The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Friday, claimed that the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, allegedly made false statements during his recent interview on Arise TV.
This is as he also confirmed that contrary to reports, the former Vice president was yet to begin a reconciliation move despite claims on pages of newspapers that a committee had been set up to meet with him.
Wike stated this while briefing journalists at the Port Harcourt International Airport.
“He (Atiku) appeared on Arise Television, see the statement he made. So many lies were told and you said I should not react to some of those issues. That would not be fair,” Wike claimed.
The News reports that the crisis in the PDP deepened Atiku chose the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate ahead of Wike whom many party chieftains had believed would emerge as the PDP’s vice-presidential candidate.
Those who opposed Atiku’s choice include the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom. The governor had on June 29, 2022, during an interview on Arise TV, said Wike and others who backed the Rivers governor for the PDP vice-presidential ticket slot deserved a detailed explanation from the party’s presidential candidate on his choice of running mate.
Ortom said it was surprising that Atiku could jettison the recommendation of 14 out of 17 members of the committee that recommended Wike as his running mate.
“I am waiting for him (Atiku) because there are more things he is expected to do. I expected him to reach out to Wike who came second and he denied him the popular view of PDP members.
“14 out of 17 members say that Wike should be the VP but in his wisdom, he chose Governor Okowa. Governor Okowa is a nice man and my friend and I have no problem with him.
“But if we are in a democratic era, and 14 people out of 17 said that it should be Wike, and he (Atiku) in his wisdom gave it to Okowa, I expect more explanation, I expect him to talk to Wike first, I expect him to even reach out to some of us so that together we can work as a party,” Ortom said.
But speaking in an exclusive interview with Arise TV which was aired last week Friday, Atiku said he chose who he felt could deliver among the nominees that were presented to him.
He added that Wike was not rejected and that he only picked who could deliver.
Atiku said, “I didn’t reject Wike, I picked who can deliver. Wike is brilliant and tenacious. Going by history, I picked an Igbo as running mate in 2007, in 2019. I still picked an Igbo as running mate for 2023.
“The committee that presented the three nominees was chaired by the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom. They recommended three people, so I picked one. People should be fair to me and state the facts.”
However, in his first reaction to the controversy after Okowa’s emergence on Saturday, Wike who tweeted via his official Twitter handle @GovWike noted that he would soon speak on recent happenings in the party.
“I will speak soon and Nigerians will know the actual truth of all that has transpired in the PDP in recent times,” the Rivers governor said.
However, while addressing journalists on Friday, Wike said it was surprising that the party’s presidential candidate was making false statement regarding him after the primaries.
“You can imagine, the presidential candidate of the PDP Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, when he unveiled vice presidential candidate, no right thinking lover of this party would say that the speech he made on that day was fair.
“Assuming today, I’m not alive, obviously what they have said would be accepted as the truth. Look at his (Atiku) attack dogs, Sule Lamido, Babaginda Aliyu, Maina Waziri. Look at the statements they issued. Look at the abuses they rained on me, but I never reacted.
“And Nigerians will ask, you mean these things happened? So, it is important that as a person and for my own future, and for those who rally around me to say, look, this is not fair. So, I will make sure that I will react to them, line by line of the statements made by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar himself and his attack dogs.”
He added, “Look at it, a presidential candidate who believes that he wants to win election, and somebody who contested fiercely with him that has never raised any issue. I just kept quiet, just minded my business, to see how my state can move forward.
“But every day, his people come up to attack me, to say one thing or the other. That’s quite unfair and so I should let Nigerians know at the appropriate time which will be after the commissioning of projects that we have lined up.
“We will say look this is not correct, so that posterity, history will be on our side that we have been able to keep the record straight. So, nobody should be in doubt whether I am going to speak on the issue of PDP, issues of the primaries and other related matters.
“Nigerians will know what happen, Nigerians will know those who love this country, Nigerians will know what went behind. And that is to assure you am going to speak on that,” he stated.