Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state has given reasons he did not criticise the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Peter Obi and his ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, counterpart, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the February 25 presidential election.
He noted that he chose not to oppose the due because he is an “apostle” of power shift to the southern region of Nigeria.
Wike stated this at the commissioning of Chokocho-Igbodo Road in the Etche Local Government Area of Rivers state on Moday.
The Rivers governor said he owed nobody an apology for supporting the rotation of power to the south after the eight-year tenure of the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari who is from Katsina State in the North-West geopolitical zone.
Wike commended the people for voting a southern President in the just-concluded elections.
He said, “As far as I am concerned, anybody from south, that is my position.”
According to Wike, Section 7(3)(c) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) constitution recognised zoning and rotational presidency but the leadership of the party contravened the provisions of the party’s regulations.
“I owe nobody any apology at all. I am one of the apostles, one of those who stood firm that power must rotate to the South. This is for equity, this is for fairness and this is for justice.
“Whether you voted for Labour, I have no problem with you. Whether you voted for APC, I have no problem with you. That is what we have argued for: that the north has had it for eight years. Therefore the south must be there for eight years.
“As far as I am concerned, anybody from south, that is my position. That is what we agreed in the Integrity Group that we must make sure that the south emerges as the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Each time I went for campaign, nobody has ever heard me criticise Obi. Nobody has ever heard me criticize Asiwaju. I owe nobody any apology that people voted southern presidency.”
Recall that Wike and four other PDP governors known as the G5, ahead of the 2023 elections, had demanded the resignation of Iyorchia Ayu, saying northerners should not be the PDP national chairman and presidential candidate.
The PDP flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar; and Ayu called the governors’ bluff and did not succumb to their demands in the just-concluded elections.
But, Atiku lost in all the G5 states; Obi won Enugu and Abia; while Tinubu claimed Oyo, Benue and Rivers.
INEC declared Tinubu as President-Elect after winning 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 to beat Atiku.
But, Obi and Atiku said the election was flawed and will be challenged in court, faulting INEC for not uploading election results from polling units electronically to the commission’s Results Viewing Portal (IReV), as stipulated by Section 60 of the Electoral Act 2022.