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I can sway Rivers voters, Wike boasts By Obayomi Abiola Benjamin On Wednesday 10th August 2022Politics & Governance 72

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•Atiku not interested in genuine truce, say governor’s men

Governor Nyesom Wike yesterday boasted that he has the capacity to influence voters in Rivers State.

The governor, whose supporters accused Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar of showing apathy to genuine reconciliation, said his performance as a governor was enough to sway the electorate in favour of any candidate of his choice.

He described some politicians, who misconstrued his earlier statement that he was in charge of the state, as “misguided elements.”

The governor spoke at the inauguration of the dualised Ogbunuabali -Eastern Bypass Road in Port Harcourt. The tape cutting was performed by former Sokoto State Governor Aliyu Wamakko.

Wike, who described himself as  a man with a heart for service, argued that performance in office was not a function of a political party but the mindset of an individual.

Wike said  he was not in the class of leaders who cite “economic hardship as  an excuse not to render leadership and service to their people.”

His words: “Because some people went to school late, they don’t understand when somebody says he am in charge of this state. I never said I am in charge of votes in this state.

“But I know I can talk to my people and my people will listen to me. Some people say I have only one vote, I agree. I can’t vote two times. I will only vote once. But because of the services I have rendered to the people of this state, the state will listen to me.

“Leadership is not about party. Leadership is about individual. Political party is only a vehicle to actualise an ambition and to tell your people that you have  capacity. I have this quality for rendering services to the people.

“If you take me away today from PDP or  YPP (Young Peoples Party)  or any other party, I will still perform. So, it is not because I’m in PDP that I’m performing. It is because I have that passion for my people. It is because I have the commitment to serve my people.”

Wike said his undying love, passion and commitment to render service to Rivers State people had sufficiently differentiated him from other politicians.

He added: “That is why there is a sustained commitment to add value to life, impact change with the infrastructural revolution and make the state better.

“While others have used the economic hardship as an excuse not to render leadership and service to their people, I  found a more rewarding way to sustain the delivery of projects in Rivers State,” he said.

The governor, who described himself as  ”a consistent politician” that does not play a double game,   urged the people to be happy that they have a governor that is always ready to defend the state.

Wike thanked the people of Ogbunuabali for their cooperation while the project lasted despite, having initially rejected it.

He lifted the ban on youths’ activities in the community and announced the release of the N2bn he had earlier promised the people.

Wamakko noted the leadership capacity of  Wike, saying that all well-meaning governments should meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people.

Wike’s loyalists said yesterday that Atiku has chosen to be on the path to losing the presidential election next year by his actions.

They warned that the alleged move by the former vice-president to create a  separate PDP structure ahead of the election showed that he was not keen on uniting members of the party.

They were reacting to a television interview in which a pro-Atiku politician and former two-time National Assembly member, Senator Lee Meeba,   described Wike as a  dictator.

 

Meeba  alleged that the governor vowed to stop them from campaigning for Atiku in the state without his permission.

The former lawmaker added that Wike was furious that he and some PDP leaders in the state met with Atiku in Abuja to promise him that Rivers would vote for a PDP candidate in 2023.

But the governor’s loyalists said the alleged move by Atiku to use  ”spent forces and Abuja-based politicians” to fight Wike showed he was not interested in genuine reconciliation.

The loyalists who spoke with The Nation, are the Chairman of Emohua Local Government Area, Chidi Lloyd and a former Commissioner for Information,  Ogbonna Nwuke.

Lloyd said: “It is obvious that Atiku wasn’t destined to be president with his body language. As a Catholic, I will tell you that clearly. I haven’t seen a man, who is given delicious food and he pushes it down.

“Nobody abdicates his pulpit to intruders. Atiku came back to the PDP from the APC(All Progressives Congress), contested the 2019 election, lost, and proceeded to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He was on that long vacation until the election period. He came back.

” Rather than look for ways and means to pull everybody together on a table, the likes of Lee are running to him in Abuja. Is that where the election will hold?

Lloyd insisted that the alleged plot by Atiku and those loyal to him to create a crisis in Rivers PDP was an exercise in futility because the party’s leaders were solidly behind Wike.”

Also, Nwuke, said Atiku was chasing shadows by trying to divide  Rivers PDP.

His words: “It is not possible to divide the Rivers PDP. It is not realisable because it is historic. Right from the days of the NPN(National Party of Nigeria), it is difficult for those who are Abuja-based as it is now, to take control of the power apparatus.

”The coalition of Abuja politicians has never really won at home. The home front is always united and able to overrun them and that is what will happen in 2023.

”If Atiku thinks he can achieve results with divide and rule, we want to see him. We want to see him spend that money that will make him achieve that and we want to see him win these votes he wants to win”.

”I  pray that the gods will not decide to destroy Atiku because of the way he is acting.  He is acting like he has won an election.

“But all he has is just a ticket. Winning an election is different from having a ticket. I hope he realises that having collected the ticket of the party, it is his responsibility to bring everybody together. If he is not sincere about what he is trying to do, it won’t work.

“Atiku is not showing by his actions that he is interested in reconciliation. The consequences of his actions will be upon his head.”

 

 

 

[The Nation]

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