The President of the Ijaw Youth Council, Peter Igbifa, has advised Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State not to consider running for the president of Nigeria in 2023.
Mr Wike has not announced that he wants to run for president, although his political influence has continued to increase at the national stage, especially within the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.
Back home in Rivers, the governor is enjoying high popularity because of the numerous infrastructure his administration is building, including eight flyovers – three of the flyovers have been completed and inaugurated.
“I will not advise him (Wike) to run for president (in 2023),” Mr Igbifa told PREMIUM TIMES, Tuesday.
He admitted that Mr Wike has made an impact in national politics, but advised the governor to “watch very well before he leaps.”
“He can break the jinx, but then I wouldn’t want him to run for president. I would rather advise him to run for Senate.”
Mr Igbifa said there is a tendency for one to have more enemies when one is a governor.
“When (Peter) Odili was a governor, he thought he had more friends. But the day his body language showed he wanted to go to the presidency, he discovered he had more enemies than friends.
“Usually, the world does not always tolerate those who have resources to combine it with power, for the fear of the unknown.”
Mr Igbifa, who is from Rivers State, applauded Governor Wike for the infrastructural renewal in Port Harcourt.
“To be candid with you, Wike smartly took advantage of these infrastructure because it was long overdue for Rumuokoro to have a flyover. In fact, while (Rotimi) Amaechi was still in office as governor, the state cried for it. The people of Rivers State practically cried for that flyover. So he (Wike) knew about it, he was the chief of staff to the governor then.
“What I like about him on this infrastructure is that those things he knew people were complaining about while he was not governor, he took cognisance of them and as he came on board, he took advantage.
“I am not his associate, I am not close to him, and I don’t relate with him.
“So running these infrastructures around this town, almost every angle of Port Harcourt, is one of the best gifts he has given to the state,” Mr Igbifa said.
He, however, appealed to the governor to extend the infrastructural renewal to the riverine communities in Rivers State, “so that economic activities can improve in other areas”.
The Ijaw Youth Council president also spoke on Governor Wike’s controversial donation of N500 million for the rebuilding of a market that was destroyed by fire in Sokoto State, Nigeria’s North-west.
He called the donation “a hand of fellowship” and said there was nothing wrong with it, apart from the governor publicly announcing it. “Maybe, that’s how God designed it, anybody can get help from anywhere,” he said.
The governor, he said, should have done the donation quietly to “avoid drawing attention.”
On youth restiveness in the Niger Delta region, Mr Igbifa said the governors of the region must sincerely bring up economic development plans for the youth, while the youth on their part “must have the consciousness of being ready to be empowered.”
“As much as we want to succeed, our minds must be developed towards the success we are pursuing.
“A people who have been under oppression for a long time, rising from operation, if you don’t give them re-orientation, even when they are lying down they feel oppressed. When they are walking on the road, they feel oppressed. You know that mentality alone can make somebody ready to fight all the time. A man who feels he is surrounded by enemies is always prepared for war. This mentality needs to be changed,” he said.
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