‘My name not on ballot, but I am running for election’, Wike declares

By Chris Ezeonoh

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has vowed to approach the 2023 general election as though he is a candidate running for an election.

The governor spoke on Tuesday in his private residence in Rumuepirikom, Port Harcourt when he received members of the State Elders Council and political associates who visited to felicitate with him on his birthday.

He urged the PDP leaders to remain steadfast and focused as the sterling performance and transformational leadership provided by his administration since 2015 will enable the party to win the 2023 election with ease.

“We will win. I am not running an election, but I’m running an election. My name is not on the ballot, but I’m running for an election. You’ll hear what is going to happen. Don’t panic, it is something God has given to us in our (hand) palm”, Wike enthused.

The governor used the occasion to throw more light on the frosty relationship between him and his former allies like former Governor Celestine Omehia and Hon. Austine Opara, former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives.

“I called Austin (Opara), he sat here and I said look my brother leave it, it will not work. I don’t want to cause crisis in our system. Amaechi finished eight years as governor, I’m going to finish eight years as governor too. It will be difficult to sell another Ikwerre person as governor for another eight years. Omehia said he wants to go to the Senate, I said leave it. Ikwerre has gone, Ogu has gone, leave Etche to go.

“You people said I should go (to Senate), I said I won’t. Allwell ( Onyesoh) could not have stopped me. Yes, today we are majority, you don’t know what tomorrow will be. I never did anything to undermine anybody. We must understand that.”

Wike further described as sheer hypocrisy the allegation that he foisted the Rivers State PDP governorship candidate, Sir Siminalaye Fubara on the party. He said the emergence of Fubara was a collective decision reached after those who had indicated interest to succeed him failed to reach a consensus to produce one candidate.

“When O.C.J Okocha comes back we will publish the agreement signed by all.”

Wike also maintained that he has no political axe to grind with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

According to him the governor, the demand that the north should relinquish the position of the national chairman of the PDP to the south remains a panacea to the seemingly intractable crisis rocking the party.

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The governor recalled that precisely a year ago, Rivers Elders urged him to contest for the office of the president of Nigeria. According to him, he heeded the advice and almost clinched the PDP presidential ticket if not for the manipulation of the process.

“I don’t regret I ran for the presidency. In the name of God, I am happy to make Rivers State proud. I am happy as far as I am concerned. If they had allowed it to be what it is supposed to be, I would have won the election. But it’s okay. It has happened.

“People said because I lost election, it doesn’t matter. I didn’t lose an election. This is my first time trying to run for the president of Nigeria and we made impact. If it is easy let them go ahead. Are they not the ones begging.”

“I have no problem with the presidential candidate. All I am saying is what is the interest of Rivers people? What is the interest of the South-South, and the South?”

The chairman, Rivers Elders Council, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, commended Governor Wike for contesting the PDP presidential primaries and mounting an intense campaign that has left many astounded till date.

“Your Excellency, since after the primaries and all the matters arising, a lot of people have been wondering where are we going, what are we doing? But, I will like to assure you that the belief we have in you and your type of leadership, whenever you decide to say where we are going, that is where all of us will go. We are not in a hurry. We will deliver Fubara, as our governor. We will deliver all the members of the House of Representatives, all the senators and all the House of Assembly members.

“But the other one we are waiting for whenever you decide. We will wait for you. Whatever you decide, that is where all of us will go. Your Excellency, we thank God that you have the ability and capacity to carry along a number of colleagues today known as G-5. Those are the most popular governors in this country today. And we are not pressurising you. Whatever the group comes up with, whichever decision you take, be rest assured that your followership will key into it and support you to the last.”

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