Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike says he did not criticize the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi; and his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Bola Tinubu in the just-concluded February 25 presidential election.
He noted that he chose not to oppose the duo because he is an “apostle” of power shift to the southern region of Nigeria.
The Rivers governor also commended the people for voting for a southern President in the just-concluded elections.
According to him, Section 7(3)(c) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) constitution recognised zoning and rotational presidency but the leadership of the party contravened the provisions of the party’s regulations.
“I owe nobody any apology at all. I am one of the apostles, one of those who stood firm that power must rotate to the South. This is for equity, this is for fairness and this is for justice.
“Whether you voted for Labour, I have no problem with you. Whether you voted for APC, I have no problem with you. That is what we have argued for: that the north has had it for eight years. Therefore the south must be there for eight years,” Wike said.
“As far as I am concerned, anybody from south, that is my position. That is what we agreed in the Integrity Group that we must make sure that the south emerges as the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Each time I went for campaign, nobody has ever heard me criticise Obi. Nobody has ever heard me criticize Asiwaju. I owe nobody any apology that people voted southern presidency.”
For months before the elections, Wike and four other PDP governors known as the G5 demanded the resignation of Iyorchia Ayu, saying northerners should not be the PDP national chairman and presidential candidate.
Both the PDP flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar; and Ayu called the governors’ bluff and did not succumb to their demands in the just-concluded elections.
For the presidential election, Atiku lost in all the G5 states while Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi won Enugu and Abia, and Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) raked in Oyo, Benue, and Rivers.
INEC subsequently declared Tinubu as President-Elect after he came out tops in 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states, and secured significant numbers in several other states to claim the highest number of votes — 8,794,726, almost two million votes more than his closest rival — Atiku.
Atiku, 76, who has now run for president six times, got 6,984,520 votes, while Obi, who, in less than a year, galvanised young voters in a manner some have described as unprecedented finished the race with 6,101,533.
Both Obi and Atiku said the election was flawed and will be challenged in court. They faulted INEC for not uploading election results from polling units electronically to the commission’s Results Viewing Portal (IReV), as stipulated by Section 60 of the Electoral Act 2022.
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