The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has maintained a studied silence as his N2 billion donation to the Tinubu/Shettima presidential campaign is tearing the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, apart.
In the lead up to last Saturday’s presidential election, Wike whose insistence that the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Iyorchia Ayu, must resign formed a renegade group of five governors, who vicariously campaigned for Tinubu against Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the PDP
The crisis which began from the conduct of the PDP presidential campaign primary degenerated into the formation of G-5, that called on Atiku to choose between equity or Ayu, with Wike being the most vocal and sponsor of the group.
Since the outcome of the presidential election, following the announcement of Tinubu as president-elect, it was reported that the APC candidate received a N2 billion donation from Rivers State Governor.
According to a member of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Tony Okocha, the party got human and financial support from Wike amounting to N2 billion in order to defeat the PDP, a party Wike is a member of.
The Okocha faction has said, since Wike made the donation that ensured Tinubu did not only win Rivers State presidential election but emerged the president-elect, they would throw their weight behind the PDP candidate backed by the governor to win next Saturday’s governorship poll in the state.
Okocha, who was Chief of Staff to then governor, Amaechi, has turned his back on the party in the state saying he would lead his faction to ensure Wike’s anointed candidate wins the coming governorship election.
He justified his faction’s position saying, “Recall that months before the APC presidential primaries, we painstakingly traversed the nooks and crannies of Rivers state, Inaugurating structures and canvassing for support for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, our preferred aspirant for the presidential ticket of the APC, amidst stiff opposition and threat to our membership of the party for reason that our choice was an affront to a powerful generalissimo taunted audaciously as hair-apparent to the throne, who was then the leader of the APC in Rivers state.
“Recall, the deliberate preference of members of Tonye Cole’s campaign council over appointed members of the presidential campaign council in constituting of the campaign rally sub committees that held on the 15th February 2023 in Rivers state and our stout opposition thereto.”
“We relied on the Asiwaju’s track records hiding under the aegis of a support group, for still morbid phobia of possible expulsion from the Party, to rile support of Rivers people for the candidate.
“In most of those media engagements, our opposition didn’t come from other political party members, but our own party chieftains.
“Knowing that as our predicament, we audibly philosophized that ‘Asiwaju will win more votes in Rivers state than the APC’.
“As Rivers people, we take our destinies into our hands. No external/ centrifugal forces must dictate for us.
“We have witnessed and enjoyed good governance in Rivers state under Gov Wike. A government that continues to inaugurate and commission projects even at her twilight, should be commended. A chip-off-the-old-block should be encouraged, supported and promoted.
“No need to hair-split, unnecessary altercation or indulging in violence/blood-letting.”
Several attempts to speak with the Governor on the reported donation failed even as none of his camp members responded to our enquiry.
The donation which has torn the party apart was however denied by the Coordinator, Tinubu/Shettima Grassroot Independent Campaign Council, Augustine Nwokocha, even though the Rotimi Amaechi faction of the party has been left in limbo.
Nwokocha said, “We state that the victory of our President-elect was a natural cause of event given his phenomenal pedigree as an astute politician par excellence, administrator with an unmatchable track record of achievements, foresight and bold visions.
“We are not unmindful of the forces that coalesced to hand our President-elect this pan-Nigeria victory at the polls.
“It is however insidious for any individual to appropriate the performance of APC in Rivers State during the just concluded presidential elections to anyone,” he said.
However, several members of the Amaechi faction have questioned why the governor would bypass the state chapter and deal directly with the national headquarters of the party.
They also questioned the commitment of the beneficiary, Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the APC, who was on Wednesday announced president-elect from the presidential election that was held on Saturday 25, 2023, to the party nationwide, not less Rivers State.
It was gathered that Tonye Cole, the APC governorship candidate in the state, is not taking it kindly.
He alongside his political godfather, Amaechi have also been blocked from accessing the president-elect and have not received any assistance or support from the national headquarters of the party.