By G9ija

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has attributed his failure to clinch the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during Saturday’s primaries to gang up from northern governors and betrayal from southern governors.

“I contested in an election (primary) based on the principle and agreement with all Southern governors and leaders of the South that presidency should go to the South this period,” Wike said on Monday at a ceremony organised in Port Harcourt to welcome him back from Abuja.

Wike was speaking for the first time after losing the party primary to former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar.

“We have done our part. We never betrayed anybody because it is not in our blood to betray. But it is a shame to those people, some of the governors from the South… they are the people that were used to sabotage our course.”

Political analysts believe Wike could probably have scored more votes if not for the last-minute withdrawal of Tambuwal, from the primary.

Tambuwal, after withdrawing from the race, asked delegates who were on his side to vote for Abubakar.

In a video that captured his visit to the Sokoto governor, the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, could be heard hailing Tambuwal as “hero of the convention”.

Abubakar, 75, polled 371 votes to clinch the party presidential ticket, while Governor Wike came second with 237 votes.

Bukola Saraki, a former president of the Nigerian Senate, came third with 70 votes, while Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, came fourth with 38 votes.

For those accused of betrayal, Wike has a message for them: “You will continue to be perpetual slaves.”

And for his people back home, the governor said, “Rivers people, you don’t need to bother yourselves. PDP needs us. If they say they don’t need us, they should wait.”

Speaking amidst cheers from party supporters, Governor Wike said he had used the PDP primary to send a message to Nigeria.

“They underrated us, but now, they will not underrate us again,” the governor said.

“We have all it takes to do whatever we want to do. It is a matter of you being firm. It is a matter of you being hopeful. There is nobody that is born greater than us in this country; therefore, we cannot answer second-class citizens. We can’t.

“We just used this one to tell them that enough is enough. We made them not to sleep. We made them not to eat. We made all of them from wherever they said they come from to know that there is somebody who can take them on. This country does not belong to one particular zone. If people are afraid of talking, it is their business. I cannot be a second-class citizen in my country.”

Wike, despite his remarks, has declared support for Abubakar and the PDP for the 2023 general elections.