From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has told those who said that Nigeria is not ripe for Muslim-Muslim ticket not to also justify and embrace the efforts at retaining the presidency in the North.
Governor Wike spoke on Sunday at the special dedication service for the Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 2023 General Election Campaigns Rallies, which held at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Port Harcourt .
Governor Wike maintained that those involved in such double-speak and trying to hoodwink some gullible few, know that they are insulting the sensibility of well meaning Nigerians who want a united country that advances national cohesion.
“You play on people’s intelligence; you say Nigeria is not ripe for Muslim-Muslim ticket, I agree. But, Nigeria is ripe for presidency to remain in one zone? I mean, just look at the insult. You blow hot and cold.”
Governor Wike urged those people who delightfully condemn the Muslim-Muslim ticket as wrong, should also know that Nigerians are also saying it is wrong to retain the presidency in the North after President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Most of you just sit there, you don’t ask yourselves questions. Somebody continues to sell this kind of cheap ideas. You don’t ask the person, I agree with what you are saying but look at what we are saying here.”
He further added, “Your party wants the presidency to go to the same zone where president Muhammadu Buhari is coming from. Who is cheating who?”
The Rivers State governor also spoke reminding the church of the need for it to participate in the voting process. However, he said, it should not get involved to the extent of serving as cannon fodder against any political party or political actor.
Governor Wike pleaded with the church to be careful and resist those politicians who come to mobilise them as if there is a religious war to wage.
“It is not now that politics have come, you want to come and tell the church a different story for your own personal interest. We have to be careful so that the church is not destroyed. Because, all of us, for example, we are Anglicans, I will not allow anybody, for his selfish interest to destroy the church of Nigeria. I will not allow that.”
Meanwhile, governor Wike has warned that his administration will not allow those who in the past instigated wanton destruction of lives and property in the State under the guise of politics to repeat same.
Governor Wike appealed to members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the State to resist deliberate attempt by some disgruntled and inconsequential politicians to provoke them ahead of the 2023 general elections.
He described as ludicrous and cheap blackmail the allegation by Abiye Sekibo and some of his associates that the State government recently resent thugs to attack them.
“Some people are saying we sent thugs to attack them. You see, when people see failure, they will begin to plan excuses. These are people all of us know our background and how we have won election in our various local government. I remember one of them during the last election could not even go to his local government. He ran down to Port Harcourt and stayed with me. Instead of you to tell your principal, this will be difficult for me, you are giving excuses.”
The governor who emphatically declared that he has never engaged in any acts of political violence in all his political career, advised those who might be planning to plunge the State into chaos to have a rethink.
“Anybody who knows me knows, that I have never been violent. If I am violent, I won’t go to court. But we know those who planted killings in this State when they were Secretary to Government. We know them, but that killing will not happen again in the State. We will not give you the opportunity to try it again.”
Governor Wike explained that the reason Sekibo and his associates were begrudging him is simply because he did not support their ambition to emerge to get the PDP governorship ticket.
On the issue of Executive Order 21 and 22, the governor advised politicians in the State to approach the court rather take the laws into their hands.
He insisted that until the court declares otherwise, the government will ensure full implementation of the orders.
“The Federal Government has come up with so many Executive Orders, we didn’t kill anybody, but we went to court to challenge such others. The Federal Government has done a lot of things that Rivers state had challenged in court, and by the grace of God, we won.
“If there is anything any government has done which you feel you are not comfortable with ,you have to go to court and challenge it, and not just to come out to shout they don’t want you to campaign. Why will anybody not like you to campaign.”
Governor Wike declared that there was nothing wrong with the PDP dragging other political parties to court over their failure to comply with Independent National Electoral Commission electoral guidelines. According to him, litigations are part of Nigeria’s electoral process.
“When I know you have made mistake not to run an election, I should leave you? All we are saying is INEC comply with the law .You made us to comply with the law. Why are these people not complying with the law. Why should you allow us to pass through the process we passed through and you did not allow these other people to pass through that process. We said look, this is what the law says. INEC is like you are being partial . It is like you are applying this law differently to different persons.”
In his sermon, the cathedral archdeacon of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Venerable Obinna Ochulor spoke on the topic; “God our refuge” and exhorted the congregation to acknowledge the infallibility of God always.
He pointed to how people often rush to the altar of God to make vows when they are either experiencing critical situation but would refuse to return to fulfil them when they have triumphed.
While vows are important to be fulfilled, he admonished the congregation and particularly the PDP family to trust in God as their defence and shield so that they can enjoy his protection against all shades of evil.