From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has vowed to expeditiously tackle the festering security and economic challenges facing Nigeria if elected president.
Governor Wike maintained that at this critical juncture, the country desperately requires a leader with political will and courage to decisively end the scourge of insecurity and revive the ailing economy.
He made the pledge while addressing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) delegations from Borno and Yobe states in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, yesterday.
He observed that in the past seven years, the security and economic situations in the country had deteriorated due to the incompetence of the current All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
He said: “I came here today, because there is a problem, and that problem is that Nigeria is dying and we must not allow Nigeria to die. We must rescue this country. So, I came as a Nigerian, a member of the PDP, a party I have never left since 1998 till now. A party I have worked for and will continue to work for.
“And so, I want to vie for the presidency of this country on PDP platform. I came because I feel concerned, I came because I have no other country to run to and therefore, I have come to offer myself to solve most of the problems that this APC administration could not solve.
“Before, people used to talk about insecurity in Borno State. Today, insecurity is all over Nigeria. Hunger does not know Muslim, hunger does not know Christian. Insecurity does not known Muslim, insecurity does not know Christian. Insecurity does not know North, insecurity does not know South. You need somebody who will have the courage to fight insecurity in this country and I want to tell you, I have that courage.”
He advised the delegates not to be deceived by those who might want to use geopolitical and religious sentiment to influence how they would vote during the PDP convention.
According to him, the socio-economic and security challenges bedevilling the country does not exclusively affect Muslims or Christians alone.
“Nigerians are aware that everybody is suffering. Nigerians are aware people are dying. Muslims are dying, Christians are dying. Northerners are dying, southerners are dying. We need somebody that can stop all these and that is me.”
Governor Wike accused APC leadership of covertly scheming against his emergence as the standard bearer of the PDP.
According to him, APC leaders were afraid that if he clinches the PDP presidential ticket, that would mark the end of their grip on power.
The governor commended PDP leader in Borno State, Mohammed Imam, for being a steadfast and dependable political ally.
In his welcome address, Imam said he was one of the friends who purchased the expression of intent and nomination forms for Governor Wike, because they were convinced of his capacity to lead Nigeria out of its current socio-economic predicaments.
Imam, who spoke on behalf of PDP delegates in Borno and Yobe states, decried the nonchalance shown by the APC-led Federal Government to issues of security that have crumbled business in the two states.
“We, in Borno and Yobe, are business people. We are bordered with three countries; Niger, Cameroon and Chad. Your excellency, our people are businessmen.
“On a daily basis, lots of people here can attest to that, over 2,000 trucks load of goods come out from Maiduguri market, cutting (taken) across these three Trans-Sahara regions that I’ve mentioned: Maiduguri, Banki-Bama to Cameroon, Lake Chad, Niger, up to Central Africa, Libya.”
Imam also expressed grief over the level of devastation that their communities have suffered within the period because of the unrestrained marauding Boko Haram killers.
According to him, despite their cries, there has not been meaningful response from the Federal Government.
He said they were now looking up to Governor Wike who is a man of vision and courage to rescue Nigeria, guarantee safety to Nigerians and improve the economy.
“We are peasant farmers, we don’t go to farm now. Our people cannot access their farms. In the Lake Chad, we are fishermen. Forty percent of the fish consumed in Nigeria and other Sub Africa states come from Lake Chad basin.”