The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State says Governor Nyesom Wike is perfecting plans to join the APC through the “backdoor”, despite mocking the party in the past.

The APC spokesperson in the state, Darlington Nwauju, stated this in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Thursday.

Mr Nwauju also accused Mr Wike of “surreptitiously” asking council chairmen in the state to canvass votes for Bola Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate for the 25 February election.

The APC is surprised that Mr Wike, who has frequently derided the party and once described it as a “cancer”, would want to become a member of the party, Mr Nwauju said.

The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council (PDP PCC) in the state made a similar allegation about a week ago that Mr Wike was planning to join the APC.

A Director in the PDP PCC, Abiye Sekibo, who was reacting to the Rivers State Government’s cancellation of the approval earlier granted his party’s campaign council for the use of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt, for the 11 February PDP presidential campaign rally, said Governor Wike lacks the courage to publicly canvass votes for Mr Tinubu.

The Commissioner for Information in the state, Chris Finebone, has described as “laughable” the allegation that Mr Wike was looking for a back door to join the APC.

Mr Finebone said it was the APC that was running after the governor.

“The high wire politics of Governor Wike is beyond the infantile understanding of little chaps in Rivers APC and their collaborators. Hence, the different wild conjectures. The governor holds (all) the aces and is always ahead of them,” he said.

“Governor Wike and all of us remain solid members of PDP. Losing sleep over who we will vote for president shouldn’t be their headache but if they had chosen to do so, so be it,” he added.

When asked Mr Finebone if Governor Wike had directed his political appointees to mobilise political support for the APC presidential candidate.

“I can neither confirm nor refute it,” he responded.

Many members of the APC in Rivers State have left the party lately for the PDP and other parties because of its lingering internal crisis caused by the struggle for control of the party structures in the state.

The Rivers information commissioner, Mr Finebone, is among those who defected from the APC to the PDP in the state. He was, before now, the APC spokesperson in the state.

At the centre of the APC crisis in Rivers is Rotimi Amaechi, a former minister of Transportation, who lost the June last year APC presidential primary to Mr Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State.

Although Mr Amaechi is still a member of the APC, he has not been active in the party’s activities, especially at the national level.

Mr Wike, like Mr Amaechi, was a PDP presidential aspirant but lost to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Since then, the River governor has been leading other four PDP governors in an internal revolt against Mr Atiku and the PDP National Chairperson, Iyorchia Ayu, which he wants to be replaced with a southerner to achieve a “regional balance”.

Messrs Atiku and Ayu are both northerners.

The four governors who are with Mr Wike, in his G5 group, are Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo).

Members of the G5, who were appointed to the Atiku presidential campaign council, withdrew their membership and boycotted its inauguration.

The five governors had in November last year, in Abia State, said they would support a southern presidential candidate for the 2023 election, a decision they said was in line with the agreement reached in the southern governors’ forum that Nigeria’s presidency should come to the south in 2023.

APC taking advantage of PDP crisis

The APC leaders, including Mr Tinubu, have tried to take advantage of the crisis in the PDP and have sent many emissaries to Mr Wike to solicit his support.

The APC governors from the South-west visited Mr Wike to woo him to support Mr Tinubu.

Two other APC governors, Ben Ayade of Cross and David Umahi of Ebonyi State, also visited Mr Wike to solicit support for Mr Tinubu.

Mr Tinubu reportedly met with Mr Wike and members of the G5 outside the country, apparently to strike a political deal with the group.

Rivers, which is traditionally a PDP state, is the fourth largest number of registered voters in the country, according to the data from the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Mr Wike had told the APC supporters that he would in January unveil his preferred presidential candidate for the 25 February election. But he failed to do so publicly.



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