The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, on Sunday, attacked Rivers elders for taking sides with Governor Siminalayi Fubara in the unfolding political crisis in the state.
While accusing the elders of seeking selfish interests, Wike warned people of the state against getting involved in any political conflict without knowing the root causes.
He spoke on Sunday during a thanksgiving ceremony and marriage anniversary of Dr Des George-Kelly, the immediate past Rivers State Commissioner for Works, at the Kings’ Assembly in Port Harcourt.
In attendance were some of the 27 lawmakers believed to be loyal to Wike as well as some of the commissioners who recently resigned from Fubara’s cabinet.
It was the first time Wike would be commenting on the feud between him and his successor and estranged political godson, Fubara, after the intervention of President Bola Tinubu in Abuja.
Wike lampooned elders of the state who recently attacked the President for wading into the Rivers political crisis.
He said, “Let me tell the church, you know blackmail is the easiest thing. So many of you may believe what is going on; so many of you may also follow on the road without knowing where you are heading. If I were you, (I would) sit down and ask myself: can this be true? But just because we are no longer in power you may want to believe everything they have said. Power and money, if you are not careful, can destroy you. It can also make (you), depending on how you handle it.”
Wike said he would never do anything to drag Rivers State backward, saying, “In fact, it was during my time I fought so many states to bring back our oil wells. The money accruing from those oil wells today is not in my pocket but in the interest of the state.
“To show character, when I was here I never went to see the Federal Government, I never. I was the only opposition to the Federal Government. I challenged them. That is how you know people when they say they want to do something and they do it. I’m not a man that you can convince just because of a porridge of yam, no, it is not possible.”
Continuing, Wike said, “Don’t get involved in any fight between two politicians without knowing the root cause.
In any facet of life, there are rules and they must be obeyed. As a pastor, there are rules you must follow. So also, as politicians, we must follow rules.
While I was governor I followed those rules, and that’s why I was able to succeed.
“When I was running for governor, I was invited (and told) that some elders wanted to see me. When I got there, I saw only two people; just two of them constituted themselves as elders over the whole state.
“They said the elders of the state had decided that I should not contest the election. I said it must be a joke. Now they’ve come back again as elders.