Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday, said some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors ganged up with some vested interest to derail the quest for southern president in 2023.
Wike, who contested the PDP primary last Saturday in Abuja and came second, said it was the agreement of southern governors that the president should come to the region, and that he was proud he did not betray that agreement in the primary.
The governor spoke at a reception organised by Rivers people in Port Harcourt to welcome him after the PDP presidential primary.
He recalled that in 2019, despite the failure of the candidate he supported to clinch the ticket at the primary, Rivers State still gave PDP massive votes and refused to negotiate with the All Progressives Congress to give them 25 percent votes.
Wike described as shameful the inability of some of the governors who were part of the agreement to remain firm when it mattered most.
“I contested in an election (primary) based on the principle and agreement with all southern governors and leaders of the South that presidency should go to the South this period. We have done our part; we never betrayed anybody because it is not in our blood to betray. But, it is a shame to those people, some of the governors from the South, they are the people that were used to sabotage our course.”
Wike said it was disheartening that some governors from the South failed to protect the interest of the region they represent as was done by key northern stakeholders who rallied support for Atiku Abubakar, who won the race.
He vowed never to be a slave to any region in Nigeria. “Look at a region (north) that ganged up, then you, your own region cannot gang up. You became tools to be used against the interest of your people, and you think you have won, you have lost. You will continue to be perpetual slaves. Rivers people, you don’t need to bother yourselves. PDP needs us. If they say they don’t need us, they should wait.”
Wike said in the process, he was confronted by individuals who wanted somebody they would control and he declined to be their puppet.
“The winner (of the ticket) also saw it. They underrated us, but now, they will not underrate us again. We have all it takes to do whatever we want to do. It is a matter of you being firm, it is a matter of you being hopeful. There is nobody that is born greater than us in this country. Therefore, we cannot answer second class citizen. We can’t.
“We just used this one to tell them that enough is enough. We made them not to sleep. We made them not to eat. We made all of them from wherever they said they come from to know that there is somebody who can take them on. This country does not belong to one particular zone. If people are afraid of talking, it is their business. I cannot be a second class citizen in my country.
“Some of them, their in-laws are governors in the ruling party, but they want to interfere in what happens in PDP. Some of them their brothers are governors in the ruling party and they want to interfere in PDP.”
Governor Wike said with the presidential primary over, and given his pledge to work for whoever emerged, Rivers State would work to deliver PDP and all its candidates in the 2023 general election.
He said he told Atiku Abubakar that most of those hanging around him do not have electoral value.
He also said it was wrong for the party to have allowed the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, to speak for a second time after the time allotted to each aspirants to address delegates.
Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, described the governor as an emancipator, who has solved a particular nagging problem in Nigeria- the issue of minority.
Chairman, PDP, Rivers State, Desmond Akawor, commended Governor Wike for his resilience, saying the entire state and Niger Delta were happy that he represented them effectively.