• Describes Obi as hero of 2023 presidential election

From Tony John, Port Harcourt

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has described the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, as the hero of the 2023 presidential election.

Governor Wike said the decision of Obi to contest the presidential election under the platform of the Labour Party, primarily prevented the North from retaining power after the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.

The Rivers State Governor made the commendation during an interactive meeting with the Technical Dealers Association of Nigeria, Computer Dealers Association, Garrison Phone Dealers Association and Building Materials Traders Association in Port Harcourt on Saturday.

Governor Wike explained that contrary to insinuation that he did not support Obi, what most people failed to realise is that the Labour Party presidential candidate remains his hero of the election.

“Obi is my hero. If Obi did not contest, power would have gone back to the North. The whole of South-South and South-East that PDP lost if Obi did not contest PDP would have won,” he said.

He further added: “The hero in this election is Obi whether you like it or not. I am not here to please you, Obi is the hero. He may not have been pronounced as the winner, no problem, the law will take its course. If Obi did not run this election, power would have remained in the North. Whether he declared a winner now or not, history will be on his side that he fought and fought well.”

The Rivers State Governor said the reason he did not publicly declare support for any presidential candidate was that the PDP G-5 governors had unanimously agreed to ensure the emergence of a president from southern Nigeria to succeed President Buhari.

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Governor Wike said while members of the G-5 governors assiduously worked for power to return to the South, the likes of former Rivers State governor and immediate past Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, who is now soliciting for Igbo to support APC candidate, Tonye Cole, mobilised votes for Atiku Abubakar.

“If Amaechi loves the Igbos, why did he not support Obi? Instead, he supported Atiku. He did not want the power to return to the South because he lost the APC ticket.”

The governor said the reason Amaechi is deliberately canvassing support for Tonye Cole is that he wants to stall their ongoing prosecution for embezzling $50 million from the Rivers State government coffers.

Governor Wike urged Igbos in Rivers State to be wary of Amaechi, who served as Minister of Transportation for over seven years but failed to revive eastern ports and railway lines from Enugu-Aba-Port Harcourt.

The governor recalled that when Amaechi was the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, he vehemently opposed the plan to compensate Igbos who lost their property in the State during the civil war.

According to him, it is absolutely mischievous for Amaechi, who also served as Rivers State governor from 2007 to 2015, to wake up in 2023 to resurrect the issue of abandoned property because of his inordinate political ambition.

The governor announced the allocation of 150 plots of land to the Computer Dealers Association and 30 plots to Computer Dealers Association to develop an industrial park in Port Harcourt.

The Chairmen of the Computer Dealers Association, Mr Anunobi Ikechi and the Building Materials Traders Association, Okwudiri Onuorah, assured the governor of their support for the Rivers State PDP governorship candidate, Siminialayi Fubara in the March 18 elections.