The incoming president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has finally confirmed that the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike worked for the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the 2023 presidential election.
Tinubu stated this when he inaugurated the Rumuokwuta/Rumuola Road Flyover in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.
Tinubu was in the state at the instance of the governor who had supported power shift to the southern region of the country during the presidential election even though they belonged to different parties.
“Your Excellency, Governor Nyesom Wike, you are very dependable,” Tinubu, an All Progressives Congress (APC) powerbroker told Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the event which was well-attended by APC stalwarts.
Tinubu said he went through a “gruesome campaign, fought hard and won”, saying he could not have achieved victory against major opponents like PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and Labour Party (LP)’s Peter Obi without structural support from people like Wike.
“Nyesom, I say thank-you for your contribution to my victory. I couldn’t have done it without some structural support,” said the former Lagos State governor who would be sworn in as Nigeria’s President on May 29, 2023.
“In his Excellency, I see a man of principle. He (Wike) took a principled stand that the Presidency must return to the South and he has the courage to stand by his conviction not minding whose ox is gored.
“He is indeed a man of great integrity; he did not choose to serve his own interest, not about him. Rather, the interest of the nation. You promoted unity, you promoted fairness, you championed justice. Thank you.
“There were so much gossips and speculations but you stood your ground.”
Tinubu expressed delight to have established a relationship with the Rivers governor and congratulated Wike’s ally and Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, who was also at the function, for “partnership”.
Tinubu was in Rivers alongside the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila as well as the governors of Jigawa, Ebonyi, Kwara, Imo, amongst others. Some former governors of the APC were also in attendance.
The President-Elect thanked Wike for declaring Wednesday as a holiday in honour of his visit to the South-South state.
G5 Long Battle With Atiku, Ayu
The G5 is made up of five PDP governors — Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Nyesom Wike (Rivers).
The five governors formed an alliance after the party’s presidential primary in May 2022, to demand that the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu step down for a southern replacement as a precondition to support the presidential ambition of the party’s flag bearer in the February 25 poll. Both Atiku and Ayu called the governors’ bluff and did not succumb to their demands in the just-concluded elections.
Tinubu had on February 15 met with Wike in Port Harcourt, one of their many engagements known to the public and the governor had defended their meeting, saying he was free to receive anyone.
For the presidential election, Atiku lost in all the G5 states while Obi won Enugu and Abia, Tinubu raked in Oyo, Benue and Rivers.
Tinubu, 70, came out tops 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, almost two million votes more than his closest rival, Atiku.
Atiku, 76, who has now run for president six times, got 6,984,520 votes, while Obi, who, in less than a year, galvanised young voters in a manner some have described as unprecedented finished the race with 6,101,533.