Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has reiterated that he will never join the All Progressives Congress (APC), despite its governors commendable stance on zoning the presidency to the South.
The governor, who described the insinuations that he will defect to the APC as speculative, maintained that he remains an unrepentant member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Governor Wike stated these at the 114th quarterly general meeting of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers in Port Harcourt, the State capital on Monday.
He informed the council ahead of Saturday ‘s presidential election, that he will be voting for only the candidate that can guarantee the unity of the country.
“I am not a member of APC and I will not be. But, they have made me to recognise that they are the heroes of this country. The governors came out to say look, for the unity of this country, presidency should go to the south. The governors of APC said the way the county is, they want the unity of this country and therefore, the presidency should go to the south.
“They could have as well said no, it doesn’t matter. As governors we have the number. We can still say it should remain where it should remain. But they didn’t do that. They said the way we are seeing this country we want everybody to be together.
“Let no one say because I have the population, therefore, you will continue to dominate. In dominating you need peace, without peace you cannot govern.”
Speaking on the crisis in PDP, the governor stated that Rivers State has helped to sustain PDP right from the era of former governor, Dr. Peter Odili down to his administration. Therefore, he insisted that it is absolutely wrong for a section of the country to deny other people the opportunity to participate in presiding over the affair of the nation.
“We are all Nigerians and we want the unity of this country. We want Nigeria to move forward as a united country. Rivers State has always been in support of one Nigeria and we’ll continue to support one Nigeria. But in doing that, we believe in equity, we believe in justice, we believe in fairness. As the governor of this State, I will vote for the unity of this country. I will vote for anything that will unite Nigeria.
“I will not support anything that will divide Nigeria. And that is what necessitated the principle of live and let’s live. If only one person continues to live, things will not be good. It’s not about party, it is about Nigeria. I am a member of Peoples Democratic Party, unrepentant member, who in fact, built this party when people ran away.”
He explained that the reason why he has been one of the arrowheads of those agitating inclusivity in PDP, is because of his belief in the unity of the country. According to him, a strategic State like Rivers, cannot be relegated to play second fiddle in the country.
Governor Wike said though he does not encourage traditional rulers involvement in politics, he however, urged them to support the PDP governorship candidate, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, who he formally presented to the council, for the continuity of the developmental stride recorded by his administration since 2015.
“In the next few months, I will be former (governor). But former in a big way. My transition will be smooth, there will be no crisis. Don’t make mistake to go and vote for another person. You want to distort everything we have done, and then our state will go backward. Let’s allow continuity.”
The governor declared that in over seven years of his administration none of the twenty-three local government areas of the State can claim they were neglected in terms of project execution.
Governor Wike assured the traditional rulers that no project awarded by his administration including the reconstruction and dualisation of the Emohua/Abalama-Tema road as well as the Ahoada/Omoku road, will be abandoned.
The Rivers State governor promised to give all State recognised traditional rulers official vehicles before he leaves office.
The chairman of the Rivers State council of traditional rulers, His majesty king, Dandeson Douglas Jaja, Jeki V, Amanyanabo of Opobo, thanked the governor for the respect he has accorded the council since his assumption of office.
The king informed the governor that members of the Council, in a representative meeting, have resolved to support any governorship candidate of his choice that will carry on with the developmental blueprint of the state as laid down by him.
Ahead of the general election, the king has urged political actors and their supporters to conduct their activities peacefully so that the citizens can still have a State to cherish after the elections.
“They should also note that, nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of any resident of this State. We must remember that political parties are only vehicles by which people access political offices.
“They are not permanent. Politicians can change parties anytime depending on changing circumstances. We, therefore, appeal to our politicians to eschew violence and stop using our youths as cannon fodder. Let the peace we are enjoying under this administration be sustained.”
Special Assistant on Media to the Rivers State governor.
February 20, 2023.