December 23, (THEWILL) – Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has said his preferred presidential candidate for the 2023 election would be unveiled in January.
He spoke on Thursday, at the inauguration of the Rumuokwurusi-Elimgbu Flyover in Rumuokwurusi Town, Obio-Akpor local government area of the State.
Wike, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), fell out with the party leadership after the presidential primary, which he lost to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
The Rivers governor leads the G5, a group of PDP governors, comprising Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Seyi Makinde (Oyo), who are also aggrieved with Atiku and the PDP leadership.
The G5 governors, who were appointed to the Atiku campaign council, withdrew their membership and boycotted its inauguration, insisting a regional balance in the party’s leadership.
Now self-styled ‘Integrity Group’, the G5 is demanding for the resignation of the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, so that a southerner can lead the party.
Wike said from January 2023, he will embark on a state-wide campaign tour to tell Rivers people who they should vote as President of Nigeria.
He said thereafter, he will undertake a nation wide campaign tour to tell Nigerians the most preferred presidential candidate deserving their votes.
Wike stated that Nigerians needed to know a reliable candidate that they can trust to deliver the needed national transformation with the expected capability and results.
“So, from January next year, I will campaign to my people who they will vote for. So, all of you who have been in suspense. Who have been saying all kinds of things, 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.
“Those of you who have never been stable. You move from PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) 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 are voting for insurgency. If they vote for PDP, they’re voting for corruption.
“Wait, all of us will 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?”, he said.
The governor insisted that going into an election and winning the needed victory was beyond mere appearances on television shows, 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 it to votes.”
Wike also advised some Rivers politicians, who now reside in Abuja, to know that the 2023 elections will confirm who truly has political influence on Rivers electorate.
He said 2023 general election will also be used to retire the same politicians, and urged them to return home and do their campaigns.
Wike also said the state government was not opposed to any political party or group holding political rallies. He reiterated that any party or group planning to use government owned schools should be ready to pay the non-refundable security fee.
He urged politicians to stop telling lies and be bold to let their people know what they have capacity to do and cannot do.
“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 those who 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”, he said.
He also said his administration has established a new political concept that will deepen understanding on how to endear the electorate and secure their votes.
Wike explained that the PDP in Rivers State will not engage in vote buying, but will depend on the numerous projects executed in all the 23 local government areas of the State, consistent payment of pension and gratuity by his administration to win the 2023 general election.
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Dr George-Kelly Dakorinima Alabo, said the Rumuokwurusi-Elimgbu Flyover, which started on January 28, 2022, was delivered in less than 10 months.
He explained that the length of the flyover is 820 metres, with width size at the descend at 30.65 metres and at the upper pass 17.35 metres.
Alabo said the flyover will ease traffic flow, and service as alternative route to connect traffic flow to the Port Harcourt International Airport.