Presidential Candidates of the Labour Party, Peter Obi is in big trouble over his statement in River State to sacrifice the ambitions of other candidates to secure the support of Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, for his presidential ambition.
Obi, who was in Rivers on Thursday as an invited guest of the Governor to inaugurate the Nkpolu-Oroworokwo Flyover, begged Wike to take the State in 2023 in exchange concede the presidential votes to him.
Obi, while addressing Wike, said: “I’ve listened to what you said, you said I should advise Labour people that they should be careful of the state, I’ll talk to them and we will negotiate. So, if we leave the State for him he will leave the centre for us. Is it not?
“If we leave the State for him he will leave the centre for us. So, we will negotiate it, we know you are in charge, and we will not quarrel with you, anybody who quarrels with you doesn’t know what he is doing. I will not try it. I’m begging, please give us this one, take the others, we will leave it for you. I’ll accommodate them in the other one.”
No sooner had Obi finished his speech than anger erupted among LP members especially some of them, who bought forms to contest elections in the State.
They were said to be aggrieved that Obi was willing and eager like a trader he is, to compromise the forthcoming poll just to get the support of Wike.
Some of them were particularly concerned that the LP Governorship Candidate, Beatrice Itubo, known to have been mobilising support for Obi, was in clutches nursing injuries she sustained from a domestic accident when her presidential candidate was trading off her ambition.
A source, who spoke in confidence said: “Obi came to Port Harcourt when Beatrice Itubo, the Governorship candidate of Labour Party in Rivers State, was still in the sickbed nursing injuries she sustained in a domestic accident. This woman has been mobilising support for him.
“Obi did not see any verifiable reason to at least visit the woman in the hospital rather he was comfortably at home trading the woman’s ambition off with Wike all in his selfish ambition to be President.
“Yes, there is horse trading in politics, the honest thing would have been to see the woman, probably discuss reasons with her on the importance of working with the PDP candidate and shown empathy with the woman”.
When contacted, Itubo said she only understood Obi’s statement within the context of politics, saying she would never step down for Wike’s governorship candidate.
She insisted that since Obi did not buy forms for her, he would not negotiate anything on her behalf and appealed to aggrieved members of the party to see the statement as political.
Itubor said Wike lacked the capacity to influence votes for Obi and expressed worry over her presidential candidate’s fraternizing with the governor.
She said: “It is a political statement. He didn’t buy the form for me and I didn’t buy the form for him. Everybody bought the form for themselves. So, I didn’t see how he will go to negotiate for me. I am campaigning in Rivers State. If I didn’t campaign, we will not be a threat. They saw us as a threat and that is why he was trying to negotiate.
“I don’t see that as anything serious. It has not dampened anybody’s morale. If there is anything, it has increased my own morale. I am the incoming Governor of Rivers State whether the devil likes it or not. It is a divine mandate. God has given me the opening and the wherewithal to work for it. Nobody can stop it.
“Even Wike knows that what he has is his vote. Promising people he will deliver Rivers to them he is overating himself. Going to tell people he would deliver Rivers so he will come and carry my PVC and vote for me. He is only trying to deceive those who don’t know him.
“With or without Wike, Peter Obi will win Rivers State. My fear is even this is fraternizing with Wike. With or without Wike, Peter Obi will win more than 70 per cent in Rivers State following the level of work we have done for him. So, I don’t see Wike as a threat. As for me, I am a Government House Candidate come 2023 and I will invite you to that party”.
On her domestic accident, Itubor said she earlier informed the party and some LP leaders called her including Obi to sympharise with her.
She said: “On, my domestic accident, I informed the party. Most of them called me including him to wish me speedy recovery and I think that was enough. Everybody has a way they react to issues. I am only telling them to read in between the line. Some statements are political. They shouldn’t take it to heart as if it is anything. The Obi that I know is wiser than that”.