Rivers governor’s camp Nyesom Wike has described comments by former Jigawa state governor Sule Lamido as disgusting that Wike does not have a monopoly over Rivers’ electorate and that he would become politically irrelevant by the end of his tenure.
Lamido’s statement on the Channels flagship program, Politics Today, on Tuesday came amid the deepening crisis in the PDP between presidential flag bearer Atiku Abubakar and Governor Wike.
In response to Lamido’s claim, special media aide to Governor Wike, Kelvin Ebiri, said that while Lamido is entitled to his personal opinion, he has no right to defame Governor Wike, whose contributions to the maintenance of the PDP are not up for discussion.
Ebiri said he was disappointed that the former governor of Jigawa state would make such a comment when trying to solve the problems that are turning the PDP on its head.
The statement reads: “We have watched with horror the derogatory comments made by former Jigawa State Governor Alhaji Sule Lamido about Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike during his recent interview on Channels Television.
“While we cannot deny that Alhaji Lamido has an inalienable right to his personal opinion, we would like to state that, however, he has no right to slander Governor Wike, whose immense contributions to the maintenance of the PDP are not in question.
“It is quite appalling that at a time when lovers of true democracy and party unity are making concerted efforts to resolve some of the inherent contradictions that plague the PDP, Alhaji Lamido and his cohorts, who have since lost their relevance in the have lost polity, , are busy creating friction and schism.
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“Governor Wike never claimed to be the custodian of the more than three million votes in Rivers state. But as the leader of the PDP and good people of Rivers State, anyone who underestimates the governor’s political origins or dares ignore his influence in the state and beyond will do so at their peril.
“We would like to remind Alhaji Lamido that Governor Wike has never left anyone in doubt about his ability to influence the voters in Rivers State in a direction that benefits the people and the state at large. When he speaks, the people of Rivers will no doubt listen.
“We want to state unequivocally that no well-meaning member of the PDP would describe Governor Wike as ‘insignificant’ in the affairs of the PDP.
“Under Lamido’s supervision, as governor of Jigawa state in 2015, the APC governor candidate, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, scored a total of 648,045 votes to defeat his PDP opponent, Malam Aminu Ringim, who scored a total of 479,447 votes. Worse, in 2019 Governor Abubakar polled 810,933, while the PDP candidate scored 288,356.
“Such records show that Alhaji Lamido cannot and does not have such a political following that will benefit the PDP. Those who want electoral victory for the PDP are not dampening the morale needed for a political offensive at APC, but Alhaji Lamido is cracking the wall of unity in a bad way.
“Let’s say Governor Wike, as an opposition candidate in Rivers State, won 1,029,102 votes in 2015 to defeat the then-reigning APC governor candidate, Dakuku Peterside, who managed to garner a paltry 124,896 votes.”