Rivers State Governor and presidential aspirant under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Nyesom Wike, has told members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to give him the presidential ticket as payback for his effort to bring them to office.
He addressed the party national leadership in Abuja on Tuesday to formally request their support in his bid to become its flagbearer, expressing his preparedness to be president as he noted that it is time for the party officials to repay him for the good he did to them.
Wike said: “So, it is important I take this opportunity and let you know that I am prepared. Psychological, mentally and in all aspects am very much prepared.
“So, let us not waste time. Go and tell our people that you have seen the right person and the right person is Wike.
“So, it is important you do the campaign for me, that was how I did it for you too.
“When I was fighting the former NWC, some of you were supporting them. Now all of you are here.
“One good turn deserves another. So you people should also payback. Because you didn’t go to campaign, but now am coming to campaign. So payback.
“But please do us the favor to conduct a free and fair election, that will be an advantage for us to win in 2023.”
The Rivers governor flaunted his credentials as a true party man who lived through its trials and tribulations to save it why some people abandoned the main opposition party.
He added: “I am full committed member of this party. I entered this party in 1998 when it was formed. This party has given me everything in life and I have never abandoned this party because of one grievance or the other.
“When it was looking like PDP would go down, I was one of those who stood firm and made sure that PDP did not go down. In essence. Whether I get the ticket or not, I have no other place to run to other than the PDP because it is not if I don’t get the ticket, then I will move to another party. No! You fight in the house, you settle yourself.”
Wike stated that the PDP needs people like him who can withstand the Federal Government and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), saying: “PDP requires people like us to face APC. Everybody in this country knows me because of my views on national issues. Nobody can say I don’t know whether Wike will do this or do that. When I see issues, I say my view and I am not going to run away from it.
“Of all the aspirants, nobody should talk about sentiments, nobody should say look at the way his face is. You don’t need my face. All we need is to win the election. Can Wike win this election for PDP? The answer is yes. You don’t need to listen to what the elites are saying. Who are they talking about at the grassroots? It is Wike because, in this country, everybody has seen what I have done in Rivers State.”
Continuing, the governor stated: “I have sat down, looked at myself and checked the records: what does PDP want? You must be courageous if you want to be a leader, you must be fearless and you must have the capacity.
“I am courageous, fearless and I have capacity. If you allow me fly the flag of the party which I know by the grace of God, I will be the candidate, and I become President, one of the things I will do is to address the disconnect between party and the government. I have tried it in my state, and it has worked.
“Most of you who go to Rivers State will always see me with my leaders, trying to find out what we’re going to do. It is not easy, but it works. Every person in government must carry the party along.
“And here’s what I think if I’m given the opportunity that I will liaise with the party, find out the views of the party. And then with that synergy, you will see how the government will perform.
“Also, why do we continue to allow APC, who have promised Nigerians heaven and earth? In 2015 Boko Haram were only in charge in some parts of Borno and Yobe States. Today, Boko Haram and bandits have taken over the entire country, it is no longer Yobe and Borno, it is now 36 States and FCT. And so Nigerians are tired.
“But again, Nigerians are waiting. Who are we going to present? What is the track record of that person? What is your track record? Where you were? What did you do, as at the time you were there, what happened?
“Not those who you give tickets to, tomorrow they fail, you won’t see them at the party again. And when you don’t give them the ticket, they will also leave the party. No! That is not the way it should be.
“So, I believe am a thorough party person. And should be encouraged to lead the party. It’s very, very important. And I want to too, I know the modus operandi of APC, I can withstand the APC, I can withstand the Federal Government. Just give me the ticket.”
He said he will not accept consensus arrangement unless it is based on equity, justice and fairness, adding: “I don’t believe in these people going around on consensus. I told them that their consensus move is shine shine bobo, the more you look, the less you see. I say am not going to buy it. It will not work and am not a party to it.
“I believe in consensus, but based on equity, justice and fairness. But not consensus by those who have conspired, they think they can bring me in, but nobody can bring me into it.
“This election is determinant for us, is to determine our history, better you now. Look at the convention we did in 2018. It was acknowledged by the international community, look at the convention that brought you people in, it was acknowledged by everybody.”
The governor appealed to the NWC to be fair in the conduct of the party primary and not unduly favour any aspirant.
He further said: “I want to please advise, not to make any mistake of what people will see that the NWC is trying to favour an aspirant over others. This will destroy the party.
“Because as an opposition party will cannot afford that people will say this election is not credible, this election is not transparent.
“I therefore appeal again that you must not make the mistake of putting people who are obviously supporting me or any of the aspirants in the convention. If you do that, then some of us will challenge you. So, do something that all aspirants will be happy with.
“But if you do anything short of credible and transparent conventional, it will be a shame. After what we have done 2018 after we have done the convention that brought you in then you should do a better convention as members of NWC.’
In his response, PDP National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, promised that the party will conduct a transparent and credible primary.
He told Wike to choose what he wants between asking to be supported foe his ambition by the NWC and the conduct of a transparent primary.
Ayu stated: “On the hand you want a level play field from the NWC. On the other hand you want the NWC to canvas vote for you and vote for your ambition to becoming president. You have to choose one, you can’t have the two.
“But let assure you, this NWC will try to uphold the tradition of the PDP, that tradition since 1999 is running very credible, transparent conventions starting from Jos to the last one that produced this National Working Committee.
“I want to assure you, that there will be no foul play no manipulation. We will certainly do better than what you did in October last year. We will hold an absolutely transparent convention. At that state, we will try to be the INEC of the People’s Democratic Party, not be partisan. We’ll try as much as possible to make sure that every member of the National Working Committee works for the party.”