AGGRIEVED Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors and their allies in the Integrity Group will unveil their preferred candidate for the February 25, 2023 presidential poll, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike hinted yesterday.
The Group of Five (G-5) governors – Wike; Seyi Makinde (Oyo); Samuel Ortom (Benue); Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and their allies opted of the team campaigning for the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Their decision was taken, following the refusal of Dr. Iyorchia Ayu to step aside from office as the party’s National Chairman after Atiku clinched the presidential ticket.
The G-5 governors are insisting that only equity, justice and fairness in the PDP will make them have a rethink on their party’s presidential candidate.
Wike, who spoke at the inauguration of the Rumuokwurusi- Elimgbu Flyover (10th flyover) in Rumuokwurusi Town, Obio-Akpor Local Government Area, asked his detractors in the PDP to wait for him till January.
The governor told party faithful’s in the state to vote for the PDP governorship, National and House of Assembly candidates for 2023, but to wait for the unveiling of the chosen presidential candidate in January.
He said the decision on the presidential candidate to moblise votes for in the forthcoming poll was being been taken and would be revealed next month.
The governor said that he will not only campaign for the yet-to-determined presidential candidate in Rivers, but tour the whole country to mobilise support for him.
Wike promised to explain to Nigerians why the candidate deserves their votes and why others lacked the qualities to govern the country.
He said the people needed to know a reliable and trusted candidate to deliver the required national transformation with the expected capability and results.
The governor said: “So, from January next year, I will campaign to my people who they will vote for. All of you who have been in suspense, who have been saying all kinds of things and abusing me, wait, January has come.
“Not only will I tell them where they will vote, I will move from state to state and tell them why they should vote for the people I think they should vote for. Nothing will happen.”
Wike, who said the Integrity Group would not support some persons with political inconsistencies, associations and philosophy, wondered if such individuals could, in good conscience, say they had been fair to Nigerians and fit to lead the country.
He said: “Those of you who have never been stable, you moved from PDP to there and you moved from there back to PDP. Those of you who campaigned in 2015, telling Nigerians if they vote for PDP, they were voting for insurgency, if they voted for PDP, they’re voting for corruption.
“Wait, all of us will get reply. We will tell Nigerians this thing that you said, how far now? Where do you still stand now? Is it the same PDP or a new-PDP?
Wike insisted that going into an election and clinching victory are beyond mere appearances on television, casting aspersions on others and talking big.
He said: “So, all of you appearing on television abusing me; don’t waste your saliva again. January has come. All those of you who are telling Nigerians that you used to have 40 shoes, you used to have 50 wrist watches, time has come to convert those shoes and wrist watches to votes. It’s not to be on the podium and raise your shoes high. And raise your wrist watch high. Time has come to convert them to votes.”
Wike said some Rivers politicians, who had fled to Abuja to know that the 2023 election will confirm, who truly possessed political influence on Rivers electorate.
He said the general election would be an opportunity to retire such politicians, urging them to return home and campaign for their candidates.
The governor reiterated that the state government was not opposed to any political party or group holding rallies but that they must pay the non-refundable security fee before they could use public schools.
The governor urged those politicians to stop overpricing themselves and deceiving people with claims beyond their capacity.
He said: “Let me also use the opportunity to advise those of them who said that they are our brothers in Abuja. This 2023 election will confirm to us in Rivers State who are those that have influence on voters.
“Who are those that their people will listen to and vote. It is not only for you to be in Abuja and tell them whatever you’re telling them. Come home because our polling booths are not going to be in Abuja.
“This election will retire people in 2023. If they win us, we go. If we win them, they go. In fact, they have already gone.”
Wike said his administration had established a new political concept that would deepen understanding on how to endear the electorate and secure their votes.
He explained that the PDP in Rivers would not engage in vote buying, but would depend on the numerous projects implemented in all the 23 local government areas, consistent payment of pensions and gratuities by his administration to win the 2023 general election.
Commissioner for Works, Dr. George-Kelly Dakorinima Alabo, who gave the project profile, said the Rumuokwurusi -Elimgbu Flyover, started on January 28 this year and was delivered in less than 10 months.