Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on Friday thanked Nigerians for supporting the return of power to Southern Nigeria.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governor said the issue of rotational presidency has been settled for good with the emergence of a President-Elect, Bola Tinubu, who is from the southern region of the country.
Wike spoke today when he joined his Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde to commission the Oyo State 5,000,000-litre Aviation Fuel Dispensing Depot at the Ibadan Airport in the Alakia area of the state.
In the buildup to the February 25 presidential poll, Wike, who lost the PDP presidential primary to PDP’s flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar last May, was unapologetically vocal about his opposition to the 2023 presidential ambition of the former Vice-President.
On Friday, the Rivers governor expressed delight that Makinde is one of those that 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.
Wike said, “I am happy he (Makinde) is one of those that made history by making sure that power shift to the south.
“I have told people that those who fight for change, who fight for revolution may not be directed beneficiaries of that fight but today, history has it that all of us now are aware that when power finishes from the south, it will go to the north; when it finishes from the north, it will come to the south.
“So, it does not need to be written in the constitution at all before it is implemented. And I thank Nigerians for standing firm to see that this issue materialise.”
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Wike and Makinde are members of the G5 or the ‘Integrity Group’ who are aggrieved governors of the PDP.
G5 Long Battle With Atiku, Ayu
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 the presidential ambition of the party’s flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar 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.
Tinubu had on February 15 met with Wike in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, the latest of their many engagements known to the public and the governor had defended their meeting, saying he is free to receive anyone.
For the presidential election, Atiku lost in all the G5 states while Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi won Enugu and Abia, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) 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.