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Rivers State Governor and presidential candidate on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) platform, Chief Nyesom Wike, said the contest for the party ticket of 2023 was a moment of recuperation for those who have been loyal and consistent with the party.
Wike rejected moves to produce a consensus presidential candidate for the party.
The Governor, who said this while addressing the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) yesterday, warned the leadership against awarding the party’s presidential ticket to those who failed to win their states for the PDP in previous elections.
The governor said he did not believe in the decision to reach an agreement on a consensus candidate for the People’s Democratic Party, before the 2023 general election.
The governor made particular reference to the committee headed by Dr. Bukola Saraki, which met with PDP stakeholders seeking to reach an agreement on a consensus candidate for the party.
Speaking further, Wike asked why there was no talk of a consensus candidate for the party in the 2019 general election.
While making it clear that he believes in consensus, the presidential hopeful, however, said he would not accept any already biased consensus deal.
He said: “When we held our convention in 2018, about 10 people challenged. There was no consensus.
“In 2019, why didn’t you talk about consensus? The primary was wide open. You know I supported Aminu Tambuwal. I have no regrets. But when Tambuwal lost, I wore the Atiku campaign on my head, and that’s what it’s meant to be.
“I told them (the committee led by Saraki) that what you come to tell me is ‘shine-shine bobo’, the more you look, the less you see. I said I wouldn’t buy that one, and you know it won’t work.
“I believe in consensus based on fairness, justice and fairness, but not from people who have conspired to think they can get me in. They can’t get me in.”
Wike urged NWC members to avoid misconduct in the upcoming election to favor any particular person or group.
He also asked them to expect disputes and never undermine them when secure, but rather work hard either to evacuate them or to reconcile those aggrieved.
“As an opposition party, we cannot afford to let people say that this election (convention) is not credible and transparent.
“I argue, again, that we must not make the mistake of putting people on the convention committee who obviously support A, B or C. If we do that, then some of us will challenge it. .
“It’s good that you’re doing what everyone will be happy about. You should do a better convention now.
He described himself as a true party man who should be encouraged to lead the PDP as its flag bearer in the 2023 presidential election.
Wike said Nigerians were watching to see who the PDP would portray as their standard bearer with such an ability to deliver them and the country from the maladministration of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Today, terrorists and bandits have taken over the whole country. It’s not just Yobe and Bornostates anymore. It is now in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“So Nigerians are really tired. But again, they’re waiting to see who we’re going to feature, what that person’s track record is.
He said, “Not the ones you give the ticket to, so tomorrow if they fail you won’t see them in the party again.” Or if you don’t give them the ticket, they will start working for the ruling party.
“I believe that I am a real party who should be encouraged to lead the party.”
Wike maintained that he understood the modus operandi of the APC and that if he received the PDP ticket, he could confidently resist them and win the 2023 presidential election.
According to him, his confidence stems from the fact that he showed leadership in meeting the challenge of security in Rivers State by providing the necessary equipment and welfare which served as motivation for the security personnel.
“Everyone in this country knows me and my view of national issues. Nobody can say that I don’t know if Wike will do this or Wike won’t do that.
“Everyone should know me very well that when I see problems, I say that’s my point of view because I’m not going to run away from things that go wrong.
“So as the head of business I called Rivers State Security Agencies. We discussed and they placed their demands with the assurance given. I checked the sources of the equipment they want to buy to avoid buying technically defective equipment.We have given a timetable and offered incentives to the staff.
“It is common knowledge that when a security guard dies in the fight against crime, we take care of their family so they know they are not fighting in vain.”
Speaking further, Wike said he was that kind of leader who has and will continue to consult with the party and seek its views on what the government intends to do to achieve proper integration.
“It is the way to achieve synergy between the party and the government, including the members of the National Assembly, the members of the board of directors and the national working committee.
“That’s not where the government will roll out a program without the party leadership being involved. That way the party won’t be able to defend what the government is doing.”
He also reminded the NWC members that they removed the former National Chairman of the PDP, the NWC led by Prince Uche Secondus, to install the outgoing NWC, led by Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.
Also speaking, Abia State Governor Dr Okezie Ikpeazu who was accompanying Wike said the 2023 presidential election would not be the usual presidential contest the country has seen in the past.
“It’s become existential, it’s become our children’s future, and so, everyone has to throw it all away. The two most important requirements as we move forward are competence and acceptability.”
He further added, “I see that possibility in one of yours (Wike). You elected him in 2015 to serve as Governor of Rivers State, and Creeks of Rivers State , he came across as a worthy example of what service should be, firm, direct, outspoken, sticker for the rule of law, fearless and yet carrying everyone away, playing and doing wonders in Rivers State.
Ikpeazu said if the PDP is truly determined to rescue Nigeria from the brink of collapse, then the party’s presidential ticket should be handed over to the Governor of Rivers State, who has been loyal to the PDP since 1998.
“You come from loyalty and service to our party, Governor Wike never left the PDP. He supported all previous presidential aspirants and candidates, following them with vigor and commitment, committing resources, intellect and leading from the front.
National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, who praised Wike for his commitment to the party, assured him that the NWC would provide fair conditions to the 17 candidates, who he said would do better than President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I want to assure you that there will be no foul play, no manipulation. We will certainly do better than what we did last October. We will hold an absolutely transparent convention. At this stage, we will try to to be the CENI of the Peoples Democratic Party, we will not be partisan, we will try as much as possible to ensure that every member of the NWC works for the party.
“I also want to assure you that once you emerge as the party candidate, whoever emerges from then on, we will be aggressively partisan because we want the party to win the election. We will do everything in our power to solicit the votes of the Nigerian people to ensure that the PDP wins the next elections.
Wike then met with Federal Capital Territory PDP delegates led by Senator Philip Tanimu Aduda in Abuja.
The Governor unveiled his dream for a better, inclusive and prosperous Nigeria.
At the end of the meeting, Aduda, who spoke on behalf of the delegates, assured the governor of their maximum support.
He was accompanied by PDP leaders including the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu; the former Governor of Gombe State, Dr. Ibrahim Dankwambo; former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose; and former justice minister Bello Adoke, among others.