Tony John, Port Harcourt
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has declared that he played no role in the emergence of former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, as the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), contrary to political insinuations.
Governor Wike also stated that there was no doubt that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government has failed Nigerians, necessitating the need for a new government in 2019 at the centre.
Governor Wike further stated that the visit of four South-South governors to President Muhammadu Buhari had no political connotation, noting that the governors were in the Presidential Villa to discuss the development of the Niger Delta.
He spoke in an interview with Channels Television programme ‘Roadmap 2019’.
In the words of the governor, “Our meeting with the President had nothing to do with politics. It was strictly for the benefit of the South-South.
“There is no personal problem between the President and myself. He came to Port Harcourt to commission a project that would add value and I had to be there.
“But, when it comes to politics, I say no, the party of the President has performed poorly. It has failed Nigerians.
“The APC is not doing well. But, when it comes to governance, you give the President that respect”, Wike noted.
Commenting on the zoning of the vice presidential ticket to South-East, Governor Wike stated, “I never nominated Peter Obi. But, the mere fact that the vice presidential candidate is coming from the South-East does not give the zone the sole right to nominate a person since the entire country will benefit.
“When the South-East said they were not consulted before Peter Obi was nominated, where did we meet as a party to agree that the vice presidential candidate must come from the South-East.
“But, we said, if the presidential candidate believes he has somebody to work with, we said so be it.”
He said the fact that the vice presidential candidate should come from the South-East, does not foreclose the inputs of the other five geo-political zones.
On the new minimum wage, Governor Wike stated that the review of the minimum wage can only be sustained when the revenue sharing formula of the country is reviewed.
“I will never oppose the upward review of minimum wage for workers. But, the revenue sharing formula must be reviewed. Assuming a state like Zamfara gets N3 billion monthly and their monthly wage bill is N4 billion, then, the state will not survive. Labour should understand the situation.
“You cannot talk of sustainable new minimum wage, when you have not reviewed the revenue sharing formula.
“More of the money should be moved from the Federal Government to the states that bear the burden of governance.
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“If there is no review of the revenue sharing formula, then, we are not being fair,” he said.
On his quest for a second term, Governor Wike noted that he has made landmark achievements in the areas of roads, health, education, justice sector, empowerment and special projects, which needed consolidation for the rapid growth of the state.
He said other than the hope that federal might would be available for planned rigging in 2019 there is no party that would have fielded a candidate in Rivers State.
He, however, said that their plot will fail as it did during the rerun elections.
The governor stated that he is a target of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as far as the 2019 elections are concerned.
“I am a target of INEC, but, I am not disturbed. But, it will be difficult for them. The security agencies are even worse than INEC. We are prepared for them”, he said.
He stated that INEC has not done enough to convince Nigerians that it will conduct free and fair elections, when they blatantly rigged Osun and Ekiti States elections during collation.
“If you followed the Osun governorship election, you will know that it was rigged. Even INEC knows that the election was a sham. They ought to have declared Adeleke,” he said.
On the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the governor noted that fighting corruption outside the ambit of the law is corruption.
Governor Wike said that EFCC went to the Court of Appeal to secure a leave to appeal the 2007 judgement, which barred it from investigating or interfering with the accounts of the Rivers State Government, but that the Supreme Court has issued a State of Execution on the matter.
Speaking on the intervention of the State Government on flood in the Orashi region of the state, Governor Wike noted that initial steps have been taken to alleviate the suffering of the flood victims.
He said that the State Government has set up internally displaced persons’ camps, as well as provided relief materials for the people.
The governor said that since it is natural disaster, wherein the State Government has no control, steps would be taken after the water recede to help affected communities.
He added that already, the state government is concluding shore protection in five communities of Ndoni town.