* Declares he still loves PDP and had never contemplated leaving the party
Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State yesterday reacted to a recent interview granted Arise News by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party ((PDP), Atiku Abubakar, on his choice of running mate, saying Atiku told many lies against him on the programme.
“Governor Wike was not rejected. Nobody was rejected in the party. But you must understand that it’s the prerogative of the candidate to pick his running mate – a running mate he believes he can work with amicably, and then also deliver the policies of the party, and also try to unify the country,” the PDP candidate said in the interview.
But the Rivers State governor, who spoke at the Port Harcourt International Airport, shortly after his arrival from Spain, described as unfortunate all the comments credited to Atiku against him after the conduct of the party’s presidential primary.
Wike alleged that Atiku used the occasion of the unveiling of PDP’s vice-presidential candidate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, and his appearance on Arise News to lie against him.
He said the right thing Atiku and the party’s National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, ought to have done after the presidential primary would have been to reach out to him, but that they did not.
Wike said: “But there comes a time that people will understand and know the facts. So, obviously, whether I will speak is not in doubt; to let Nigerians know the actual truth. Having known the truth, whatever they decide to do with it is left to Nigerians.
“Because, you can imagine, Atiku, when he unveiled his vice-presidential candidate, no right-thinking lover of this party would say that the speech he made on that day was fair. Forget about the favour seekers. Forget about the scavengers. But I never reacted to it. That is because this party belongs to all of us.
“Thereafter, he appeared on Arise Television, see the statement he made. So many lies were told and you said I should not react to some of those issues. That would not be fair.
“Assuming today, I am not alive, obviously what they have said would be accepted as the truth. Look at his (Atiku) attack dogs, Sule Lamido, Babaginda Aliyu, Maina Waziri. Look at the statements they issued. Look at the abuses they rained on me, but I never reacted.
“And Nigerians will ask, you mean these things happened? So, it is important that as a person and for my own future, and for those who rally around me to say, look, this is not fair. So, I will make sure that I react to them, line by line, of the statements made by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar himself and his attack dogs.”
Wike said he would not tolerate being disparaged, as he contested the presidential primary squarely and emerged second.
“Look at it, a presidential candidate who believes that he wants to win the election, and somebody who contested fiercely with him that has never raised any issue. I just kept quiet, just minding my business, to see how my state can move forward.
“But every day, his people come up to attack me, to say one thing or the other. That’s quite unfair and so I should let Nigerians know at the appropriate time; that will be after the commissioning of projects that we have lined up.
“We will say look, this is not correct, so that posterity, history will be on our side, that we have been able to keep the record straight. So, nobody should be in doubt whether I am going to speak on the issue of PDP, issues of the primaries and other related matters.
“Nigerians will know what happened, Nigerians will know those who love this country, Nigerians will know what went behind. And that is to assure you that I am going to speak on that.”
Wike clarified that Senator Bukola Saraki met with him in Spain, but said he was not sent by Atiku, so nobody should think in such a direction.
He further wondered why Atiku who visited him at his place to solicit his support would not visit after the primary.
Wike also said that he was not aware of any committee that has been set up by PDP or the party’s presidential candidate to reach out to him.
He said: “I want to tell members of the public, as far as I am concerned, I love this party, I have remained committed and I have been able to play my part. I’m not talking about leaving this party.
“I am not one of those who are running around the presidential candidate to say I want to be this. I am not one of those favour seekers, scavengers looking for how they will survive.
“I am not a slave, and I will not be a slave, am a free born of this country. I must be able to say how things are, whether it suits you, or it does not suit you, is immaterial.
“So, members of the public should please bear with us that we must put the records straight. If we don’t put the records straight, history will not be happy with us.”
Wike, who had remained silent after the primary and subsequently, the choice of Okowa as vice-presidential candidate, explained that after the PDP primary he returned to Rivers State to focus on fulfilling the remaining promises that he made to Rivers people.
He said, already a number of completed projects had been outlined for inauguration and when that was done, he would respond to all the lies peddled against him.
“After the commissioning of projects that we have lined up, we will be able to speak to Nigerians and tell them what happened. It doesn’t matter who is involved,” said the governor.