Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesom Wike, has congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari for his victory at the election petition tribunal.
Wike said it was better to congratulate Mr Buhari publicly than to secretly visit the president at night.
The tribunal on Wednesday dismissed the petition of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Mr Atiku Abubakar, against Buhari’s re-election.
Buhari of All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated Abubakar and about 70 other candidates in the February 2019 presidential election.
Wike, apart from being one of the most influential PDP governors, has been a renowned critic of the president.
“I am sure all of you are surprised that I congratulated Buhari. Is it not good for me to congratulate him than to go to his house in the night?” Wike said on Thursday in Emohua, Rivers State, at a funeral ceremony.
“So many PDP governors go to see him (Buhari) in his house in the night,” the governor said.
“I have never gone and I will not go.”
Continuing, Wike said: “President Buhari, congratulations! Carry Nigerians along.”
He appealed to the president to unify Nigeria which he said has been “too divided”.
Mr Wike said politics is a game of interest, and that “his only interest” is Rivers State.
“We produce oil. They should not punish Rivers State because of me. I am just one individual. We have not benefited anything from the federal government. The only thing we have benefited is the abuse they heap on me,” he said.
The governor said APC chieftains from Rivers were unable to attract development to the state, such as the completion of the East-West Road, despite their closeness to Buhari.
Wike’s main rival in Rivers is ex-governor Rotimi Amaechi of APC who is the transportation minister.
Wike’s congratulatory message to Mr Buhari is in contrast with the position of PDP which described the tribunal judgment as being “provocative, barefaced subversion of justice and direct assault on the integrity of our nation’s justice system.”