In this concluding part of the exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES’ reporter, Cletus Ukpong, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State alleges that the federal government is hatching a plot to destabilise the state because of the 2019 general elections.
PT: Is Aminu Tambuwal your anointed aspirant for the PDP presidential ticket?
Wike: Why should it be so? He left PDP to the APC, why didn’t people complain? Should you abandon a friend? Because he is my friend, people are complaining? I don’t abandon friends, people who know me, know this very well. (Bukola) Saraki is my friend, Tambuwal is my friend, (Rabiu) Kwankwaso is my friend, (Ahmed) Makarfi is my friend.
Okay, if Tambuwal is my anointed candidate, so when he becomes president what would happen? Can anybody say I have met him one day to say support so, so, and so candidate? People have been coming here and I told them I will not, and I will never, nominate anybody to be a liaison to any of the presidential aspirants. Not one person, I challenge them. Atiku (Abubakar) came here, (Sule) Lamido came here, Makarfi came here, Saraki came here, Tambuwal came here, (Ibrahim) Shekarau came here, (Attahiru) Bafarawa came here. Let one person say I have ever said take Joseph, take John, take John Bull, take Beatrice as your campaign coordinator like other governors do. I don’t deceive people, I will not deceive people, and I will not deceive my people.
PT: Certainly, you will be at the forefront of choosing a presidential candidate for your party?
Wike: No, not at the forefront. I am from Rivers state, we have our delegates. At the end of the day, the leadership of the party will meet at the state level, where are we heading to? Then we will all be together. No one individual can do it alone. So, Rivers state will move as a team, I will listen to the leadership of the party, then we will move forward. Who are we going to support? Where is the national survey? Who is more popular? This is how politics is played. I challenge any of the presidential aspirants from the north who have gone to other governors and they have given them campaign coordinators, I challenge them to mention if I have given them one name.
But one thing you must take home is that I cannot be misled, I cannot be blindfolded; I know what’s going on. I know what the presidency and the APC are doing to plant a presidential aspirant in the PDP. I have not even mentioned how a very senior official of a security agency in the country told me which of the candidates to support! You can imagine me as a governor and the head of a security agency would tell me to support one or two persons. Head of security agency who is in a government controlled by the APC! Come on, you direct me on who to support for president?
PT: You’ve been a voice for your party for quite a long while now. Your friend and a fellow governor, Ayodele Fayose, was also a voice for the PDP. But after the Ekiti election, he has been so quiet?
Wike: No, it is not that he has been quiet. Ayo (Fayose) is facing his tribunal matter. He is very busy to make sure they get the necessary materials and evidence that will aid them at the tribunal. Ayo will be leaving office in October, so what would you want him to do? He is pre-occupied with the election matter to expose to the world the rigging method of the APC.
PT: And you have confidence that he will win?
Wike: I have confidence in the judiciary. If they have a good case, I believe the judiciary will allow the truth to prevail.
PT: Were you demoralised when PDP lost the Ekiti election?
Wike: Yes, I was. But I do know what was on the ground. Why has the president not signed the Electoral Act? What is the fear?
PT: We are told there were lots of errors in the bill.
Wike: Oh, please, what do you mean by errors? Errors for the first time, the second time, and the third time? Does it not tell Nigerians that these people are not prepared for elections? What they want to do is to just write results, and let the heavens fall. Most of those who left APC to PDP have told me this.
PT: Does this disturb you?
Wike: How would it disturb me? It won’t happen in my state, but I know they will kill a lot of persons. I can tell you they will kill a lot of us. No problem, this is the sacrifice we have to make for democracy to thrive. Even those who will kill also know they have children, they don’t know who will come after their own children. You can be a major-general, you kill people, you don’t know who will come after your children tomorrow.
PT: If surrendering could stop the blood of Rivers people from being spilled, why won’t you surrender?
Wike: No, that won’t be correct. You see, when you do that, you allow impunity to continue, you allow fraud to continue. Everybody must be ready to make sacrifices, and in doing this it could take your life. That’s life!
PT: Are you yourself ready to make that kind of sacrifice even if it takes your life?
Wike: Of course! I have told my wife and children, this is where we have found ourselves. This is a bloodthirsty government.
PT: And what did your wife and children say?
Wike: Of course, they are humans. They said why. I told them that if that is the role I have to play, it doesn’t matter. I see myself that I may not be alive. It is obvious. The government is determined, they have made up their mind, but we are ready to die. We must stand up for the truth.
PT: So, you think the federal government would want to kill you?
Wike: It’s obvious.
PT: But you are a governor of a state and killing you could lead to chaos?
Wike: Oh, no, what is chaos? Do they consider that? They have the instrument of coercion, they can send in the army to overrun a place. This is a government that doesn’t care; it is not a democratic government, it is a dictatorship in civilian uniform. I do know that I may not likely be alive. But should I be cowed when I know that my time will come when it will come? Look, my attorney-general came to see me and I told him that he has to travel out for medical check-up. And he died, I never saw him again. Did you know he would die? Death will come when it will come. We must face reality, and that’s the point we have reached in this country. Whether you are in your house, the government will come after you, whether you are in the kitchen the government will come after you, whether you are in the office the government will come after you.
PT: But what you are saying could be scary to some people?
Wike: It is not a question of being scary, it is a question of being told the truth. This government is out to eliminate people who say no. And that is why I keep saying that the international community is not doing enough, by now they should have revoked the visa of some of the people who are opposed to democratic rule and rule of law in this country. This government is bent on eliminating key opposition leaders.
Okay, let me tell you this: they are promoting my commissioner of police to become assistant inspector-general of police, they are promoting the deputy commissioner of police to become the commissioner of police, and the SARS man who took the Rivers state government to court, who have perpetuated election-rigging in the state, even by INEC report, and they are going to make him in-charge of police operation in the state. This is just for the purpose of the 2019 elections in the state. And they think we don’t know.
PT: Are you satisfied with INEC and security agencies’ preparation for the 2019 elections?
Wike: Oh, no, don’t talk about security agencies. Look at the recent bye-election in Port Harcourt Constituency III which has only eight wards with 142 polling units, within the same area. It won’t take you up to 30 minutes to cover the entire constituency. Do you know that since after the suspended election the commissioner of police in my state has not seen me and has not spoken to me? After all the atrocities they perpetuated, carrying men to go and carry election materials, beating up INEC officials!
As far as 2019 is concerned, there will be no election. The security agencies will help them to shoot guns and cause crisis in the entire state and then they will postpone the elections. When they postpone the elections, then on a subsequent date they will now bring out all the agencies for the elections. We have people inside the system who are also working with them who also let us know their plans. And it has been happening, the recent bye-election in Port Harcourt showed it. I told my people not to do anything, they should allow them to show what is in their heart, and they did by coming with criminals, and SARS wearing their uniform and protecting them while they carted away election materials. One of the three INEC resident electoral commissioners, the one from Akwa Ibom state, sent to help conduct the election, said he saw it with his eyes and could not believe it. That in this our time, security agencies would lead people to cart away election materials.
Tell Mr President, he has told the world he is going to conduct free, fair and credible elections in 2019, but that his security agencies are planning to disrupt the elections in Rivers state.
PT: The APC in Rivers is claiming that some of the projects you are commissioning in the state were started by Amaechi administration and taken to a certain percentage before you came in to inherit them?
Wike: When you have criminals, you have criminals! When you have a factional chairman of a political party who is a murderer whom the court has declared wanted and ordered the police to arrest him, and they have the audacity to come out for elections and the police are protecting him! What a shame to this country! The police should bury their head in shame. If my father were a policeman, I would have told him to withdraw from the police.