Wike: I’ve Cut Ties with Odili, Calls Rivers Elders Political Vampires

•Reveals nothing wrong in appointing 50% of Fubara’s commissioners  

•Declares he would have fled Nigeria if Atiku won 2023 polls

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

Former Governor of Rivers State and current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Nyesom Wike, yesterday attacked some politicians widely regarded as elders in the state, describing them as “political vampires”.

Wike also said his relationship with one of his predecessors, former Governor Peter Odili, had turned frosty, stressing that as it is today, he has no form of affinity with him.

Odili was one of Wike’s biggest supporters during the latter’s tenure as governor. In return, Wike sang the praises of the former governor to high heavens, even gifting him a house in 2022 on his 74th birthday.

But speaking in an interview with some journalists from four television stations, which was broadcast live, Wike alleged that the elders, including former National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, were people who lacked integrity.

He stated, “As it is today, politically, we (himself and Odili) don’t have any relationship. No, we don’t work together. There are differences. It has nothing to do with a personal thing.“

He added that he and Odili had taken a decision as to which of the feuding parties in Rivers State to support, referring to his faceoff with his successor, incumbent Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

Other PDP leaders in Rivers State, whom Wike accused of “sucking” Fubara, included former Minister of Transportation, Abiye Sekibo; ex-Governor Celestine Omehia; and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara. Wike insisted that he kicked all of them from the party because they had become irrelevant.

The elders had a few days ago declared loyalty and support for President Bola Tinubu and Fubara.

Aside the aforementioned, also present at the meeting where the elders declared support for the president and the governor were former Deputy Governor of the state, Tele Ikuru; Senator Lee Maeba; and former Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr. Gabriel Pidomson, among others.

But Wike also argued that there was nothing wrong in anyone asking for 50 per cent commissioners’ quota, insisting that if the person former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, succeeded as governor picked all his commissioners for him, there was no issue if anyone asks for 50 per cent.

Ex-governor of Akwa Ibom State and current President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, was Emmanuel’s predecessor. However, they fell out months after the swearing in of the governor at the time.

Wike said, “This is how you know men. Akwa Ibom governor, did he not take every member of Udom’s cabinet? People are terrible. If we say the whole cabinet supported you, but there were also those who were not cabinet members that also supported you.

“So, the best bet is, take 50-50 per cent, so that people don’t feel they have lost out, what’s wrong in that? So that is what you call control? Okay, face your government now, why are you bothering me?“

The FCT minister also revealed that he planned to flee Nigeria if former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who contested against the current president, Bola Tinubu, had won the 2023 presidential election.

He stated that he had already prepared his passport before the Supreme Court judgement, and emphasised that he was aware of alleged plots against him for opposing Atiku’s presidential bid.

Wike said, “When we went to Supreme Court, I put my international passport in my bag. And I told my wife, look, if we lose this today, I will go from there. So, you take care of this, you take care of that. All these people, I know the whole plot against me.”

Asked what he could have done differently to avoid the current impasse, Wike agreed that he made Fubara Rivers State governor, but hinted that in politics, just like in business, people must learn to count their losses and move on.

He stated, “Sometimes, you may invest in business. Sometimes you’re at a loss. Will you kill yourself? If you kill yourself, will you go back to the business? It’s not every investment you make that you will reap from. Sometimes, personally, I have lost. And that’s the only way I can move forward. I don’t think about it.”

He accused the Rivers elders of playing political games and latching onto the governor, like parasites only interested in collecting money and threatening to deal with him. He boasted that in the past, he showed them shege, insisting that none of them has the capacity to run him down.

“I put him (Fubara) there too…he wants to be on his own with these political vampires who are always sucking, and they want to continue to suck Fubara,” he opined.

As for why he continued to interfere in the politics of Rivers State, the minister stated that he must continue to “oil” his political machinery.

“Leave Rivers State; am I from here? Am I from Abuja? I should not oil my political machinery,” he retorted.

He also challenged his successor, Fubara, to publish the debt he owed during his tenure as the state governor, accusing the governor of treating the Rivers State House of Assembly members “as his boys”.

Wike maintained that Secondus was no longer a member of PDP, as his suspension was validated by the law court.

He expressed surprise that the Rivers elders had suddenly become Odili‘s boys when they abandoned him after he left office.

“He (Odili) was living in Maitama. How many of them went to see him?“ Wike queried.

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