AS former governor Nyesom Wike gains prominence in speculations over likely ministerial appointees to form President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State has denied ceding the ministerial slot of the state to Wike.
Rivers APC in response to media reports suggesting the party has ceded ministerial slot to Wike said in Port Harcourt Wednesday that the thought has never crossed its mind and the burden would be on President Bola Tinubu to respect party supremacy and not consider Wike for appointment.
The Amalgamated Bola Tinubu Campaign Council, an APC interest group under the headship of Tony Okocha, former Rivers state Chief of Staff, a staunch loyalist of Wike, had created the impression that Rivers APC has accorded the former governor right of first refusal on Rivers’s choice of ministerial appointee under President Tinubu.
In a response released by Darlington Nwauju, Spokesman, Rivers APC said, “We have never interacted with Amalgamated Bola Tinubu Campaign Council as we have more than a hundred NGOs and support groups who worked for the APC in Rivers.
“No NGO or individual outside the officially recognized party structure has the authority of the state chapter of the party to award any entitlements to the former Governor who is obviously a card carrying member of the PDP.
“For the umpteenth time, Tony Okocha is not member of our party and we have not received any communication from the national secretariat that he has been granted waivers to join. We dispel that sponsored rumour targeted at packaging the political ambition of former governor Wike.
“We reject this obvious public ridicule and assault on our sensibilities as a political party. Assuming without conceding that Wike passed through some back channels to fund APC presidential campaigns in Rivers which the state chapter cannot even account for, does his Greek gift now qualify him to be rewarded with ministerial slot?”
The party wonders why Wike who sponsored 12 court actions to stop Rivers APC from fielding candidates for the 2023 elections, sealed party offices of his opponents and denied parties access to public facilities for campaigns among other allegations would enjoy Rivers ministerial slot under APC ruling federal government.
“If we had all died and the party non-existent in the state, which APC would former Governor Wike have dreamt of benefitting from? Mr President is way too experienced as to fall for the disingenuous idea of cutting his nose in order to spite his face.
“To suggest that the President hands ministerial slot meant for Rivers to a PDP ex-Governor is to ask the President to destroy his own party. The burden is on President Tinubu to uphold the principle of party loyalty and supremacy for the fact that there is an official APC structure in Rivers State”, Nwauju asserted.