Immediate-past Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike yesterday said he nearly died after being poisoned in 2018.
He said the poison ravaged his organs, affecting his liver and kidneys, but he made a miraculous recovery.
Wike said he was poisoned at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) state secretariat in December 2018 while campaigning for a second term.
He spoke for the first time publication on the life-threatening experience during a special Thanksgiving service organised by his family at the St. Peters Deanery, Rumuepirikom, Obio-Akpor.
Tens of dignitaries, who attended the service, listened in shock as the former governor disclosed his kept secrets.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was represented by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Also present were Senate President Godswill Akpabio; many senators, over 35 members of the House of Representatives, many former governors, former ministers, royal fathers, captains of industries, the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) members, among others.
Narrating his ordeal, Wike said: “God was in charge. Everybody who knew how we came to power in 2015 knew it was turbulent. But God saw us through. When you are in office, many people think things are going well with you. Nobody wants to find out the problems you are facing as a human.
“In December 2018, it was a day my former Chief of Staff was going to have Thanksgiving. I was to attend it. From that Sunday, I never came down from my room. It was bad.
“But those who attended the January 1 state banquet of 2019 will know that I never spoke that day. I just sat down there and told the deputy governor to speak on my behalf. I thought it was over.”
Wike said he was flown to a hospital in Beirut at midnight where doctors after running a series of tests told him that his liver and kidney were all gone.
“I didn’t know I had been poisoned at our party’s secretariat,” he said, adding that the doctors after some treatments returned and told him his organs had started working again.
He said the doctors discharged him after about a week and asked him to return home, noting that he altered his itinerary during the campaigns for his second term.
The former governor said everybody became a suspect as he decided that he would not enter any party leader’s home during the campaign.
He recalled that the second incident of God’s intervention in his life was when his wife called him during his presidential primary campaign and told him that she had been diagnosed with cancer.
Wike said he called the leaders in his campaign team, including the G-5 governors, that there was a problem and he was planning to quit the race.
But he said his wife encouraged him to continue with his campaigns and that all would be well.
The governor also recalled that after the primary when he was on a trip to Abuja in the company of his wife, he got information that a mysterious fire gutted his wife’s room and destroyed everything she had.
Despite all the challenges, he said: “Being a strong woman, my wife never showed it. But today my wife is hale and hearty. The cancer incident was the one I knew that God had done all for me.”
Wike further recalled that on another occasion, God saved him and three other leaders from a plane crash.
He said while they were travelling to Abuja after the presidential primary, one of the engines of the aircraft exploded 15 minutes after take-off.
“Fifteen minutes of take off at the airforce base, we heard an explosion. They locked the cockpit. One engine is gone and the pilot said it was safer to turn back to Port Harcourt.
“Before we landed, there were many ambulances and fire service trucks lined up. We landed safely by the Grace of God. I didn’t tell anybody.”
The former governor said he kept most of the incidents secret to avoid frightening his supporters.
Wike said he decided to thank God for allowing a peaceful transition in Rivers and granting him victories in all the elections held in the state.
“Ask my colleague how they felt that their candidates didn’t make it as their successors. Even those not sworn in yet started tormenting their predecessors. But nobody is tormenting me,” he said.
The former governor said there was a gang-up in his party at the national level to arrest him, adding that at some points, his loyalists were scared that they would all be in trouble.
According to him, all the forms for all elections in the party were acquired by him. He said no candidate of the party paid a dime to buy forms.
“I paid for every form. Nobody would say he paid any money to buy forms from the governorship to the House of Assembly. We agreed to work as a team. In the House of Assembly, only one form, Senate the same. We didn’t want to have anything called post-election crisis,” he said.
He said all the governorship aspirants signed an agreement drafted by the party elders that they would support the choice of the party for the governorship poll.
But Wike said: “When somebody was chosen, there was a gang-up. They moved to Abuja and started plotting how they would arrest me after winning at the centre. All evil plots against me failed.
“Those close to me were worried. But I told them to have faith they would not be finished. God never abandoned us. Today we have a governor, who is our successor. I don’t look back because I know I am protected everywhere.”
Wike said he supported Akpabio for Senate Presidency because the former Akwa Ibom governor defied criticisms to back his governorship ambition in 2015.
He said Akpabio donated N200 million to his campaign, adding that one good turn deserved another.
He said: “When I was running in 2014 and 2015, he came out and supported me. He gave me N200 million for that election. That is why I said one good turn deserves another. I supported him this time and I thank God he won.”
Wike thanked all members of the G-5 and Integrity Group for the roles they played during the presidential election.
Sanwo-Olu, who represented Tinubu, said the decision by governors and former governors to climb the podium with him was in solidarity with the President.
He stressed people could relate to how best the President had worked since being sworn in, saying Tinubu would have loved to attend the event in person.
He said the President viewed Wike not just as a brother but also as a worthy patriot, adding that Tinubu had tremendous respect for Wike.
“Wike has served the state and the country very well. He has continuously stood for what is right. This is a reflection of what our country stands for,” he said.
Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, at the reception, urged Wike not to abandon him in the hands of sharks, saying the former governor had shown him love like a son.
Addressing Wike, he said: “I do not see my boss as a retired person. For the fact that you have led this state very well and you went to church to thank God, God will open another haven for you. Don’t be too far from me because I know the sharks are around looking for who to devour.
“Wike has shown me love like a son. I know where we are coming from.
“We give God all the glory that today we are gathered here to celebrate.
“Today, those who didn’t believe in us, have started identifying with us. He is a leader.
“He slaps you with his right and draws you back with his left. I am happy that in my life I am the one standing here to host dignitaries in his honour.”
Speaking at the church, the governor described the occasion as special and thanked all the VIPs that attended the event saying the Wike family had done the right thing for thanking God.
Fubara said: “It is very special. We give God all the glory in a day like this. One of the secrets of David was continuous thanksgiving.
“We have done what is right. Because they have thanked God, the family will continue to grow from strength to strength.”