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The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has hit back at those accusing him and his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom, of doing all they could to frustrate the micro-zoning of the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the South East geopolitical zone.
According to the governor, he had always believed in and supported well-coordinated efforts toward ensuring that the presidency is zoned to the South.
Wike made these comments at Itu Bridge Head, in Itu community, Emohua local government area of the state, venue of the flag-off of the Akpabu- Odido Road project.
He said, ‘I was one of those who led the campaign that the party’s chairmanship should go to the North because I believed the presidency should go to the South.
‘I attended meetings of southern governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and other parties from Delta to Lagos to Enugu states, where we agreed that the presidency should come to the south.’
The governor pointed out that while southern cross-party consultations were going on, there were people in the PDP who were bent on frustrating the eventual zoning of the party’s presidential ticket to the South.
Wike maintained that such people cannot now turn around to pass the blame on him and Governor Ortom to hide their scheme thinking they could deceive Nigerians.
He said, ‘I woke up this morning and read where they said, how Wike and Ortom frustrated PDP’s micro-zoning of presidential ticket to South East. That was what the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku, said.
‘I keep on saying they will be contradicting themselves, telling lies up and down, thinking that Nigerians don’t know. How can they say that I influenced Ortom and told him to allow and throw the ticket open?
‘Nigerians know those who are opposed to zoning of the party’s chairmanship first. And when the zoning committee was set up, this time, Atiku had gone to buy form to frustrate the recommendation of the zoning committee, so that when they have bought form, they could say, ‘oh, there is no need of zoning’. Will you tell people to withdraw?’
The governor said their gimmick is now hunting them because they were unfair to Nigerians.
Wike said, ‘Yes, you don’t like Ortom, no problems. I know my own; you don’t like me; no problems. But I and my state gave you the highest support in 2019, both with logistics and by votes.
‘You can’t deceive Nigerians again. What I have stood for is equity, fairness and justice. So, saying that I and Ortom frustrated PDP micro-zoning to South East is niether here nor there. They know that they don’t want presidency to come to the South.’
The governor urged the presidential candidate of the PDP leave him out of the attendant challenges he is facing in the party.
He, however, stated that a bad product is always difficult to sell; otherwise, Obasanjo would have recommended Atiku to Nigerians having worked with him.
But, instead of doing so, Wike noted that the former president chose to endorse another presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
The governor insisted that if former president Obasanjo has refused to recommend Alhaji Atiku, then something must be fundamentally wrong.
According to him, Atiku should be more concerned about that loss of confidence from his former boss and his coming election.