Barrister Nyesom Wike, the Executive Governor of Rivers State of Nigeria, has accused the National Working Committee of the People’s Democratic Party PDP on the gubernatorial election of Edo State, of lying against his person and bringing his character to disrepute. He said that the leadership of the PDP were behaving like tax collectors and acting callously about the primary election of the party in Edo State, without respecting the feelings of the whole contestants, thereby causing issues where none should have existed, leading to the verdict of the High Court sitting in Port Harcourt which disqualified the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki, from contesting in the PDP primaries. Wike threatened to further expose those behind the ThisDay Newspaper article of yesterday tarnishing him, and said that he will be involved in any affair concerning the Edo election any longer.
A High Court sitting in the Rivers State capital city, Port Harcourt, had on Monday, 22nd of June 2020, stopped governor Godwin Obaseki from contesting in the PDP primary election which is rescheduled to hold on Thursday, 25th June, after it was initially meant to take place on Tuesday, 23rd of June, 2020. The court granted the prayers of Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, one of the PDP aspirants, who prayed that the governor be excluded from contesting in the PDP primary election rescheduled to hold on Thursday, saying that only contestants who purchased the PDP’s nomination forms and were screened within the timeframe that was stipulated by the party, should be allowed to contest in the primary election. The court also directed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, not to recognise the governor as a candidate.
The Edo State governor, who was elected under the platform of the All Progressives Congress APC, had only on Friday, 19th June, the first date that was set for the PDP primary election, defected to the PDP. Hence, in a manner that appear not to have been approved by all stakeholders, the National Working Committee of the party had extended the date for its primary to Tuesday 23rd of June for the sake of Obaseki and his deputy Philip Shaibu, and gave waivers to the both of them to participate in the primaries.
However, there are indications from some leaders of the party that Governor Wike of Rivers State, is behind the court ruling in Port Harcourt. In fact, ThisDay Newspaper carried a front page feature in their issue of 23rd June that read: “With a Friend Like Wike; Obaseki Meets His PDP’s Waterloo, Almost”, an article that has led the former Minister of State for Education to accuse the NWC of the PDP of only caring about the money without being considerate about the feelings of the people involved in elections, and he threatened that he will expose them further if they bring his name into the matter again.
He said, “I told them that in Edo State, we must handle the issue carefully and carry everybody along. They must respect human beings and not behave like tax collectors.
“They said because an order was obtained from a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, then I am responsible.
“I have had sleepless nights to resolve the issue in Edo state. The Governors of Edo, Adamawa, and Delta states, know what I have done to resolve the issues in Edo state. As a result of this senseless accusation, I have pulled out of Edo State settlement. My integrity matters.
“I have also directed my lawyer to write ThisDay Newspaper on the publication they made against me in their Tuesday, 23rd June, 2020 edition.
“I know the members of the National Working Committee of PDP who connived with ThisDay. They are tax collectors. Let them challenge me and I will come out with more facts. Nobody will rubbish me by raising false accusations against me. I will fight back.
“I will no longer participate in any reconciliation and I wonder why the NWC now wants to consult Governors of the party. Why did the NWC not consult with Governors in the case of Bayelsa State?
“If PDP is not careful, the crisis in the All Progressive Congress (APC) would be a child’s play. I am brought up not to accept injustice, and that is why I keep speaking out on national issues. Nobody in PDP can intimidate Rivers State.
“Nobody can threaten me because I said things must be done constitutionally. I will always continue to satisfy my conscience. From now on, I want to concentrate on the development of Rivers State.”””””
There are rumours that Wike had advised that Obaseki pick a different candidate for his deputy, but the current deputy is Atiku’s favourite and Obaseki has already made a deal with Atiku and some other politicians, to retain Shaibu.