Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has said he is not leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the internal crisis plaguing the party.
This is coming a day after the group loyal to the Rivers governor in PDP pulled out of the Presidential Campaign Council of the party over the failure of the National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, to heed the group’s call to resign because the party’s presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar hails from the same northern region with the chairman.
Atiku had in his response to the decision of Wike and his associates to pull out of the presidential campaign urged them to have a rethink, adding that the party was moving on with the tasks of naton building.
The Rivers state governor Thursday said no matter the disagreement on the leadership of the party, he will remain to fight for unity, inclusivity, equity and peace in the PDP.
Governor Wike stated this Thursday at the Rivers State PDP stakeholders meeting held at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
He said as a man of character, his interest was to stay back and preserve the sanity of the party, unlike some of the members who cannot keep their words and walked out of the party at the Eagle Square in Abuja in 2014.
“One thing I have always told people is if anybody is thinking, doing anything to think that we will leave PDP, foul. We will do the fight in the party. We are not like them, when in 2014 they walked out from Eagle Square. They’ve forgotten. They walked out and joined APC. Is it not correct?
“Did they remain to fight inside the party? But we remained, they ran away. Now, there is a fight in the party, we will not run. We will fight it in this party. Those who run away from fight are weak people. We will not. So everybody should know this is the state where we are so that nobody tells you all kind of stories.”
Governor Wike insisted that the constitution of the party clearly stated that elective and party offices must be zoned which, should be respected.
Governor Wike wondered why the former PDP BoT chairman will be pressurised to resign and the PDP national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu was giving excuses to avoid doing what is right.
“You have taken presidential candidate, you have taken party chairman, you have also taken the DG (director general) of the campaign. We are talking about party politics. Decisions are made by the presidential candidate, chairman of the party and the DG of the campaign.
“They are telling you they told the chairman of the BOT to resign. So you know there is a problem. You said he should go and resign. You can put pressure on him to resign when his tenure hasn’t come to an end. But you cannot put pressure on the chairman to resign. You think at our level you will deceive us? You’ll tell us stories”
Governor Wike recalled how in 2015 the federal government allegedly used the military to invade Rivers State, interfered with and even annulled elections, but were resisted.
The governor recalled he made sure the senatorial results for Rivers East that delivered Senator George Thompson Sekibo and that of Rivers West, that produced Senator Betty Apiafi were announced.
Governor Wike regretted that despite the risk taken to deliver them, the same people were now in Abuja plotting against him. He said they won’t succeed because God had blessed him.
The Rivers State governor also clarified that he never promised anybody governorship ticket of the PDP despite the pressure some leaders mounted on him or made to divide the State House of Assembly.
Governor Wike said though he didn’t clinch the PDP presidential ticket, he actually made a good account of himself at the primary.
The governor said by next week, Rivers State PDP campaign team will be unveiled and the campaign pattern adopted will be based on each local government peculiarity.
Governor Wike emphasised that all PDP candidates in the State will be returned elected by Rivers people who are satisfied with the performance of his administration.
“We will take all. We are taking all because Rivers people are happy with what we have done in this state. We have not only provided infrastructure, we have also defended the interest of Rivers State.”
He explained that it took courage and firmness for him to protect the interest and assets of Rivers State without compromising it with politics.
Besides securing a refund of money illegally deducted by the federal government over the Police Trust Fund, he said his administration recovered oil wells wrongly ceded to Imo State, which was collecting the accruing revenue from the oil wells in disputed area between Rivers and Bayelsa States.
The governor stated that the federal government won’t be able to use the army and the police in the 2023 election, because Nigerians will vote for political parties on the basis of their performance.
Governor Wike cautioned party members who wanted to be moles and work against the PDP because they were not given the ticket that they sought.
The governor urged party members to be steadfast because God is on their side, and since they have not known defeat, PDP cannot be defeated in 2023 general election in Rivers State.