JOURNALISTS OWE THIS SOCIETY A REPONSIBILTY TO STOP UNNECESSARY SENSATIONAL REPORTING - GOVERNOR WIKE
In a recent interactive session with journalists at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike explains what was at stake during the rerun legislative elections, the unnecessary propaganda against Rivers State and and the dynamics that shaped the rerun elections.
QUESTION: Good day, Your Excellency, I am Jimitota Onoyume of the Vanguard Newspaper.
Respectfully Sir, its all over Port Harcourt that there was an incident at the Mile One Police Station today(Sunday March 20), and the issue centered on you, the governor of the state and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi . We really want you to throw some light on the issue .
Governor Wike : You want to ask me a question , now you said the issue centred on me and the Minister of Transportation, which means you know all the issues. Well, just so that don’t be augmentative. Just early this morning, when I was sleeping I got an alarm text that one of the candidates of my party, former member of House of Representatives who is also a candidate for this re-run, Blessing Nseigbe was abducted and was at Mile one Police Station. I said no; it is not possible because I saw her last night with the leader of the party in Port Harcourt. I said its not possible.
In fact, most of my workers had not even come to work because they closed very late this morning. So, I said let's drive down and see what happened. When we got there actually she was there and they said she was upstairs, so I climbed up and said what happened, and she said what really happened was that there was a collation officer that they were looking for all through last night, that was the returning collation officer. But that they got information this morning that the woman is some where at the Mile one police station so they decided to find out what actually took place . People were collating at the Saint Andrew’s school and they could not find the ward 10 collation officer. And as she was asking them, the police told her to go upstairs, she said why, they said, she must come up. Then before she knew it, soldiers surrendered the place. I suspected that was why they had to send me that text. So, when I got there, I saw the soldiers, I said what was the problem, they said well they got information that people had been attacked at the Mile One Police. And I said but that is a Police Station, if people had been attacked, is it the soldiers that will come into police station. I allowed it, so I went up and asked.
So when, we were discussing, they now brought the woman, the collation officer. I said what is the problem? She said as they were coming out from the INEC office, somebody told her that a person wanted to give her a ride, but she said they were many, that she had to join her group (ie) the collation officer, the person said no that it didn't matter, let me just, so she now entered. As she entered the vehicle, the person was no longer going to the collation site and diverted and then they told her to put off her phone, so I know asked her, at this point in time, how could somebody give you a ride when the commission had provided a bus for all of you to go in. why would you prefer somebody to give you a ride. Assuming now its true that you were kidnapped, people will now sat that is Port Harcourt, they kidnapped an INEC Electoral Officer. I think you organize this kidnap. So where is the result sheet? She said that the police took it and this and that. So, I called the AIG who is incharge of the election,l.
While I was standing out, some other APC people came. As far as I am concerned, I made my report and I think they took the woman to the state Headquarters for further interrogation. But we discovered that, that woman is the girl friend of the APC candidate, House of Representatives candidate. So the kidnapping was masterminded, if at all it was kidnapping, it was masterminded by the candidate. And so, she had already prepared results in the spread sheet without the unit ward results collated. That is the truth of the matter and these are the kind of things we see. I left and that has to do with the Mile One Police Station.
Question: Your Excellency, my name is Ernest Chinwo, I write for Thisday Newspaper.
Sir yesterday you did say that from what you saw in the field that INEC was not really prepared for the election. Having finished the election, do you change your mind? And how has your party faired in the election for far?
Governor Wike : As earlier as 9am yesterday morning, I was getting calls from local government areas, I got a call from Bonny Local Government that the results they brought to them was not original. I said, how do you know the original result? They said the one they saw for the Senate was different, that you could see the coat of arm, the one for House of Assembly, you could see the coat of arm, but the one for the House of Representatives, there was nothing and it was not even signed. I said ok, hold done let me get to REC.
I got the REC, I called him on phone and said this is the complain, he said the problem he is having is that he told the electoral officers, the EO’s to countersign those ones that do not have either codes or whatever so that, that will term as original. So that is the problem he heard that most of them did not sign. I said now you see, mind you there have been suspicions before now that results would be swapped, now what you would have done, knowing that you have this problem, was not only to tell your EOs but also to tell the agents of the parties that the state headquarters so that they can now communicate to their parties supporters at the various local governments. As it is now, it will be difficult for you to convey that message.
So, already there had been suspicions, people accused INEC of appointing adhoc staff who are members of a political party and people said that they have it on authority that people are getting results sheets and would be swapped, so that has created that crisis. That was what happened in most of the LGAs. But before we have reached conclusion to tell the other LGAs, never mind, go ahead with the election, some of them have decided that look, we cannot continue with this kind of election. And as at that time it was too late. It happened in my own LG. in Senate, original, House of Assembly, original, but House of Representatives just like that. So we said okay, I am from this local government, do the election, let me see how they will bring the original that they want, let me see how it will come in, right. So, so many local governments agreed and went on. Some, before they could settle, it was late.
Take for example, Andoni Local Government that was the same issue. It also happened in Gokana and Khana. It was this issue of the result sheet. So, by the time they would have made up their mind it was up to 3pm and mind you, this election ought to be conducted by 2pm, so by 3pm, they said look it not possible for us to go and do election.
So, you can now see. Now again, what people say, let me not preempt, but when people say crisis, you remember that I had warned that today’s Nigeria is not yesterday's Nigeria. There were things that were done in a wrong way yesterday. Does not mean it will continuously happen, that time will come when people will say, this cannot continue to happen. Remember I warned that nobody should make an attempt to go and rig election, that people will resist it and in resisting that, it could lead to a lot of things. You also know I said the military should not play a role of polling and collation security.
Recall that I said and that Ogoni is a sentive area when it has to do with the military. What happened? In Khana, I was the one who called the Brigade Commander that I heard that there were problems in Gokana and Khana and even in Tai. In fact, let me start with Tai. In Tai, the Military, I have always said, you know in leadership, I can send the commissioner for information, for an errand. Look your business is to interact with the journalists nothing more, nothing less. Commissioner may go, instead of restricting himself with what I had told him, he could go beyond what I sent him. Sometimes, the leadership of the military high ranking can send people in operation look, make sure things are done.
Very well, protect the materials and this and that. But there could be some over zealous people who will go beyond that and in doing that crisis may ensue . So, when they went to Khana, instead of them to even support the police, how to make sure that these materials got to the various polling units. They said no, no agents should be here. How can there be no agent? When you are moving materials.
The rule is clear, before materials are sent out, agents of various political parties must be there, so why do you now come to say no agent should be there. What role, who are you favouring. So the people said, it will not happen that they must be there. My commissioner of Environment, Professor Roseline Konya went and said listen, this is not the the way to do it, you must allow our agent to be where the materials are, so that they will see what you are sending out and follow the materials to the various polling units. They manhandled the commissioner, a woman for that matter. So, women now came out to say look how can you manhandle a mother, merely because she said this is not done. And of course some youths said we can’t take this, that was in Khana.
In Tai, Military men whether they are fake or they are original acted illegally . In our security council meeting, we were told that they would be given tags. Anybody without that tag is not a real military person. So, the materials that were in the RAC centre, the military now came, with a bus and commanded all the corpers, presiding officers to enter into the bus, took the materials and entered into the bus and move, and they said no, where are you going to, our agents were suppose to be in that bus.
They said nobody must be there. Instead of taking the materials to the various polling units, they diverted the materials to a House of Representatives Candidate, Barry Mpigi in Kuroma Tai. So as they followed the bus, they shot, two persons died. So when people talk about violence, violence, nobody want to ask. so that is how they killed two people in Tai, because the people say you can’t move these materials to a private residence, you cannot, the materials must go to the various polling units. They said no we must not agree, we will chase you.
Now as I am speaking to you, my Chief of Staff just called me that they shot his PA and he thinks that his PA . Military, police, SARS with the gubernatorial candidate of APC, Dakuku Peterside and his Deputy came to Ikwerre Local Government, the collation centre, they are not from Ikwerre local government, they are not that senatorial district, just went there and hijacked the Electoral Officer (EO)and the result and put them in an armored vehicle.
First of all, the House of Assembly candidate who lost, Mr. Azubuike Wanjoku came there to tell the returning officer who is from his village, who he nominated that he should give him back his money that he did not deliver. That he gave him 12 million naira, that he did not deliver that he should give him back his money. So our people said look, that is your business with the returning officer, go and report the matter to the police, but you can’t disrupt the collation process. We would give you the tape, House of Assembly candidate under APC say I gave you 12million Naira to deliver, now you did not deliver, so the boys who were there were able to over power them, they now went and brought Dakuku and the rest.
They stormed there, as they stormed there, look at the role of the army, I called the Bridger commander, I said see what I heard, he told me that his Commanding Officer said yes that some people came there but he is trying to protect them and take them to Port Harcourt. I said Bridge Commander, I don’t believe this, he said no, no, no. within ten minutes, I was called that on getting to the airport junction, that the military men retreated and then gave opportunity to the other security men with Dakuku and the rest of them, they started firing. Infact the House of Assembly Candidate Azubuike Nwajoku took his own bulletproof car and hit the vehicle of the EO and push him to the bush. They were able to take the spread sheet result of the Emohua Local Government. The men now ran to the bush and they were firing. The police have gone to rescue the man now why are we saying this? When I see most people making comments just from one side, you don’t even ask questions.
Now, my Chief of staff still pursued Dakuku and co, on getting to UTC here, the DSS office, they shot and they told me his driver, his PA, one Eloys Ahamewhule was hit and said I should send people. I now sent my Security to go to the headquarters. I called the SSS, he said they were attacking his office, I said no, I called you to brief you what was going on, he said ah, is that the true, I said yes, my Chief of Staff is there now. A guber candidate, because their master lost in his LGA. We can’t allow this to happen ooh, lets see what we can do, even if to cancel it, or let us smuggle the result sheet. This is UTC here. All the way from Isiokpo, they were chasing them, so you could have heard the gun shots.
You see, he is too desperate. Desperation has come, and I have told people, you see, , but it will come to a time when people say no, enough is enough, we have heard of these stories every time. People went, look, we can’t continue this, we can’t continue this way. When I voted yesterday, you were there, I commended the security. How did I commend them, because when we had security council meeting, they told me that security will be beefed up every where. In fact, the number of police men that came to the state and other Para Military Agencies. Like I said, when we say ten people died, twenty people died, who saw all these corpses. Did you get to the families to know the family were you lost Joseph last night, is it correct? Do you understand the point am making.
Sometimes, it is good to go beyond and find out. I have told you here, the army shot two people in Tai, no result went to the polling units, not one, not one. If they had gone to the polling unit to even hijack it, is a different thing, from the RAC centre with the aid of the military. Is that how things are supposed to be done? Is that how things are supposed to be done? Throughout my political career, I have never seen the level of involvement of military like it took place yesterday. I said look, what I thought would have been the function of the military is provide security at strategic location. Know where those criminals can come in from, know where they can go, so that we would not have any attack and luckily you can attest to the fact that in Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor, apart from somebody who was shot at Rumuokwuta junction. What happened?
The police at Rumuokwuta junction said there was a woman who was driving by and they stopped the woman, the woman refused and they now shot. When they shot, you know there is a polling unit on the road there, this is a PDP boy ooh, in the polling unit on the road. They said they shot and the gun now hit the boy and they immediately left that junction. Ask the DPO of Rumuoprikon Police Station. You see one boy that they were carrying if you watch, ehee, that is the boy. But you see, people carry all sort of stories, you won’t want to confirm. When you say violence, violence, who killed who? Who killed who? Asked them who killed who? You try to play a role you were not supposed to play. They pushed the Police aside. How was my secretary to Government arrested at about 3pm? Secretary to Government that was secretary of the security council meeting with all the security chiefs, you know its very funny.
He is the secretary of security council meetings where the Bridge Commander attends, Airforce Commander is there, SSS is there, CP is there. Secretary to the Government is the secretary of that meeting, so he relates with the security agencies. All logistics to all the security agencies pass through the office of the SSG. So it’s not as if they don’t know him. Is not as if they don’t know him. What happened?
In his local government, yes Magnus Abe is from that local government, so you expect that there would be some kind of challenge, but he said listen we can’t allow these materials to leave , look at the time, we can’t and the military people said no, the materials must leave. He said sir, its not possible, we are not sure of these result sheets and even if we are sure, look at the time, 3pm, how will the materials go to the various polling units and then before you start voting, before you talk about collation, no we won’t agree. Without respect, they took him and put him in armored vehicle, they put him there and they made headline news. Secretary to Government, aides to the governor arrested. I said I won’t call anybody, I won’t even talk to them, whatever they want to do with him is there business.
But what I know in life, freedom does not come easy, you most make scarifies. What is happing in Rivers State today is not the amount of propaganda. I have told people you cannot rig election when you are not popular. If you try to go and rig election when you are not popular, that is the resistance you are seeing, that is the resistance. When we were here, they said we have federal might, we had army, we have police, we have INEC. They have the INEC, they have the police, they had the army, which one do we have na? So now which one do we have now? We have only the people that will resist rigging. So all these things you hear, you people are talking about, our people said no, it will not work, yes you have gun, I agree you can kill anybody, but we think that everybody can’t die at the same time.
That is why you are seeing what your seeing, ‘oh Rivers election Bloody thing’, who is involved? I never stepped out of my house. Those of you who came, that’s my father's house, I have my village, I don’t stay in hotels because how will people look at me, a son of the soil, when I come from anywhere I go and stay in the hotel, then my family people will some and see me in the hotel? No, I won’t do that. When I am talking to my people to vote, is it in hotel I will tell them. I stayed in my father's house and all of you saw me there. I stayed in my father's house and I have to discuss with them, talk to them why they should vote for PDP. . You can see the small cubicle there, that is where I stayed all through till around six in the evening, that is when I left my house and came to my residence here in old GRA. So, if you are now saying because I have a house, its my father's house, that’s correction, good for me. I have no problem.
So that is the key, let people understand that those violence people are creating is just for people to feel that there is problem in the state, let them declare state of emergency. What is the problem, you want to have Assembly, so that you can impeach me. If not that some of our boys were afraid, I won’t use that rough word because they didn’t know what they were doing with the result that have been declared, you can see, it is clear. It's clear who is no ground. I don’t need army to promote me. No, you don’t need it Army should provide security, police should provide security.
So these things you people say war, war, war, find out these 20 dead bodies assuming there are, which families own these dead bodies. No every time, 20 people died, 15 people died, and nobody will even show the corpses where they are, which family own them. You heard that soldiers were killed, they said re-run election is causing it. It is not correct. Bridge Commander, he told me. I declared public holidays two days. You know of these sea pirates. People have started going home, either by land or by sea, so they tried to use that opportunity to extort money from people. Unfortunately for them, the security men came in and they had an exchange. They lost a major and one other soldier which is unfortunate. But more killings because of re-run election. The next day, we were on a security meeting, the Bridge commander said they ambush one of his men at Idu. I said how? Luckily they said they called emergency distress call and so they have this Joint Patrol, Police Army, Navy, Airforce and SSS.
So they were rushing to that distress call. Who made the distress call, ask them? Who made the distress call. As they were going there, they said some guys ambushed and killed an SSS person, not Army ooh, not that they were going for election neither ooh. Election abi? Ooh another died because of election. You people owe Nigerians to report the right thing. Don’t be emotional and sentimental. Get the hard facts. It may be hard, get the facts and let Nigerians know, these are the facts. No when you hear they have kidnapped people, you won’t make inquiry . You have been hearing of kidnapping and assassination, mention one known politician that has been killed, one. Mention one. Why will anybody go and kill a ward chairman. If you kill the ward chairman, so that ward chairman is strong in the whole of the local government, what is the age, that should tell you, what is the age bracket 25, 30 years. 25, 30 years. Should it not tell you that there must be something going on.
A night to the election , they said they entered one house and kill a girl of 22-23 years. Why? Its Cult related ! You know it is a gang thing. You should know. What are you doing with a 22 – 23 years old boy as a politician, What role will he play? So, ask yourself. They over blow things that happen in this state. How many people died in Agatu? 500 as I hear. I Am not saying its okay here, but comparatively, how many people died. In Abia, they beheaded people in the university. If it was here, they would have said it is because of this election. In Lagos, they did the Chibok Style. It is the same Chibok Style, they have taken the girls in the night, the only difference, is that this is less. The number is small. The other number is high. So, they took them. Look at the armed robbery, look at the every thing going, but no body reports that. You that are here, you owe this society that, you owe Nigerians. Ask yourself questions, these things I am reporting, are they fair, am I being fair, have I made inquiry or am I on a sensational thing?
I worked tirelessly to see how we can improve security. It has nothing to do with politics, it doesn’t. I have supported. I don’t know of any state where the security agencies get more support, ask the security agencies. I have given them support all the way. I don’t bring who will be CP here, I don’t bring who will be Director of DSS, I don’t bring who will be Bridge Commander. They have changed my CP three times, they have never brought any one, they won’t tell me to bring too, so when the CP is trying to work with the government, they will call IG, look that CP is working with the Governor, remove him and the IG will say yes Sir, they will remove that one. They will bring another one. That one will now stay to study the security situation in the state and start to plan, and in planning he needs the support of the state government. There is no way any police can work without the support of the state government.
The Army, DSS, we give the necessary logistics. Its not a personal thing, it is the state government. So when that one is trying to settle down and they tell that one to arrest everybody that they think that has something to do in his local government, and if that one does not arrest, they change that one, DSS, they change that one. This one just came, they remove the other one. So, in terms of security, how do you organize it. So whom will you now ask that is causing all these security problems, when a CP cannot stay and strategise, when a Director of DSS cannot stay and strategise on how to tackle the issue of security. So let me leave it there.
QUESTION: Your Excellency, my name is Kelvin Ebiri of The Guardian .
I want a further clarification on these shootings at the DSS office. I got a text from somebody, clamming that Dakuku was on his way, probably going back to his house. At a point when he got to that UTC junction, that gunmen in two Jeeps attacked him and he has to run to the DSS office to take refuge.
Governor Wike : Listen, listen, you see, this is what I am trying to say. These are merely defensive . U am telling you, right from Isiokpo, I am not saying an telling you from Isiokpo . Dakuku , Asita, go and see whether they were there or not? I said, I also called Bridge commander. They started trailing from Isiokpo, so it is not a question of Dakuku going to where. I am just telling you this, my Chief of Staff was following him to where. Infact, they said they were going to INEC.
They said, they will carry the materials to INEC and I now say, follow them and make sure you get to INEC office. Getting there, they refused to go to INEC again, and diverted this way. I said follow them, make sure they don’t carry the result. So, they can now say people are, who is doing that. You know it is easy there must be a defense, there must be a defense at all times. Luckily, I called the Brigade Commander, look at what they are doing in Isiokpo, he told me, that yes his CO has told him, some people came to hijack the materials and the CO said look he is going to make sure the materials get to the INEC headquarters. Where is the CO now? You know, it is a funny world that we are in. Desperation, look am a Governor, have you seen one with army one day? But, what I saw. An ordinary politician moves with ten soldiers. That one will go to his village, harras everybody. For Christ sake, must we not respect our Military. Has it been so reduced that any body can go and call military, follow me, arrest Kelvin, follow me, arrest, I mean has it been reduced to that level.
The number of military personnel I saw, the number of military personnel following politicians, it has never happened, never happened where you see a young boy carrying ten military man. How can? You mean we don’t have any work to do again other than to assign them to politicians. And this is the same people who said let us withdraw every security from the politicians. That is what we agreed oh in the meeting. Ask them whether they did it. I was in mile one police station, how many police did I use? I think about 8 policemen. I saw over one hundred and twenty soldiers with the Minister.
What kind of system is this? And then you will see some soldiers, look at the comment they are making, anything that will happen today, let it happen , I just pretended as if I was not hearing. I just kept quiet. Look at the level we have reduced ourselves. You know, like I said, we are not perfect, I don’t expect the leadership to be perfect, but there are things the people don’t expect like this. You can’t reduce the military like this. You cannot do this. The military, they have honour, they have integrity. One chief and the other one is quarrelling, you assign army to this chief, what kind of system are we running.
In the night you see one man carrying over three Hilux of army. The government, we bought those vehicles ooh. I told them, if you sign these troops with the police they say they sent ooh and they mount all the strategic points in this state, nothing, not one, nothing will happen. So what you heard here is total untrue. It doesn’t near the truth at all.
QUESTION: Your Excellency, what really happened?
Governor Wike : That is the point am making. Because they were chasing them with the election materials from Isiokpo. Infact, I told you that the Assistant commissioner of police, operations has gone to rescue either the EO or the returning officer. They chased him to the bush. You mean, my Chief of Staff doesn’t know who Dakuku is, he does not know whom Asista is? They came to the collation centre in Ikwere Local Government and they called me. I said no, don’t move any where, stay there.
That was what made me now to call the Bridger commander. I didn’t say I didn’t call! I said called and I called more than three times and I told him these are the things and he wasn’t also happy. This is what I said, you may send people message, instead of them restricting themselves on the errand they were sent, they will go beyond because of, I don’t know what interest it is. So, you should help us. When anybody say, popularity, popularity if you are popular, you will feel it. As you are moving on the road, you will feel it. Before you know it, you will see what people will do. It was as if Nigeria was holding an election.
This Rivers election was as if Nigeria was holding a general election. The amount of security I see, but what for? What for? To intimidate us, it is not necessary. It is not necessary at all. To provide security yes, and I agree with them. But why would you, in evry collation centre, they will park in, go ahead.
A military officer yesterday at the collation centre in Emohua had the same exchange with the Chief of Staff. The Chief of Staff was the collation agent in his LGA. They said a military officer came there with over 30 Hilux all armed. I won’t call the name. I won’t call but I call the Bridger commander, I hear so, so person, he said yes that COS and that, I said okay, but what is all these. Who is fighting with who? Is Nigeria at war, with who. Before, yes it would have been easy, before yes, to beat verybody, now, as your doing people are sending, that is one of the disadvantage in these technology. You know, this, you people eh, social media. Before you know, if I show you the viedo, the type of the activities of what happened yesterday, but we are keeping it, we are keeping it. Nigerians will see, Nigerians will know who is actually doing all these things in the state. How can somebody come to say I would flood the military in Rivers State, I would flood and yes the person really flooded it. There is no APC person that doesn’t have at least ten soldiers, there use to be one of them who worked with me, who was my PA or SA, I don’t even remember, in his place, he heard soldiers, not police ooh!
Soldiers. So, you people should held us. Report the actual thing. Report the truth so that people will say, look you are driving investors away from us because you are too emotional. I don’t have the attachment you have ooh, am not accusing, but when you say “Rivers of Blood” which kind of statement is that. Tell me one election, anywhere in this country, anyone election in this country where you can say, you have never heard any clash, one, one, mention one. FCT election will come very soon.
So, if you are sign a role to just publish, make fake things that are not even true, it doesn’t help us, because we all have conscience. This thing am publishing, is it correct, have I ascertained the truth, have I verified the facts. How is it that any person that died, even when police had submitted a report, you say no ooh, they are APC people. Even when they had made arrest? Two people are fighting, you go and arrest this person that is responsible for the death if this man, you came to the news stand and said they are APC. Every person that dies in the state is an APC member, why? I told you the one they shot yesterday, PDP person, is it not, did you hear us shout? Army said it was accidental, okay, it’s that as if we don’t also have things to say, but you see, in leadership, you manage some of those things so that you don’t escalate crisis. So when people say talk, talk, what am I going to talk. People just make up there mind.
I saw people analyzing yesterday, Rivers Re-Run” most of them don’t even know here, they have not even been here, but they have become experts as far as this Rivers election is concerned. They become analysts .
For Channels as their correspondents, they will stay on Aba road, and report as we are talking to you now, from Port Harcourt, you know how big Port Harcourt is? But the man is just on Aba road. He has not gone to Ikwerre road, he has not gone to town, he has not gone to all the other areas, but he will tell you, as he is speaking to you now in Port Harcourt, the atmosphere is so tensed, ‘haba’.
He goes to INEC office were they are collating the results, I am reporting live now from the headquarters, as I speak to you, even the INEC staff they are all panicking, there is fear, there is fear all over the place. You know, so I ask myself, where are these people coming from. Why can we say, gentlemen, where I am now is not even one percent of the city so that people will appreciate what am talkig about. I told the American Embassy, they came the other day, I said look you, you’ve come now, you are in Port Harcourt, where and where do you know in Port Harcourt, he said Your Excellency, came around Port Harcourt.
I said do you know were they call Bundu Water Side? I said we have 23 Local Government, you’ve came to Port Harcourt. Yes, Port Harcourt, there maybe problem, but does it mean there are problem all over the Local Government. Where did they cover? I saw what they show in Eleme, yes you know this politics, they may have gone to burn the bus.
Question: His Excellency, my name is Emeka Otuka, I write for Wazobia, Nigeria Info FM, Port Harcourt. Your Excellency, you have narrated some of the things that happened yesterday. In the face of all these challenges, how will you rate your party’s performance in the election Sir?
Governor Wike : No, no, no, you know I have told you since from day one when they annulled this election in December, we started preparing for the rerun . You know, like I have always said, a good student does not prepare a day to the election, I mean to the rerun. No good student does that. A good student starts from when the class starts, immediately, the class starts, you see a student preparing. So, when they annulled this election last year December by the court of Appeal, we set, we met and said listen, they have annulled this election and there is nothing we can do, therefore lets prepare, we started preparing, but they were waiting because they have according to them they have the federal might, but we said no, lets go back to the grassroots We charged our people and say look, we must have to protect and defend our votes. We campaigned, you saw it, you saw the campaign, you saw the one you can see on Channels, those scanty ones, you can see them, you can see those campaigns, its not to abuse me, that is not the point am making.
So my party, we have never had any doubt whether we are going to win election, where we were having doubt is regarding to the commission which I said, you employed APC people as adhoc staff, they said how, I mentioned organizing secretary of APC for Rumuola, Obio/Akpor local government, Ward 13. I Am telling you, I wrote a protest letter to the INEC Chairman, this is number one, Ovunda Ihunwo, he is from my local government, he is from Ward 13, he is the organizing secretary, he lectures in Uniport and you are doubting me. I said Gift Worlu was caretaker chairman under Obio/Akpor, APC made him, he is a staff now of Uniport, so how can he now. How do you want me to, you look at me. I know Kelvin Ebiri, and then they are doing something then I say no, I know Kelvin, he is from Omoku, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA, he works with Guardian, but he is a friend to this man, he said how do you know, haba. How do you want me to prove that we did that specifically, we wrote down of those we can identify, but what will they sai, we are not sure.
My Commissioner for Education was the Dean Faculty of Law, Uniport, the Commissioner for Environment, she was to be the Dean, School of Graduate Studies, but so, she knows those who lean here, my commissioner for Environment knows those who lean there, so they should be able to say, no I know this professor and this is where he is, and we tell you and he said, is not correct. How could you be threatened when you have come to do the right things, if you know you are not coming to rig election, would you be afraid, it is only somebody who has something at the back of his mind, who say look, instead of me to go and do this, let me better leave it that is what happened.
If I said, am going to conduct a primary in PDP, I don’t see how, what for, what will the person tell me. If I have interest, I will tell the man sending me, I will not lie to you, my candidate is, if he still tells me okay go, I know that I have told him and he said I should still go. I have no problems, but so, we have helped INEC in our own way to conduct a free and fair election. If we are not on ground, what they have planned to do to us, first of all they start the issue of arresting people. Look at a cultist known in Asari-Toru, Flag Ojukaye Amaechree, who doesn’t know Amaechree, how he was shooting in Asari-Toru, how he even knock down somebody on the road, you saw him on television. I say with facts, I don’t say don’t mid him. No, I say with hard facts. Ojukaye can sue me, he knows he cannot sue me because I know him. Go to SSS, there is what they called profile they know, they will see it there, but that is the young boy moving about with SARS, shooting, carrying materials, the tomorrow you will say oh, it is PDP people.
If they had won now, all these Assembly now, they would have said oh, we told you, they didn’t win this election, they will told you, Supreme Court give them the judgement, has it not prove now that they didn’t win election, but this one now, there was no election that took place. Maybe they win with federal might who don’t know the forces that came from heaven. And really forces came from heaven to do those things that were impossible. Forces came, you won’t know. We have, we are protected here by the forces of heaven, they are protected by the uniform men, so I thank you.
Question: Your Excellency Sir, am actually disturbed each time I hear that somebody was killed somewhere, I feel reduced as a man, but I was pricked when I was watching Channels the other day and the immediate past governor said why Rivers State is charged because you have not come to him to say forgive me and again, he said when he was governor, he always go to those he felt he had offended to plead for forgiveness, but you have not done that. From what I deduced, I believe that if two of you can come together, Rivers will be cool. Can tow of you come together for Rivers to be cool again?
Governor Wike : What are we quarrelling about and why are we making it personal. He said he goes to people when he has offended them. I have not offended anyone . So, if you are not good with me, that is why Rivers State must burn, so is it a personal thing? Are you the owner of Rivers State? Can’t you say for the sake of Rivers State, why do we have to make a problem? So what is that? I have not come to him. Has he told me that I offended him? He is in APC, am in PDP. Is it wrong that we have to be in different parties? Is there any law that said all of us must be in one party? Come to think of it, are there no friends who are in different political parties and they are still friends? Must he be in PDP or must I be in APC? No, no, is not the point, is not the point. I don’t see anything personal about it. You see, when they take it personal, you become so desperate.
Look, since I became governor, I have not packed in here. Do you understand what am saying. I don’t know how people see life. What is life, something you know that is a temporary thing that you must leave. Even if it is eight years, it is temporary, even if it is 20 years to come, you must leave. So, why do you go and put attachment to it, that is why it is difficult for people when is their time to go, they say if it is not my boy, if it is not my girl, I won’t leave here, and when you leave, you said no I am not sure have left, let me see whether I can do anything to bring me back. That is just the thing, control, control, what is in life? People also help you to be there, where are those people today, people helped you to be there, where are those people today?
Somebody told you I was a bit down, so they nominated me as a Minister, DG of a campaign, was a bit down, you know there are things you talk and people will say haba, don’t do this! I was sacked as Chief of Staff, it is unfortunate, that is how life is, but I thank him, since I was a bit down, now I am a bit up. You know is very, very funny, you know what somebody outside the public, oh no, one of my boys came and told me, ask him, who is that boy that told him? How did he know the boy? I was Deputy President ALGON, the man who supported me to be was Dr Sunday Onu from Cross River State. He handed over to me a Deputy President of ALGON. This boy you are talking about ‘Chuma’ was working for the man. The man now called me, say my brother, this man is my friend, please I want him to continue to work with you since he worked with me as Deputy President of ALGON.
I took the man, then I became, President of ALGON, I also took him, he worked with me then when we were in the fight when the man was enjoying himself in Ghana, this boy, I took him. I send him on errand, he goes, then when we won, we came back, I said this boy, worked for us, he supported us, so he now made him Special Assistant. It is the same person now, he told me one of his boys came to him and said that i was a bit down. Thank God am a bit up.
If an opportunity like that presents itself and God wants me to play the same role, I will play.
The New Rivers State has a team of prolific writers who will be introduced with time.