Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has alleged that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was sowing seed of discord among PDP governors and may cost the party the 2023 presidential quest.
He also warned that President Muhammadu Buhari’s integrity would be at stake if he failed to honour invitation of the House of Representatives to address the growing concern about the spate of insecurity across the country.
This is as the governor dismissed the effect of decampees from the party on their fortunes, tagging those dumping the party in Rivers State as political neophytes.
Wike, while speaking on a live television programme in Port Harcourt yesterday regretted that instead of capitalising on the inefficiency and maladministration that had characterised the All Progressives Congress (APC) five years in power, PDP’s NWC was deepening cracks in the party.
“PDP ought to have harvested from the inefficiency of the APC; from the maladministration of the APC. Ordinarily, that is what opposition party ought to do. If you ask me, are Nigerians waiting for a change? Yes. If you ask me as a member of PDP, I’m ready to support PDP to takeover, yes. But, if you ask me currently as it is, is the leadership of the party willing for us to harvest this opportunity for a change, I will say no,” he stated.
The governor explained that instead of focusing on strategies to take advantage of the growing disenchantment with the APC government, the NWC was dividing governors using two former governors of Imo and Cross River states and present Senator from Benue State.
“An opposition party that ought to be united, to work, to take over the affairs of government, because people are waiting for this opportunity, but the current leadership of NWC is not prepared for that, rather, what they have done is to constitute some people to sow a seed of discord among governors for their own selfish interest. And that will boomerang; that will consume them.”
The governor said because he couldn’t defect to the APC or another political party, he would continue to do what he can to ensure the survival of the PDP.
“I will not allow anybody to kill PDP. They have capacity to move to APC. I don’t and I cannot move to APC. So, anybody that tries to do something to destroy PDP, I will not allow you. Anybody that I see that has the trait to destroy the PDP, I will not allow it.”
He described as disingenuous the decision of the NWC to jettison the recommendations of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom-led committee set up to reconcile the party in Niger and Plateau states, just because of its vested interest in Niger State.
The governor accused the current leadership of NWC of merely being interested in retaining current structure of the party to remain in power, and not to win the 2023 election.
“The present National Working Committee is not interested or doing anything to take over the realms of government in 2023. When your interest is to remain in power, you are no longer interested to win election.”
Governor Wike, said the level of insecurity leading to deaths, particularly in Borno State and other parts of the country ought to have compelled President Buhari to keep his promise of honouring the invitation by the House of Representatives.
He pointed out that it was APC members who control majority in the National Assembly that moved the motion to invite President to address them on what measures are being taken to tackle and end the spate of violent killings, to which he consented.
He faulted the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation for turning around to subject the invitation to legal interpretation, instead of protecting the integrity of the President which is now at stake.
“There is insecurity. People are dying. You don’t go by legal approach to solve that problem. If Mr. President had given the assurance, saying my integrity is at stake, therefore I will go, that decision was not taken without talking first to his inner cabinet.
“It’s not a question and answer session. You go with a brief to address the congress. To say, see where it was when we came, see where we are today. Yes, we have not achieved what we thought, but what we require from everyone is cooperation.
“For me, I think this is not the period to be legalistic. This is the period every Nigerian should be concerned about what is happening. Just this morning (Friday), I heard that 16 people were killed on Abuja-Kaduna Road yesterday. Look at the loss of life in Borno State. Senate has said look, Mr. President, relieve all Service Chiefs, which means they are concerned about the security situation in the country,” Wike pointed out.
He advocated the creation of employment opportunities for youths and drastic change to operational system of policing in the country to address security issues. He insisted that States must be allowed to be involved in the Community police, which has already been hijacked by APC members.
Wike dismissed two former Peoples Democratic Party members, John Bazia and Michael West, who recently decamped to All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, as political neophytes with slippery character.
He said the two men who served as Commissioners in his cabinet during his first tenure, became disgruntled because he did not retain them.
“What are the qualities of people that defected? The two people, Michael West and John Bazia who knew them in my cabinet? Have you ever heard them speak on behalf of PDP before? Have you ever heard them speak on behalf of our administration?
“You knew the position of Chidi Llyod when he was in APC. Ask the former Commissioner of Transport (Michael West), he contested PDP primaries with me and got only three votes, but because of politics of carrying everybody along and the money he spent I decided to accommodate him. He was Commissioner of Transport, ask him his contribution to the administration,” he said.