The supposed political romance between Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, and presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, resurfaced yesterday, as the Rivers State chapter of the APC accused Wike of offering to work for Tinubu ahead of the 2023 general election.
The APC’s claim comes as Wike and the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have commenced the process of reconciling their differences over the friction that trailed the selection of Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, as running mate to Atiku.
Tinubu had last month reportedly met with Governor Wike in France, a development the APC standard bearer refuted through his spokesperson, Tunde Rahman, describing the media reports as “fake news”. This came simultaneously with another report that the Rivers governor had shunned the emissaries of presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, in Turkey.
In the heat of the friction two weeks ago, Wike returned from his vacation abroad and hosted three APC governors, Babajide Sanwoolu of Lagos; Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo and Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti in Port Harcourt.
Resurrecting the claim about the Tinubu-Wike parley, APC publicity secretary in Rivers State, Chris Finebone, said Wike was trying to get a safe landing and protection from the party.
Finebone who made the allegation in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP in Port Harcourt yesterday was reacting to a state-wide broadcast by Wike on Sunday night in which he said he obtained intelligence reports that some politicians have started recruiting cultists, ex-convicts and thugs in furtherance of their political aspirations for 2023.
A top Wike loyalist and a former member of the House of Representatives, Ogbonna Nwuke, however, dismissed the claim by the APC about the governor making overtures to Tinubu, saying it was wrong for the opposition party in the state to make such insinuations because some .
But reacting to Wike’s address, Finebone stated that the governor began the moves when he became convinced that Tinubu would defeat the PDP presidential candidate in the presidential election.
The statement reads in part: “The APC is not surprised because it is a notorious fact already known to many politicians and observers that Governor Wike was thrown into his present panic mode ever since he failed in his desperate attempt to secure the Presidential and later Vice Presidential tickets of his party in order to cover up financial and other atrocities he committed over the past 10 years as Minister of Education and presently governor of Rivers State for two terms ending May 29, 2023.
The APC warned Wike against demolishing hotels and leisure centre belonging to members of the party, saying such action will assume the dimension of an apocalypse of immense proportions.
The statement said: “The APC is not surprised at the threat by Governor Wike. His house (PDP) is crumbling fast right in his face. For obvious reasons, his main men of yesterday have turned political foes today. His entourage has seen faces change over and over again of late.
“We know his threat is essentially directed at his henchmen who have taken their destinies in their own hands and rebelling against the local potentate. Across the State these men have pitched their tent with Wike’s tormentor-in-chief, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
“The APC in Rivers State has news for Governor Wike. He is not in any position to demolish the hotel, leisure places or any property of any APC member in Rivers State under any guise whatsoever. This message should sink in adequately. It is absolutely the choice of his party members to let him repeat his jungle justice on them as the world witnessed during the last pandemic high noon.
“The anarchy Wike will bring upon himself should he attempt it against any APC member will assume the dimension of an apocalypse of immense proportions. We hope the governor takes this warning seriously.
“We want the governor to realize that his time is fast winding up. He should accept this fact and not exacerbate his fate as power and immunity depart from him in a matter of months.”
Wike Not Making Any Overtures To APC, Tinubu – Ex-Rep
But Ogbonna Nwuke, a former member of the House of Representatives, countered Rivers APC claim, stating that Governor Wike was not making any overtures to the APC and its presidential candidate, Tinubu.
Nwuke who spoke with LEADERSHIP in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, yesterday said it was wrong for the APC in Rivers State to interpret the invitation Wike extended the party’s prominent members to commission projects in the state to mean courting Tinubu to get best landing and protection.
The former federal lawmaker said, “It is strange and whoever said that on the platform of the APC does not understand the difference between politicking and administration.
“What is apparently coming out of the APC is distasteful; it doesn’t show maturity. It doesn’t show that whoever made that statement understand the way politics is played.
“Right now, people belong to different political parties and the fact you belong to a different political party does not mean that you don’t have friends. So, what is wrong with anyone trying to relate with his friends. Does that mean the person is making overtures? That is not correct.
PDP Postpones NEC Meeting
Meanwhile, the PDP has postponed its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting scheduled to hold on Thursday.
The NEC meeting was billed to review recent events in the party and approve the presidential campaign council for the party ahead of the 2023 election.
The setting up of the councils was stalled by the impasse arising from the emergence of the party’s running mate which pitched loyalists of the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, against those of Nyesom Wike, Rivers State governor.
However, a statement by the national secretary of PDP, Sen. Samuel N. Anyanwu noted: “This is to inform all members of the PDP National Caucus and National Executive Committee that the meetings of the two bodies earlier scheduled for Wednesday, August 10and Thursday, August 11, 2022, respectively, have been postponed.
“The postponement is due to unforeseen circumstances. A new date will be announced in due course. All inconveniences are deeply regretted.”