Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has explained how he tried to convince President-elect, Bola Tinubu, to join the Peoples Democratic Party in 2018.
Wike was speaking during the unveiling of the Rivers State Magistrates’ Complex in Port Harcourt, on Thursday by Tinubu.
Tinubu was a founding member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, at the time.
He was preparing the APC in the Southwest for President Muhammadu Buhari ‘s re-election in 2019 when Wike said he paid him a visit to poach him to dump the party for the PDP.
He said despite his proposition which was anchored on the report that the former Lagos State Governor was not finding his feet in the APC, Tinubu refused.
“I met him (Tinubu) first in 2018 around 2 am in his house -Bourdillon. I was sent to go and talk to him, how he can join us.
“I went to him, I said sir, I hear you can’t find your feet again in APC. Why not join us and let’s support one of these our candidates to win the 2019 election?
“He asked me. Who are these your candidates, I mentioned them. He said look, if it is these ones you have, I will support (Muhammadu) Buhari 200 times. He told me that. And I respected him,” Wike said.
He explained his role during the 2023 presidential election and why he supported Tinubu against the candidate of his party, Atiku Abubakar.
He had formed the G-5 whose other members were four governors and other top ranking members of the PDP opposing Atiku’s candidacy.
The group metamorphosed into Equity Group demanding for a southern candidate on the platform of the PDP.
They subsequently withdrew their support for the PDP and threw their weight behind other candidates, with Wike and his counterpart in Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, opting to support Tinubu.
He argued that, “We (G-5) didn’t do anti-party, we supported the unity of Nigeria which is more important than any political party.
“Those who did anti-party are those who violated the provision of the constitution of their political party, they did anti-party.”
He defended the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 election, querying why whenever the opposition lost an election, they deem the election as fraudulent.
“It’s only in Nigeria where I see if the opposition wins an election, that election was done well.
“It’s only in Nigeria I have seen that. If as a governor now, I contested Senate and I lose that election, they will say that election is free and fair. Why? Because the governor lost.
“But if I won, the governor has done everything. We saw governors who lost the election. Bola Tinubu lost Lagos -the presidential election, he lost Lagos, is it not correct?
“That election was free and fair in Lagos. Was it not free and fair in Lagos? Why? Because Bola Tinubu lost in Lagos.
“That is the kind of thing we do. If I lost election in Rivers state, they will say but we said it, his own time is over, how do you think Wike would have won? Now I won, don’t worry, they just manipulated.
“Look at states where governors lost elections, nobody is talking about it. That election was free and fair. Senators lost elections, that election, free and fair.
“As far as I’m concerned, I have no regrets. I will continue to say and I have told the president-elect, the elections have come and gone.
“You have finished that battle, the battle you have now is governance. What Nigerians want is good governance.
“If we want good governance, then we must rally round the president-elect,” Wike said.