From Chris Anucha and Willy Eya, Port Harcourt
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State is always in the news. The latest is the audio clip in which he allegedly threatened to deal with a staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
But in this interview with a select group of journalists in Port Harcourt, the governor spoke on various issues and dismissed the story as a fairy tale and part of the desperate efforts of the All Progressives Congress(APC) to win elections at all costs.
You expressed misgivings about the outcome of the recent rerun election and you wondered that if it goes like this whether there would be a 2019 general elections; can you please throw more light on this?
It is very clear. Why do we say so? If you can have an invasion for an ordinary legislative election by the security agencies: military, Police, SSS and INEC for legislative rerun, then if you are having elections for Presidential, gubernatorial and assuming that the President declares intention that he wants to run, then it will not just be an invasion but a tsunami. Anybody that stands on their way will be crushed. They will bring fighter jets. They will invade people’s houses who oppose them. They will bomb their houses. That is the only way they can make it. Because the type of elections we have in Rivers State for legislative rerun, one begins to wonder what happens in 2019. Then if you have presidential and gubernatorial and the president shows interest, it means anybody who thinks of 2019 is wasting his time. It will be war, if you don’t agree, they bomb you. That is what they will do to win. If you can bring 28,000 policemen, three helicopters, 20 gunboats, you trained special military to hijack the ballots, special SARS from outside the state for just a rerun, what should I say? Some of them even had juju in their vehicles for just a legislative rerun that had to do with only a particular state. Then, when we have presidential and gubernatorial, what will happen! Times that by 20 of what has happened. If you don’t die before the election, you will die on the day of the election. So for me, one should go home and rest for an election that will not be. Those that oppose them must die before that day. If you are strong enough and you don’t die before that day, you will die on the election day. That is the essence of it. They will kill anybody who does not agree with them. I saw it, it is not that I was told. INEC had perfected everything; my God! Anybody that sees former President Goodluck Jonathan should say, congratulation. Thank you for saving Nigeria. When you see Jonathan, say thank you for whatever reason that God brought you to save this country. We are congratulating other countries, yet we cannot have a free and fair election in just one state. Not two states at a time where you can employ all the arsenals. That is what has convinced me that 2019, let nobody deceive us. Let INEC not come and open their mouth because INEC is gone. INEC is not near to being independent.
There is a story trending everywhere with your voice threatening electoral officers
Did I threaten electoral officers? Did they say I threatened electoral officers? No, answer me first.
That is why when you see certain things, you just laugh. We have to get that one clear. That is why sometimes when you hear certain things, you begin to wonder. Did they say I threatened an electoral officer or did they say I spoke to any third party? We have to know so that I will know what I am going to answer. Who can show me where I was speaking to an electoral officer threatening him or her, as the case maybe? Sometimes you sit down like this and begin to laugh over certain things. What did I threaten? What did I say? I never said anything neither did I threaten any electoral officer. Let one electoral officer say that I threatened him or her. Is that a cover up to the atrocities they have committed? Assuming, though not conceding, an electoral officer that did the right thing, does that give you room to go and do the kind of things they did? This is total nonsense, like somebody said. I never spoke to anybody. I never threatened anybody. Nobody can say I spoke to any electoral officer on phone. Some of us are too experienced in these things. That story is totally not correct. But assuming I did, what did they say I threatened? What is threat? It is just like when they said that I said if you are coming to rig election, write your will. I know Sharareporters for long when I was chief of staff here (Rivers state Government House). What have they not said about me! The major issue is, did police participate in rigging the election? Did Army participate in rigging the election? Did INEC compromise? If I threatened, did I carry out the threat, assuming that I threatened anybody! I can set up an equipment now and begin to do all that, what can this federal government not do? I don’t have a CSO. I don’t have a camp commandant. They have all been taken away before the election. You take away a whole chief executive’s orderlies and CSO and camp commandant. As I speak to you now, not one of them has been replaced. They have not arrested the policemen who helped in hijacking election materials. Even the man who was caught on video, they asked him to go and turned the case. What kind of country is this?
You led a protest the other day and one of your requests was the transfer of two policemen alleged to have been involved in electoral offences, you have written to several people and no action yet has been taken; assuming that the police maintains the current stand, what will you do?
It was the entire Rivers State that protested. It was not PDP. If it was PDP, the state chairman would have been the one to lead. It was the entire Rivers people that went there to protest. The man has done what they wanted him to do and the politician has gotten the seat they wanted him to get. He was not here to protect lives and property. He did what they sent him to come and do. We are telling them to send us people who will protect our lives and property. The role of the police is to protect lives and property but this man came to deliver for them and he has delivered. When 2019 comes, they will bring him again to deliver. This is very shameful. As a governor, I am not afraid. What we are doing is to continue to let the public know what is happening. Every time they say, oh these people are causing trouble, oh they are doing this and that. Now they are not saying we are causing trouble, this is because we have alerted the public. But they keep on denying it. Tell INEC to show you the server of all the uploaded elections. Let them show you so that you can see if APC got up to 10 percent in that election. Maybe they are just coming out to start to offload now. What kind of system is that! And you think we should fold our hands and watch you come here to kill us. In 2019, you come and kill us again. Haba! It does not work out that way. We have complained to the world and we have complained to the public. Nobody seems to do anything. What do you want us to do? They want to give me CSO so that they can poison me. Or they will give orderlies that they like. Where have you seen where they removed the Chief Executive’s orderlies without his knowledge? Take them and go, I am not interested. My security is God. I don’t have any problem with that. Look at the armory they brought to this state. That is why if you have hope in God, you don’t have any problem. How can you do an election, you don’t campaign and expect that you will win? They removed all the policemen attached to my political appointees and give them to the APC politicians including their candidates. Secretary to the government and the commissioners, none of them has a policeman attached to them. But the APC people have up to 10 or 15 attached to one person. Imagine them telling me that they have come here to protect lives. They don’t even know how to lie.
Giving the role of the police in the last rerun election, you vowed not to fund the activities of the police again, don’t you really think that this will worsen the security situation in Rivers State?
God will take care of the state. Is it my duty to fund them? Is it not a federal government agency? They brought money from NDDC to fund them every month. Let me use that money and do projects for Rivers State. It will serve me that purpose. Can you fund your enemies? You buy sophisticated weapons for them to come and kill you, is that what you want? As it is today, tell me what the police is protecting now in Rivers State! They did not support the amnesty programme. They tried to frustrate it. It was only the Army that gave us the necessary support. SSS also gave us their support. We were not doing that for any political reason. If we did not disarm those boys, what would have happened? Forget about those who go to television to abuse me. They cannot have control on the Assembly. They cannot produce House of Reps members. What kind of politician are you then?
Before the rerun, were you confident that your party would win the three senatorial districts in the rerun election?
Of course. I campaigned. I commissioned and I am still commissioning projects. I am still doing new projects. But the other people came, what did they tell the people? You told them that there will be a cleanup, which day? Even that Bodo road alone that we built, even the unity road that we are building now, the General Hospitals, now tell me why I will not win the three senatorial districts. It took blood, lives for them to get one seat. It pains me that we lost those lives because somebody was just ambitious to win an election at all costs. So, it means that you just came to take life just to get one senatorial seat. God will never forgive them. Those of them who shed that blood, watch what will happen to them. Sometimes when people die, I don’t cry again. That is because I don’t know what must have happened that killed him. Because of what they did in the past, tomorrow you see people dying in their families like rat and you want me to go and cry. They shed innocent people’s blood and you think there is no God. Whatever you are doing, it is not for you to take life as if it means nothing to you. Over 350 Hilux vans in the state, I distributed them to the police and other security agencies, yet, no appreciation from them. Look at the heads of INEC’s staff that were broken, yet INEC has not issued any statement. They won’t talk because God has sewn their mouths and they can’t talk again. But if it was otherwise, they would have shouted, oh we told you those people are very violent. Did you hear them say this time that we killed anybody? They have seen the video clip that is so smelling. There is no way they can concoct anything to smear the governor that will cover up their crime. It is medicine after death. The world has caught them red handed. I used to say that what can cause violence is when you come with power and might to rig. When people resist, it will turn to violence. They wanted to change the results of some local government areas. In Ikwerre, they (security agents) arrested the INEC agents in a bus with the results without any PDP agents. Where have you ever seen that! I know they want Rivers state by all means possible. It is not about me. It is their lives they will take before they take Rivers state. Watch it. As they are plotting to take Rivers state, that is how they will plot to take their lives. That time they will know there is God. You have done so well on road infrastructure in the state amidst lean federal allocation, what is the debt profile of the state under your watch?
People don’t know how these things work. First of all before now, projects were highly inflated. A job of N1billion, they will say it is N6billion. Look at the Saekpanwa road, they used laterite on that road when they were in power and quoted the job at N14billion. Now with sharp sand, it is N9billion.
That same road. Look at the Trans-Amadi road, they awarded it at N47billion. You can see how people are suffering there now. How will I complete that road? People just see government as a way of siphoning money. If they were using Julius Berger to do that road, it would have been N70billion or more. For us to still keep Julius Berger working here is a wonder. I ask a bank, give me N10billion and it agrees. I pay in 10 months by deducting N1billion each month from internally generated revenue. In five months, I would have paid N5billion. I will collect another N5billion to pay back in five months. I use that to pursue another project. There is no project that I will do for two years. No; like the unity road, it is just 18 months. I pay them N1billion every month. Our overhead is about N600 or N700million every month.
Theirs was about N4billion. You must make sacrifice. I don’t want to carry too many things at the same time. Within these four years, I must work on the road to open up the economy. If you put N1billion in Agriculture, it is as if you have not started anything. We light up the road so that everybody entering Port Harcourt will know they are in the city. Go to the Pleasure Park and see what we are doing there. Everything has been provided there and you will enjoy it. How much is that. We have paid 60 per cent. You don’t have what we have here in the villa. We are doing a lot of things here and the people are happy. They want to distract us with this fight. No way. During the campaign, if I come back, I carry my file and move out for inspection. We have a covenant with the people. And we must fulfil it.