Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has clarified that the intent of his public comment on the endorsement of Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, stems from concern for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Wike offered the explanation when he spoke at Mgbuodohia Community Primary School, venue of the flag-off of the construction of Mgbuodohia Road, in Rumuolumene Town, Obio-Akpor Local Council, yesterday.
The governor observed that Obasanjo had served as President on the platform of the PDP, with Atiku Abubakar as Vice President for eight years; hence, Obasanjo should have been in a better position to solicit the support of Nigerians for Atiku.
But if Obasanjo did not endorse Atiku, Wike noted, then something is fundamentally wrong and members of the PDP should be concerned.
He said: “I meant no evil. I’m only worried as a prominent PDP member. A man who loves PDP should be worried. I was not mocking anybody. I was merely worried.
“My prayer was, let Obasanjo remain quiet and not say anything. That was my prayer. But my prayer didn’t work. My prayer was that if this man (Obasanjo) makes any statement, it will indict us because he was President under the PDP for eight years, and he worked with our presidential candidate. And the campaign by our presidential council is that our presidential candidate, during the eight years, did very well, with experience.”
Wike expressed surprise that instead of people in the party to look at issues critically, and weigh what could be done to correct seeming wrongs, they were, instead, abusing him.
“What did I do? I didn’t do anything. All I did was to express concern. If you care for this party, you should go back and ask what is fundamentally wrong?
“I, who am worried that we should do something, and have expressed it, you are abusing me for telling the party that we should do something…”
The governor insisted it is only those who love the PDP that would be keen at ensuring nothing untoward happens to the party.
Wike described people who are abusing him as jobbers and political flirts who jump from one party to another.
He said: “They are not bothered. But those of us who, since 1998, joined this party, contributed to its survival until now. We keep shouting always when we see danger coming.
“Abuses upon abuses! It will not change anything. Rather, it will spoil more things. What you don’t know, ask people! Seek advice. People will help you solve the problem.”
Wike noted that abusing members of the Integrity Group of the PDP will only complicate the lingering crisis in the party, even as he cautioned persons issuing threats of possible punitive action against G5 governors to perish the thought.
According to him, “nobody can drive us from this house, which we have built. All of us will fight here. So, if anybody thinks that you can just sit in your house and dish out orders, it will not work. The house will collapse on you. So, you better think twice.”
MEANWHILE, Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has praised Obasanjo’s endorsement of Peter Obi.
Ortom, who has never hidden his opposition to Atiku’s candidacy, said if he were not a member of the PDP, he would have personally led Obi’s campaign across the country.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Terver Akase, Ortom recommended Obi to Nigerians as “the man who has the capacity to effectively tackle the economic, security and other challenges facing the country.”
The governor noted: “For some years, the country has been tottering on the verge of collapse, owing to leadership failure and its attendant consequences of poverty, heightened insecurity with banditry, kidnappings and other acts of terrorism threatening the very foundations of the nation.”
He lauded Obasanjo for demonstrating objectivity, truth and patriotism, as a statesman, whose views on national issues must be taken seriously.