…Accuses journalists of unsavoury speculation to cause disaffection
The embattled governor of Rivers state, Mr Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, Friday, denied media speculations that his rebellious group of governors had agreed to stand behind Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate.
He dismissed the reports as the handiwork of “pressmen” who have lost every trait of journalism and can no longer be relied upon for factual reports.
Wike, who spoke in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital Friday, said there was never a time that he spoke to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), nor did he disclose the outcome of the G5 meeting in London to any media organisation. He challenged media organisations that reported him as speaking with the BBC to provide evidence to support their reports.
According to him, it was unfortunate that “pressmen” would sit in their offices to conjure reports of an interview that never happened.
“They said I had a conversation with BBC; where is the picture? Where is the video? You know, these days we don’t have journalists again. We have pressmen. You can see people not being able to give out the correct information. You see newspaper houses that are now running elections. You see television houses standing for election.
“Wike had an interview with BBC. Wike said, we had a deal with so, so, and so. Meanwhile no video, no audio. And some of you waste your time listening to such things. Don’t you know that when I want to do something, I’ll do it? Don’t you know? Do you need to speculate? You don’t need to speculate. They say there is trouble, but there is no trouble. What we have is an introduction to trouble that will come”, he said.
The governor also challenged those threatening to expel him from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to make good their threat.
Governor Wike, who insisted that he is unperturbed about the threat of expulsion, however, wondered why those desiring to expel him were displaying anxiety instead of acting out their threat. According to him, “when the time comes, we will know who has the capacity and who does not have capacity.”
The Rivers State governor also reiterated the minimum demand of the members of the G5 group, which is the resignation of Dr Iyorchia Ayu as national chairman of PDP to allow for a southerner.
There are indications that he has been fighting for Olusegun Mimiko, a former governor of Ondo state, to replace Ayu.
“We have made our demand, and our demand is 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. There is no need to begin to threaten people. You will do this, and you will do that.”
In retrospect, governor Wike recalled how between 2002 and 2003, former President Olusegun Obasanjo knelt down to beg his then vice, now PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to support his second term bid and the conditions the latter gave to him.
He expressed surprise over the undying interest of those who said they have moved ahead and do not need the G5 group to win the 2023 election. He wondered why those antagonists to the G5 are always sniffing around to uncover any latest move made by the group.
The Rivers State governor took on Prince Uche Secondus. He stated that at no point in his political career did Prince Uche Secondus sponsor him to any political office, except that he accompanied him on some lobbying trips.
Governor Wike insisted that he is rather the benefactor to Prince Uche Secondus because, against fierce opposition and rejection from the likes of Sule Lamido, Austin Opara, Dr Abiye Sekibo, Celestine Omehia, and Lee Maeba, he sponsored him to become the national chairman of PDP and removed him later when he wanted to make his nephew governor Rivers State.
“You wanted to be national chairman first to impose your nephew or your cousin, as you may call him, to become governorship candidate of PDP in Rivers State. I said, “Not here. It won’t work.” We had to kick you out first, and we did, and you are out.”
He listed the Nsirim, Senator John Mbata, and Dr Odili’s families as sponsors at various times of his political dreams that have made him what he has become.
The governor emphasised that Prince Uche Secondus was awarded several contracts worth about N50B in Rivers State and paid a total sum of N43.9B. Still, he has never completed any projects and cannot account for the money received.