The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, has broken his silence over the Abuja peace deal to resolve the political crisis rocking Rivers, his hone state.
Wike spoke about the peace deal in Port Harcourt on Sunday, December 24, while addressing a church congregation during a thanksgiving for George Kelly Alabo, who recently resigned as commissioner for works.
Wike insisted that President Bola Tinubu deserved commendation for intervening in the crisis, adding that the aim of the President was to restore peace in Rivers.
He disclosed that President Tinubu had earlier invited them privately and told them what they should do to end the crisis.
He said: “We must thank Mr.President for interfering and intervening. I was not the one one who invited Mr. President. You people were the one asking the president to intervene.
“Now he has intervened and you are now saying he has no constitutional power. President has intervened to bring peace. No matter what circumstances, the President invites me to a meeting and tells me to do something within 24 hours I will carry it out.
“This because not only as president, I have subjected myself to the peace process. Why is everybody shouting? Some of you didn’t even know that Mr. President had invited us privately and said do this. You agreed before Mr. President but you didn’t do it. Then Mr. President asked the larger state to come. We must tell ourselves this simple truth.
Wike criticised some elders for trying to get their pound of flesh because those they supported in the last elections failed at the poll and at the Court of Appeal.
The Minister said: “In 2014 and 2015 when I wanted to be governor, two people invited me to their house and said that the elders of the state wanted to see me. I went thinking they were the elders of the state.
“On getting there I saw only two men. I said two of you are the elders of the state? They told me the elders had decided I should not run an election. I told them you must be joking. I left. The same people again have constituted themselves as elders of the state.
“Check everybody there, some of them their sons lost elections even lost at the court of appeal. Now they have come to be elders of the the state. Everybody wants to take their pound of flesh. Wike stopped me from not going here. Wike made me not to be this. Even those that Wike made had also joined them. That is the irony of the world.
The former Rivers Governor further faulted efforts to tribalise the crisis saying that most people had forgotten that he was the architect of the entire process that produced the governor.
He said: “Let me use this opportunity to tell the church that blackmail is the easiest thing. Some of you may be reading what is going on. Sit down properly and ask yourself can this be true? Power and money if you are not careful it can destroy you. It can also make you depending on how you handle it.
“I have never one day done anything that will bring this state backward. It was during my time I fought many states to win back our oil wells. The money that comes from those oil wells is not in my pocket but for the interest of the state. To show character when I was here I never went to see the federal government. I was the only opposition to the federal government. I challenged them.
“I hear many people say we are from so place. But nobody remembered who was the architect. Now you are telling us where you are from.
“All of us irrespective of where you come from know that the state belongs to all of us. There is nothing like Ijaw and there is nothing like Ikwerre. All I know is Rivers State.
“If you want to settle us, find out the facts, don’t just shout asawana. When we were choosing who will go we never shouted asawana, all we said was come you will go and represent us. That is how it was supposed to be.
“Part of governance is managing people. If you cannot manage people, you don’t have business being in government. It is not only road contract, management of people. If you can’t manage people you don’t have business to be there. I have had my own crisis, I managed it and survived it. If you have yours pray, if you can’t pray meet pastors and they will intercede for you.
Wike insisted that politicians must play by the rules saying that despite his giant strides as a governor he obeyed the rules.
He said: “Being a pastor there are rules. Being a traditional ruler there are rules. If you have chosen to a politician there are also rules. You must obey I was a governor I obeyed. It didn’t stop me from performing my functions.
“I do governance and at the same time I would go back and obey those rules. That is why you can see me with leaders. Don’t pull the ladder you used to climb if not when you are coming back, I don’t know how you will come down.
“I urge the church to continue praying for us to be firm. I have done my path. I am happy and I am doing well in Abuja today. Leave propaganda and blackmail. There is nothing I am looking for in this state.
“I have my own budget as FCT Minister. I have my own commissioners. By January I will present my budget before the National Assembly. I preside over the expenditure. All I am saying if you are a politician, play according to the rules. People laboured. People suffered.
Wike highlighted the danger of dabbling into politician’s disagreements without first knowing their root causes.
He pleaded with the church to pray for peace in Rivers and the country adding that it would be in the best interest of everybody for President Tinubu to succeed.
He said: “When Boma Iyaye was appointed executive director of finance and administration in NDDC, the first thing he did was to thank God and then brought his chiefs to my house to thank me.
“Through Boma something would come, through me something came to Boma. Nobody talks about where Boma comes from. I am Ikwerre man. But When politicians are fighting if you don’t know the root cause of the matter don’t kill yourself.
“I was just laughing, those of you carrying flags shouting what I don’t know assuming another group confronts you and another thing happens what will you tell your parents; something you don’t even know the root cause.
“I plead with the church to continue to pray for peace not just in Rivers but the entire country. If the president does not succeed all of us will suffer it. I do believe that he will succeed.