The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has insisted he would not impose a successor on Rivers people after completing his tenure in 2023.
A news report on AIT, Saturday, quoted Mr Wike as making the assertion when traditional and political leaders from Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state paid him a solidarity visit at Rivers Government House, Port Harcourt.
“I say it to Rivers people, I am not going to impose anybody on this state. I will not do it,” Mr Wike told the visiting Oyigbo leaders.
“You see what is happening in Edo State? you see what is happening in Anambra State? Even in Rivers State, did it not happen? Did it not happen? Somebody that Dr Peter Odili created, did it not happen? You think me, I will suffer the same fate? It will not happen!
“I am an experienced politician, I have seen it all. There is nothing you can do, people will change. If there is anybody you want to bring into the office that you think would do according to what you want, then you must be joking in your life. Then you are not a student of history,” Governor Wike said.
AIT reported that the governor said those wishing to succeed him should “pray and work very hard for it”.
The governor also said no ethnic group in the state can produce the governor without the support of other ethnic groups.
This is not the first time Mr Wike would be making such remarks about succession politics in Rivers.
The governor, during a 2018 interview with PREMIUM TIMES, said he would not play the role of a godfather which he said is the mistake most Nigerian politicians make.
“My friends and colleagues, they know me and I have told them I am a student of history.
“Mention who have survived it – that you put your life at stake and bring up somebody to become the governor, and therefore you’ll be in charge and he will protect you! It is not correct! As a student of history, I know it does not work that way.
“I’ll do what I have to do to serve my people and will retire when my time has come to an end, those who want it let them go and take it. Let the people of Rivers State decide. That’s the problem we are having in Nigeria, people want to continue as godfather,” he said.
Mr Wike, in the 2018 interview, also talked on ethnic politics in Rivers.
“I don’t want to reduce myself to ethno-politics. Tell the person who say so, during the Ada George period, who are those who contested the election against him?” the governor had said in a response to a question that the riverine people in the state felt it was their turn to produce a governor in 2019.
“In 1999, when Dr. Peter Odili contested for governor and won, who and who contested against him? Chief Ebenezer Isokariari ran against Dr. Odili. In 2003, did Dumo Lulu Briggs not run for governor against Odili? Where was it zoned to? In 2007, who and who ran against Amaechi? In 2011, who and who ran against him? In 2015, who and who ran against me? But that does not mean that one would say that it would not be fair to allow power to go to them,” he said.
Mr Wike was asked if he would support a riverine person to succeed him as governor after his tenure.
“When we get to the bridge, we will cross it. There’s nothing wrong with the riverine people becoming governor of the state.
“You see, I work as a team. I don’t want to deceive people, we must sit down to agree, and which is correct; not one person sitting down to dictate. They are really qualified. They have supported the PDP, and when the time comes I will do everything to support them,” the governor responded.