Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has called on the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, to investigate the electoral value of those who claim to be supporting his ambition, warning that the party is heading towards losing the 2023 general election.
This is as he reminded the national leadership of PDP that the ongoing infighting within the party may work against it in the 2023 general election, saying that no political party can win election fighting itself.
Wike has been aggrieved with the PDP in the aftermath of the party’s presidential primary which he lost to former vice president Atiku Abubakar and was equally overlooked as his running mate.
The Rivers State governor described as “non-consequential” the confession of support for Atiku by some politicians if they are not working to mobilise grassroots voters to secure electoral victory for the PDP in 2023.
He made these comments yesterday at the inauguration of the new Government VIP Lounge at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, near Port Harcourt, built by the Rivers State government.
He said it was the quantum of individual votes from units, local governments and states that would determine victory for the PDP presidential candidate in 2023, and not rumour peddlers.
The governor said it was unfortunate that some politicians, now based in Abuja, derive pleasure insinuating something against him to curry favour from Atiku.
Wike said, “We are busy campaigning with our projects on how our party will win election in the state. Other people are busy in Abuja carrying rumours and gossips. We are busy here (Rivers) from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We’ll start Monday again, flagging off projects, commissioning projects that will sell our party.
“Every day, in the newspapers, Wike did this, Wike did that, then they will call the candidate, you see what I said about Wike today. Rent seekers. No jobs. Instead of you to do something that will make your party to win 2023 elections, you’re only busy everyday saying Wike said this. Where you heard from Wike, I do not know. Maybe in your dream.
“You want to support the candidate, you’re not at home, you’re in Abuja. Come home and campaign and work for the party. Stop this Abuja politics of carrying rumours to the candidate.”
The governor, who asserted that he was a practical and practising politician, told party that if it wants to win election, it should not be fighting itself.
“I think a party that wants to win election cannot on their own be causing problem for themselves,” he said.
He pointed to how his administration had continued to flag-off and inaugurate projects that serve as evidence of fulfilled electoral promises, which had sustained the trust that the people have for the PDP in the state.
Wike expressed belief that it is the services and projects that his administration has done that would sell the PDP to the electorate.
“We have said that whatever promise we have made, we are going to fulfil them before we leave office on May 29, 2023.
“And let me say, only one person can be a minister from the state. I would not be a minister. I am not a liability. Rivers State is an asset. If you don’t want to win election, it is your business.
“I am not running for election. He who wears the shoe knows where it pinches. So, allow Rivers State to continue to do what they are doing by using our projects to campaign to our people.”
The governor explained that though the Port Harcourt International Airport is owned by the federal government, his administration decided to build the VIP Lounge in order to offer Rivers’ people the best service.
He gave assurance that the Rivers State government would cater to the maintenance of the building so that it can serve the people for a long time.
…Nigerians Tired of PDP Dispute – Ohuabunwa
Former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, has lamented the prolonged crisis within the party between camps loyal to the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike.
He said Nigerians are tired of the situation.
Ohuabunwa, who stated this on Channels TV political programme, Politics Today, said the media attention the crisis is getting is not helping the party’s image.
Stressing that the situation is not healthy for the party, he noted that party his losing ample time over the infighting.
He cautioned that with the ruling APC’s incumbency factor and the rising third force, leaders of the party should ensure that the crisis is dealt with sooner.
He urged the PDP national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, to do whatever he can do for the crisis to be resolved.
On the calls for Ayu to resign his position as part of demands for inclusiveness, Ohuabunwa stated that if the chairman agreed to resign when a presidential candidate from the North emerged, then he should do so.
He described Ayu as a man of integrity.
Shekarau Falls Out With Kwankwaso, To Meet Tinubu
Meanwhile, there are indications that three months after leading his associates to defect from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) in Kano, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau is set to quit the new party.
This was revealed yesterday by Shekarau’s spokesperson, Yau Sule.
He said Shekarau, who represents Kano Central District in the National Assembly, would meet the presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, today in Abuja as his group explores its options ahead of the 2023 general elections.
According to an online newspaper, Premium Times, Sule said Shekarau’s followers had been left unhappy by happenings in the NNPP since their defection to the party.
It was gathered that the group had been demanding that the party implement the terms of the agreement it reached with it before the defection of its members.
Sule said both sides had agreed that an unspecified number of the former governor’s associates would be awarded nomination tickets for the general elections but that this pact had not been complied with.
“Before accepting the offer to join the NNPP, we presented our proposals to the NNPP, which they accepted. Unfortunately, they deceived us. None of the agreements reached before defecting to the NNPP was fulfilled by Kwankwaso,” the spokesperson said.
A founding member of the APC, Shekarau had moved to the NNPP with thousands of his supporters on 18 May, following a disagreement with Governor Abdullahi Ganduje over the leadership of the ruling party in the state.
Shekarau was the presidential candidate of the defunct All Nigeria People’s Party in 2011 and was one of the leaders of the party in the alliance talks with the leaders of the other legacy parties that resulted in the formation of the APC in 2013.
However, he defected from the party to the then ruling PDP in 2014, in protest against the new party handing over its structures in Kano to then Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, who had defected with some other governors and lawmakers from the PDP.
But Shekarau rejoined the APC in 2018 after the party dissolved its Kano State Executive Committee and constituted a caretaker committee to absorb the associates of the same Kwankwaso, who returned to the party that year.
It was thus a surprise when Shekarau led his group to join Kwankwaso who had left the PDP once again to run for president on the ticket of the NNPP.
Although he was awarded the senatorial ticket of the party, it emerged from the list of candidates submitted by the NNPP to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that his associates got none.
The tension in the NNPP was aggravated following the closure of substitution of candidates by INEC. Rival political parties, including the APC and the PDP, have since been reaching out to the group to exploit the situation.
Shekarau and his associates have since met with the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the party’s national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu.
He has also met with the vice presidential candidate of the APC, Kashim Shettima, and has scheduled another meeting for today with Tinubu.
Sule said Shekarau called a meeting of the Shura Council, the group’s highest decision-making body, on Sunday, to brief the members about the challenges with the NNPP. and the proposals that had been made to the group by both the APC and PDP.
Sule said because the meeting could not agree on whether to move into the PDP or the APC, it set up a 30-member committee to look into the development and recommend a way forward.