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2023: Wike prefers party interest to regional interest

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By Amaechi Okonkwo, Port Harcourt

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike, has expressed his readiness to support party interest over and above the interest of the region.

Speaking in Port Harcourt at the weekend, the governor, a key sponsor of the People’s Democratic Party said that, if zoning the PDP presidential ticket to the North will cause the party to win the 2023 general election, he would support the decision.

The governor ruled out the possibility of him supporting any All Progressives Congress APC presidential candidate even if the person is of Rivers state or Southern Nigerian extraction.

Governor Wike shared this view during an interview with BBC Pidgin at the Government House, Port Harcourt. He explained that the reason the PDP had not taken a final decision on whether its presidential candidate for the 2023 general election should be from the North or South of the country was because stakeholders were still strategising the best options that would guarantee the party’s victory in the polls.

He stated that PDP was keen to take over the realm of power in 2023 and is not in a hurry to give the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) a glimpse of its strategy to wrest power from it in the next general election. “I am from Southern part of Nigeria. I will be happy if power returns to the South, but if PDP will win the 2023 presidential election by zoning the presidential ticket to the North, I will not be opposed to it.”

The governor, while reacting to the question on whether he will support former President Goodluck Jonathan if the APC picks him as its presidential candidate, declared that it was not in his nature to engage in anti-party activity. “If President Jonathan is given the All Progressives Congress presidential ticket, he knows that I will not support him. I will not engage in anti-party (activity). Even if he is from the South, I will not endorse him. What is paramount is my party’s interest.”

Wike affirmed that if President Jonathan secures PDP presidential ticket, Rivers state will overwhelmingly support him.  

The governor declared nothing will make him defect from the PDP to the APC which he described as cancerous political party that is devoid of any solution to the prevailing security and economic challenges facing the Nigerian state. According to him, the APC has ruined the Nigerian economy and only PDP can pull Nigeria out of the brink of socio-economic collapse.

The governor revealed that the decision concerning his political future would be taken by July 2022 when he must have completed all the projects started by his administration. On the relationship with the minister of transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, the governor said God had used him to enthrone the minister as governor of Rivers state in 2007.

“God used me to make Amaechi Governor of Rivers state. There is even a video where he confessed during a church thanksgiving that after God, I was the person that made him governor.”

The governor said he has never personally accused his predecessor of corruption, instead a judicial commission of inquiry in the state had indicted the minister of misappropriation of the $308 million realised from the sale of the Rivers state assets. He also explained that the judicial commission also indicted the Amaechi’s administration for wasting N54 Billion on the abandoned 1.4 kilometer monorail project. According to him, the minister had challenged his indictment in both Federal High Court and Court of Appeal, and lost the case.

Wike said he had conscientiously made effort to see that developmental projects are equitably distributed in all the 23 local government areas of the state.  Furthermore, he said, his administration, in its urban renewal drive, was gradually restoring Port Harcourt to his Garden City status.

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