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.
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SCRAP METAL DEALERS IN LAGOS STATE DECLARE TOTAL SUPPORT FOR ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU AS PRESIDENT AND GOVERNOR BABAJIDE SANWO-OLU FOR 2ND TERM
Thousands of Scrap Metal dealers in Lagos State have vowed to deliver massive votes for the All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the re-election of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and all APC candidates across the State.
This declaration was made on Sunday at the New Garage Busstop (Odo Iyaalaro), near Ojota by the teeming members of the association. The event was organized by Grassroots Engagement Directorate under the leadership of Hon. Abdulbaq Ladi Balogun.
The Chief of Staff to Lagos State Governor who also doubles as the Director General of Independent Campaign Council for Tinubu/Shettima and Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat (ICC), Mr. Tayo Ayinde commended the leadership of the organization and the massive turnout of their members.
He reiterated government commitment to making available a conducive environment for business activities in the state. In his words; ‘ The Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu administration is performing wonders across the State and if returned to power, he will do more.’
He assured the leadership of total support from the Government, Mr. Ayinde used the opportunity to enlighten the gathering on how to vote correctly especially with the new BVAS system.
The chairman of Independent Campaign Council, Cardinal James Omolaja Odunmbaku appreciated the members and leadership for conducting themselves very well. He charged them to go all out and vote for APC candidates in the coming elections.
Delivering his speech, the chairman of the Scrap Metal Dealers in Lagos State, Comrade Adewale Adedotun thanked the Director General, the Chairman and all that came with them. Adedotun declared that the group has no other party to support but APC .
Dignitaries at the event were Mr. Tayo Ayinde (Director General ICC), Cardinal James Omolaja Odunmbaku (Chairman ICC), Hon. Kafilat Ogbara (House of Representatives Candidate for Kosofe Constituency), Hon. Okanlawon Sanni (House of Assembly Member Kosofe), Hon. Mayosoore Ogunlewe (Chairman of Kosofe LGA), Hon. Ladi Balogun (Director, Grassroots Engagement), Hon. Olumide Olayomi, Hon. Bode Olaniyan among others
Tinubu/Shettima and Sanwo/Hamzat Independent Campaign Council (ICC)
INDEPENDENT CAMPAIGN COUNCIL FOR TINUBU/ SHETTIMA AND SANWO-OLU/ HAMZAT BUYS JAMB (UTME) FORM FOR 2000 STUDENTS
The Independent Campaign Council for Tinubu/Shettima and Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat (ICC) purchased Joint Admission Matriculation Board – Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination form for 2,000 students in Lagos State.
As the promising teenagers are looking forward to a brighter future, the Independent Campaign Council (ICC) is poised to give helping hands, particularly the indigent students.
Championing the distribution of the UTME forms among the young people today 2nd February, 2023 was the Directorate of Education of the Independent Campaign Council for Tinubu-Shetima and Sanwo-Olu-Hamzat ably led by the Director, Dr. Adeyinka Olarinmoye.
Speaking at the event, the Director General of ICC Mr. Tayo Akinmade Ayinde congratulated the vibrant young people and their parents. He admonished the students that getting a free form does not give them licence to be lazy.
Mr. Ayinde noted that great people are hard working people and for young people to excel,they must be diligent in all they do .
Some of the highlights of the event were giving gift items to students who excelled during a brief quiz competition. The Director General also gave gifts to some of the parents who accompanied their wards to the venue.
Dignitaries at the event were Mr. Tayo Ayinde, the Director General of ICC, Cardinal James Omolaja Odunmbaku, Chairman of ICC, Director, Education Directorate of the ICC, Dr. Adeyinka Olarinmoye among others.
In Osogbo, Tinubu restates commitment to job creation, credit for business owners
…carpets Governor Adeleke for poor governance
All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, took his message of Renewed Hope to Osun State on Thursday where he assured the people and party supporters of his commitment to create jobs for the unemployed and make credit available for business owners.
Speaking in Yoruba to a mammoth crowd of people who thronged the venue of the campaign rally at Freedom Park Osogbo, Tinubu said his administration would empower the people with the skill that will make them employable while ensuring that the youth will no longer spend years in university due to lecturers’ strike action, stating that his pledge to the people will remain a biding covenant.
“I make a social covenant with you today that the unemployed among you will get job. Those with no skill will be provided the relevant skill that would put food on their table. When we get to government, we will make soft loans available for market women and business owners.”
Taking a swipe at the current Peoples Democratic Party government of Governor Ademola Adeleke in Osun State for poor governance of the state, the APC presidential candidate charged the people that APC administration will soon return to continue the good work.
“They were given a little opportunity to rule for some months and they started misbehaving, killing and creating unrest in Osun state.”
From his prepared speech which he didn’t get the time to read, Asiwaju Tinubu congratulated Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola, who was declared winner by the governorship election petition tribunal.
He praised Oyetola’s tenacity, diligence, consistency and determination, which made him not to give up until he got his stolen mandate back.
On his plans for Osun, Tinubu noted that the state, which is highly blessed with diverse resources, should be a destination for business and tourism across the country, promising to help achieve this if he becomes the president.
He said, “Osun is a beautiful state filled with virtuous, industrious and welcoming people. We will support Osun to become a manufacturing, industrial, agricultural and tourism paradise.
“You have fertile soil, abundant mineral resources, and a rich culture and history capable of attracting tourists from across the world.
“A vote for me is a vote to develop all parts of this state and this country. Rural areas will not be forgotten but will be developed to support more economic activities and create better lives for the people.
“At the same time, our growing urban population – you city boys – will enjoy decent jobs and a living wage.”
Tinubu urged the people of the Osun State not to be deceived by the empty promises of Peoples Democratic Party Candidate Atiku Abubakar and Labour Party Candidate Peter Obi, saying both have nothing to offer.
While he said Atiku was only interested in stealing the nation’s resources and pocketing them for himself and his cronies, Tinubu likened Obi to the unprofitable servant who buried his talents, saying while Obi was Anambra State governor, he failed to use the state’s resources to develop it, rather saving them for no purpose.
“None of the other major candidates in this election have the capacity, integrity, knowledge or determination necessary to do what must be done. Only I, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, am prepared and up to the task of leading this country, our cherished homeland, back towards its best destiny.
“Do not vote for the candidate of the poverty development party, Mr. Privatise, Atiku Abubakar. When, as the Vice President of this country, he had a chance to make a positive difference, he chose the lesser path.
“He chose to use his position to enrich himself, his family and his friends. He sold Nigeria’s most prized assets for a fraction of their value. In the name of privatisation, he stole from your future to enrich himself.
“Worse, he has learned nothing. He has gone everywhere telling the Nigerian people that he is coming back to finish the job. He has promised that this time he will not steal your prosperity.
“You should not believe him or his greedy co-conspirators. The nation does not need the return of its Privatiser-in-Chief. Reject him and his band of foul jesters. They have no serious plans for this country. They resort to cheap and vile antics because they have no substance, no solutions.
“Be equally wary of the false messiah, Mr. Stingy, Peter Obi. This man’s promises are bold and his boasts are plentiful. Yet, when he was given the responsibility to lead just one state, he was overwhelmed by it.
“He could only stash away the money he was supposed to be using to develop the state. All the people of Anambra could hope for was that whoever came next would have better ideas.
“A governor is not a banker, expected to hold fast to his customer’s deposit. Obi was expected to build good roads, schools and hospitals. He was supposed to pay the salaries of Anambra doctors, teachers and civil servants. He was meant to nurture and empower new leaders.
“In eight years, he achieved none of these things. He is no visionary leader. He is the man who proudly buried his talents because he knew no better. This man who could not even understand the proper role of a governor cannot be trusted as the next president. Reject him,” he added.
He also itemized further things his administration will do in the agricultural, educational and security sectors to give a befitting life to the people.
“Our farmers will be better equipped to feed the nation. In return, they will receive decent incomes with which they can better tend to their families in addition to tending to their land.
“Our educational reforms will equip talented youth with skills needed to be globally competitive. Our policies will open access to loans and business expertise to those wanting to start their own businesses.
“The bedrock of our national security shall be strengthened. We will better equip military units with tactical communications gear and all-terrain vehicles to give them greater communications and mobility to track down criminals, bandits and terrorists.
“We will upgrade our weapons systems and exploit aerial technological superiority to further identify, monitor and subdue the criminals, terrorists and bandits who would do harm to ordinary citizens,” he added.
At the rally were Governors Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); former governors Kayode Fayemi and Adegboyega Oyetola, as well as former APC Interim Chairman Chief Bisi Akande, APC National Women Leader, Betta Edu and other party leaders from National headquarters and South West party leaders.
Tinubu Media Office
February 2, 2023
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