Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has said that former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi worked against the aspiration of Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the 25 February election.
“Rotimi Amaechi and his protégé, Mr Cole, actively opposed the demand for power shift to the south and worked against their party’s presidential candidate in Rivers State,” Mr Wike said in broadcast.
“When the president-elect emerged as the winner, Tonye Cole rushed to congratulate him on his Instagram handle but deleted the post when he was criticised.”
Mr Amaechi, a former governor of state is the leader of the APC in the state. He was one of the aspirants that was defeated by Mr Tinubu at the party’s presidential primary last year.
Mr Amaechi, who came second in the primary became inactive in the party, particularly at the national level after the primary and did not also play an active role in the APC presidential campaign council.
Governor Wike was an aide to Mr Amaechi before succeeding him in 2015.
Mr Wike further took a swipe at his former boss, saying Mr Amaechi “failed as governor of Rivers State for eight years” and “could not attract any single development project to Rivers State as Minister for Transportation for seven years”.
How Wike contributed to Atiku’s defeat
Like Mr Amaechi, Governor Wike was also one of the aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that was defeated by former vice president Atiku Abubakar during the party’s presidential primary last year.
Mr Wike fell out with Atiku after the primary for reneging on an alleged promise to ensure the exit of the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu.
Governor Wike is the leader of the G5, a group of five PDP governors who demanded Mr Ayu’s replacement with a southerner to achieve a “regional balance” since Messrs Atiku and Ayu are both northerners.
Apart from Mr Wike, other members of the G5 are Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu State), Governor Samuel Ortom (Benue), Governor Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia State) and their Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde.
The quintet withdrew their membership of Atiku campaign council and boycotted the activities of the council.
About a week to the presidential election, Mr Wike was accused of “surreptitiously” directing his political appointees to canvass support for Mr Tinubu, a development that contributed to the PDP losing Rivers State in presidential election for the first time since 1999.
“For us in the G5, the presidential election was about fairness, equity, and justice. Our commitment was for a presidential power shift from the north, where it has been for the last eight years, to southern Nigeria.
“Thankfully, Nigerians have vindicated our stand, and we appreciate the electoral majority for strengthening the nation’s unity with their choice,” Mr Wike said.
Mr Wike during the broadcast also accused Mr Amaechi of planning to disrupt the 18 March election in the state but said the security agents have been notified.
The governor, during the broadcast, declared 17 March as a public holiday to enable private and public sector workers to travel to their communities and vote in their polling units.
David Iyofor, spokesperson for Mr Amaechi did not respond to requests for comments on the allegations at the time of filing this report.
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