Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on Thursday, alleged that his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi; and the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tonye Cole worked against the ambition of their party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
“Rotimi Amaechi and his protégé, Tonye Cole, actively opposed the demand for power shift to the South and worked against their party’s presidential candidate in Rivers State,” Wike alleged during a state broadcast.
“When the President-Elect emerged as the winner, Tonye Cole rushed to congratulate him on his Instagram handle but deleted the post when he was criticised…”
Back in June 2022, Tinubu trounced bigwigs in the APC like Amaechi, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and the Senate President Ahmad Lawan to clinch the party’s ticket.
Wike further accused his predecessor, saying he “failed as Governor of Rivers State for eight years” and “could not attract any single development project to Rivers State as Minister for Transportation for seven years”.
He alleged that Amaechi and the APC planned to overrun and disrupt the elections in Rivers ahead of Saturday’s governorship and state assembly polls, noting that the security agencies had been notified.
The governor also declared Friday, March 17, 2023, as a public holiday to enable all private and public sector workers to travel to their communities and vote in their polling units.
Wike, a member of the G5 or Integrity Group within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said Nigerians vindicated his caucus by voting for a southern president-elect in the person of Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor as against his party’s Atiku Abubakar who is from Adamawa State in North-East Nigeria.
“For us in the G-5, the presidential election was about fairness, equity, and justice. Our commitment was for a presidential power shift from the North, where it has been for the last eight years, to Southern Nigeria.
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“Thankfully, Nigerians have vindicated our stand, and we appreciate the electoral majority for strengthening the nation’s unity with their choice,” Wike stated.
The former minister has not responded to the allegations against him as of press time.
G5 Long Battle With Atiku, Ayu
In the buildup to the February 25 presidential poll, Wike, who lost the PDP primary to his party’s flag bearer (Atiku) last May, was unapologetically vocal about his opposition to the 2023 presidential ambition of the former Vice-President.
The Rivers governor and four other member-governors of the G5 backed power shift to the south after the eight-year tenure of the incumbent Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari who is from Katsina State in the North-West geopolitical zone.
The G5 is made up of five PDP governors — Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Nyesom Wike (Rivers).
The five governors formed an alliance after the party’s presidential primary in May 2022, to demand that the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu step down for a southern replacement as a precondition to support Atiku in the February 25 poll. Both Atiku and Ayu called the governors’ bluff and did not succumb to their demands in the just-concluded elections.
For the presidential election, Atiku lost in all the G5 states while Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi won Enugu and Abia, Tinubu raked in Oyo, Benue and Rivers.
Tinubu, 70, came out tops in 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states, and secured significant numbers in several other states to claim the highest number of votes — 8,794,726, almost two million votes more than his closest rival, Atiku.
Atiku, 76, who has now run for president six times, got 6,984,520 votes, while Obi, who, in less than a year, galvanised young voters in a manner some have described as unprecedented finished the race with 6,101,533.