Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Friday said the meetings his team held with former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some presidential candidates were in national interest and nothing personal as widely believed.
The governor, who spoke with journalists at the Port Harcourt International Airport when he returned from the United Kingdom on Friday, was accompanied by the governors of Benue and Abia states, Samuel Ortom and Okezie Ikpeazu.
APROKOVIBE reported on Friday that Wike on Thursday met with the presidential candidate of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar; and that of the Labour Party, Peter Obi.
The governor has been aggrieved since he lost the presidential primary of the PDP and after Atiku chose Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as his running mate.
Wike said, “I can confirm that this is the first time as a team that we are meeting with presidential candidates. We met with the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (Asiwaju Bola Tinubu) and we met with our leader, former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo.
“We met the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (Peter Obi). We also met with our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. For whatever it’s worth, consultation is ongoing.
“Whatever we are talking about is for the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians. It is not parochial and tied to one person or group of persons. We believe that with what is going on it will be for the interest of Nigerians at the end of the day. Consultation is still ongoing.”
He said leadership should be about the collective interest and not people’s selfish interest. He described as unfortunate situations whereby a governor who served for eight years would want to be succeeded by his son.
“It’s only in this part of the world that you can see that, when we are talking about poverty everywhere. These are people who do not mean well for Nigeria,” he added.
He said competence should be elevated above ethnic and religious sentiments.
He added, “The only identity they have in this country is religion and ethnicity, nothing more. It’s either I’m a Christian or I’m a Muslim. I’m a Fulani or I’m an Igbo. Nigeria cannot move forward except they think it will be them. That is where we are.
“We are in a country where someone with a primary school certificate can be appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. That tells you how bad this country has become. But with our consultation, all these will be things of the past. No amount of intimidation or blackmail will deter us. We are determined to make things right.”
Ortom, who was the leader of the team, noted that they had met with renowned persons in the last few days because of their belief that Nigeria was in distress and required concerted effort to rescue it.
“For us, we are looking at the larger picture. Nigeria today is in distress. It is about what we can do. We are looking at how we can harness ideas and put ourselves together to ensure that we get out of the present challenge we are in today.
“From top to bottom, consider what has happened from 2015 and where we are today. This is beyond partisan politics. We are looking at how we can come together and find a way of ensuring that Nigeria survives. Nigeria is on drip, Nigeria is on oxygen and it is about how we can get out of this.”
He said nothing concrete had been decided but that consultations were ongoing.
He added, “The consultation is going on and will continue to go on. We are still going to meet here. We are still going to meet some people some other time and see how we can work to ensure that the project Nigeria works.”
Ikpeazu also stressed that they were on a mission and were determined to find a way of rescuing Nigeria.
He added, “This is a country with great potential and we have to protect it. We think we need to engage across the board. We are also looking at speaking with civil society organisations and those who have ideas and with Nigerians in the diaspora.
River’s gov team returns, to meet ex-VP again
Meanwhile, an ally of Wike and former senator, Olaka Wogu, told one of our correspondents in an interview on Thursday night that the meeting between Wike and Atiku’s camps in London was a continuation of the ones held in Port Harcourt.
He added, “Atiku responded to some of the issues discussed at the last meeting. It was agreed that both parties would take a little time to look at what was discussed before meeting again. It was agreed that time was of the essence for Atiku to constitute the presidential campaign.
“Wike did not make demands, but there were things on the table. Wike is not eager to make demands but he wants the party to be on a good footing.”
Speaking on reports that Wike demanded that Atiku would do one term, Wogu said, “Nobody discussed term or tenure for Atiku. There are some speculations out there that have not come up for discussion yet. But the fundamental ones are already before Atiku to deal with. They are things Atiku and Wike will work out. Wike and Atiku are now taking control of the reconciliation process.”
He added that their current dialogue was based on the recommendations of the Ahmadu Fintiri-led committee.
When asked how long it would take for everyone to come together and work as a team, he said, “The most important thing is that there is a direction all parties are going to work towards. I think the most difficult part of it has been dealt with. The meetings are fixed based on the schedules of the individuals concerned.”
Feud resolvable – Azi
A PDP chieftain and former Minister of State for Transportation, Musa Azi, has said although the disagreement had lingered for too long, it was not without solution.
In an interview with one of our correspondents on Friday, he stated, “All we need for the crisis to be resolved is for the two camps to show understanding. They should know that politics is a game of give-and-take.”
Asked his view on the demand by Wike’s allies that Iyorchia Ayu should quit as the national chairman, Azi said, “All I can tell you is that we in PDP appreciate Wike for everything he has done for the party. But there can only be one candidate for the party. In any case, we will try and accommodate him and we will resolve all the issues. The issues will be resolved and that will not in any way affect the chances of the party in the 2023 general elections.”