•I want APC to fail, I’m praying for more confusion, division in the party
Tobi Soniyi and Bayo Akinloye
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike yesterday said that he had nothing against the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki.
Speaking during an exclusive interview with Arise Television News Channel, Wike said that his position on Edo State was that everyone must be carried along so that the PDP would not fall into the same problem the APC had in the state.
Wike said that people must realise that there were people in Edo State PDP who have been making sacrifices for the party when Obaseki was in APC and that such people must be heard and persuaded about Obaseki’s entry into the party so that everybody would work together for the interest of the party.
He said that but for his insistence on following due process and carrying everyone along, Obaseki would not have emerged as the party’s candidate in Edo.
“Carrying people along does not mean giving money. That is the mistake people make. It means listening to them, appealing to them and making them recognise the greater interest of the party”, he said.
Wike said that multiple lawsuits would have been flying around if the issues were not amicably resolved and that the governor would not have been able to concentrate on campaign.
He advised political parties to keep their houses in order and stop giving judiciary problems.
The governor said that for PDP to take back Edo State, members of the party must be united and that that was his position.
He said that as a South-south governor, he wanted the whole zone to be controlled by one political party.
The governor said he was happy with the circumstances that brought Obaseki to the PDP. “I am happy that APC is in crisis. It is not my business to help APC to be united. Remember that we also had our own crisis under Ali Modu Sheriff and APC jubilated about it then. It is my prayer that they should continue to be in crisis. We have taken another state. Unfortunately, APC isn’t really a political party. They came together just to take over power. I want my party to be in power and therefore, I cannot be praying for APC not to have crisis. I hope they continue to make mistakes everyday and my party will continue to grow.”
He however, said that it was wrong to blame him for APC’s crisis in Rivers State saying that he has nothing to do with it.
According to him, the APC is having crisis because members of the party are not united and that it is wrong to blame outsiders like him for the party’s crisis.
Reacting to the threat by a group loyal to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi to destabilise Rivers State, Wike said that it was unfortunate that the APC-led government had not done anything about the threat.
“I watched the video of one of the minister’s supporters threatening to burn down institutions in Nigeria. In fact, he is said to be a cousin of the minister. Yet Amaechi is claiming to be a non-violent person. Don’t forget it was Amaechi who for the first time in the history of the state, shut down the court for nearly two years and now his supporters are threatening to burn down the state. No security agency has arrested or cautioned them.
“Amaechi is claiming that he is not a man of violence but we are not children. We know what’s going on. He’s in charge of the police, army, and the other security agency. His cousin threatening a unit of the federation and the president did not say anything.”
Taking a swipe at President Buhari’s inaction, the governor added, “President Buhari came for a campaign here and the minister who says he doesn’t believe in violence sang a war song in Igbo land, saying in that election there would be war. What happened? Nobody cautioned him. Security agencies didn’t caution him.”
Speaking on the initial crisis that rocked the PDP over the waiver to Obaseki, Wike explained, If there’s one man who loves PDP, who has stood by PDP, who continues to stand by PDP, I am such a man. What I have always said is that politics is a game you must play with everybody; sometimes there’ll be disagreements.
In his reaction to a deputy commissioner for police who flouted the executive order of the state on COVID-19, Wike accused the federal government and security agencies of playing double standard following the recent transfer of the state’s commissioner of police and other top security officials.
He said there had been attempts to put Rivers State in bad light because it is an opposition state adding that the people of the state understood the politics and remained supportive of the state government.
Wike said that Amaechi was not telling the truth when he claimed that the last time he visited Rivers State was January 2019.
He said Amaechi was in Rivers during the election, and that he came after the election and was also there before the outbreak of COVID-19.
“There is no way he will come to Rivers and I will not know. It is part of the campaign to blackmail the state. He wants to paint the state black. It is not true”, he said.
Wike also defended his handling of the novel Coronavirus in Rivers saying that he had done very well. He defended the arrest of two pilots of Caverton Helicopters saying that 70 per cent of Covid-19 were brought into the state by oil workers. He dismissed the claim that the pilots were on essential service.
The governor said that he insisted that whoever was being flown into the state should report to the state for testing before they move to their various working places.
“I told them that they could not just bring in people and requested that they let the state know whoever they are bringing into the state so that our health officials can check them. What is wrong with that? Shell complied, NLNG complied. Are those ones not on essential services?”
He also defended the demolition of the hotel that opened while the state had ordered all hotels be shut, saying that he did it to save lives.
Wike also dismissed the claim that he planned to run for the presidency in 2023 saying, “for now, am not going to run for the presidency of Nigeria. My job for now is to develop Rivers State. 2023 may be the problem in APC because it is the ruling party. The president is going so someone wants to take over. But as PDP who are you taking over from? I just took over one year ago. If I start to think of presidency I will not be able to deliver dividends of democracy. That is the problem you see in APC.”
Wike also said that it was not for him to decide which zone the PDP should zone the presidency to, saying that the party’s National Executive Committee will decide at the appropriate time.
He said some members of the party had said that the presidency should be zoned to the North while a host of others disagreed.
“What we are seeing today is how APC that has failed Nigerians and that should not continue. How we can come out of this calamity we have found ourselves. We are in a serious crisis. Our concern is how our party will take over and move Nigeria forward. At the appropriate time, we will meet and decide.”
On the possibility that Atiku will run in 2023, he said that it is Atiku Abubakar’s fundamental human right to run for the presidency.
Wike said his concern for now is to get the PDP more organised, “get more states and when the time comes members will sit down to determine who should run.”
The governor further said that if PDP zones the presidency to the south and Chibuike Amaechi is running under the PDP, he would back him.
But he said that if Amaechi was to run under APC, it would amount to anti-party activity for him (Wike) to support him.