The race for the presidential ticket of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has taken Rivers State’s Governor Nyesom Wike to Cross River State. He consulted with delegates over his ambition to be the flag bearer of the party.
Addressing supporters in Calabar, the state capital, Wike said: “You may be hearing stories but today, I am coming here in person to tell you that I am running to be president of Nigeria. I am not running to negotiate for the vice presidency or for anything. I’m running to be the president of Nigeria.”
He also said he is not running for running’s sake, adding that he does not want to be recognised as a former presidential candidate, president of Nigeria.
Wike addressed the delegates which included former Governor Donald Duke, former Governor Liyel Imoke, PDP National Assembly Caucus leader and members from Cross River State, and host party leaders in the various local governments of the state.
The Rivers State governor objected to the views of the group of presidential aspirants, led by the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, who are suggesting the option of a consensus candidate for the PDP. His words: “Some people are moving for consensus. I’m not part of that. If you want to run for an election, please do so. When they came to me, I told them I’m not a party to this one. What I don’t like in my life is deceiving people. What I will not do, I will not do. What I will do, I will do.”
He added: “I hear yesterday (Tuesday) what was credited to the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, that the north came out first, so the South should concede to them; that is a lie and it is not correct, with due respect to our former Senate president. You can only know those who have come out for an election at the close of nomination; or the close of picking of forms. I like what the governor of Enugu State told them. He said consensus is based on equity, fairness and justice.”
Wike said he is too experienced in politics to be deceived. He added: “If you can’t run again, say it out. Don’t hide under what you call consensus and come to me. Get on and run for the election; to be president of Nigeria is not by dash, you will sweat it out.”
He said if the PDP wants to win this election; it should look around for aspirants that have the capacity and the courage to withstand the current government. He added: “It should look for those that can tell the APC that enough is enough. I am the one. Give me the ticket. Give me the ticket and the election is over. The PDP needs a candidate who is fearless and courageous. I will win the election for the PDP.”
He spoke a little about his track record when he was the Minister of States for Education. He said: “I toured every state. I addressed many issues of basic education and I ensured libraries and laboratories were built in secondary schools.”
On insecurity, Wike accused the current Federal Government of not doing enough. He said: “Look at the country; insecurity everywhere. They don’t fund intelligence. Spend money on intelligence and you will stop the terrorists before they strike. Part of the problem we have is that we are not consolidating and spending resources on intelligence. It’s not just amassing weapons. If you do that without intelligence, it’s equal to zero. Spend more money on intelligence and you will get the result.”
After Wike’s address, some party leaders and stakeholders said he has been a pillar that has kept the PDP in Nigeria and Cross River State alive. They said it is only fair and just that the delegates from Cross River will pay him back with their support for his ambition.