Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has revealed that he made attempts to lure President-elect, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to abandon the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2018.
He said he met the President-elect in 2018 at his Bourdillon home in Lagos around 2:00am in his bid to convince Tinubu to join the main opposition party.
Wike spoke on Wednesday night at the Government House, Port Harcourt during a state banquet in honour of the President-elect, who is on a two-day official visit to Rivers State.
The governor, however, said Tinubu turned down his offer after he (Wike) listed possible presidential candidates in PDP.
He said: “I met him first in 2018 around 2:00am in his house -Bourdillon. I was sent to go and talk to him, how he can join us. I went to him, I said ‘sir, I hear you can’t find your feet again in APC. Why not join us and let’s support one of these our candidates to win the 2019 election?
“He asked me. Who are these your candidates, I mentioned them. He said look, if it is these ones you have, I will support (Muhammadu) Buhari 200 times. He told me that and I respected him.”
Speaking on his support for Tinubu in the 2023 presidential election, Wike said: “We didn’t do anti-party, we supported the unity of Nigeria which is more important than any political party.
“Those who did anti-party are those who violated the provision of the constitution of their political party, they did anti-party. They must obey the constitution of our party, we cannot be held for anti-party.”
On the opposition presidential candidates challenging Tinubu’s victory at the Tribunal, the governor said: “It’s only in Nigeria where I see if the opposition wins an election, that election was done well.
“It’s only in Nigeria I have seen that. If as a governor now, I contested Senate and I lose that election, they will say that election is free and fair. Why? Because the governor lost.
“But if I won, the governor has done everything. We saw governors who lost the election. Bola Tinubu lost Lagos – the presidential election, he lost Lagos, is it not correct?
“That election was free and fair in Lagos. Was it not free and fair in Lagos? Why? Because Bola Tinubu lost in Lagos. That is the kind of thing we do. If I lost election in Rivers State, they will say ‘but we said it, his own time is over, how do you think Wike would have won? Now I won, ‘don’t worry, they just manipulated’.
“Look at states where governors lost elections, nobody is talking about it. That election was free and fair. Senators lost elections, those election were free and fair.
“As far as I’m concerned, I have no regrets. I will continue to say and I have told the president-elect, the elections have come and gone. You have finished that battle, the battle you have now is governance.
“What Nigerians want is good governance. If we want good governance, then we must rally round the president-elect.”