From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has explained that only a courageous person with the capacity and vision to salvage the country would be supported to fly the presidential ticket of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general election.
He clarified that although the party is yet to decide whether such a candidate would be from the Southern or Northern part of Nigeria, one thing is certain, the candidate would be one who can confront the evil tactics of All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaking on African Independent Television, AIT, yesterday, Governor Wike said the process to determine who PDP will field as its presidential candidate would be a turbulent one.
He said: “Let nobody come and tell you that in arriving at a presidential candidate that it will be easy. No way, it can never be. You know, there are two types of turbulences. There is turbulence that will not have a crash, which is normal turbulence. There is turbulence that there is likely to be a crash.
“Our own turbulence in PDP is the normal turbulence, which I believe we will get through it, but APC turbulence is turbulence that is likely to lead to a crash.
“PDP has redeemed its position towards what Nigerians are expecting because Nigerians are tired of what is going on in the country. So, they need an alternative, and the only alternative as it is today is the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).”
Governor Wike said he will only support a presidential candidate who will not mortgage the party for other selfish interests.
“And so, if you want to run for presidency under PDP, I will not support somebody who’ll just want to bear the name of a former presidential candidate, I will not agree to that. I must see that you are prepared for it, and to confront this evil called APC.”
Governor Wike boasted that he feels fulfilled that PDP got it right with the peaceful conduct of its national convention that saw the emergence of a new competent national working committee (NWC).
He dismissed insinuations in some quarters that PDP governors had forced on an early convention because they wanted sole control of the party.
According to him, any true party man will love a PDP that is stable, focused and forward-looking.
The governor maintained that already the new leadership of the PDP, waiting to be sworn in on December 9, have started engaging Nigerians and other party members on identifying what the problems are and how to address them properly.
Governor Wike said Nigerians are tired of the misrule of APC and will not allow their evil to continue beyond 2023.
“Nigerians are waiting. Nigerians cannot have this type of evil come up again in 2023. We will be doing a disservice to Nigerians to allow this to continue.”
He said PDP is already aware of the antics of the APC-controlled Federal Government to ensure it holds on to power at all cost.
According to him, APC was already gearing up to deplore unconstitutional means to frustrate the conduct of a free and fair 2023 general election.
Governor Wike expressed strong reservation on the likelihood of President Muhammadu Buhari ever assenting to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
“The president will not sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill. The signs are already there. It is dead on arrival. The president does not disappoint people.”
He stated that the seeming disagreement between members of the national lawmakers and APC governors over the Electoral Act Amendment Bill was devised to frustrate it.
The governor wondered why the president would be seeking Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) advice on a law that is already passed by the National Assembly.
He asserted that issues of security and cost implication would be used eventually as reasons presidential assent will be declined.
Governor Wike said the current Senate and House of Representatives controlled by the APC lack the capacity to use veto power to override President Buhari if he refuses to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Speaking on how his successor will emerge, Governor Wike reassured that the leadership of the party would meet to decide who to support at the appropriate time.
Governor Wike maintained that he was obliged to ensure that PDP wins the 2023 governorship election, but he would not impose any candidate on the party.
Wike stated: “There is no right-thinking Rivers person who will say Wike’s administration has not done well for Rivers State. And so, I believe everybody will want somebody who has something positive to add.
“One mistake I will not make is to impose somebody. From my experience as a student of history, reality has shown that it is difficult for you to say Joseph is the man I can trust. Until you give somebody power and money, that is only when you will know whether that person is trustworthy or not.”
Governor Wike said God will not allow someone that would destroy all the remarkable progress the State has made over the years to be the next governor.
According to him, God will ensure that it is only someone who is courageous, firm and ready to protect the interest of Rivers State that will succeed him.
He stated: “Rivers State is a state that so many people have an interest in. It is a state that you have to put your feet on the ground. It is a state that you have to annoy a lot of Nigerians, and a lot of Nigerians will hate you. But, what is important is for you to know what is good for your people, and stand for your people. Do not allow personal interest to sway you against the interest of your people.”