Nyesom Wike, the Governor of Rivers State, has explained his attempts to get Bola Tinubu to defect from the All Progressives Congress and join the People’s Democratic Party in 2018.
In an effort to persuade Tinubu to join the main opposition party, he claimed to have met the former governor of Lagos State in 2018 at his Bourdillon residence in Lagos at around two in the morning.
Wike made this announcement during a state dinner held in Port Harcourt on Wednesday in honour of the incoming president.
The governor claimed Tinubu declined his offer when Wike named potential PDP presidential candidates.
Wike said, “I met him first in 2018 around 2 am in his house -Bourdillon. I was sent to go and talk to him, how he can join us. I went to him, I said sir, I hear you can’t find your feet again in APC. Why not join us and let’s support one of these our candidates to win the 2019 election?
“He asked me. Who are these your candidates, I mentioned them. He said look, if it is these ones you have, I will support (Muhammadu) Buhari 200 times. He told me that. And I respected him.”
On his support for Tinubu during the 2023 presidential election, the governor said, “We didn’t do anti-party, we supported the unity of Nigeria which is more important than any political party. Those who did anti-party are those who violated the provision of the constitution of their political party, they did anti-party.”
Wike said since they insisted that they “must obey the constitution of our party, we cannot be held for anti-party”.
On the presidential election petitions challenging Tinubu’s victory, the governor said, “It’s only in Nigeria where I see if the opposition wins an election, that election was done well. It’s only in Nigeria I have seen that. If as a governor now, I contested Senate and I lose that election, they will that election is free and fair. Why? Because the governor lost.
“But if I won, the governor has done everything. We saw governors who lost the election. Bola Tinubu lost Lagos -the presidential election, he lost Lagos, is it not correct?
“That election was free and fair in Lagos. Was it not free and fair in Lagos? Why? Because Bola Tinubu lost in Lagos. That is the kind of thing we do. If I lost election in Rivers state, they will say but we said it, his own time is over, how do you think Wike would have won? Now I won, don’t worry, they just manipulated.
“Look at states where governors lost elections, nobody is talking about it. That election was free and fair. Senators lost elections, that election, free and fair.
“As far as I’m concerned, I have no regrets. I will continue to say and I have told the president-elect, the elections have come and gone. You have finished that battle, the battle you have now is governance. What Nigerians want is good governance. If we want good governance, then we must rally round the president-elect.”