The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, recently addressed allegations of rigging in the February 25th presidential and legislative elections in the state to the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, an Igbo apex body. Despite accusations of rigging against the Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, in the state, Governor Wike declared that he owes no one an apology. According to the transcription of the discussions between Ohanaeze delegation and Wike, which was made available to SaharaReporters, Wike told the delegation that during the Southern Governors’ meetings in Delta, Lagos and Enugu, there was never any talk about zoning the presidency to Southeast Nigeria.
The governor told Ohanaeze that delegates from the South-East to the presidential primary/convention of the Peoples Democratic Party voted for northerners despite the southern governors’ resolve that power must shift to the South after the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.
The Vice President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo (Abia), Dr. Kingsley Chidozie, led the Ohanaeze delegation to the meeting held at the Exco Chambers, Government House, Port Harcourt, according to the transcript. Dr. Peter Aneke spoke on behalf of the Igbo apex body, and after a one-minute silence for the late Ohanaeze President General, George Obiozor and the late Joel Kroham, Dr. Aneke thanked Wike for the cordial relationship between him and the Igbo community in Rivers State.
During the meeting, Dr. Aneke expressed concern that the delegation, made up of Igbo elders and youths, were eager to know why Wike went the extra mile to pull down Peter Obi in Rivers State, especially as the alleged rigging operations were circulating on the Internet. He informed Wike that the Igbo all over the world are aggrieved with him, and asked him to explain his roles in the last presidential election.
In his response, Governor Wike expressed surprise that the Ohanaeze delegation was on a fact-finding mission. However, he went on to explain that the Southern Governors Forum met at Asaba, Delta State and agreed that power must shift to the South after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure. He also said they met at Enugu in September 2021 to reaffirm their position for a power shift to the South.
Wike stated that throughout their meetings, the issue of presidency to the South-East was never on the table. Furthermore, he added that throughout his political adventure in this dispensation, he tried as much as possible to maintain the position by the Southern governors.
Governor Wike expressed disgust that several well-known people of the South-East betrayed and sabotaged the Southern interest by voting for the Northern candidates for presidency during the PDP presidential primaries. He added that his unalloyed commitment to the South motivated him to provide logistics for Peter Obi when he was in Rivers State for presidential campaigns. He, however, refused to provide even a campaign ground for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the PDP on principles.
Governor Wike explained that what is circulating on social media is the handiwork of his adversaries, and some mischief makers were using some doctored and false audio and visual materials on the internet to dent his image. He admitted that all the decisions he took with respect to the 2023 presidential elections were based on his personal convictions and queried if Ohanaeze Ndigbo ever requested him to support Peter Obi. He added that he is a man with the courage of his convictions, and that he neither has reasons to tell lies nor to owe apology to anyone.