Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has thrown his weight behind the presidential bid of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, ahead of the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria. Governor Wike expressed his endorsement while receiving Tinubu at the Government House in Port Harcourt, shortly after the APC candidate’s campaign rally in Rivers on Wednesday.
The governor said Tinubu possessed the character and courage needed for the position, adding that the former Lagos governor’s consistency in character and refusal to change parties was worthy of emulation.
However, Wike advised Tinubu not to encourage further funding for the APC gubernatorial candidate in Rivers, Tonye Cole, adding that Cole had no chance against Siminaliayi Fubura, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) whom Wike projected would succeed him.
The governor acknowledged that Tinubu had copied some of his policies during his time as Lagos State governor and he was glad that the policies had earned him commendations, especially the welfare packages for judicial officers.
Wike took the opportunity to criticise the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, for switching political parties and failing to keep to the agreement to let the party’s chairmanship go to the South if he won the party ticket.
He also expressed his displeasure at the continued disobedience of a Supreme Court order by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the redesign of the country’s currency, stating that such an act was unheard of in any democratic society.
In response, Tinubu praised Wike for his character and faith in the unity of Nigeria, stating that he never advocated division or the breakup of the country.
Tinubu revealed that the reason for his visit was to pay a courtesy call on the governor, adding that his character, belief, and faith had been an inspiration to him. Tinubu, however, refrained from abusing anyone and stated that he was not in Government House to campaign.
Earlier, a chieftain of the APC, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, had challenged Governor Wike to appear at the venue of the APC’s presidential campaign rally to prove his support for the party’s presidential candidate, Tinubu.
Wike had approved the request of the APC Presidential Campaign Council to use the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Elekahia, Port Harcourt, for its presidential campaign rally without any payment.
Eze described the governor’s claim to be supporting Tinubu as a mere farce, adding that Wike must register with the party and pay homage to his benefactor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to show genuine commitment to the Tinubu/APC project.