Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Thursday hailed his counterpart in Rivers State, Nyesom Wike for backing power rotation to Southern Nigeria.
El-Rufai, who joined Wike to commission the Eneka-Igbo Etche Link Road in the Obio-Akpo Local Government Area of the state, said the people of the oil-rich South-South state voted quality and justice over political sentiments.
“I want to, on behalf of our president-elect and our party, thank you and the good people of Rivers State for making the right choice of voting for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” said El-Rufai, the All Progressives Congress (APC) strategist par excellent.
“It is the first time since the Fourth Republic started in 1999 that the PDP was unable to get 25% in Rivers State. It shows that the people of Rivers State can differentiate and they know when to vote for quality and they voted quality over political sentiments. We want to thank you for providing that leadership, Governor Wike.”
Wike, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which denial of his party’s presidential ticket to south but given to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar (North) last May with the refusal of the party to immediately zone the chairmanship to the south got him agitated.
Consequently,In the buildup to the February 25 presidential poll, Wike become unapologetically vocal about his opposition to the 2023 presidential ambition of Atiku, and had argued that power return to the south after the eight-year tenure of the incumbent Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari who is from Katsina State in the North-West geopolitical zone.
In furtherance of his agenda, Wike teamed up with four other PDP governors and formed the G5 which is made up of Wike, Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo).
On February 15, days to the presidential poll, Tinubu met with Wike in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, the latest of their many pre-election engagements known to the public and the governor had defended their meeting, saying he is free to receive anyone.
For the presidential election, Atiku lost in all the G5 states while Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi won Enugu and Abia, Tinubu raked in Oyo, Benue and River.
Tinubu came out tops in 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states, and secured significant numbers in several other states to claim the highest number of votes — 8,794,726, almost two million votes more than his closest rival, Atiku, who got 6,984,520 votes, while Obi finished the race with 6,101,533.
El-Rufai, on Thursday, also said he deferred his visit to Rivers State till after the elections so that no political connotation would be attached to his visit.
He said Nigeria belongs to all and urged the PDP governor to continue to work together with the Northern APC governors who backed power shift to Southern Nigeria.
“This country belongs to all of us and we have a duty to do all that it takes to make Nigeria an egalitarian, progressive and prosperous society,” the Kaduna governor said.
“As you rightly pointed out, we may be from different parties but we share a few things in common: we are Nigerians and we believe in Nigeria, we are governors and we belong to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and in our forum, we try to learn from one another.
“We have a peer review mechanism in which we draw lessons. And for me, it is important to visit Rivers State to see what lessons we can learn from your efforts at infrastructural transformation and human capital development,” El-Rufai added.
“I am here to extend our hand of fellowship to Governor Nyesom Wike and the people of Rivers State for us to continue to work together as brothers and sisters to make Nigeria a better place for everyone, no matter what religion, ethnicity, tribe, colour or creed,” he concluded.
On his part, Wike commended El-Rufai and the Northern APC governors who backed power shift to the south, saying history will be on their side because they stood for justice and equity.