Road to 2023: Ijaw youths hail Wike for declaring for presidency

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From Tony John, Port Harcourt

Ijaw youths have expressed their anger at the unseriousness of South-South politicians nursing ambitions to run in the 2023 presidential election in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The group has also commended the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, for a public declaration of his interest to contest the presidential ticket of his party (PDP).

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The youths under the auspices of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide said the attitude of politicians from their domain towards grabbing the presidential tickets of their political parties smacked of pretentiousness and lightheartedness.

The IYC President, Peter Timothy Igbifa, in a statement in Port Harcourt, said the youths’ anger was directed at the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio; former President Goodluck Jonathan; Transport Minister, Chibuike Amaechi; Petroleum Minister (State), Timipre Sylva; Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele; oil magnate and founder of Belemaoil Producing Limited, Tein Jack-Rich.

Igbifa said as the political clock ticked away and the presidential primary elections of the two major political parties drew closer, it was disheartening that none of the above-mentioned personalities had mustered the courage to make public their interests to contest the tickets.

Describing the race for the presidency as a serious business, the IYC boss explained that winning the ticket of a major party for such an election required advanced preparations and nationwide consultations.

He said Wike declared his interest despite attempts by Northern political leaders in the PDP to intimidate him and corner the ticket of the party for their zone.

He said: “In the South West, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has upped his game. In the North, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; former Senate President Bukola Saraki; Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and the Sokoto State Governor, Waziri Aminu Tambuwal, have made public declarations of their intentions and started consultations.

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“In the South East, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi and former Senate President Pius Anyim have stepped out to declare their ambitions.”

Igbifa, however, lamented that in the South-South, those with interests were treating their ambitions with kid’s gloves without summoning the required political will to pursue them.

He said their postures had kept the stakeholders in the geopolitical zone in political confusion with the South-South assuming an image of a directionless orphan ahead of the election.

Igbifa said: “We are happy that Wike has blazed the trail. He, no doubt has a bragging right for the PDP ticket. His courageous declaration has silenced what we perceived to be organised intimidation from the PDP political leaders from the North.

“Jonathan has not decided on his ambition. He has not mustered the courage to confirm rumours linking him to the APC. Is Jonathan waiting for the ticket of the APC to fall on his lap? Amaechi is busy behaving like a comedian and treating his ambition like a joke. Is he waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari to publicly anoint him first?

“Sylva is playing to the gallery, snapping and posting studio pictures. Emefiele looks confused. He doesn’t know whether to resign his appointment as the CBN governor and pursue his ambition or to remain there. Jack-Rich remains indecisive”.

Igbifa said it was time people with presidential ambitions toe the path of Wike and make them public to give the zone a direction ahead of the general election.

He said the youths from the Niger Delta would soon hold a general assembly to take a position ahead of the election, adding that the youths would only support persons with serious intentions to pursue their ambitions.

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