Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday disclosed that the head of one of the security agencies pressurised him to support a particular presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to emerge as the party’s flagbearer in the 2019 elections.
He, however, did not mention the security chief and the presidential aspirant.
Wike insisted that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari are behind some PDP aspirants that want to secure the party’s ticket for the presidential election.
He said that the move is aimed at planting a presidential candidate in the PDP, noting that he won’t be blindfolded in working for the emergence of such candidate with compromised credential.
The governor, who spoke in an interview in Government House Port Harcourt, also stated that the direction of Rivers delegates would not be determined by one person.
He said: “But one thing you must take home is that I cannot be misled, I cannot be blindfolded; I know what’s going on. I know what the presidency and the APC are doing to plant a presidential aspirant in the PDP.
“I have not even mentioned how a very senior official of a security agency in the country told me which of the aspirants to support! You can imagine me as a governor and the head of a security agency would tell me to support one or two persons.
“Head of security agency who is in a government controlled by the APC! Come on, you direct me on who to support for president?”
Wike added that the entire leadership of PDP in Rivers State would decide on the presidential aspirant to support ahead of the party’s primaries.
He said: “At the end of the day, the leadership of the party will meet at the state level and decide where we are heading to.
“Then we will all be together. No one individual can do it alone. So, Rivers State will move as a team, I will listen to the leadership of the party, then we will move forward.
“Who are we going to support? Where is the national survey? Who is more popular? This is how politics is played. I challenge any of the presidential aspirants from the North who have gone to other governors and they have given them campaign coordinators, I challenge them to mention if I have given them one name.”
He said that the decision on the way that Rivers State will go, will not be determined by sentiments, but on the overriding interest of Rivers State.
The governor said: “Can anybody say I have met him one day to say support so, so, and so presidential aspirant? People have been coming here and I told them I will not, and I will never nominate anybody to be a liaison to any of the presidential aspirants. Not one person, I challenge them.
“Atiku (Abubakar) came here, (Sule) Lamido came here, Makarfi came here, Saraki came here, Tambuwal came here, (Ibrahim) Shekarau came here, (Attahiru) Bafarawa came here. Let one person say I have ever said take Joseph, take John, take Johnbull, take Beatrice as your campaign coordinator like some others do. I don’t deceive people, I will not deceive people, and I will not deceive my people.”
He stated that nobody would blindfold the people of Rivers State into supporting a presidential aspirant with compromised credentials.
He explained that some of the presidential aspirants are under the sponsorship of President Buhari.
Wike reiterated that the plot by the APC Federal Government to use the security agencies to rig elections in Rivers State in 2019 would fail.
He said: “It won’t happen in my state, but I know they will kill a lot of persons. I can tell you they will kill a lot of us. No problem, this is the sacrifice we have to make for democracy to thrive.”
Wike stated that he would have nothing to do with godfather politics, pointing out that when he leaves in 2023, the people of Rivers State will collectively choose his successor.
His words: “I’m on record and my friends, my colleagues, they know me and I have told them. I am a student of history, mention who has survived it. That you put your life; you put your blood to bring somebody. So as a student of history, I know it does not work that way.
“I will do what I have come to do, to serve my people and when my time has come to an end, those who want to run, let them run. Let the people of Rivers State decide; it is you, it is him. And that is the problem we are having, people want to continue to be godfathers, and that is the problem we are having without development.
“When I hear some people make comments, with all due respect, I don’t want to talk about persons.”
He recalled that those struggling to play godfather are doing so to protect themselves from criminal prosecution.
He pointed out that Tonye Princewill, in his 2014 interview with an online platform, outlined these issues.
He said: “When I hear about one, they call him Tonye Princewill and I laugh. The young man forgot the interview he granted the Premium Times. He forgot the interview, and people forget history. That these things are documented, so I now hear what he’s saying, I say oh my God.
“How much Rivers State assets were sold by the previous government to his friend and how it was used to fund election of Buhari and the rest. He forgot easily, today. He’s saying a different thing and I say what kind of characters do we have?”
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