Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike yesterday reflected on his outing at Sunday’s presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and blamed his loss to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar on his Southern counterparts.
Wike said the Southern governors betrayed him by working against their earlier agreement that the Presidency should return to the South.
According to him, PDP governors ganged up with some vested interests to derail the quest of the South to produce the next president on the platform of the party.
He said that those who aligned with “a region (North) that ganged up” against their (Southern governors) own region had inadvertently chosen to remain “perpetual slaves.”
The governor, who was treated to a grand reception by PDP leaders and members in Rivers State, said he stood firmly by the agreement.
Wike recalled that in 2019, he was the only governor in the Southsouth that “refused to negotiate with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to give them 25 per cent votes..”.
The governor said he was pleased that he had sent out two clear messages: “Enough is enough” and .that “this country does not belong to one particular zone.”’
His words: “I contested in an election(primary)based on the principle and agreement with all Southern governors and leaders of the South that Presidency should go to the South this period.
“We have done our part. We never betrayed anybody because it is not in our blood to betray. But it is a shame to those people, some of the governors from the South, they are the people that were used to sabotage our course.”
Wike said it was disheartening that some governors from the South chose their inordinate ambitions over the collective interest of the people they claim to represent.
He said: “Look at a region’s gang up ( referring to the North), then you, your own region cannot gang up. You became tools to be used against the interest of your people, and you think you have won, you have lost.
“You will continue to be perpetual slaves. Rivers people you don’t need to bother yourselves. PDP needs us. If they say they don’t need us, they should wait.”
The governor explained that he was propelled into the race to offer service and advance the interest of Nigeria.
He said he was confronted by a few individuals, who wanted somebody they would control and he declined to be such puppet.
He said: “The winner(of the ticket) also saw it. They underrated us, but now, they will not underrate us again. We have all it takes to do whatever we want to do. It is a matter of you being firm, it is a matter of you being hopeful.
“There is nobody that is born greater than us in this country, therefore, we cannot answer second class citizens. We can’t.
“We just used this one to tell them that enough is enough. We made them not to sleep. We made them not eat. We made all of them from wherever they said they come from to know that there is somebody who can take them on. This country does not belong to one particular zone. If people are afraid of talking it is their business. I cannot be a second class citizen in my country.”
“Some of them, their in-laws are governors in the ruling party, but they want to interfere in what happens in PDP. Some of them their brothers are governors in the ruling party and they want to interfere in PDP”
Wike said with the presidential primary over, and given his pledge to work for whoever emerged, Rivers would work to deliver PDP and all its candidates in the 2023 general elections.
The governor recalled that in 2019, despite the failure of the candidate he supported to clinch the ticket, Rivers gave PDP massive votes and refused to negotiate with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to give them 25 per cent votes.
He said: “In 2019, I was the only governor from the South-South who never negotiated with the present government. They came, I said no, I was not going to be a party to that. And that is why APC never had 25 per cent in this State (Rivers).
“But, all the other states in the Southsouth, the president got 35 per cent to 40 per cent. I said I was not going to sit down with them and negotiate.”
Wike said he had told the winner of the PDP presidential primary, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, that most of the people hanging around him lacked electoral value.
The governor said it was wrong for the party to have allowed the governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, to speak for a second time after the time allotted to each of the aspirants to address the delegates.
In his remarks, the Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, described the governor as an emancipator, who had solved a particularly nagging problem in Nigeria, the minority question.
Chairman, PDP Rivers State, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, commended Wike for his resilience saying that the entire State and the Niger Delta are happy that he spoke for them.
Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government, Samuel Nwanosike, said Wike had demonstrated that Rivers State and the Niger Delta could not be underrated in the political equation of Nigeria.