Abuja, Kano — Rivers State Governor and presidential hopeful, Nyesom Wike, and the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, yesterday, traded tackles, when Wike told the Ayu-led National Working Committee (NWC), to make him the party’s presidential candidate as payback since he fought the former national chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, for their sake.
But in a swift reaction, Ayu responded, saying, “No, we won’t do that. Rather, we will conduct a transparent presidential primary election as we did in Jos in 1998.”
According to Wike, who came to the PDP national office to inform the NWC of his aspiration and manifesto, “When I was fighting the former NWC, some of you were supporting them. Now, all of you are here.
“One good turn deserves another. So, you people should also payback, because you didn’t go to campaign, but now I am coming to campaign. So, payback. But please do us the favor to conduct a free and fair election, that will be an advantage for us to win in 2023.”
Continuing, he said, “To show you how serious I am, I did not come here to negotiate for vice-president. I came here to win this election and I will win this election on May 28/29.
“I did not buy Senate forms or told somebody to buy form and hold it for me. No! It is only one form I bought and that is for the Presidency of Nigeria. I am not going to run for any other election.
“PDP requires people like us to face APC. Everybody in this country knows me, because of my views on national issues. Nobody can say I don’t know whether Wike will do this or do that. When I see issues, I say my view and I am not going to run away from it.
“The other day because I did not attend the Council of States Meeting, the Presidency said why was I condemning the pardoning of some people. I don’t need to be in the Council of States Meeting.
“You told this country that you are fighting corruption, (real or not) but now, we know that is not real. One of the things you must do for Nigeria is to fight corruption.
“Fine, people were charged to court. From the FCT High Court, down to the Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court. This is the same government that is criticising the judiciary of not supporting them to fight corruption. People were jailed and whether they committed the offence or not, as far as the court said they committed.
“Because of election, you went and released them. What signal is that? Your anti-corruption fight is fake. I told them to disband EFCC and ICPC, because there is no need, if they can take the whole energy to prosecute and at the day, the same government that say… These are things we should not allow.
“Of all the aspirants, nobody should talk about sentiments, nobody should say look at the way his face is. You don’t need my face. All we need is to win election. Can Wike win this election for PDP? The answer is yes. You don’t need to listen to what the elites are saying. Who are they talking about at the grassroots? It is Wike, because in this country, everybody has seen what I have done in Rivers State.”
He said party leaders across the country could not deny that he invited them to come and commission projects, adding: “This is the only opportunity PDP has. If we lose this election in 2023 (God forbid). The only way God can forbid is give the man, who has the capacity to win election the ticket.
“I am courageous, fearless and I have capacity. If you allow me fly the flag of the party, which I know by the grace of God, I will be the candidate, and I become President, one of the things I will do is to address the disconnect between party and the government,” he submitted.
Responding, Ayu said, “Let me assure you that this NWC will run credible elections, which we started since 1999. I want to assure you that there will be no foul play, we will do better than what was done in the last national convention. We will try as much as possible to make it happen.
“I want to assure you that once you emerge as candidate of the party or whoever emerged, we will do everything within our power to ensure that PDP wins in 2023.
“On the hand, you want a level play field from the NWC. On the other hand you want the NWC to canvas vote for you and vote for you to emerge as the presidential candidate. You have to choose one, you can’t have the two.
“But let assure you, this NWC will try to uphold the tradition of the PDP, that tradition since 1999 is running very credible, transparent conventions starting from Jos to the last one that produced this National Working Committee.
“I want to assure you, that there will be no foul play, no manipulation, we will certainly do better than what you did in October last year. We will hold an absolutely transparent convention. At that state, we will try to be the INEC of the Peoples Democratic Party, not be partisan. We’ll try as much as possible to make sure that every member of the National Working Committee works for the party.
“But I want to also assure you, that once you emerge, as the candidate or the party, whoever emerges from that point on, we will be aggressively partisan, because you want the party to win the election. We will do everything in our power by way of canvassing for votes from Nigerian people to ensure that the PDP wins the next election, because a victory by PDP candidate is a victory for everybody.
“And it in that light that I particularly like your submission, when you you made it clear, that win or lose, you will never leave the party. You will work for the party. You’ve done it before and we are very sure that you will do it again.
“Not only did you say that, you also spoke on issues. You applied your agenda in summary form, you outlined those things you want to see the party to do. We’ve never attacked an individual and that is what we want from all our presidential aspirants that they should stick to issues.”
Ayu cautioned against personal attacks among the presidential aspirants, saying, “You should not attack each other. By attacking each other, you undermine the party, because if you give to opposition the nursery ammunition to attack us, when the candidate emerged…
“Secondly, when you attack yourselves, you’re undermining your candidate also, because if you emerge as the candidate of the party, you need every aspirant and every member of the party to canvass for you. In many parts of the country, you alone cannot win elections. You need every member of the party to work for the party,” Ayu said.
Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, who introduced Wike, said, “I am an Igbo man, who cannot be held down by geography. I will stand for competence and supports any man with focus. “
You Will Not Make
it to Presidency, Ganduje Taunts Wike
In a related development, Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar has teased his Rivers State counterpart, Governor Nyesom Wike, saying the presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would not make it to the Presidency.
Ganduje while teasing Wike in Kano, said, “you (Wike) are in a bad party,” alluding to the PDP.
The governor added, “In a democracy, if we all belong to one party then there is no democracy and I foresee good efforts in your presidential bids, but you will lose, but you will be a good loser and live to fight a good fight.”
Ganduje spoke when Wike paid him a courtesy call at Kano Government House.
He told his visitor that he was particularly impressed by the diversity of the Wike Presidential team, adding that it clearly demonstrated his belief in one united Nigeria.
Ganduje explained that “Party differences should not make us stupid, our diversity is an advantage, even though we failed to utilise our diversity, each one of us must try in his own bid to change the status quo.”
Earlier in his address, Wike said, “Nigeria from wherever prism you choose to look at it, our great country Nigeria is bleeding, and certainly requires the collective efforts to recover its soul.”
He explained that desperate situations need tough, discipline man line him to lead the country out of the wood adding that he has the necessary wherewithal to champion the course.
“There is no gainsaying that the country is not having it right, and there should be a desperate effort to save the nation, and by which I’m out to right the wrongs,” he added.
He told Ganduje that he would step down his ambition if Ganduje was in the race to salvage Nigeria.
“If Ganduje is running for the Presidency some us will quickly withdraw our ambitions, but thank God he is not running and I’m sure he will help me to make it,” Wike charged his colleague.
Tambuwal Submits Forms, Says He is a Unifier
Meanwhile, Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, yesterday, submitted his presidential and expression of interest forms. It was submitted by his campaign office.
Leader of the team, Dr. Nicholas Msheliza, said Tambuwal was the actual unifier, who can be trusted to rescue the nation from the present crisis, adding that the consensus idea was a good thing and prayed that PDP members should encourage consensus.