Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has charged members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to respect the zoning arrangement of the party.
Recall that former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, who is interested in contesting the 2023 presidency had said on Monday that the presidency should not be zoned to the South.
However, Wike, who charged governors elected under the platform of the PDP to unite in taking decisive decisions on issues affecting the party, described party members, especially “those who are saying the presidency should not be zoned”, as agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Wike spoke on Tuesday when he visited Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State to commiserate with him on the death of the Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Adetunji.
“Forget about the people saying there should not be zoning. It is just a distraction. For me, those doing that are agents of the APC and they are not helping the party. Whichever way, we must sit down and make the best decision that will make Nigerians happy; that will make us win the election.
“There is no basis for anything we do that won’t make us win the election because it means we still want Nigerians to suffer and they cannot just continue to suffer. They have suffered enough in the hands of APC and God will not forgive PDP if we don’t rescue Nigerians.
“And I believe you are one of the people doing well in your state. We must make a decision. Not taking a decision means that there is no leadership. It is not like a situation we have in the APC where they will say one thing today and, tomorrow, they will say another thing. They don’t even know who is in charge. But you are in charge of Oyo State and you are doing well”, Wike told Makinde.
Wike said he and others had come to let Makinde know that it was important for them as a party to unite a lot of Nigerians who were waiting for the PDP and that the party could not afford to lose this opportunity.
“The governors must be united. It does not matter who would be the party’s presidential candidate. Once the party and governors are united, I can tell you that the victory is on our way. So, the unity of the governor is key to making sure the party gets it right.
“It was the way we were united that made us produce the National Chairman and the best National Convention, which got Nigerians surprised. We should also do the same by working hard to produce the presidential candidate, who will win the election for the PDP. This is because if we lose it this time around, Nigerians will not be happy with us.
“We cannot allow this evil they call APC to continue and that is why they cannot put themselves together. So, God has used people like you to unite the party and to organise the best convention. Mine is going around telling our people to let us work together as a party so that we will be able to stand APC in the next general election. We must all rally around anybody the party produces to be the presidential candidate and make sure that we win the election”, he said.
Wike further charged Makinde not to be distracted by criticisms, urging him to continue to do well, while also charging his aides and residents of the state to keep supporting him.
“People must criticise, even in a family, it happens. So, be focused and don’t be distracted. Continue to do well. This is a public office and not the same with a private business but that experience has helped you a lot to move the state forward.
“I also want to urge your aides to continue to give you the needed support. Most people fail because of their aides because they are not committed. But for you to have travelled for some days and things still worked, it means your aides are committed and I want to commend you all. You are a part of those that have changed Oyo State”, he added.
In his response, Makinde said Wike had shown leadership in piloting the affairs of Rivers State, saying he had shown leadership nationally and in pushing for what was right and just in the affairs of the party.
“We can only pray for more strength and good health so that you will continue to render your service, at least, till the end of your tenure in Rivers State.
“For us in Oyo State, we are following in your footsteps by giving dividends of democracy to our people. It is all about serving the people.
“You mentioned just now about individuals jostling for the Presidency of our country under our party’s banner and what they need to know. Well, you have demonstrated it, and this is what we are doing in Oyo State. It is not seeking power for the sake of wanting to be in power but for the sake of making our country and our state a little better than the way we have met it. This has been demonstrated time and time again, especially in Rivers State and that is what we are also doing here.
“The unity, especially that of the governors of our party is paramount and most of the successes we have recorded so far are really because we are together”, he said.
According to Makinde, 2022 would be a decisive year in the agenda to rescue Nigeria from the disaster brought upon it by close to seven years of APC leadership at the centre, hence the importance of the visit by Governor Wike and the unity among the PDP governors.
“This visit is timely and appreciated, because 2022 is the year when the political parties will take decisions on who would fly the flags of their parties, from the Presidency to even the lowest positions.
“This is a year we have to take serious decisions, because whatever we do and whatever the outcome is, Nigerians will have to live with that for the next four years.
“The past seven years have been a real disaster. If you look at the data, an economy that was growing at the rate of 5 to 6 per cent yearly before then suddenly became poor. We went into recession and we thought we were coming out but still went into another recession.
“Meanwhile, the population is also growing at an alarming rate. So, just like our party has been pushing, this is the time to rescue Nigeria. We have a serious role to play in that effort”, Makinde added.