From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Chief of Staff to the Rivers State governor Chukwuemeka Woke has declared that while Governor Nyesom Wike will not impose his successor on the Rivers people, evidence indicates that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will win the 2023 governorship poll.
Woke maintained that the massive infrastructural transformation and good governance Rivers has enjoyed under the Wike administration would make it difficult for any party to defeat the PDP candidates.
The Chief of Staff made the declaration while reacting to Senator Magnus Abe’s assertion that Rivers people and not governor Wike, will determine who would succeed him.
Speaking at the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI) sensitisation and mobilisation rally for the continuous Permanent Voters Card (PVC) registration exercise in Abua/Odual Local Government Area, he stressed that the PDP governorship candidate and his deputy would defeat other candidates published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“Distinguished Senator Magnus Abe was quoted to have said that Rivers people will elect our governor and not Wike. I agree in toto with distinguished Senator Magnus Abe because Wike will not impose any governor on Rivers people. It is the duty of the Rivers people to elect their governor,” Woke stated.
“But, it is also important to state that in making that choice, there are some basic empirical factors that will be considered in making that choice. Just a few days ago, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the names of candidates of parties and their deputies.
“In Rivers State, 17 names. It means that out of the 18 registered political parties, it’s only one party, PRP, according to the publication made by the Independent National Electoral Commission, that had no candidate.
“What it means is that Rivers people have 17 persons to choose from who is going to govern them. And from the published names there, I have not seen anyone in that list that will match the calibre and capacity of the candidate and the deputy governorship candidate of the PDP.
“The standard bearer of the PDP, very intelligent, apt, very calculative, a well-known technocrat and a seamless man.”
Woke said ‘Team Wike’ has since 2015 till date fulfiled its social contract with the Rivers people, unlike others who made promises, but reneged on them.
The Chief of Staff opined that while there are several political groups in the state, “Team Wike” has consistently lived up to expectations in terms of delivery on electioneering promises.
He cited the Kpobie-Bodo road project awarded by the previous administration and abandoned by the contractor and the Sakpenwa-Bori Road, which the second phase, from the Bori-Kono waterside, is ongoing.
“In Rivers State, there are two teams. New Rivers Team, which is team Wike and the others. Even with the political development of a few days ago, it appears that one other team is trying to metamorphose into another team. But, the important thing is that Team Wike has come to tell Rivers people between 2015 and 2019 that this is what I will do and Team Wike has delivered on the promises.
“In campaigning in 2015, 2019 Team Wike went to Ogoni land, precisely in Gokana and saw an abandoned project, Kpobie/Bodo road awarded by the previous administration to a contractor who abandoned it. Governor Wike promised that he was going to complete the road. He did not only dualize the road, he beautified the road with street lights. That is Team A Rivers.
“Again, Governor Wike saw the need to dualize the Saakpenwa-Bori road because of the economic importance of the Ogoni axis of the State, the need to improve the security of that area, and the need to attract companies to that area in order to create employment. He did not only promise, he dualised the Saakpenwa-Bori road and today, he is taking that road from Bori to Kono waterside.”
Speaking on the PVC sensitization and mobilization rally, Woke applauded the people of Abua/Odual for their high level of enlightenment and readiness for the task ahead.
He, however, assured that the ugly incident which deprived them of exercising their franchise in 2019, will not repeat itself as the government will do everything humanly possible to ensure that nobody intimidates them.
Woke said: “Let me assure you as a government, that the ugly incidence of 2019 general elections where you mobilised yourselves, prepared to vote for the candidate of your choice, but you were deprived because of the activities of some miscreants who collided with military officers to deprive you of participating in the electoral process, will never happen again in this local government area.
“We will do everything humanly possible to ensure that nobody will come and intimidate you in Abua/Odual local government, not even any military officer will come and intimidate you again. So, be firm and be ready to face the task ahead.”
In his speech, the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Siminialayi Fubara, noted that the mammoth crowd that graced the programme showed the importance Abua/Odual people attach to the exercise.
Fubara said that though there exists a so-called “king Kong” in the area, the large turnout of people had conquered him.
The PDP standard bearer urged those that are yet to get their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) to utilize the remaining days to ensure that they register and key into the SIM project to simplify governance in the local government area.
“The only thing you need to do is to secure your PVC. You should also ensure that those that have not registered should utilize the remaining days to do so.
“You should not be afraid, what happened in the previous election will not repeat itself. Just get your SIM, maintain SIM to simplify governance, to simplify Abua/Odual local government once you key into the SIM card.”