Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has said some elders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state worked against him to ensure he did not become running mate to the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
He said they did so because they lost in their bids to secure the Rivers State PDP governorship ticket.
He made these comments on Monday, during the 74th birthday reception of a former governor of the state, Peter Odili, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Mr. Odili was governor of Rivers State from 1999 to 2007.
Mr. Wike recalled how some of the elders, including George Sekibo and Barry Mpigi, both senators, visited him in March and made a commitment to work with him as well as accept the outcome of the governorship primary in the state.
“They signed the document prepared by O.C.J. Okocha that whoever I will bring, they will abide to buy it.”
He said the lawmakers also urged him to run for president and that in return he asked to produce a candidate who would succeed him.
“I asked them, those of you who are interested in becoming governor, raise your hands. Everybody raised his hand except Barry Mpigi. I asked why he was not interested, and he replied, ‘Sir, let me hold what God has given me. I don’t want to lose the two,” the governor said.
After they lost at the primary, Mr. Wike explained, they turned around to allege that he was pursuing a third-term bid.
“…they went to Abuja, that I must not be vice president. I also read yesterday, when I was in Paris, one of them saying I told him that if they do to me what they did to Dr. Odili, that I will collapse the system.”
He described Mr. Odili as a true leader of men, who groomed and supported many to the political limelight.
Reconciliation meeting stalled
Mr. Wike’s comments come on the heels of efforts to reconcile him and Atiku.
Messrs Wike and Atiku have been at loggerheads after the former lost to the latter at the party’s primary election in May.