Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State is many things to different people. One thing which the governor, however, believes he is not is ‘a coward.’
Having waged a war against his then political benefactor, Rotimi Amaechi when the latter was Governor and won; becoming the governor of the state against all odds; being a major attack dog of the former first lady, Patience Jonathan in her battles with the former governor; spearheading the imposition of Ali Modu Sheriff as factional PDP chairman against other opinions; he surely has every right to stake that claim.
In a recent interview with The Interview magazine, Wike had a lot of things to say and below are six noteworthy ones.
- Jonathan’s 2015 defeat was caused by Northern sabotage: For Wike, the only reason former President, Goodluck Jonathan lost his re-election in 2015 was because some Northern elements within his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) worked against him. And not because Nigerians were fed up with him. He said the former president was surrounded by wolves in sheep clothing which contributed in no small measure to his defeat.
- If Wike were Jonathan: In Wike’s words, there were things the former President tolerated which, given the same circumstances, he would not have been able to stomach. Wike cited the example of when Jonathan was stoned during a campaign in the north. This, according to Wike, is unforgivable. “God gave every leader his strength and way of doing things. You see, I will not accept that. Let the heavens fall. If Nigeria was going to end on that day, let it end. I will not take what he took. That is why I respect the man a lot. I will not take that. If Nigeria will come down that day, let it come down. I mean, what is it? He was President and you were throwing stones at him? No single respect for that office? And you tell me to accept it? No, I will clamp down on you,” Wike said.
- Orubebe is a hero: The Rivers governor saw nothing disgraceful in the actions of former Minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe, in trying to disrupt the announcement of the 2015 presidential election results at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Orubebe was justified in doing so, according to Wike, because there were widespread electoral malpractice. “You saw clear rigging. I don’t like a system where you see something is going wrong and you keep quiet,” Wike said.
- 2019 is PDP’s year: The Rivers governor expressed confidence that the PDP will return to power in 2019 and no resources will be spared until this is achieved. “If the Federal Government is going to kill all of us, so be it. Because we know what they have planned and their strategies and so when it is time, we will face the APC squarely in this state. Just watch.”
- If wooing is a crime, then he’s ready to be wanted: Wike, who is the head of the PDP Reconciliation committee, said the PDP is already doing everything possible to place itself on the right track ahead of 2015. This, he said, also includes bringing back aggrieved persons who have left the party as well as wooing other strong persons. “What is the crime in wooing people? Who told you that we would not woo people like Tinubu and Kwankwaso? You see, whether they will come or not is immaterial. Those that the APC wooed, did they not join the APC? Who told you that we would not go and woo prominent APC governors? That does not mean that they will come. All the APC leaders at the National Assembly, were they not PDP people? What is all this trouble about wooing and not wooing?”
- No regrets in helping Sheriff: Not many know that Wike had a hand in the leadership crisis that rocked the PDP for a long time before its eventual resolution by the Supreme Court. Together with Governor Ayodele Fayose, Wike fought to make Ali Modu Sheriff a factional leader of the party before they shifted grounds. On this, Wike said he had no regrets. “Why should I regret? I am not a coward. I am not one of those that take decisions and goes back to say I am not part of that decision,” he said.