The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, has disclosed that he and leaders of the state picked and worked for the emergence of Siminalayi Fubara, as governor to save the unity of Rivers state.
Wike boasted that if he had wanted his Ikwerre ethnic nationality to still produce his successor, nobody would have stopped him, saying he decided to overlook such interest for the unity and progress of Rivers.
The former Rivers governor spoke on Sunday, January 7 at a state luncheon he organised in Port Harcourt to mark the New Year.
To pave the way for Fubara, who hails from the riverine area, Wike said he had to ask others and close friends like a former PDP chairman in Rivers, Felix Obuah to drop his ambition.
Wike said to avoid acrimony within his political family, he bought all the forms for all the people, who ran elections in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) including the governor.
He recalled that he invited Obuah, a frontrunner for the governorship poll to his house and asked him to quit his ambition and become the Director-General for the campaign and that Obuah loyally made the sacrifice.
Wike recalled other sacrifices Obuah made in the past for him and how his predecessor seized the property of the former PDP chairman but he still chose to stand firm with him.
He said: “Felix Obuah was in my team as chairman of the party. My predecessor seized Obua’s property, everything he owned, land, schools and hotels. The wife cried to him but he told his wife, ‘don’t worry if it is the will of God there is nothing you can do. He stood firm. They took everything he had.
“He was one of the frontrunners in 2023 governorship election. I told him in my house to step down that he won’t run. He looked at me but I say you won’t run. He said if that was what I am saying that he won’t run. But I say you will be DG, go and campaign for that election.
“I say you must be DG and he said if that is what you want I will go and do it. And he did it. I see all kinds of things going on. They are talking evil about him. But he is here and he will still be here.
“Those who open their mouth to talk, don’t know anything. I was the one who paid for the forms for anybody who wanted to run for elections as governor, House of Assembly and National Assembly. Let one person raise his hand and said he bought forms.
“We say we are all family members, no need for acrimony. Don’t spend your money we will agree on who will run. The day we took the final decision, the chairman of elders council nearly collapsed. He is here. OCJ was there, Awuse was there. Omehia was there.
“He nearly collapsed. Why? He wanted a governor from the riverine area. When I looked at him, I say why would I allow this old man to just die. I say let’s not create the impression that there are people who want to monopolise power.
“Let’s allow everybody to be part of it because we belong to one Rivers state. If I had wanted, nobody would have stopped me. Nobody had what it takes to even near me.
“And to God be the glory, I don’t regret what I did and I will never regret what I did because I want the unity of this state for us to forge ahead. If I wanted Ikwerre man, nobody would have stopped me”.
Wike insisted that he was interested in playing politics of unity of Rivers and recalled that when he visited the south south chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Victor Giadom, he went there with PDP leaders.
He said: “The politics we play in this state is the politics of unity of Rivers State, not party. When I visited Victor Giadom, I went with all PDP leaders. Today he is here with all APC leaders. Membership of party is not on radio or television. So all of us must make Rivers state to move forward”.
PDP, Fubara and Wike’s enemies
Wike declared that he was disposed to the peace agreement initiated by President Tinubu and charged all stakeholders to implement same without conditions.
Maintaining that he would never disobey Mr. President, he commended the House of Assembly for immediately implementing their own side of the resolutions.
He said: “I want to make one confession to you. I work with Mr. President and there no way I can disobey Mr. President. It is not possible. The mere fact Mr. President calls you and said look allow peace here, there is no way I can disobey Mr. President.
“I may not be happy in all resolutions but if Mr. President calls for peace, who are you to say you don’t want peace? I will not attach any condition to what Mr. President wants from me. I will not do it.
“So, I must obey Mr. President. I must do everything humanly possible to see that the peace arrangement is achieved in Rivers. That is what is required and I am going to do that”.
The minister apologized to people especially his friends, who obeyed his decisions but were hurt by them.
He said: “Yes I am not perfect. I won’t say every decision I take I am right. I am a human and I may take decision that may not be palatable with everybody. I accept it and it turns out to be bad forgive me.
“Let’s move forward for the interest of the state. That is important. I took the decision and you listened to me I want you to also listen to me now. Let’s accept what Mr. President has said. It is for the interest of Rivers and for Nigeria in general.
“It may not be the best but there is no option. Mr. President took a lot of risk to give me Minister of FCT. People protested but he stood firm. If he could do that, you too should accept his decision.
“When we came back from Abuja, within the next 48 hours, the speaker and his people took the decision to obey Mr. President without attaching any condition. I thank Mr. Speaker and other members for respecting Mr. President.
“Whether you are APC or PDP or you don’t belong to any of the parties, we owe a duty to give Mr. President support to move this country forward. Some people said I betrayed PDP, I never betrayed PDP. We stood firm and told Nigerians we won’t do this if this is not done. So the issue of betrayal doesn’t arise”.