•Apologises to Oshiomole •Edo will not accept political bullies, Obaseki fires back
The end is not yet near in the political rift between Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and his Rivers State counterpart, Governor Nyesom Wike as the later on Monday took a swipe at the Edo State governor, whom he said “has the DNA of a serial betrayer.”
Governor Wike who chose the commissioning of a secondary school in Omuanwa community, executed by his administration to respond to Obaseki’s advertorial in which he upbraided the Rivers State governor, said that beyond being a betrayer, Governor Obaseki is also full of ingratitude.
Wike, who went ballistic in his tirades against his Edo State counterpart, added that after begging to be given the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, ticked in the 2020 Edo governorship election, Obaseki had refused to be grateful to the party and the people who supported him to be re-elected when he left the All Progressives Congress (APC).
To show how distasteful the alleged behaviour of Obaseki had been, Governor Wike openly apologised to the immediate former National Chairman of the APC, and Obaseki’s immediate predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, whom he said had initially warned them about accepting Governor Obaseki into the PDP fold.
“If you check the DNA of Obaseki, what you will see in that DNA is betrayal, 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, the insincerity, the ungratefulness of Governor Obaseki.
“We have voted for PDP since 1999 till now; ask Governor Obaseki if he has done anything for PDP (or) voted for PDP. The only election he voted was his own election – where we gave him an umbrella.”
The visibly angry Wike highlighted his contribution to the efforts that led to Governor Obaseki’sre-election to underscore the accusation of ingratitude he levied again the Edo State governor, n having served as the Director-General (DG) of his campaign organisation in 2020.
“Let me clearly say without any apology to anybody that one of the problems in this country is leadership – people who cannot stand firm and say: this is white; this is black at all times,” the Rivers governor said.
“I am not in the class of Obaseki, never! We are not the same, we can’t be the same. I was the DG of his campaign, I went there (to Edo) for three days. I stayed there without having my bath. I have never seen somebody like that in my life – a serial betrayer”.
While promising to smoke Obaseki and his “cohorts” out of the PDP, Wike warned the Edo State governor to take time to differentiate between politics and the “Beni. artefacts”, an overt allusion to the dispute between Obaseki and the Benin Palace over the custody of returned stolen Benin works of arts.
“Let me tell you Obaseki, I know your cohorts and I will smoke all of you out. This is not the Benin artefact that you were challenging the Oba (of Benin), this is politics. Obaseki, I have more stake in PDP than you. I have fought for this party, mention one thing that you have done for the PDP,” Wike challenged.
Governor Obaseki, had in an advertorial response to the last week’s comments by Wike on the position of Comrade Philip Shaibu, Edo State deputy governor, at a PDP rally in Benin, Warner 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 wonder 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.
“The recent personal attacks by His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Nyesom Wike, against my Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu is, to say the least, most unfortunate and totally uncalled for.
“If Governor 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 made 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 youth 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 youth, how can he aspire to lead them?
“His Excellency, Governor Wike should have taken a cue from the manner in which the National Chairman of our party, Sen. Dr. 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 Hon. Ndudi Elumelu as the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.”
Noting that Governor 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 the 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 attempt to cow, intimidate, cajole and 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 destabilizing the PDP in Edo State as they did other states like Cross River just to secure delegates to actualize his alleged personal ambition to run for the presidency in 2023.”
Governor Obaseki reiterated that “In Edo, we don’t accept political bullies and overlords and historically, we have demonstrated our capacity to unshackle ourselves and dethrone bullies and highhanded leaders.
“I appeal to all well-meaning leaders of our great party to call Governor Wike to order to desist from his current unguarded and disruptive tendencies. From all indications today, PDP is set to take over the leadership of Nigeria provided we can rein in the self interest of a few leaders to put the task of rescuing Nigeria above their personal ambitions,” Obaseki observed.