Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers says he did not support the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi overtly at the Feb. 25 election because nobody discussed Igbo presidency with him.
Publicity Secretary of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, Dr Alex Ogbonnia stated on Friday in Enugu that Wike made the declaration at a meeting the socio-political group had with him in Port Harcourt on Thursday
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Ogbonnia stated that at the meeting, Ohaneze Ndigbo confronted Wike over his alleged role against Obi during the presidential election.
He stated that Gov. Wike expressed surprise that Ohanaeze was on a fact-finding mission and would explain his role at the presidential election.
According to Ogbonnia, the Rivers governor explained that the Southern Governors Forum first met at Asaba and agreed that power must shift to the South after President Muhammadu Buhari.
He explained also that the governors later met in Enugu in September 2021 to reaffirm their position for power to shift to the South.
He stated that throughout the meetings, “the issue of presidency to the Southeast was never on the table.’’
Wike also explained that throughout his political adventure, he tried as much as possible to maintain the position of the Southern governors.
Wike expressed disgust that during the PDP presidential primary election, several well-known people of the Southeast betrayed him and sabotaged the Southern interest by voting for a candidate from the northern parts.
He added that his unalloyed commitment to the South motivated him “to provide logistics for Obi when he was in Rivers for the presidential campaign’’.
Wike noted that conversely, he refused to provide even a campaign ground for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of his own Peoples Democratic Party.
The governor further stated that “what is circulating in the social media is the handiwork of Wike adversaries.’’
“For instance, the `Full Audio of Governor Wike Caught on Tape Arranging Bribe for INEC Officials’ and published by an online medium, has been on YouTube since Dec. 16, 2016,’’ Wike told Ohaneze.
He explained that “some mischief makers were using some doctored and false audio and visual materials on the internet to dent Wike’s image.’’
The governor in admitting that all the decisions he took with respect to the 2023 presidential elections were based on his personal convictions, queried if Ohanaeze Ndigbo ever requested him to support Obi.
“I am a man with the courage of my convictions and have no reasons to tell lies or to owe apology to anyone.
“I am always ready to defend my actions any day and at any time and I did not rig the presidential election against Obi,’’ Ogbonnia quoted Wike as having said.
The Ohaneze publicity secretary stated also that its delegation led by Dr Kingsley Chidozie, the Vice President-General (Abia) nominated Barr Peter Aneke to speak on its behalf at the meeting.
Aneke thanked Gov. Wike for the cordial relationship the Igbo community enjoyed in Rivers.
He highlighted the cordial relationship between the people of the Southeast of Nigeria and those of Rivers and wondered how an Ikwerre man would, in good conscience, work against the Igbo presidency.
He told Wike that the Igbo all over the world were aggrieved with him, especially as the alleged rigging was circulating on the Internet.
Aneke also told Gov. Wike that the Ohanaeze considered it a duty to confront him over the alleged widespread electoral malpractice in Rivers against Obi.
He expressed deep sadness that Obi could win in metropolitan Lagos, Abuja, and several other places in the northern parts of Nigeria, only to record low votes in Rivers.
Aneke added that the delegation was on a fact-finding mission and that both the Igbo elders and youths were eager to know why Wike went the extra mile to pull Obi down in Rivers.
He enjoined Wike to imagine what would have been the outcome of the election if the Rivers governor had supported Obi at the election.