Amid growing pressure to announce his preferred presidential candidate in the forthcoming election, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike says he never told the public the method by which he would disclose his choice.
All eyes are on Wike in the light of his assurance that he would make his preferred candidate known last month.
His candidate for president is considered significant, given his ongoing feud with the leadership of his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), following the emergence of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar as the party’s presidential candidate in May 2022.
Wike is one of five aggrieved PDP governors known as the G5 or Integrity Group who have remained defiant in their opposition to the North producing both the national chairman and presidential candidate.
They have refused to campaign for Atiku on the grounds that there must be equity, fairness, and justice.
Former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, on Tuesday, challenged Wike to name his presidential candidate as expected.
But the Rivers governor fired back at the All Progressives Congress (APC) member.
“You have the guts to tell me I should name my presidential candidate. Are we at the same level? Failure and success, are they the same?” Wike asked at the Rivers State PDP campaign rally in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
“Look at the man who is always failing every day. He does not understand the activities of G5. I have told most people who don’t know, G5 that we’re fighting is like guerilla warfare. The more you look, the less you see.
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“I never told anybody one day, I will bring a camera and announce to you this is who will go. I said I will tell Rivers people the candidate they will support. I did not tell you the method of saying it. I did not tell you I will bring live coverage and say it. But Rivers people know.”
Additionally, Wike derided Peterside over his defeat in the 2015 and 2019 governorship races.
“Look at this small boy whom I flogged in 2015. I don’t know where they say he comes from – is it Abia or Opobo side, which of the areas? Envy! I flogged him out in 2015.
“He has not recovered from that. He thought they would give him a ticket in 2019, but he didn’t get [it]. They sent him to be NIMASA. Ask him, what did he bring for Rivers people?
“You have a position, you cannot help your people, and you’re coming out to open your mouth, simply because you didn’t get [the ticket] and they did not give you a second term to be DG of NIMASA,” he said.