Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yesterday spurned media reports suggesting that he met with Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, in France as part of consultations ahead of the 2023 general polls.
Tinubu who is said to be in France for a continuation of high-level engagements with stakeholders, refuted the claim by a chieftain of the APC and aide to Lagos State governor, Joe Igbokwe, that he had a meeting with Wike in that country.
In a statement issued last night by his media office, Tinubu said even though he holds Governor Wike in high esteem, such a meeting never took place.
The statement signed by Tunde Rahman titled, “Asiwaju Tinubu’s supposed meeting with Governor Wike in France is Fake News,” noted: “We have seen a viral social media post made by one of the chieftains of All Progressives Congress in Lagos State and media reports emanating from same about a supposed meeting in France between APC Presidential Standard-bearer, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
“It has become imperative to set the record straight. Although Asiwaju Tinubu is presently in France, he didn’t have any meeting with Governor Wike whether in that country or anywhere whatsoever.
“This, however, does not detract from the fact that the APC presidential candidate holds Governor Wike in high esteem. And given the national and across-party lines appeal of Asiwaju Tinubu’s candidature, he will not hesitate to meet any important national leader when desirable.
“As made public earlier, Asiwaju Tinubu is in France for some important engagements. He will return to the country shortly. We would like, once again, to advise journalists to always cross-check their information with appropriate officers before rushing to press to avoid unintended errors”.
Meanwhile, Governor Wike On Thursday in Turkey refused to grant audience to a former minister of Police Affairs, Adamu Waziri, said to have been sent to speak with him by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
Quoting those it described as familiar with the matter, a frontline Nigerian online newspaper, PREMIUM TIMES, reported yesterday that Atiku deployed Waziri to meet the Rivers governor.
According to the online paper, Wike who is on holiday in the Eastern European country rebuffed several attempts by the PDP presidential candidate to arrange a meeting between them.
“The former vice president has been unable to see Mr Wike since he overlooked him to pick his Delta State counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate.
“Sources said Mr Abubakar had wanted to personally inform Mr Wike that he was not his vice presidential pick before making the public announcement, but the governor left
Abuja the night before the announcement, having found out that Atiku had settled for someone else.
“The governor has also refused to speak on telephone with Atiku and his emissaries who were trying to have a meeting with him.
“Having got wind that Mr Wike was away in Turkey, aides said Atiku deployed the former minister who tracked the governor down to Hilton Conrad Hotel in Istanbul on Thursday.
“However, despite the two men running into each other in the lobby of the hotel, Mr Wike declined his request for the two of them to huddle to enable him deliver a message from Atiku.
“Mr Waziri was said to have called several friends and some leaders of the PDP in Nigeria on telephone to help persuade Mr Wike to discuss with him, but the governor did not yield”, PREMIUM TIMES reported.
It further reported that contrary to the claim by Waziri that he met Wike in Istanbul, aides of the Rivers governor insisted that Wike did not grant an audience to the former minister.
“Mr Waziri made the claim while debunking a statement by a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos, Joe Igbokwe, that Mr Wike flew to France to meet the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, who is in that country”.