By Ernest Chinwo
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has lamented that the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has become a toothless bulldog that can only bark and not bite, following its failure to speak up for embattled Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki.
He also accused the Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in the state, Dr. Obubelebara Adeniyi, of descending to the political arena in her criticism and allegations against the state in the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the fight against coronavirus in the state.
Addressing journalists at the Government House, Port Harcourt Monday, Wike said it was novel that a sitting governor would be disqualified from running for a second term by the same All Progressives Congress (APC) on whose platform he became governor.
He was referring to the disqualification of Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki by the APC from running for a second tenure on grounds that he has questionable qualifications.
According to him, “Ordinarily, I won’t speak about the challenges being faced by Obaseki because I have no business with APC. But, I will speak because the Nigerian Governors’ Forum is now a toothless bulldog that can bark but cannot bite.
“It is most unfortunate that I belong to a forum that cannot bite. Nigerian Governors’ Forum died immediately APC took over in 2015. Before then, Nigerian Governors’ Forum was very powerful. APC killed Governors’ Forum and whatever position the forum takes now is in the interest of the ruling party. Nobody seems to respect Nigerian Governors’ Forum again because we have given ourselves out.”
Wike also said the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) is too beggarly and could not rise in defence of Obaseki.
The governor said: “Governor Obaseki is a member of the APC and I campaigned against him in 2016. How can you say that a sitting governor is disqualified because his certificate is defective.
“A sitting governor who was presented by the APC National Chairman? Has he apologized to Nigerians? Has he apologized to Edo people? He should apologize to Edo people. How can a man who doesn’t have a certificate claim that the certificate of a sitting governor that attended Nigeria’s premier university is defective?
“APC governors call themselves Progressive Governors and their national chairman is also progressive. APC governors have refused to come out and say we can’t take this; they are only begging. Imagine, Governor Obaseki being disqualified by someone who does not have a certificate.”
He said the APC was basking in impunity but warned that the people of Edo State should not be taken for granted as they would react during the elections.
Wike also expressed dissatisfaction with the state Chairman of NMA, Dr. Obubelebara Adeniyi, for giving wrong information about the provision of PPEs for health workers involved in the fight against coronavirus pandemic in the state.
“It is most unfortunate that people who are supposed to partner with government to fight the pandemic are the ones causing panic.
“The Chairman of NMA is a civil servant and head of Eleme Treatment Centre. For her to give wrong information to members of the public means she has become a politician and I wish her well,” Wike said.
He insisted that he had provided health workers with all the PPEs they had requested and need in the fight against the pandemic and said it is necessary for all to appreciate the efforts of government.