INTRIGUES and tension reigned in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, as the party and presidential aspirants put finishing touches to their preparations for today’s Presidential primaries.
The campaign offices of some of the presidential aspirants were beehives as supporters streamed in and out with information that would help the cause of their candidates.
Amid jostling among the aspirants in what has panned out as a three-horse race among Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chief Rotimi Amaechi and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the various camps were jolted when news filtered in that Senate President Ahmad Lawan had been picked as a consensus candidate.
National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullah Adamu told members of the National Working Committee, NWC, mid-day that in consultation with President Muhammadu Buhari the Senate President had been chosen as the consensus candidate for the exercise.
The announcement ignited a chain reaction, first from the NWC members, who kicked against it and insisted that all other aspirants must take part in the primaries.
Like a wild Harmattan fire, the news travelled fast to the camps of the aspirants, and APC northern governors, who have been in Abuja since last week.
The 13 APC in support of the power shift to the South stormed Aso Villa for a meeting with President Buhari after which they reiterated their stand on the power shift.
The APC denied endorsing Senate President Ahmad Lawan as its consensus candidate ahead of its special convention and presidential primary election which begins on Tuesday.
The party said it aligns with the position of 13 of its governors from the North who have insisted on a power shift to the South.
Also, the Tinubu Campaign Organization described Adamu’s unilateral declaration as illegal, saying there are conditions precedent for any consensus arrangement to be legal.
Vanguard also gathered that the northern governors on Monday night had an interface with the NWC with a view to knowing how Senator Adamu arrived at the choice of Lawan.
“The governors are angry because they had already taken a position and have also restated their position after wide consultations. Adamu took a unilateral decision which of course has been rejected by the NWC. So, the governors are meeting the NWC to formally convey their own position to the committee having earlier conveyed same to Mr President”, said a source close to one of the governors.
Buhari disowns Adamu
As tension up well, President Buhari, Monday afternoon, cleared all doubts about where he stands on the choice of APC presidential candidate. He told the party’s northern governors that he has “no preferred candidate,” and has “anointed no one.”
The President also said that he was determined to ensure that “there shall be no imposition of any candidate on the party.”
This is as the APC governors of northern governors extraction have maintained their initial position that power should go to the south after President Buhari’s eight years in office.
Speaking at a meeting with the Governors at the State House, Abuja, President Buhari said the party is important and its members must be respected, and made to feel they are important.
The President said he had a clear mind about what he was doing and asked the APC governors to feel the same way.
A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu quoted the President as saying: “You were elected as I was. Have a clear mind as I have. God gave us the chance; we have no reason to complain.
“We must be ready to take pain as we take the joy. Allow the delegates to decide. The Party must participate, nobody will appoint anybody.”
Earlier in their addresses, the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Governor Simon Bako Lalong and Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of the Progressive Governors Forum, said they had come to affirm the position of the Northern Governors that the party’s candidate in the presidential election shall come from the southern part of the country.
They apologised to the President for the leakage of their signed memorandum which was not in support of any particular candidate and gave assurances to the President on their readiness to accept his leadership on the matter.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of their meeting with the President, Governor Lalong said, “We had a meeting this afternoon with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, our dear President Buhari and this meeting is also in line with part of the consultations that Mr. President had.
“Of course, Mr. President had a meeting with us governors and series of people, but at the APC Northern Governors’ Forum, we sat down, we reviewed a lot of things in this country and we discussed at length about the unity of this country, about the need for progress and the need for inclusiveness, and also the need for accommodation.
“We sat down in the last few days and 13 out of 14 governors agreed. We took a decision to go and advise Mr. President. While we were on our way to advise Mr. President, I think part of the discussions that we had leaked out to the press.
“Well, we still went ahead and we told Mr. President. Mr. President, being a democrat, said no, he must listen to us, he would listen to us. And so, Mr. President granted the opportunity today.”
On the reason they came to the Presidential Villa, Lalong said, “Our mission today is to reaffirm our position on that statement. We also apologized to him that that statement was made by all of us and we reaffirm the position, but we apologized that the probe the statement leaked out before even our consultations with him.
“However, it is now in the message, not the messenger. So, Mr. President was very happy. He took our position and out of that discussion, Mr. President, as a believer in democratic process, believe that any candidate must emerge through a transparent process and the emphasis that
“Mr. President told us that for this election, for now, he has no anointed candidate and therefore directed that the Progressive Governors Forum meet with the National Working Committee of the party to agree and proffer further solutions and recommendations for his own succession.
“I am sure this will may be the last of consultations. So, we are directed that after this, our chairman of Progressive Governors’ Forum has also summoned a meeting for five o’clock today and after that meeting, we’ll make again further suggestions to Mr. President.
“For emphasis, those of you who read it, I have a copy of what we wrote, which was already out of press, and I said we wrote it and we stand by it; that in the interest of unity, in the interests of peace, we recommended that and also justice, our recommendation is that the next President should come from the south.
“I told you that the President believes in democratic process, but even during democratic process, that are consultations, that are consensus, is also part of democratic process. Even our constitution provides for that; it says consensus and then election, either direct or indirect.
“So, what we’re doing is part of the build up towards the election. What we’re also saying is recommendation as we think that will bring out a very peaceful process.”
Fielding question on the statement made by one of their colleagues, who is a presidential aspirant and governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, that he was not part of the decision that power should shift to the south, the APC governors of northern extraction said their decision is binding to all of them.
Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, who spoke on behalf of others said, “We met before coming to meet with Mr. President, we met, all of us, including the governor of Kogi State.
“As you can see, he’s not the only aspirant, the governor of Jigawa State is also an aspirant and he’s here with us and we met. But the governor of Kogi State chose to excuse himself from meeting with Mr. President because he believes that he does not agree with our position.
“There are 14 APC governors out of the 19 Northern states. 13 of us are on one page on this subject and we all came to see the President, but the governor of Kogi State excused himself and it is within his democratic rights to excuse himself.
“But 12 out of 14 is a super majority. 13 out of 14 is an even bigger super majority and the 13 of us met with the President today. What our leader has communicated to you is a summary of the discussions with Mr. President.”
Reminded that governor Bello said that he was not consulted before their meeting, Governor el-Rufai said, “He was invited to the meeting, he had a clash, he didn’t make it, we proceeded to make…
“Look, I have said this in this hall over and over. I don’t know why people assume that when you have 100 people, everyone must agree before a decision can be taken. That is the key to analysis paralysis.
“When the majority, or even a super majority, like 12 out of 14, takes a decision, everyone is bound. There is no time that everyone will agree to an issue. It’s part of human nature. But what is the majority view of Northern governors? We represent the majority, indeed a supermajority.”
Governor Lalong said, “Also, in any case, please to the question. His name is not on our list, we didn’t write his name. So even without writing his name, it shows that he was not part of it.”
Why we declared that power should shift to the South–Bagudu
Explaining why APC governors decided to cede power to the south, the Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum and governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu said, “Well, look with 22 governors, APC with a president that has delivered on democratic dividend across the breadth of this country has everything going for it.
What is the political brinksmanship that we need to bring so that every component of Nigeria will feel important? Like I said, there are northern candidates of Northern extraction and we are not ignoring their capacity or their interest.
“But we felt that if political expediency can encourage a step that will bring more peace, and resonate with everyone across Nigeria, we are bold enough to see it.
“Remember, the main opposition party PDP, they even have zoning in their constitution. But when it comes to selection of candidate they ignored sections of Nigeria that are saying it’s our turn.
“Our party, we don’t even have zoning in our Constitution, but because of knowing our president, how magnanimous he is how equitable he is that’s why we felt comfortable to make a recommendation to him that even though we don’t have zoning, Mr. President, can we consider this?”
The governors in attendance at the meeting with President Buhari were Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum and governor of Kebbi state, Atiku Bagudu, chairman of Northern governors Forum and governor of Plateau State, Simeon Lalong, Abubakar Baduru (Jigawa), Abdulraman Abdulrasak (Kwara) and Babagana Zulum (Borno).
Others were Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Bello Matawale (Zamfara), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Yahaya Inuwa (Gombe), Abubakar Bello (Niger), and the Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni.
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State was absent.
NWC tackles Adamu
At a news briefing after the meeting of the APC NWC, National Organizing Secretary of the party, Alhaji Sulaiman Argungu, who spoke on behalf of the NWC said whatever views Senator Abdullahi Adamu expressed at the meeting were personal.
To show that he was not alone, Argungu was flanked by the National Vice Chairman, South- South, Chief Victor Giadom; National Vice Chairman, Northwest, Salihu Moh. Lukman; National Vice Chairman, South West, Chief Isaacs Kekemeke and several other members of the NWC.
APC was on Monday thrown into confusion following reports that Senator Adamu had during the NWC meeting announced Senate President Ahmad Lawan as its consensus presidential candidate.
The said announcement which was in sharp contrast with the decision of 13 APC Northern Governors and some of its political leaders who have consistently opted for power-shift to the South.
For several hours, both Spokesman of the party, Felix Morka who is a member of the NWC, and Muhammad Nata’ala Keffi, media aide to the national chairman were not available for comments on the issue.
However, a member of the NWC who pleaded anonymity confirmed that indeed Adamu mentioned the issue in passing but it was never ratified as the position of the NWC.
“The chairman said so but we believe he was just expressing his personal opinion as the matter was not tabled for discussion and no decision was taken on it by the NWC”, said the member.
Adamu entitled to his opinion
Addressing journalists, Argungu said the party’s national chairman only expressed a personal opinion which is neither binding on the NWC nor on the party.
He said: “It (Lawan’s endorsement) is just an information that he gave us. It is not an issue that has to be deliberated by NWC. It is an information. All of us are entitled to our opinions. We are all democrats. This decision was never taken by the NWC.
“That is just an information, not an issue that was discussed by the NWC. Just recently, the northern governors had their meeting. We as members of the NWC, are with the governors on what they have said.
“He (Adamu) did brief us that Ahmad Lawan is our consensus candidate. That is just an information, not an issue that was discussed by the NWC”, he stated.
Meanwhile, the Tinubu Campaign Organization has described the use of consensus for APC’s presidential convention as a legal impossibility.
Former National Legal Adviser of the Party, Babatunde Ogala who is the Director, Legal Directorate of the Tinubu Campaign Organization said any declaration of consensus is illegal.
He said: “The media is inundated with reports that the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress has unilaterally announced the purported adoption of a certain candidate as the consensus presidential candidate of the APC for the forth coming presidential election in 2023.
“While the National Chairman is yet to deny or offer any clarification on the alleged declaration, it is necessary to state that such a declaration is a legal impossibility. This is because under the regime of the Electoral Act 2022, consensus, though provided for as one of the means by which a political party may produce its candidate, must specifically occur in a precise form.
Section 84(9) (10) and (11) of the Electoral Act 2022 are the relevant provisions and they state as follows:
‘(9) A political party that adopts a consensus candidate shall secure the written consent of all cleared aspirants for the position, indicating their voluntary withdrawal from the race and their endorsement of the consensus candidate’.
‘(10) Where a political party is unable to secure a written consent of all cleared aspirants for the purpose of a consensus candidate, it shall revert to the choice of direct or indirect primaries for the nomination of candidates for the aforesaid elective position.
‘(11) A special convention or nomination congress shall be held to ratify the choice of consensus candidates at designated centers at the National, State, Senatorial, Federal and State Constituencies, as the case may be”.
“Instructively, none of the above conditions have occurred in respect of producing the presidential candidate of the APC. Therefore, any declaration of a consensus candidate would be premature and a violation of extant provisions of the law.
“We are confident that as a law-abiding entity, the APC will not be part of such. We are further persuaded to urge our supporters to disregard this report considering that the overwhelming majority of the APC Northern Governors who, after meeting with the President, re-affirmed their preference for a president from the Southern part of Nigeria.
“This patriotic decision is widely accepted by all Nigerians as a demonstration of deep understanding of the nuanced fault lines of our nation.
“In the circumstance, a unilateral declaration by the National Chairman of a consensus presidential candidate for the party will not only violate the law, but set the party on collision cause with its Governors who are critical stakeholders in the party”, he added.
South, Middle-Belt APC leaders demand for Adamu’s resignation
Following Senator Adamu’s controversial move, leaders of the APC from the South and Middle Belt have launched an offensive against the National Chairman, demanding for his immediate resignation.
Sources report that Governors of Southern extraction in the APC have aligned with this position and this will top the agenda when the leaders and Governors meet later on Tuesday night. Uppermost on the agenda is to, among other things, call for Adamu’s resignation for being a biased and interested umpire.
“A situation whereby a National Chairman singlehandedly chooses a candidate and unilaterally informs the NWC and Governors of his choice, masquerading same as “consensus’ is totally unacceptable”, the source stated.
“We have credible intelligence that Adamu is working in cahoot with the PDP to field an unpopular candidate so that the PDP can win the election” , the source stated.
The Southern leaders, it was gathered have started mobilizing against the National Chairman and have also reached out to their Northern colleagues to respect their pact on power shift to the South.
We’re ready to conduct world-class presidential primary election
Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun has declared that the APC was set to conduct a convention which would be a reference for political parties in the country.
Abiodun who is the Chairman, Accreditation and Decoration Committee of the convention, gave this declaration while speaking with newsmen shortly after he inspected the International Conference Centre, Abuja, venue for accreditation of delegates, said all things have been put in place for the success of the event.
According to him, the Committee made up of deputy governors, members of the National Assembly and eminent party faithful are working round the clock to ensure a hitch-free presidential primary election.
“I want to say that we are ready for the exercise. All our tags are ready, we began our work ahead of our inauguration because of the importance attached to the assignment. We are ready and we believe that by the time it is over, it will become a reference point for conventions in the history of political parties in this country”. The governor stated.
Abiodun, however, noted that the convention would be different as everyone attending the convention must wear a tag that would have security features such as codes which could be read by a device.
“Everyone going into the Eagle s Square will be accredited. This will give us the idea of those that will be delegates and those that are just attending the exercise”, he explained.
The governor expressed satisfaction with level of work done so far at the venue, saying he looked forward to a successful primary election.
Aspirants boast of their chances
Meanwhile some of the aspirants were upbeat about their chances of winning the primaries.
While Governor Yahaya Bello boasted that 50 per cent of the 2,340 delegates were for him, the Osinbajo camp mouthed an opinion poll which gave thee vice president victory with over 800 delegates votes; Tinubu was projected to have about 600 votes; Rotimi Amaechi, 329 votes .and Senator Goodwill Akpabio, 40; votes.
However, the Tinubu camp countered that they want primaries conducted because they are sure of winning at least 22 states.
The states include Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Sound, Borno, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Kwara, Nasarawa Zamfara, Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Delta, Edo, Anambra, Cross River, and Oyo
Citing injustice, Nnamani withdraws from APC Presidential race
Former Senate President and Presidential Aspirant in the APC, Senator Ken Nnamani has withdrawn from Tuesday’s presidential primary election of the party.
Citing injustice against the South-East where he comes from, Nnamani said the South having conceded the national chairmanship of the party to the North, there was no need for the Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee NWC of the party to keep dilly-dallying on zoning the presidential ticket to the South.
He said; “You will recall that on March 26, 2022, a new set of members of the National Working Committee of the APC were elected in an elective convention. In that election, there was a unity list which was endorsed by all the Governors of the party and other leaders of the party in was different region and approved by Mr. President.
“The unity list was anchored on the core principles of the party to rotate and zone political offices. The party swapped positions between the north and south. The party offices that were occupied by leaders from the south automatically transferred to the north. This explains why no southern candidate contested for National Chairman at the convention. Everyone accepted that the position of National Chairman was zoned to the north while the position of the President was reserved for the southern aspirants. The clear understanding of party members is that the Presidential Candidate of the party will come from the south and only aspirants from the zone will vie for the office.
“This is a logical follow-up to the outcome of the National Convention. The statements of party leaders confirmed this general perception. In the initial weeks after the announcement of timetable for the election and commencement of sale of forms, the belief that APC would zone its presidential ticket to the south continued because only southerners purchased forms, except the notable exception of Gov. Yahaya Bello”.
Nnamani noted that the fact that leading northerners failed to indicate interest in the race convinced many that the APC will thread the path of honour and justice by zoning its presidency to the south after a northern president has completed eight years under its platform.
Expressing his dissatisfaction, Nnamani said; “the events of recent days created the impression that zoning had been jettisoned in the APC. The vacillation of party leaders regarding zoning of the APC presidential ticket has not created clarity in the party and injures the confidence and faith of many in the south, particularly the southeast, in the party. It has the implication of suggesting to many in the party, including myself, that the party will allow conveniences of the moment to override foundational issues of justice and fairness. Considering the events of the recent past, all well-meaning Nigerians must reaffirm faith in the constitutional values of justice and fairness.”
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Wike’s romance with Tinubu’s men rattles Amaechi’s base
There are strong indications that the Rivers State All Progressives Congress led by immediate past Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, is angry about the romance between the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu’s men; and the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
Wike has in recent times been meeting with some APC chieftains, including Tinubu’s allies. On Monday, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was invited by Wike to inaugurate a road project.
The Rivers governor also invited former Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila to inaugurate some projects in his state.
Earlier, some APC governors led by the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Kayode Fayemi, had also met Wike in his state amid his feud with the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar.
However, sources close to Amaechi, told The PUNCH that the romance between Wike and Tinubu was disrespectful especially since it was public knowledge that Wike and Amaechi were political foes.
They also accused Tinubu of supporting Senator Magnus Abe who recently dumped the APC to run for governor on the platform of the Social Democratic Party.
An associate of Amaechi who wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said, “The APC leaders have been coming to Rivers State to lobby Wike and make all manner of promises to him. These people never came to Rivers even when the party was having a crisis.
“They should not forget that Amaechi came second in that presidential primary and is still the leader of the APC in Rivers State. Rather than rally around him, they have been romancing Wike. Tinubu is among the sponsors of Magnus Abe who has defected to the SDP.
“Magnus Abe is Tinubu’s boy. He is always with Tinubu. Even after joining the SDP, he is still with Tinubu and has promised to work for Tinubu’s campaign. Yet they cannot caution him.”
The source stated that Atiku might begin to woo Amaechi soon if quick action was not taken.
Speaking with The PUNCH, an APC chieftain, Chukwuemeka Eze, said he was not aware if Atiku had begun reaching out to Amaechi.
Eze, however, said if Amaechi decides to join the PDP, then Tinubu should be blamed.
He added, “If Amaechi decides to rejoin PDP, it may not be of his own making but due to the acts and attitude of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and managers of his campaign team coupled with the new style of leadership of those currently running APC.
“Let me state unequivocally that the manner and ways Amaechi and his political Team are being neglected both in the formation of the APC Presidential Campaign Council and most of the activities of the party since after the APC Presidential Convention is not the best way to treat a leader with the stature or status of Amaechi. You don’t do that.
“To worsen the situation, the manner in which Tinubu and his associates continued to associate with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State without any consultation with Amaechi or any member of his political family is not only sad but very unfortunate.”
Eze said Amaechi remained an institution in Rivers State politics and that anybody or political leader who feels he can undermine him is doing that at his or her own peril.
He recalled that Amaechi as the Director-General of the Presidential campaign that orchestrated President Goodluck Jonathan’s defeat in 2015
“Based on his rating, I will not be shocked if Atiku Abubakar is wooing him based on the fact that the two leaders are not only very close associates politically and but have remain great partners in the progress of this country so I have nothing against such a union,” he said.
When contacted, the Rivers State APC Publicity Secretary, Chris Finebone, told The PUNCH that Wike was desperate for an alliance with Tinubu and the APC to remain relevant after 2023.
Commenting on the romance between Tinubu’s men and Wike, he stated, “In politics, the concentric circles of conspiracy are numerous. Sometimes they overlap and other times they are incongruent. But very often, the end result is one – how to appropriate political power at the expense of others or competitors. Therefore, in the instant case, whether it is Asuwaju that is going after Governor Wike or the latter that is courting Asuwaju, the end result is how to survive 2023 general elections and remain politically relevant thereafter.
We know that the desperate party or side in the entire calculation is Wike. Reason is that head or tail with Atiku, he’ll lose. Assuming without conceding that Atiku wins, he’ll surely put away Wike in a cold manner. Wike understands this. In a scenario where Asuwaju/APC wins, Wike deserves the grace of God to walk free. He needs the protection post 2023 so badly. Therefore, it is clear that Wike is the one chasing after Asiwaju/APC and not the opposite.
Whether asked if the romance was a slap on Amaechi, he stated, “I have a biblical verse as an answer. ‘Thou sayest!’
Also in a chat with The PUNCH, the Deputy spokesman of the APC in the Rivers State, Darlington Uwauju, said Amaechi was one of the few political leaders that could be trusted and that he would not leave the APC for the PDP.
The Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the APC, Cornelius Ojelabi, said anyone was free to visit Wike as he was not Tinubu’s enemy.
On Tinubu’s alleged link to Magnus Abe’s defection, he said, “I don’t know anything about that. All I know is that politics is a game of numbers. When you are in a contest, you just have to approach all that is approachable and solicit support.”
On whether he sees the possibility of Wike forming an alliance or crossing over to the APC, Ojelabi responded, “It is all about passion and you know Wike has a passion for politics. Wike was part of the southern governors who came to Lagos State before now and said that the Southern governors won’t support any presidential candidate from the North.”
‘Wike a tactician’
Also speaking with The PUNCH, a former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, who is also a Tinubu campaigner, said there was nothing wrong with the new romance with Wike.
Shittu said Amaechi should be happy that someone like Wike was being linked to the APC.
“Nobody will stop Wike if he wants to come to APC. Again, you know Wike is a tactician. If I were in Amaechi’s shoes, I would see Wike’s coming as an opportunity to settle reconcile with him. What he should be thinking of at that point is that with Wike coming into the party, will there be an in-fighting anymore?,” he asked.
Shittu also rubbished reports that Tinubu had a hand in Abe’s defection, adding that Tinubu could not be blamed for longstanding crisis in the party in Rivers State.
“Is it not a stupid idea for anybody to suggest that Abe is not intelligent enough to take a decision on his own? There are certain things that sound silly to one’s hearing, except that it is always news to the media.
“Abe has been running a battle politically with Amaechi. Even at the last governorship primary, he didn’t win the ticket to fulfil his ambition. Tell me, does he need anybody to tell him the next step to take if he fails to clinch the APC ticket,” he asked.
Shittu added that Tinubu was not fighting with Amaechi whom he described as a brother and friend. He noted that when Amaechi accused APC delegates of selling their votes, Tinubu refused to respond.
“Is he fighting Amaechi? Even when he alleged that some delegates were given bribes for vote-buying, did Tinubu say anything? That’s because he doesn’t want to join the fray. If you study Tinubu well enough, you will know that he doesn’t take issue with people. That’s why you see people who fight him coming back to him at the end of the day,” he said
When contacted, Atiku’s Media Adviser, Paul Ibe said reconciliation and discussions with Wike was still ongoing and declined further comment.
An analyst, Sunny Anyanwu, argued that it was almost impossible for Wike to defect to the APC, adding that he may have been hurt, but he would not dump the PDP.
‘’It will amount to a dog eating its vomit if Wike defects to APC. Yes I agree Wike has been hurt. The committee set up by the PDP to select a vice- presidential candidate recommended him but Atiku on his own picked Okowa. Now, it was like injustice was done to him. I don’t think Wike will finally settle for APC. I don’t think so. But if he does it, he has brought his personality to the mud, and he will have no political relevance again,’’ the lawyer submitted.
Amaechi could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. Calls placed to the ex-minister’smedia aide,Paul Iyiofor, rang out and he had yet to reply to a text message seeking his comment on Wike’s alleged romance with Tinubu’s allies and other APC chieftains.
Meanwhile, the crisis in the PDP worsened on Tuesday with tWike, attacking a former senator, Lee Maeba, an ally of the PDP presidential candidate.
Wike and Maeba traded words over the governor’s statement on the control of the votes in the state and the benefits which accrued to Rivers when Atiku was the vice-president between 1999 and 2007.
Speaking on Tuesday at the inauguration of the dualised Ogbunuabali -Eastern Bypass Road which was performed by the former governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, the governor said Maeba was wrong when he quoted him (Wike) to have said he was in charge of Rivers State’s votes..
This was contained in a statement issued by Kelvin Ebiri, media aide to the governor and made available to newsmen..
He said, “Because some people went to school late, they don’t understand when somebody says I am in charge of this state. I never said I am in charge of votes in this state. But I know I can talk to my people and my people will listen to me. Some people say, I have only one vote, I agree. I can’t vote two times. I will only vote once. But because of the services I have rendered to the people of this state, the state will listen to me.”
The governor stated that he had remained a consistent politician, not playing double games and urged Rivers people to be happy that they have a governor who would always defend the state.
The statement said, “Leadership is not about party, leadership is about individual. Party is only a vehicle to actualize your ambition, to be able to tell your people I have this capacity, I have this quality to render services to you.
“If you take me away today from the PDP to another party, I will still perform. So, it is not because I’m in the PDP that I’m performing. It is because I have that passion for my people. It is because I have the commitment to serve my people. Take me to the YPP, allow me to become whatever I will become there, I will perform. Take me to any party, I will perform. So, it is not the party that makes you perform.”
He stated that the state did not benefit from some politicians’ closeness to Presidents and Vice-Presidents.
Maeba replies Wike
But reacting to Wike’s comment, Maeba told The PUNCH that Rivers State benefited from Atiku on account of his and a former House of Representatives deputy speaker, Austin Opara’s closeness to the former vice-president.
The former federal lawmaker explained that his relationship with Atiku brought Intels, a logistics company owned by the PDP presidential candidate, to the state.
He said, “It (Relationship with Atiku) brought Intels. Atiku established Intels which employed many people. It was because of us that he (Atiku) invested more in Intels Rivers.
“Must friendship bring something? What has his (Wike’s) friendship brought to me? His friendship to me has only brought me pains; his friendship to me has brought me more pains.”
Also speaking in an interview with an online television station monitored by our correspondent, Maeba disclosed how Wike threatened to collapse the party if he failed to secure the party’s ticket to contest the 2023 presidential election.
He said, “Wike told me during one of our campaigns that if he failed the primary that he will collapse the whole system if they do to him what they did to (Ex-Rivers state governor, Peter) Odili. He said he will collapse the system and everybody will go home. That is the fear here.”
He wondered why the governor had refused to move on like Odili did when he failed in his bid to become the president in 2007.
When contacted, Atiku’s Media Adviser, Paul Ibe said reconciliation and discussions with Wike was still ongoing and declined further comment.
I never told Tinubu to give Peter Obi a chance, seek treatment for his health – Ghana President
Ghananian President, Nana Akufo-Addo has denied writing a letter to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, appealing to him to give the flagbearer of the Labour Party, LP, Peter Obi a chance in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election.
He said he never told Tinubu to seek treatment for his health as contained in the purported letter making the rounds on social media.
Akufo-Addo who is well known as a good leader, advised people via his verified Twitter handle to discountenance the story, noting that the letter is completely false and mischievous.
According to him: “My attention has been drawn to a disturbing post making the rounds on social media, where it is alleged I have written to the 2023 presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to “give Peter Obi a chance and seek treatment for his health”.
“This is completely false and mischievous, with no iota of truth whatsoever in it.
“I have written no such letter to the APC leader, and it will not occur to me to do so. Ghana and Nigeria boast of decades of cordial, strong and brotherly relations, and I am not going to be the one to interfere in the internal affairs and politics of Nigeria.”
Governance: Outside PDP, I’ll still perform — Wike boasts
GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike on Tuesday boasted that his widely acknowledged outstanding stewardship in office reflects his personal capacity and passion to deliver enduring development to Rivers state people and nothing to do with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) he belongs.
Wike during Tuesday’s commissioning of dualised Ogbunuabali – Eastern Bypass Road project in Port Harcourt, bragged, “Take me away today from PDP to another party, I will still perform. So, it is not because I’m in PDP that I’m performing.”
He said, “Leadership is not about party. Leadership is about individual. Party is only a vehicle to actualise your ambition, to be able to tell your people I have this capacity, I have this quality to render services to you.
“It is because I have that passion for my people, have the commitment to serve my people. Take me to YPP, allow me become whatever I will become there, I will perform. Take me to any party, I will perform. So, it is not party that makes you to perform.”
While comtemporaries use economic hardship as excuse for failing in rendering purposeful leadership and service to their people, Wike said he found same situation a more rewarding leverage for sustain delivery of projects to Rivers people.
Chiding perceived misguided Rivers politicians for twisting his assertion on Monday that the state was fully under his grips, Wike explained that, “Because some people went to school late, they don’t understand when somebody says I am in charge of this State.
“I never said I am in charge of votes in this State, but I know I can talk to my people and my people will listen to me. Some people say, I have only one vote, I agree. I can’t vote two times. I will only vote once. But because of the services I have rendered to the people of this State, the State will listen to me.”
The governor on the occasion lifted the ban on youths activities in Ogbunuabali and released N2 billion he promised the community, praising their cooperation while the road project lasted, after initially objecting to it.
Special guest on the occasion and former Governor of Sokoto State, Sen Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko who inaugurated the road project joined the growing list of top political leaders who continue to acknowledge the leadership capacity of Wike in service delivery to Rivers people.
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