Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, on Monday, disclosed his grouse with former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, over zoning of the presidency to the South ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Wike said he had always supported presidential aspirants from the North, wondering why those he supported in the 2019 elections are now aspiring to be president in 2023.
He stated this while appearing on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television, monitored on Monday.
Wike claimed to have supported Tambuwal to become Speaker of the House of Representatives and Saraki to become Senate President against all odds.
The governor also noted that only Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State had personally expressed his support for his presidential bid.
When asked about his relationship with Saraki, Tambuwal and other governors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, Wike stated that the problem he had with Nigerians was that “people don’t want to tell the truth and I feel so bad.”
Wike said, “There is nobody today contesting for president of this country from the North that I did not have a relationship with or that I did not support. There is none of them who have not come to me to say, ‘Wike, with you, I think I will have my way.’ And I always told them, ‘I agree, but what is on the ground; what is on the table?’
“If you ask most of my friends, the problem I have with friendship is that if we agree on something, let’s keep to it. If there is any reason why that shouldn’t be done, I should be notified.”
He added, “I will tell you one. Sadly, it is with one very intelligent young man Nigerians listen to – Bukola Saraki with all due respect. I was one of those who made sure he became a Senate President. He was in APC. I tweeted and spoke about his intelligence. Whether you hate him or you don’t like him, this young man is intelligent. Why would you not allow such a person to be at the helms of affairs? I never hid my feelings.
“My brother and friend, Tambuwal, when he wanted to be Speaker, the government and the PDP didn’t want him to be the Speaker. I was one of those who said no, we shouldn’t do that. I came out and said he should be Speaker. Even when he wanted to be president, I was one of those who said he was a vibrant young man and it didn’t matter; that we should not do it by age. People were fighting me all over…in the South, in the West, in the North, in the East. They all fought me. ‘Why are you bringing Tambuwal?” I said it was not about me bringing Tambuwal. I said I had found somebody that I thought had all it takes to lead.”
Wike stated that he had no apology to anybody for previously supporting Tambuwal and Saraki.
The governor stressed that he did not support the presidential bid of a former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar. Still, when Tambuwal lost to Abubakar at the primary, he gave all his support to the ex-VP.
Wike confirmed on the national TV programme, “I want to challenge anybody, any governor, any person in this party who would say they gave Atiku the support I gave. In fact, I can tell you that in the South-South, it was only in my state that APC never got 25 per cent (votes). Atiku knows that I came all out and supported him,” he added.
According to Wike, there was a gentleman’s agreement that power should remain in the North while it is shifted to the South in 2023.
“If there are factors that have come up, you can say, ‘look, gentleman, my brother, I think what is now is not what was available then.’ And then, we can sit down and talk about it. So, what I do not like…I feel bad when people say, ‘oh, it is not right for a Wike.’ No group can win an election without the other group. No northerner can win without the southerners.’