The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, on Friday, said he respects the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and would never malign him.
Reacting to a news story in a national newspaper alleging that he made comments to demean Tinubu’s presidential ambition in 2023, Wike said the report was fake and should be disregarded.
In a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, Wike described the article as a “preposterous, fabricated, malicious” report intended to inflame the relationship between him and Asiwaju Tinubu.
Wike said in the statement: “The attention of the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has been drawn to false assertions attributed to him in an article written in The Guardian by Emmanuel Ande on February 5, 2021, titled: ” Tinubu cannot see presidency gate in 2023, says Wike.”
“We wish to affirm that it is true that Governor Wike was in Yola, the capital of Adamawa State on February 4, to inspect some projects being executed by Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri. And while inspecting the Greater Interchange and Underpass in Yola, some journalists requested an interview which he graciously obliged them.
“The questions asked ranged from the purpose of his visit; the prospects of the Peoples Democratic Party winning the 2023 general election and Nigeria’s rating in the global corruption index recently published by Transparency International.
“At no time during the interview session that lasted about five minutes did Governor Wike mention the names of Chief Tinubu and the APC’s former national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, or even alluded to them.
“We, therefore consider the report by Mr. Emmanuel Ande as preposterous, fabricated, malicious, and intended to inflame the relationship between Governor Wike and Chief Tinubu, whom the Rivers Chief Executive holds in high esteem.
“We wish to state without equivocation, that irrespective of political affiliation, Governor Wike has enormous respect for Chief Tinubu and will never say or do anything to malign the hard-earned reputation of the elder statesman. The report by Mr. Ande is mischievous and aimed to discredit The Guardian.
“It is our belief that the reporter is probably acting as a hireling of some treacherous political actors, who often capitalize on the susceptibility of some journalists to manipulate them to publish misleading or factually incorrect information for political purposes. We dare the reporter to provide any evidence to prove the veracity of his fabricated report.”