The Rivers State Governor, Nyeson Wike has accused the Presidential candidate of his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar of making a careless remark that amounted to “Northernising the Presidency” and capable of threatening the unity of Nigeria.
Wike spoke yesterday, October 17, on his arrival from Spain in company of Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Samuel Ortom (Benue), in reaction to the widely reported “don’t vote Yoruba, Igbo” remark by Atiku .
The Governor, who has been at cross-purpose with his party over the continued stay of its national chairman, Senator Iyorcha Ayu, insisted that PDP should apologise to Nigerians for the comment of its Presidential candidate.
He described such comment as not only “amounting to Northernising the Presidency but capable of threatening the nation’s unity.”
The governor blamed Atiku’s handlers for the damaging remark, adding that the “circumstances in which it was made” should be explained to Nigerians.
“I don’t believe that my candidate could make such a statement. But assuming he did make that statement, and this is one of the things we have been saying, this country needs to be united and part of the way you unite it is to include everybody.
”That comment has now confirmed to me one of the reasons why those of them in their camp, do not want Ayu to resign because they do not want inclusivity.
“I don’t know how those who are packaging the presidential candidate will allow him to make such a statement. I was reading where somebody was saying that it was a direct response to a question he was asked.
“Given that the statement is now in the public domain, I will advise the leadership of PDP to tender an apology to Nigerians while explaining the circumstances in which the statement was made.
“Be that as it may, I don’t think that it was necessary at this time, as people who are going in for an election, as people who want Nigerians to trust them to have allowed such a statement to be made. If it (statement) was made, as they said, I think, as a party, we need to apologise to Nigerians, assuming the (statement) was made.
“People are denying that it was made but if you watch the video, it appears true people are saying with recent technology, anything can be done.
“This requires further explanation by our party, because Nigerians, as it is today, we can’t go this way if we want this country to remain as the way our founding fathers struggled, laboured, and toiled all the night to see that there is a country called Nigeria.”
Governor Wike also insisted that the national chairman should resign as the only solution to the rift in the party, even as he queried the impropriety of the controversial one billion issue rocking the party.
He adjudged Senator Ayu as being indicted in the one billion naira controversy, “going by his responses to the allegations leveled against him.
“Luckily for me, he (Ayu) has now mentioned that he went to the presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri of Adamawa where they discussed on the issues of borrowing.
“Now, the question is, when you talk about borrowing, who approves borrowing? You must go to the National Working Committee (NWC) to say you want to borrow money.
“I challenge him to bring the records where NWC approved that the party should go and borrow N1billion. What is the collateral?”
Governor Wike said that in matters of funding the party, the governors had been up to that responsibility dutifully.
He said that it is unthinkable that Ayu would, in the guise of seeking funding for the party, opt to collect loans without notifying the NWC and governors.
“How can you talk of an N1billion loan without the NWC mooting the idea, without the governors knowing? Then you talk about the N100 million. He said he told the Board of Trustees (BOT).”