Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike on Wednesday came down hard on the Naira swap policy spearheaded by the Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele even as he described Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Party, APC, as a man of courage who resisted the pressure to work against the candidacy of President Buhari in 2019 presidential election.
Wike said after meeting with a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Sokoto Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, in Paris between 2017 and 2018, he was sent to the Bourdillon to persuade Tinubu to join the PDP and work against Buhari.
The Governor commended Tinubu for his steadfastness and loyalty to President Buhari, despite the challenges he had faced in the ruling party.
He said: “I came to your house in Bourdillon. I came and said to you sir, look at the way the country is moving. There is no way we can allow the current president to continue in 2019.
“You now asked me, okay, what are the alternatives? I said sir, we have Atiku, we have Tambuwal, we have Bukola. You laughed. You said look I will remain with Buhari. If these are your alternatives, I will remain with Buhari, that I don’t know them.”
The Governor spoke when Tinubu, his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, visited him in Government House, Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
On Tinubu’s entourage were, Governors Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi); Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos); David Umahi (Ebony); former Ekiti Governor Kayode Fayemi; Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, Tony Okocha and others.
Wike commended the APC Governors for their insistence that power must return to the south after Buhari’s tenure.
He said: “I thank APC Governors for standing firm to say the unity of this country is more paramount. If you want to be president without peace does it make sense. You must be president when the country is united and you enjoy being president.”
The Governor described the APC presidential candidate as a man of character and courage saying such attributes, were what the country desperately required.
He said: “I wish you good luck. I support the principle of fairness, equity and justice and that is what G-5 stands. G-5 does not stand for anybody.”
He urged Tinubu to prevail on the Federal Government to ensure that 2023 general election was not truncated.
Wike noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) flagrant disregard to the Supreme Court on the naira swap policy matter should worry the APC-led Federal Government amidst the forthcoming poll.
Wike, who thanked God that the APC presidential rally in the state was devoid of violence, however, expressed reservation whether the APC led federal government was interested in conducting the 2023 general election particularly with the lingering naira swap crisis.
He said: “Do you people really want this election to take place or not; or you have an agenda to truncate this election. I don’t know. Look at what is happening in Oyo today, Edo, Delta. See what is going on.”
The Rivers State governor maintained that the abrupt naira redesign and the tactless implementation of the naira swap policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria smacked of pure politics.
He insisted that irrespective of the politics, the ruling APC must ensure the conduct of the general election.
“I believe your party should make sure this election holds. You people are in power, ensure that this election holds. Nobody can solve the issue of corruption in two-three months. It is not possible . This thing is purely politically motivated”, said.
Wike took a swipe on the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, for his blatant disregard to the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
He said: “How can you people be in government at this time, governor of a Central Bank disrespecting the Supreme Court. Where has it happened in any democracy. Governor of Central Bank thinking of whether to obey Supreme Court order. Where has it happened?
“I am not talking about Federal High Court order, not Court Of Appeal, I am talking about Supreme Court. Supreme Court said do not do this and everybody is folding hand begging Central Bank to obey Supreme Court order. Which country has it ever happened? When the order of Supreme Court is not obeyed, what are you telling the poor people on the street.”
The Governor, who described himself as unrepentant member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said it was abominable for two PDP-controlled Bayelsa and Edo to join the Federal Government as defendants in the suit brought before the Supreme Court by some states challenging the naira sway policy.
“For the first time I have seen a government procuring opposition to join them to defend their policy. A policy that is anti-people. You are now the ones procuring we(PDP) to defend something that is totally wrong. I have seen anything like this in my life. It is a big shame,” he said
Wike advised Tinubu and the national leadership of the party not to invest resources in any of the party’s candidate in the State, because none of them would win a single seat in the general election.