter what they do, PDP will win the forthcoming election, by the grace of God.
“It is only the power of God that can help us to win. So, no matter what the G-5 said, that they would work with APC or any other party, we will win.
“We all know that the candidate of APC is not good enough to be our president. Also, we know that the Labour Party is not going anywhere and we need to sweet talk the party supporters not to waste their votes.
“Those supporters wishing to vote for the Labour Party are only indirectly helping APC and trying to reduce the vote of PDP. So, please go and plead with Labour Party supporters to return to PDP and join hands with us to change Nigeria for the better.
“We the PDP are ready to change the so-called previous change. Therefore, everyone should go and get his or her PVC,” he said.
He restated that the PDP would bring about economic boom, and will foster a united Nigeria, where the economy would be private sector-driven, and restructuring that would make money available for states and local governments to embark on projects.
“The APC has finished Nigeria. They promised change in 2015 but they have destroyed our dear country with insecurity, hunger and poverty. To solve the insecurity challenge, we will amend the Constitution to allow State Police.
“The Atiku-Okowa presidency will restructure Nigeria by allowing states to have more funds and more responsibilities to better the lots of Nigerians.
“We will amend the Constitution to give more powers and resources to states and local governments and we will encourage a private sector-led economy.
“Our economy was doing well prior to 2015, but the APC came and destroyed it again.
“Nigerians are poorer and hungry because the economy is not good and when the economy is not working, there will be no jobs, because it is a good economy that brings industries.
“We have gone round a lot of states in the country and I can assure you that Nigerians have resolved to sack the APC,” he further said.
On the governorship election in the state, Okowa said Chief Sheriff Oborevwori and Sir Monday Onyeme had the capacity to build on the foundation laid by his administration, hence the need to vote for them.
Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba and Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt