From Tony John, Port Harcourt
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has said the corruption fight of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government is shrouded in despicable politics that puts Nigeria up for ridicule in the international community.
Governor Wike made the observation on Saturday when he visited Niger State as part of his ongoing consultation with delegates of the PDP.
The governor said it is difficult to explain the rationale of the APC-led Federal Government in handpicking supposed corrupt persons, making them go through court processes up to the Supreme Court and then turn around to release them in the guise of a pardon.
He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to Nigerians was to fight corruption forthrightly, but the pattern is now obvious that the corruption fight is tilted against those who are opposed to his policy and programmes.
‘To tell you the truth, this APC government has deceived us a lot. This is a government that said they’re fighting corruption, they handpick people and jail them after they have gone through all court processes up to Supreme Court,’ Wike said.
‘Then, they turned around to release from prison those people that they said are corrupt. What a country is this, what a government is this?
‘Doing it for political reasons because the elections are coming and they want (Joshua) Dariye to help their party in Plateau State. They want (Jolly) Nyame to help them in Taraba State. Why don’t they give pardon to James Ibori for example?
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‘Look at how they have made the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) prosecute and spend so much money. Then, at the end of the day, you played politics with it. How will the international community look at us? It’s so shameful.’
Governor Wike told the delegates that he was resolved to end the era of lies by the APC to Nigerians, which is why he is soliciting for the ticket to fly the party’s flag in the 2023 presidential election.
He assured of tackling the festering insecurity in parts of the country so that farmers could return to the farms and grow the economy.
‘The day you give me the ticket is the day we will start to form the government, because by giving me the ticket, I know I’ve won the election already,’ he expressed.
‘It is only when you’ve given me the ticket that I’ll make sure that I present, put together the best of professionals that will help me to run the affairs of this country.
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‘Leadership is the ability to organise and galvanise experts to do the work under adequate supervision and coordination.’
Speaking further, Governor Wike said what he has done in Rivers State is towering evidence of what he is prepared to do as president of Nigeria if given the opportunity to serve.
He explained that he is a performer, a courageous person and Nigeria needs his fearless personality to salvage the country.
Former Minister of Information Prof Jerry Gana urged the delegates to support Governor Wike’s ambition because he has the capacity to end insecurity and the country’s infrastructural deficit.
‘Nigerians, if you want a decisive answer to this insecurity in Nigeria, then, tell the PDP to wisely give you Wike as a candidate so he will become president of Nigeria because I know Wike will preside very well.’
A member of the PDP board of trustees, Senator Zainab Kure, said Governor Wike is gender-friendly and passionate about the party.
Niger State PDP chairman Tanko Beji observed that the issues raised by Governor Wike while addressing delegates were germane.
Beji, who described the forthcoming PDP convention as make or mar, said PDP must not make the mistake of giving its ticket to someone who will end up being a sectional president.
‘This party belongs to all of us. We need to put our resources and energies together to work for this party. We want a Nigerian president, not a southern president. We want a Nigerian president, not a northern president. This is the focus. Gone are the days that we will be deceived. We can no longer be deceived. We have come a long way. We have suffered enough, we don’t want to suffer again,’ he stated.
He commended Governor Wike for his commitment to the PDP and urged him to ensure that the party’s reward system is overhauled.
‘If you become president and by the will of God, you will, there is a need for you to give the party and the country a redirection. There is a need for you to change the reward system at the party.
‘Gone are the days when somebody will put in his effort, put in his cash, put in his energy when we form a government, you put him behind; that is not party politics.’