Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike says he did not criticize the Labour Party’s (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, or his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Bola Tinubu, in the recently concluded February 25 presidential election because he is a “apostle” of power shift to Nigeria’s southern region.
Wike, speaking at the inauguration of the Chokocho-Igbodo Road in Rivers State’s Etche Local Government Area, said he owed no one an apology for his support for the rotation of power to the south following the eight-year tenure of the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, who is from Katsina State in the North-West geopolitical zone.
The Rivers governor also praised the people for electing a southern president in the recent elections.
According to him, Section 7(3)(c) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) constitution recognized zoning and rotational presidency, but the party’s leadership violated party norms.
“I owe nobody any apology at all. I am one of the apostles, one of those who stood firm that power must rotate to the South. This is for equity, this is for fairness and this is for justice.
“Whether you voted for Labour, I have no problem with you. Whether you voted for APC, I have no problem with you. That is what we have argued for: that the north has had it for eight years. Therefore the south must be there for eight years,” Wike said.
“As far as I am concerned, anybody from south, that is my position. That is what we agreed in the Integrity Group that we must make sure that the south emerges as the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Each time I went for campaign, nobody has ever heard me criticise Obi. Nobody has ever heard me criticize Asiwaju. I owe nobody any apology that people voted southern presidency.”
Wike and four other PDP governors known as the G5 requested Iyorchia Ayu’s resignation months before the polls, claiming that northerners should not be the PDP national chairman and presidential candidate.
In the recently ended elections, both the PDP’s flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar, and Ayu called the governors’ bluff and refused to cave in to their demands.
In the presidential election, Atiku lost in all five G5 states, whereas Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi won Enugu and Abia, and All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Bola Tinubu won Oyo, Benue, and Rivers.
Tinubu was subsequently named President-Elect by INEC after coming out on top in 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states and securing significant numbers in several other states to claim the most votes — 8,794,726, about two million more than his nearest rival — Atiku.
Atiku, 76, who has already stood for president six times, received 6,984,520 votes, while Obi, who in less than a year mobilised youthful voters in an unprecedented manner, received 6,101,533.
Both Obi and Atiku declared that the election was flawed and that it would be challenged in court. They chastised INEC for failing to electronically submit election results from polling locations to the commission’s Results Viewing Portal (IReV), as required by Section 60 of the Electoral Act 2022.