Rivers PDP: Guber Aspirants Accuse Wike of Bribing Ojugboh over ticket *Minister, chairman deny allegation
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national vice chairman for the South-south zone, Dr. Cairo Ojugboh has been accused of receiving bribe to make the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike the party's Rivers State governorship flag bearer.
A stake holders' meeting on Rivers State PDP summoned by the party's national leadership Thursday in Abuja ended in violence as thugs reportedly loyal to Wike assaulted aspirants, their supporters and journalists seen as not supportive enough to Wike's ambition.
Some of the governorship aspirants told Pointblanknews.com that Wike's conduct at the meeting confirmed their suspicion that Ojugboh had been compromised.
They lauded the Thursday decision by the party's national leadership forbidding state chapters from endorsing candidates.
However, in swift reactions, Wike and Ojugboh absolved themselves of the violence at the event The zonal chairman denied receiving gratification to back the minister's candidacy..
“I am not the (national) chairman of the party. What will the Minister bribe me for? There is nothing I can do for him. I don't take or accept bribe,” Ojugboh said in response to enquiries by Pointblanknews.com.
The zonal chairman denied according the minister preferential treatment at the meeting, or allowing his thugs take over security at Legacy House, Ojugboh said he personally ensured that all aspirants were freely allowed to make their presentations.
On his part, Wike said he was in the hall to deliver his position on the way forward for Rivers PDP, and was not aware of any threat to any persons. He described the event as very orderly.
However, the aspirants, who didn't want to be named, said they had it on good authority that Wike made several attempts to bribe members of the Senator Iya Abubakar-led committee, but settled for Ojugboh when the panelists refused to compromise.
“Apparently, Wike failed to reckon that Senator Iya Abubakar is an accomplished Nigerian of a very high moral standing, who became a professor at age 28, about the same time the minister was born.
“Realizing he had met a brick wall of integrity, Wike resorted to Ojugboh, the path of least resistance, and we know how much changed hands” alleged one aspirant.
They blamed the controversial Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 7, Mr. Joseph Mbu for behaving like the late AIG Raphael Ige who led policemen in July 2003 to kidnap Dr. Chris Ngige, then governor of Anambra State.
“The way the thugs took over Legacy House under the watch of over 20 armed policemen left the fingerprints of Joseph Mbu, a man reputed
to be able to deliver on anything so long as the price is right.
“The policemen looked on as Wike's thugs smashed bottles on the heads of persons perceived to be opposed to his governorship ambition. They didn't spare journalists, their cameras and tape recorders. We challenge AIG Mbu to tell the world how such an embarrassing security breach happened under his nose,” demanded a party supporter.
The aspirants also decried the role of the party's deputy national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, saying he had converted himself to Wike's “bag boy.”
Lamented one of them, “Prince Secondus was already an accomplished politician long before Wike came along as council chairman. We are saddened that Total Chairman (Secondus) would now worship Wike as his mentor. If we cannot look up to Secondus as our political leader, then PDP is finished in Rivers State.”
Pointblanknews.com gathered that the presentation by former Governor Peter Odili suggested that he may have become Wike's latest convert.
“Dr. Peter Odili lost a very close relative, and was supposed to be in Rivers State for the burial slated for Friday. However, thanks to the minister's deep pocket, the former governor decided to stay back in Abuja to be able to make a very pro-Wike presentation.
“For a man who brought the economy of my state to its knees to be campaigning for Wike who was council chairman under him tells the whole story about the man Peter Odili,” submitted one aspirant.
A lawyer, who was in the meeting was, however, full of praises for a delegate to the just concluded national conference from Rivers State, Chief Sergeant Awuse.
“Chief Awuse passed a very strong message to Wike, that is. if the minister understood it. Awuse, who at a time was called the “Bulldozer of Rivers politics” reminded that were brute force sufficient to make one governor, he would have been Rivers governor ten times over.” he declared.
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