Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State, has said he has enormous respect for Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and will not denigrate him in any form.
Governor Wike said this in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, on Friday in response to a trending report about comments he made on Tinubu.
A report by a national newspaper on Thursday stated that Governor Wike, who was in Adamawa State to inspect some projects being executed by Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, made allusions to the 2023 presidential elections and mentioned the names of Tinubu and Adams Oshiomhole, a former APC national chairman, as potential candidates.
But reacting, the governor admitted that he spoke to journalists at the event in Adamawa State but insisted that he never mentioned the name of either Tinubu or Oshiomhole.
The statement read: “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 for 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 Tinubu and the APC’s former national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, or even alluded to them.”
The statement “as preposterous, fabricated, malicious and intended to inflame relationship between Governor Wike and Asiwaju Tinubu”.
The statement read: “We wish to state without equivocation, that irrespective of political affiliation, Governor Wike has enormous respect for Asiwaju 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 hireling of some treacherous political actors, who often capitalise 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.”