The Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide has confronted Gov Nyesom Wike of Rivers State over his alleged roles against Mr Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), during the presidential election which held on February 25, 2023.
Wike was alleged to have rigged the election in favour of Obi, allotting manipulated votes to Senator Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress in the process.
Ohanaeze made the allegations during its meeting with Wike on Thursaday, March 9, 2023 at the Exco Chambers, Government House, Port-Harcourt. The Ohanaeze delegation was led by Dr Kingsley Chidozie, the vice president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo (Abia) who nominated Barr Peter Aneke to speak on behalf of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Dr Aneke thanked Wike over the cordial relationship between him and the Igbo community in Rivers State. Aneke highlighted on both the consanguity and contiguity between the people of the South East of Nigeria and the Rivers State and wondered “how an Ikwere man will, in good conscience, work against the Igbo in a presidential race where the candidacy of Peter Obi was a low hanging fruit”.
He informed Wike that the “Igbo all over the world are aggrieved with him, especially as the alleged rigging operations are circulating on the Internet”. Aneke informed Wike that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo considers it a duty to confront him over the alleged wide-spread electoral malpractices in Rivers State against Peter Obi.
He expressed sadness that “Obi would win in the metropolitan Lagos, Abuja, and several other places in the North only to record so low in Rivers State.” Aneke added that the “delegation is on a fact finding; and that both the Igbo elders and youths are eager to know why he should go the extra mile to pull Obi down in Rivers State.”
He expressed his worries that the body of the late Professor Obiozor would have turned in the grave because of the alleged atrocities in Rivers State. Obiozor, according to him, had “set the Igbo project on a success line before his demise and would be sad in the grave that those he considered his sons turned against the Igbo interest when it mattered most”.
He asked Wike to “imagine what could have been the outcome of the election if he, Wike, had supported Obi during the presidential election”. He ended with the remark that “the Igbo are very sad and will want his explanations”.
Wike expressed surprise that the Ohanaeze were on a fact finding; but he would however explain his roles in the last presidential election. Wike explained that the Southern Governors Forum first met in Asaba, Delta State, and agreed that “power must shift to the South after President Muhammadu Buhari; and that they also met at Enugu in September 2021 to reaffirm their position for a power shift to the South”.
Wike stated that throughout their meetings, “the issue of presidency to the South East was never on the table. And that throughout his political adventure in this dispensation, he tried as much as possible to maintain the position by the Southern governors”.
Wike expressed disgust that “during the PDP presidential primaries, several well known people of the South East betrayed and sabotaged the Southern interest by voting for the Northern candidates for presidency”.
He added that his unalloyed commitment for the South motivated him to “provide logistics for Peter Obi when he was in Rivers State for presidential campaigns and that he refused to provide even a campaign ground for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the PDP on principles”.
The governor stated that “what is circulating on the social media is the handiwork of the Wike adversaries”, adding that, “Full Audio of Governor Wike Caught on Tape Arranging Bribe for INEC Officials” and published by an online medium, “has been on YouTube since December 16, 2016”. He explained that “some mischief-makers were using some doctored and false audio and visual materials on the internet to dent his image”.
The governor in admitting that all the decisions he took “with respect to the 2023 presidential elections were based on his personal convictions and queried if Ohanaeze Ndigbo ever requested him to support Peter Obi”. He added that he is a “man with the courage of his convictions and that he neither has reasons to tell lies nor to owe apologies to anyone”, noting that he is “always ready to defend his actions any day any time”.
Wike stressed that “he did not rig the presidential election against Peter Obi”.
Other Ohanaeze officials in the delegation include Chief Emeka Ogwu, the vice president general (Delta); Hon Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, Chief Ezechi Chukwu, Prof Fred Eze, president, Enugu State Chapter; Mr. Lucky Ekeji, president, Rivers State Chapter; Comrade Okey Nwankwo, president, Abia State Chapter; and Prince Nwandu, president, Delta State Chapter. Several eminent persons from Rivers State such as Rt. Hon. Chibudom Nwuche were in attendance.