He is frank and simple-minded. He is also a no-nonsense politician with service to the people as his mantra. Rt. Honourable Chief Chidi Frank Wihioka, is an Elele-Ikwerre Local Government Area, Rivers State-born politician and administrator. He is a one-time General Manager of Risopalm Oil Estate, former Commissioner of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Oyo, Taraba, Akwa Ibom and the Ekiti States. He’s former Chairman of Rivers State Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Agency and former member of the House of Representatives.
He is one of the founding members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State. He is a committed follower of “I BELIEVE”, a political group that fought and restored the mandate of Rt. Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who was duly elected Governor of Rivers State in 2007 when his then political party, PDP illegally replaced him with his cousin, Celestine Omehia.
Today, Elder Chidi Frank Wihioka, popularly known as “Okwute” (hard non-cracked stone) is a political freedom fighter in Rivers state APC, where distinguished Senator Magnus Ngei Abe was aspiring to be a gubernatorial candidate of the party, first in 2019 and now with 2023 in view.
On Thursday, 21st of October, 2021 he spoke to City People Port Harcourt Bureau Chief, Emeka Amaefula +234(0)8111813069, during which he bared his mind on real reasons he parted ways with the serving Minister of Transportation, His Excellency, Rt. Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. Read on for more.
Looking at the relationship between the 2 of you who come from the same Ikwerre Local Government Area, at what point did you both fall apart?
We have been very close as we’ve been friends in one way or the other.
In 2017, before this crisis started, I saw it. Me, Hon. Marcus Nle Eji and Hon. Tolofari George, we decided that we’re going to see him and talk with him. On the appointed day, Marcus Nle Eji had another serious engagement, so, he couldn’t go. So I and Tolofari George went to his office in Abuja and we told him that we have something important to discuss with him. And he said okay, that he was going to Kano. And I now told him that I am also going to Kano. That was when the then Governor of Bauchi State’s second son was getting married. And someone gave us a chartered aircraft and we went. He said that me and Tolofari George should come and join him, that we should be discussing inside the aircraft and I said fine. By the time we finish and came back, they will drop us in Abuja. But we couldn’t discuss the thing as we finished from Kano and entered the plane again only to be taken straight to Lagos for another wedding.
We were there but I was worried because I needed to go back to Abuja. So, finally, we slept, as we would have sat down to discuss but couldn’t discuss and by Sunday Morning, he said that we are coming down to Port Harcourt. He took us with Tonye Cole and some other people straight to Port Harcourt.
What did he come to Port Harcourt to do?
Somebody was doing her 50th birthday. That was what he took a chartered flight down to Port Harcourt for. And we got there almost 10 minutes to the end of the church service. And I kept quiet. We got to the church, after 10 minutes the church closed. I said okay since we are here and it’s a wedding that we came for, let’s go for the reception. But he said no let us go back to Abuja. We took a chartered flight back to Abuja from Lagos to Port Harcourt. We just stayed 10 minutes. Me and Tolofari kept quiet and we followed him. As we landed in Abuja, we couldn’t discuss anything with him. Tonye Cole and every person got down and drove to his house. In his house, I saw Mohammed Koko and Chris Oboh. So they talked with him and now left. I now opened up saying “See what I am seeing that will happen to us and I don’t think that any well-meaning APC person will allow this kind of thing to happen. We are a minority in Rivers State APC as our people are all suffering. But they are enduring, believing that we will make the right decision so that we will win the election by that time we had followership more than PDP. I sat him down for more than one hour plus as I told him that we come back every weekend to Port Harcourt. We were in Port Harcourt. We know the pains that our supporters were passing through. It is not something you wish your worst enemy. But they are still there. I told him to allow every person to run. So, allow every person to run primaries because we’re in the minority. I told him the advantages. When you allow every person to run, they have their friends, families, people who will be brought into APC for us to come back to the number that we had in 2014.
I analyzed everything for him. And Tolofari George also supported me. And when we finished, he told us Thank you, as we ran back. I carried Tolofari George to Rt. Honourable Igor Aguma’s house at Apo Quarters in Abuja and dropped him there. What I have said is a matter between him, myself and God. And God knows that I have told him the truth and we left.
Is that how the two of you parted ways because of Senator Magnus Abe’s governorship ambition?
That was the breaking point. That’s how we parted ways, because of Senator Magnus Ngei Abe’s governorship ambition.
Let’s look at the future of APC in Rivers State, which way forward?
The way forward is to let them come back, for we have forgiven them for the sins and the pains they caused in the past 6 years. If APC had been a living human being, by the injury they inflicted on it, I am sure it will either be on Oxygen or would have been buried.
Given the bleak future of APC in Rivers State as of today, if what happened in 2019 happens again, will you defect to another political party?
The issue of defection is not there. I have no reason to defect.
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