From Tony John, Port Harcourt
As the 2023 general elections inch closer, the Rivers State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has reiterated that it would do whatever its leader and state governor, Nyesom Wike, tells the party to do.
The party insisted that the state chapter is maintaining its unwavering loyalty and support for the governor on the crisis rocking the PDP.
The state Publicity Secretary of the party, Tambari Sydney Gbara, told Sunday Sun that Rivers State would vote for the PDP at the national level, but based on the fulfillment of the demand of the Integrity Governors (G-5 Governors), which Wike is the leader.
He said that with the position of the the now notable Integrity Governors (G-5 Governors) led by the Rivers State governor, the PDP in the state does not have any second option.
Gbara said: “Well, the build-up to general elections in 2023, we all know the importance of Rivers State in the politics of Nigeria.
“And luckily for us (PDP), as it has always been, the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, our leader, has fit in very well in the shoes of his predecessors by being a good leader, who has promoted the party, both at the state and national levels.
“As it is today, the crisis in PDP, the Integrity Governors, who are the G-5 Governors, led by our governor, had a simple position, which all Nigerians should know. And that is, that, the right thing should be done. This is because politics is a game of trust. If the electorate do not trust you, how can they give you their votes? Their mandate?
“So, members of the Integrity Group, are those who mean well for PDP. And I can tell you, Rivers State is ready and prepared to give their best to PDP at the national level, as long as our leader, His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike’s views and those of the G-5 Governors, were listened to and adhered to by the party national leadership.”
The party spokesman noted the sacrifices Wike had made to sustain and build the party, especially when he was a minister.
Gbara stated: “Nyesom Wike we all know is the man who has stood for PDP, as at the time people abandoned the party, in the years past, it was Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, who used his resources to stand to sustain PDP.
“If not Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, Rivers State would have been an APC, because the then governor (Chibuike Amaechi) became governor under PDP, but defected to APC. The then governor wanted to turn Rivers State to an APC state. But, because of the doggedness and resilience of Wike, who was then Minister of State for Education, he fought and ensured that PDP retains Rivers State.
“So, I can tell you that PDP Rivers State is committed to the best of positive result of PDP at the national to take over power.
“But, our position is very simple, let the right thing be done. Let all the different geopolitical zones be represented in the leadership of the party. That is the position of the G-5 Governors; that if the presidential ticket has gone to the North, let the national chairman come to the South.
“We, as PDP in Rivers State, as a party, stand strongly with our leader; whatever he says, that is what we are saying. Whatever he does, that is what we are doing. Whatever he tells us to do, that is what we are going to do. That is our position as far as 2023 general election is concerned.”
Meanwhile, governor Wike had restated that Rivers State would not support any candidate, who does not have regards for his state.
Recently, the governor declared that any candidate who has sectional interest and believes only in his zone to produce president of Nigeria, would not be campaigned for.
Governor Wike made the declaration at the Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 2023 election campaign flag-off rally that held at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Omagwa, Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
The governor wondered why anybody could go on national television to deride any tribe, insinuating that they are less Nigerians and, therefore, do not qualify, on ethnic basis, to ascend the presidency.
“My dear brothers of the Integrity Group, you’ve done well. They have tried to break us, they couldn’t break us and they will never break us.
“But, here in Rivers State, I will say it and let the heavens hear me. Let the earth hear me today. I will not support anybody who says that no other person from other ethnic groups can be president. I will not do it.
“I mean, Nigeria belongs to all of us whether you’re from Hausa, Fulani whether you’re from Yoruba, whether you’re from Igbo, or you’re from Ikwerre, whether you’re from Urhobo, whether you’re from Itsekiri, you’re from Ijaw, or from anywhere, you are entitled to be president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“So, when you go on national television and tell anybody, don’t vote for the Yoruba, don’t vote for the Igbo, you didn’t even mention where I come from, which means, nobody identifies with me. Which means, I come from nowhere. But God knows that I come from somewhere.”
Wike explained that his stance has nothing to do with the party because he believes in the PDP.
But, he insisted that it was about the identity of a people who are Nigerians and, therefore, should have equal status, no matter their ethic groups.
The governor said that when people do not acknowledge that you exist, there is need to tell such persons that you do exist.
According to him, the people of Rivers State do exist and as Nigerians, they can also determine issues about the presidency, and become the president of Nigeria too.
“You are saying it, don’t vote for Igbo, don’t vote for the Yoruba. You don’t mention where I come from, which means I don’t exist.
“God, are you alive and they say I don’t exist? I exist. God has never made a mistake in life. He is the one who said where we should come from. It has nothing to do with party. It has to do with my identity.”