Why I nominated Fubara to be Rivers Gov—Wike reveals

Port Harcourt—Governor Siminalayi Fubara was fielded as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in last year’s general election to foster unity in Rivers State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Nyesom Wike said yesterday.

He explained that the decision was taken by him and other elders of the state to ensure harmony and sense of belonging to all the sections of the state.

Wike said if he had nominated a politician from his native Ikwerre ethnic group as successor, nobody would have stopped him, adding that he jettisoned personal interest in favour of unity and progress of the state.

The former governor spoke at a luncheon he organised in Port Harcourt to mark the New Year.

At the reception, party elders, former commissioners and other chieftains reiterated their confidence in Wike’s leadership.

However, Fubara and his supporters were not at the event.

The former minister recalled that to pave the way for Fubara, who hails from the riverine area, he had to prevail on other aspirants, including former PDP chairman, Bro. Felix Obuah, to drop his ambition.

Wike said to avoid acrimony within his political family, he bought the forms for the PDP aspirants, including the governor.

He recalled that he invited Obuah, a frontrunner for the governorship poll, to his house and asked him to quit the race and become the Director-General for the campaign, stressing that he made a sacrifice.

Hailing Obuah for his loyalty, he also recalled that he still resolved to stand firm with him, despite the seizure of his property by his predecessor.

Wike said: “Felix Obuah was in my team as chairman of the party. My predecessor seized Obua’s property; everything he owned, land, schools and hotels.

“The wife cried to him, but he told his wife, ‘don’t worry, if it is the will of God, there is nothing you can do. He stood firm. They took everything he had.

“He was one of the frontrunners in 2023 governorship election. I told him in my house to step down; that he won’t run. He looked at me, but I say you won’t run.

“He said if that was what I am saying that he won’t run. But I say you will be DG, go and campaign for that election. I say you must be DG and he said if that is what you want, I will go and do it. And he did it.

“I see all kinds of things going on. They are talking evil about him. But he is here and he will still be here.

“Those who open their mouth to talk.don’t know anything. I was the one who paid for the forms for anybody who wanted to run for elections as governor, House of Assembly and National Assembly. Let one person raise his hand and said he bought forms.

“We say we are all family members, no need for acrimony. Don’t spend your money, we will agree on who will run.

“The day we took the final decision, the chairman of elders council nearly collapsed. He is here. OCJ was there, Awuse was there. Omehia was there.

“He nearly collapsed. Why? He wanted a governor from the riverine area. When I looked at him, I say why would I allow this old man to just die. I say let’s not create the impression that there are people who want to monopolise power.

“Let’s allow everybody to be part of it because we belong to one Rivers State. If I had wanted, nobody would have stopped me. Nobody had what it takes to even near me.

“And to God be the glory, I don’t regret what I did and I will never regret what I did because I want the unity of this state for us to forge ahead. If I wanted Ikwerre man, nobody would have stopped me.”

Wike insisted that he was interested in playing politics of unity. recalling that when he visited the Southsouth Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Victor Giadom, he went there with PDP leaders.

He said: “The politics we play in this state is the politics of unity of Rivers State, not party. When I visited Victor Giadom, I went with all PDP leaders. Today, he is here with all APC leaders. Membership of party is not on radio or television. So, all of us must make Rivers State to move forward”.

Wike said he was disposed to the peace agreement initiated by President Bola Tinubu, charging the stakeholders to implement it without conditions.

Emphasising that he would never disobey the President, he commended the House of Assembly for immediately implementing its own side of the resolutions.

He said: “I want to make one confession to you. I work with Mr. President and there is no way I can disobey Mr. President. It is not possible. The mere fact that Mr. President calls you and said look, allow peace here, there is no way I can disobey Mr. President.

“I may not be happy in all resolutions, but if Mr. President calls for peace, who are you to say you don’t want peace? I will not attach any condition to what Mr. President wants from me. I will not do it.

“So, I must obey Mr. President. I must do everything humanly possible to see that the peace arrangement is achieved in Rivers. That is what is required and I am going to do that.”

The minister apologized to people especially his friends, who obeyed his decisions, but were hurt by them.

He said: “I am not perfect. I won’t say every decision I take I am right. I am human and I may take decision that may not be palatable with everybody. I accept it and if it turns out to be bad, forgive me.

“Let’s move forward for the interest of the state. That is important. I took the decision and you listened to me. I want you to also listen to me now.

“Let’s accept what Mr. President has said. It is for the interest of Rivers and for Nigeria in general.”

“It may not be the best, but there is no option. Mr. President took a lot of risk to give me minister of FCT. People protested, but he stood firm.

“If he could do that, you too should accept his decision.

“When we came back from Abuja, within the next 48 hours, the Speaker and his people took the decision to obey Mr. President without attaching any condition. I thank Mr. Speaker and other members for respecting Mr. President.

“Whether you are APC or PDP or you don’t belong to any of the parties, we owe a duty to give Mr. President support to move this country forward. Some people said I betrayed PDP.

“I never betrayed PDP. We stood firm and told Nigerians we won’t do this if this is not done. So, the issue of betrayal doesn’t arise”.

The minister said he learnt from President Tinubu, who once taught him that betrayal and politics are mother and father.

He recalled how Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki betrayed the agreements they had to pave the way for his second term.

Wike said: “It is not everything you invest that you will reap. Even, established companies crumble.

“You cannot say I did this, but I am not benefitting. God knows why it happens the way it happens.

“What is important in life is to give God the glory that you are alive to see what is happening.

“When a man is dead, he doesn’t know what is happening.

“You will be able to advise your children and your friends. When the heat was on in Edo. This young man was a frontrunner in Edo governorship election.

“PDP leaders came to me in Port Harcourt from 6pm to 6am the next day. I told the young man with Dan Orbih to withdraw and not to run for governor. He was crying and we agreed on what will be given to their group.

“He was to be refunded the money he spent and to get four commissioners, but not one was kept. We said okay, you would run for Senate in the next election. But not one was kept .

“But the next thing was blackmail that Wike wants to control this. But you didn’t know Wike wants to control when you came and held a meeting with me from 6pm to 6am. It was all about blackmail. That is what you see in politics.

“You must have shock absorbers. President Tinubu told me when we were meeting that politics and betrayal are the same mother and father. If you don’t want to be betrayed, don’t enter politics.

“So, prepare yourself that it will happen. I am fully prepared because I know it is one of the things President Tinubu taught me.

“I am laying this foundation so that some of you who are worried should not be. That is life for you.

“You must prepare yourself to know that these things happen. I have preached and continue to preach for the unity and for the peace in this state”.

Wike mentioned names of people in the audience who stood firmly with him, saying that he had never betrayed them.

Speaking on the Southsouth Chairman of PDP, he said: “God used Dan Orbih to give us the structure of the party to run for the governorship election. God used him. And I will never in my life, it doesn’t matter the circumstances, deny him.

“Why am I going this far? It is to let you know that I don’t abandon people who had stood for me. I may not do what you exactly want me to do, but I will never betray you”.

On why the Rivers crisis escalated, Wike said: ” Ask people why this matter came to this level.

“When people went and plotted the removal of the Speaker, you think we will fold our hands to remove speaker?

“We will start with you first. You want to humiliate us to remove Speaker? They said I should go and talk to the assembly men and I said why.

“They said you brought them. But I said so, these ones will listen to me, but you you won’t listen. They said chairmen of councils don’t respect anybody.

“But I said how, why won’t they respect anybody? People plotting evil and nobody wants to talk.

“We must make impact on people lives. Whatever position you find yourself, make impact.

“Forget about these people who cannot face me to fight me. I consumed them before and I will continue to consume them. Show them the way. Follow man that knows the way”.

We must support Tinubu, says Ortom

Former Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom, who spoke for the “G5,” said they were happy that Tinubu becale President.

He said the aim of the G5 was to actualise Southern Presidency, adding the group has obligations to support the president.

Ortom thanked Tinubu for choosing to work with Wike, based on his capacity.

He said: “The last administration took Nigeria from top to bottom. Nigeria was taken 50 years backward. President Tinubu needs time to take Nigeria from bottom to the top.”

Ortom called on people fanning the embers of crisis in Rivers State to stop and allow the state to remain in peace and unity.

The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Martins Amaewhule, and 24 other lawmakers who defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) were presen at the ceremony.

Also at the event were former Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, George-Kelly Alabo andother commissioners in Wike’s camp, who resigned from the State Executive Council, the Chairman of Port Harcourt Local Government Area, Allwell Ihunda, Senator Barinada Mpigi from Rivers South East, Kelechi Nwogu from Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency, ex-Speaker of Rivers Assembly, Awaji Igbani and Senator Allwell Nyesom.

Also present were Victor Giadom, Orbih, OCJ. Okocha, Sergeant Awuse, Kingsley Chinda, Desmond Akawor, Felix Obuah among others.

Alabo, who spoke for the ex-commissioners, pledged allegiance to Wike, saying:“We stand with you in every circumstance.”

He said Wike delivered Fubara from the riverine and dry areas after may years of agitation.

Alabo said: “As a principled politician, we believe that every river that forgets its source runs dry.

“You pulled your machinery and told all generals to go to the trenches and go to work and deliver this candidate, whether we like this candidate or not.

“We moved to the field and delivered the result. Your Excellency, that same machinery is still alive.”

Alabo commended Tinubu for his intervention in the crisis in the state, saying his position was satisfactory.

Giadom said a band of prayer warriors has been set up to pray for Wike to defect to the APC.

The Chairman of Rivers Elders’ Council, Chief Ferdinand Alabrarah, who told Wike that all his structures were intact, condemned ethnic politics in Rivers.

He said: “You are detribalised and your legacies will endure for generations to come. The elders will continue to be with you and support you”.

Orbih said Wike kept PDP intact in Rivers and the country, describing him as an ambassador of the party.

He added: “There is nothing we cannot do to advance the course of nation building. It is not about PDP, but Nigeria.”

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