GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has described his Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki, as a politician who is a serial betrayer of those who helped him to advance his political aspiration.
Wike made this remark on Monday at the inauguration of the Community Secondary School, Omuanwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
It was in an apparent response to Obaseki’s advertorial, where he castigated Wike and accused him of turning the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) into his personal property.
The Rivers State governor, after reviewing Obaseki’s alleged betrayal and ingratitude, concluded that he owed the former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, an apology for opposing him when he insisted that “Obaseki is a treacherous and ungrateful man”.
Wike said Oshiomhole was right then and had been vindicated given the recent display of ingratitude by Obaseki to the PDP and to those who helped him to secure his second tenure as governor of Edo State.
He said, “If you go and check the DNA of Godwin Obaseki, what you’ll see in that DNA is serial betrayal and ungratefulness. Let me stand today to apologise to Adams Oshiomhole, who has been vindicated by telling us that we will see the true colour, we’ll see the insincerity, we’ll see the ungratefulness of Godwin Obaseki.
“So let me apologize to Adams Oshiomhole and to say you have been vindicated. You were right, we were wrong. I’ve never seen people who are so ungrateful in life. I’ve never seen people who can betray everything in life.”
Wike maintained that when placed side by side with Obaseki in character contents, the Edo State governor is never his match, because he (Wike) is consistent, sincere and a forthright team player, who has never betrayed any person who had helped him politically.
He explained that the problem in Edo State started from Obaseki asking the national leadership of the PDP to dissolve Edo PDP executive when the leaders been elected before him (Obaseki).
The Rivers State governor wondered why Obaseki was unable to bring everybody together and work with them but instead wanted to unleash the illegality of APC in PDP, which “is being resisted because ordinarily, he is a political tenant in PDP.”
He said, “I have invested in the party. Rivers State has invested in the party. We have voted for PDP since 1999 till now. Ask Governor Obaseki. Has he done anything for PDP? Has he voted for PDP? The only election he voted was his own election when we gave him an umbrella. So, who has more stake in PDP?
“I have more stake, because I’ve supported PDP always. You’ve never supported PDP. Rather, it was when your godfather chased you away and you came begging, kneeling down. People came with pressure and we allowed you. Ordinarily, you are a tenant.”
Wike further clarified that he fought the then sitting governor in Rivers State to access and take charge of the party structure in the state.
He said it was unfortunate that Obaseki could describe him as a bully now that he is being called to order.
According to Wike, it is unfathomable that a man who came to him to get the PDP’s governorship ticket in 2020 could now turn round to accuse him of being a bully.
He said the Edo State governor’s reference that he is jostling to get the PDP’s presidential ticket smacks of jealousy and bitterness.
He insisted that if he wanted to run for the office of President, the likes of Obaseki and his cohorts could not stop him.
Governor Obaseki, it would be recalled, had in an advertorial response to the last week’s comments by Wike on the position of Philip Shaibu, the Edo deputy governor, at a PDP rally in Benin, warned that the PDP is not a personal property of the Rivers State governor.
In the advertorial, personally endorsed by Obaseki, the Edo State governor accused Wike of lack of understanding of the idiosyncratic manners of the youths, whom he said Shaibu represents and wondering how Wike, who lacked such basic understanding, would aspire to lead the nation.
The Edo State governor described the personal attacks by Wike against Shaibu as “most unfortunate and totally uncalled for.”
The Edo State governor called on the leaders of the PDP to call Governor Wike to order, noting that the issues raised by his deputy were germane and needed to be resolved in the interest of the party.
He said, “The recent personal attacks by the governor of Rivers State against my deputy governor, Honourable Philip Shaibu, is, to say the least, most unfortunate and totally uncalled for.
“If Wike was one who is wont to show respect and courtesy to his colleague-governors, he would have ordinarily reached out to me to express his concerns about the views expressed by my deputy governor, rather than embarking on this unwarranted public onslaught.
“My deputy governor was a former national president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and his comment is representative of the essence of the nation’s youths population, who are inclined to openly speak up and question the status quo.
“If Governor Wike cannot understand and adequately respond to the style and character of the Nigerian youths, how can he aspire to lead them?
“Wike should have taken a cue from the manner in which the national chairman of our party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, responded to my deputy’s remarks, as a conscientious leader who is able to show empathy and consideration.
“We can categorically state that in the comments of the deputy governor, he at no point threatened the party as Governor Wike has alleged. Rather, it is Governor Wike who has at different times threatened the PDP. Some of these instances include:
“On September 16, 2018, Governor Wike threatened the party that there would be grave consequences if it moved the National Convention from Port Harcourt in the run-up to the 2019 presidential election.
“On September 12, 2019, Governor Wike also threatened to cause trouble for the party over the emergence of Honourable Ndudi Elumelu as the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.”
Noting that Wike had contributed to the advancement of the party, just like others, since 1999, Obaseki stressed that
“No one is against his desire to run for president. However, his ambition should not be embarked on in such a way that it would cause disruption at different levels, such as the PDP Governors’ Forum as well as different chapters of the party across the country. “It clearly amounts to delusion of grandeur for any one man to nurse the idea that he owns or has more stake in the PDP and everyone should pander to him.
“We are all equal stakeholders in the party and an aggregate of the ideas, opinions and contributions of all leaders and members should form the position of the party and not the view of one individual or a select few.
“While Governor Wike is free to use his resources as he deems fit in pursuit of his ambition, he should not at- tempt to cow, intimidate, cajole or threaten others into doing his bidding. Edo State cannot and will not be procured for anyone’s personal ambition.
“What Nigeria needs now are strong democratic institutions and not strong men. That is why we will join the great leaders of our party across the country to build PDP into a strong, large and indomitable party that will win next year’s presidential election.
“Governor Wike and his collaborators headed by Chief Dan Orbih in Edo State will not succeed in destabilising the PDP in Edo State as they did other states like Cross River just to secure delegates to actualise his alleged personal ambition to run for the presidency in 2023.”