Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, while declaring on Sunday his ambition to run for president in 2023, launched an attack against top leaders of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who at some point defected from the PDP before eventually returning to the party.
Although Mr Wike did not mention any name in his remarks, he was apparently referring to the likes of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, who have all indicated their intention to contest next year’s presidential election.
“Let these people who are interested in presidency in the PDP tell us their contributions. You claimed to be one of the founding fathers of the party, but you left and came back; you have become an ordinary person in the new PDP.
“If you form a company and run away because the company is not doing well, then you come back and found that it is now doing well, will you want to come and take over?” Mr Wike said at Government House Makurdi, in the presence of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue and other PDP chieftains whom he went to consult over his ambition.
Mr Wike’s host, Mr Ortom, could be said to be among the PDP leaders criticised by the Rivers governor, even though he (Ortom) had not indicated interest in the 2023 presidential election.
Mr Ortom was initially a member of the PDP where he served as national auditor of the party before his appointment as a Minister of State Trade and Investments under the PDP administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
He later defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), contested and won the 2015 governorship election in Benue under the APC.
He later left APC in 2018 and returned to the PDP.
Continuing, Governor Wike said, “In 2015, those who ran away made us lose the election. Today, they are crying but some of us stood and said PDP will not die.
“By the time you ran away, you sold your share as founding fathers, so you can no longer retain your position of founding fathers. I stood for this party. I worked for this party since 1998. I have nowhere to run to and that’s why anything that happens to this party, I take it personally. I have never relented.”
A video clip of Mr Wike’s Makurdi declaration showed Mr Ortom absentmindedly fiddling with a pouch at some point, while the Rivers governor spoke.
Governor Wike told his host and others that he is that person that can remove the APC from power at the national level.
“To remove APC from power, I am the person who can tell them enough is enough.
“We must take this power and I am ready to take it for PDP and I know that God is with us that is why APC keeps failing every day.”
“I call on stakeholders to give me their mandate and not to sell their votes because I have the capacity to face this APC government,” he said.
Mr Wike is one of the most influential governors in the PDP and very popular back home in Rivers because of his administration’s delivery of some infrastructural projects in the oil-rich state, but his often controversial remarks and actions may be a setback to his presidential ambition.
“No one is against his desire to run for president, however, his ambition should not be embarked on in such a way that it would cause disruption at different levels, such as the PDP Governors’ Forum as well as different chapters of the party across the country,” Governor Godwin Obaseki said recently of Mr Wike during a feud between the two of them.
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