Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, is back to Port Harcourt, the state capital after his trip to Turkey.
Wike, in company of the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, landed at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state on Saturday.
The governor was received by PDP stakeholders led by the state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Desmond Akawor, and a retinue of other leaders before he was driven straight to his private residence in Port Harcourt
The governor had travelled to Istanbul last week, precisely on Friday after he inspected the Nigeria Law School, Port Harcourt campus.
While in Turkey, there were reports that he had travelled to France and met with the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, but the latter had denied any meeting with Wike in France.
Also, the state Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Sydney Gbara, had told said that there was no truth in the report.
Gbara stated that those behind the said report were trying to blackmail the governor because of his rising political profile.
Also, there were unconfirmed reports that Wike refused to grant audience to a former minister of Police Affairs, Adamu Waziri.
The report had claimed that the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, had sent Waziri to speak with Wike, but that the governor declined the entreaties.
Also, a report from Abia State confirmed that the state Governor, Ikpeazu, was back from his Turkey vacation, alongside his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike.
Speaking on the return of the governor, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Barr Eze Chikamnayo said, “Ikpeazu went to Turkey with his colleagues, not just Governor Nyesom Wike, Seyi Makinde was also on that trip.
“So in this season of politics; it is customary for leaders to contemplate on mileage made so far. All is aware that these governors have been busy with a lot of activities in the last few months.”
Wike’s absence and his silence over how his party’s Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, mistreated him in the selection of his running mate for the 2023 election, had caused crisis in the PDP.
While Wike was in Turkey, his supporters in the PDP such as a former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose and Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, gave an indication that they would not work for Atiku.
The Rivers governor was said to have avoided emissaries sent by Atiku to Turkey to pacify him.
Stakeholders in Rivers PDP were said to be waiting for Wike’s directive to know their next line of action.
Wike’s return on Saturday also coincided with the coming home of his main political rival and leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rotimi Amaechi, to Rivers.
Atiku Abubakar had deployed Adamu Waziri to meet Nyesom Wike in Turkey, after the governor reportedly rebuffed several attempts by the candidate to arrange a meeting between them.
The former vice president has been unable to see Wike since he overlooked him to pick his Delta State counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate.
Sources said Abubakar had wanted to personally inform Wike that he was not his vice presidential pick before making the public announcement, but the governor left Abuja the night before the announcement, having found out that Atiku had settled for someone else.
The governor has also refused to speak on telephone with Atiku and his emissaries who were trying to have a meeting with him.
Having got wind that Wike was away in Turkey, aides said Atiku deployed the former minister who tracked the governor down to Hilton Conrad Hotel in Istanbul on Thursday.
However, despite the two men running into each other in the lobby of the hotel, Wike declined his request for the two of them to huddle to enable him deliver a message from Atiku.
Waziri was said to have called several friends and some leaders of the PDP in Nigeria on telephone to help persuade Wike to discuss with him, but the governor did not yield.
Contrary to the claim by Waziri on Thursday that he met Wike in Istanbul, aides of the governor insisted that Wike did not grant an audience to the former minister.
Waziri made the claim while debunking a statement by a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos, Joe Igbokwe, that Wike flew to France to meet the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, who is in that country.
”Governor Wike came directly from Nigeria to Istanbul, Turkey. He did not go to France as speculated. This is to debunk the propaganda of the APC through Igbokwe. This is fake news orchestrated by the sinking ruling party which is on its way out,” he said in a telephone chat as reported by Daily Trust newspaper.
When asked of his mission to Istanbul, he snapped; “What is your business with our mission? We came to rest after our national convention. Of course, as a political animal, I do politics anywhere I find myself.”
Speaking in an interview with Arise TV on Wednesday, Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, had accused Atiku of not being fair to Wike.
“Atiku should go to him (Wike). Why won’t he ignore their calls? Is that not an insult? Wike is a pillar in the party.
“Currently, Nobody in the party has contributed more for the party to move forward than Wike. If Atiku was not going to honour the decision of the committee, he should have called Wike earlier and informed him. He didn’t do that. You can’t do things anyhow and expect us to be happy,” Ortom said.
Wike had been spotted with Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, in Turkey. Another picture on Thursday showed the two governors and their Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde, together in Turkey.
Waziri’s telephone number could not be reached as of the time of this report. Wike did not answer or return multiple calls made to him.
The Punch / The Nation / Premium Times