Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has placed a ban on party members in the state eyeing governorship from approaching or lobbying the national party chairman or members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Wike announced his decision at the flag-off of the 19.4km long Oyigbo-Okoloma Road which was done by the national party chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, a one-time university lecturer.
According to a statement by Kelvin Ebiri, the governor’s spokesman, Wike told the party faithful currently doing consultations over who becomes the next governor of Rivers State not to extend the consultation to the PDP national chairman of the National Working Committee of the PDP.
Wike rather said: “There is calm in my state about those who want to be governor. What I have told them is to go and do your consultation, but nobody should go and consult the national chairman, nobody should consult NWC. Do your consultation here because it is the people here that will vote.”
Wike said the PDP is now in a position to win the presidency because of a change of national leadership (referring to his efforts to remove his fellow Rivers man, Uche Secondus). He explained that concerned stakeholders fought for the change of the immediate past national leadership of the PDP because they wanted to reposition the party to win the presidency in 2023.
He maintained that such change of leadership at the national level was also to avert a situation of doom for the party.
Speaking at the flag-off of the Oyigbo -Okoloma Road in Oyigbo Local Government Area, Wike urged the national chairman of the party to brace up for the task ahead of him and capitalise on the opportunity he has to effect positive change in the party and return PDP back to the presidency.
The governor declared that Rivers’ people have no other party than the PDP, which is why he said they will not allow it to die. According to him, Rivers is among the few states in the country that denied the All Progressives Congress (APC) a 25 percent vote spread during the 2015 and 2019 general elections.
Speaking about the Oyigbo-Okoloma Road project, Governor Wike said it was a federal road that connects neighbouring states like Abia, Akwa-Ibom, and Cross River, but was allowed to fail completely.
He disclosed that a company that won the bid for the Afam power station came by to indicate interest to partner with the Rivers State government for the reconstruction of the road. According to him, after it was agreed that the company will bear a percentage of the cost, they disappeared.
Governor Wike said Rivers’ people have taken their destiny in their own hands and with 40 percent paid already to the contractor, Lubrik Construction Company, the road will be done to end the suffering of the Oyigbo people and those who use the road.
The national chairman, Ayu, commended Wike and PDP governors for spreading development to every nook and cranny of their states.
He said while the APC-controlled government is busy borrowing money from foreign creditors and increasing the debt burden on Nigeria, PDP governors are visible and delivering dividends of democracy.
Ayu berated APC governors, particularly one of them who he said has abandoned his governorship responsibilities in his state to reside in Abuja to do a party chairmanship job. Worst still, he said another one hid N19 billion in the bank instead of providing development to his people.
“I’m not only proud of the governor of Rivers, but I’m also proud of PDP governors. Every PDP governor with the resources base of the state has been trying very hard to make sure that the people get the dividends of democracy.
“The other party, the governors take power as a joke. How on earth can a governor leave his state and become a party chairman and live in Abuja without making any effort to develop his state. I believe such action does not take into recognition the people who laboured to elect such a governor.
“How can a governor of a state take N19 billion and go and hide in a bank account, in a state where he has not paid salaries. He has not been able to do any positive development by ways of the hospital, road construction, or anything. No PDP governor has hidden N19 billion in his account, the little they get, they are busy making effort to develop their areas,” he said.
Ayu also said that his leadership will ensure that they increase the number of states controlled by the PDP, produce majority membership of the National Assembly, and clinch the presidency in 2023.
“The People’s Democratic Party is prepared to expand its base not only in control of states but in control of the National Assembly and ultimately also the return to the villa in Abuja where we shall put a president of PDP extraction,” Ayu further said.
The national chairman assured the party faithful that the PDP under his watch will allow internal democracy to flourish. He declared that only names of candidates who emerge through a democratic process will be forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“We believe that the will of the people must prevail. Any state that democratically elects anybody and the list is forwarded to us, it is that list that will go to INEC. Nobody’s list is going to be altered. Anybody in party’s headquarters who attempts that and it comes to our knowledge as National Working Committee, you will leave party headquarters.”
Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Elloka Tasie-Amadi, said the Oyigbo-Okoloma Road project is 19.4km long, 10.3m wide, has 24km of drains, and will be completed in 12months.
According to him, it will undoubtedly save the people a lot of money spent in repairs of their vehicles as a result of hastened wear and tear and promote socio-economic opportunities in the area.