SaharaReporters has obtained an exclusive audio of a telephone conversation between Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his counterpart in Ekiti State, Governor Ayodele Fayose, in which both men discussed Mr. Wike’s sharp maneuvers during the December 10, 2016 rerun of legislative elections in Rivers State.
In the leaked telephone conversation, the two governors can be heard having an excited conversation about how Mr. Wike stormed a collation center during the election. The tone of the exchanges makes it clear that Mr. Wike’s aim was to manipulate the results of the elections in favor of his candidates. In a tone that shows how he outmanouvred the Nigerian Army, Wike declares in the conversation that, "Nigeria Army does not exist again."
A previous telephone conversation obtained and released by SaharaReporters had exposed Mr. Wike discussing the bribe he gave to unscrupulous officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who consented to help rig the elections in the state.
Governor Wike’s aides initially denied the authenticity of the scandalous audiotape. However, as it became undeniable that the voice belonged to him, the governor sought to deflect public attention by setting up a panel ostensibly to probe the cause, source and nature of widespread violence that marked the national and state legislative elections in the state. Mr. Wike also set up his probe after the Nigerian police had composed a panel charged with examining issues arising from the rerun elections. Those issues include establishing the authenticity or otherwise of leaked telephone conversations in which the governor discussed his payment to electoral officials.
The latest leaked audio of a conversation that came in the wake of the election demonstrates the personal and political closeness between Governors Fayose and Wike.