Whatever hope that would have been left that Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, would have a rethink and file behind his party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, for the 2023 polls was finally dashed yesterday.
Wike declared yesterday that he will not campaign for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard bearer because he did not consult him before picking members of his campaign council from the state.
He explained that Atiku’s photos and those of PDP national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, are missing in the party’s campaign materials in the state because they don’t want him to campaign for the party at the national level.
Wike who spoke yesterday during the inauguration of the PDP state campaign council in Port Harcourt said the party’s presidential candidate selected those he described as “enemies of Rivers State” into his campaign council for the 2023 general election.
The governor said, “Some people have asked me why they don’t see the presidential candidate’s picture and that of the party chairman. I said what are you talking about? The presidential candidate entered my state and picked members of the presidential council without a whole governor of a state having a contribution.
“The presidential candidate entered Rivers State and picked those he wanted to pick without the contribution of the governor. So, they said they don’t need me to campaign for them, that they don’t need Rivers’ people to campaign for them. Will you force yourself?
“I have never seen how people will disrespect a state like Rivers State and go and choose those who are enemies of the state without the contributions of us.”
Stating that PDP members in the state do not know the nominees from the state in Atiku’s campaign list, Wike said he and the party in the state will only campaign for the governorship candidate, the senatorial candidates, and others who carried them along.
The governor continued: “If they want us to be involved in the campaign, they will come and tell us. If he thinks we are important, they will come and meet us. Nobody can intimidate Rivers State when I am still the governor of the state.”
He stated that the setting up of the campaign council was to bring out strategies on how to go along with the campaigns and the election proper.
“This campaign council is to bring out strategies on how to campaign on how to follow the election. This election is a different election. It will not be as usual,” he added.
The governor further said each of the 23 local government areas in the state will have its own strategy to mobilise the people.
He noted: “Some of you have been quarrelling that my name is not there. The campaign council is just a general policy council and they will now bring people who will be in each of the committees. Those of you who are crying my name is not there, everybody’s names cannot be in the campaign council; it is not possible.
“And two, the campaign council is not for sharing money. I am the chairman of the campaign council. So, I think that you will submit your budget to the governor and DG (director general).
“The campaign council will approve every budget which is presided over by me, the DG is for implementation. So, don’t think that the governor is my person. It doesn’t work that way.”
We Can’t Confirm Makinde’s Support For Atiku – Oyo PDP
Whether Governor Wike was speaking for himself alone of it was the position of other members of his camp was not clear.
The PDP in Oyo State told LEADERSHIP yesterday that it cannot confirm Governor Seyi Makinde’s support for the party’s flag bearer in the 2023 presidential election.
The party’s public relations officer, Dr Akeem Olatunji, said he could not say if the governor would campaign for Atiku.
Asked if the governor will support or campaign for Atiku, Olatunji said, “I cannot speak on whether the governor will campaign or support the party’s candidate.”
On whether Governor Makinde’s romance with Wike is not affecting PDP in the state, he said, “Nothing is wrong with the party. The party is okay”.
Wike On His Own, Says Atiku’s Campaigner
But reacting to the Rivers governor’s position, Abia State coordinator for Atiku, Chief Charles Ogbonna, said if that was what Wike said, thrn it is his business because the state stands firm for the former vice president.
“As a matter of fact, Ikpeazu has not changed his mind on Atiku as our 2023 presidential candidate,” the one-time commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in the state noted.
Wike Nominates Amaechi’s Loyalist, 16 Others As Commissioners
Meanwhile, less than eight months to the end of his tenure, Governor Wike yesterday nominated the immediate-past publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Senibo Chris Finebone, and 17 others as commissioners.
A statement signed by the Clerk of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Stanford Oba, said the nominees, who are mostly former commissioners and special advisers, would be screened by the House today (Tuesday).
The nominees include former commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike; former chairman of Tai local government area, Jacobson Nbina, and former commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Inime Aguma.
Others are former commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mrs Tonye Oniyinde Briggs; former commissioner for Works, Engr Austin Ben Chioma, and former commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Fred Barivule Kpakol.
Also on the list are former Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku; former Commissioner for Youths; Prince Ohia; former commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Ukiel Oyaghiri; former commissioner for Social Welfare and Rehabilitation, Damiete Herbert Horsfall, and former commissioner for Special Duties, Emeka Onowu.
Others are Ndubuisi Okere, Engr Charles Amadi, Ben Daminabo, Uchechukwu Nwafor, Emenike Oke and Ezekiel Agri.
Atiku Suspends Campaign, Visits States Ravaged By Flood Today
Meanwhile, the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has suspended his campaign activities in empathy with victims of flood across the country.
According to the itinerary of the PDP flagbearer, he will be visiting states ravaged by flood today to sympathise with the people.
A press statement issued by Paul Ibe, his media adviser, said the former Vice President would begin the tour from Bayelsa State today.
“The tour to states ravaged by flooding has become incumbent in view of the trauma that the incidents have caused the people”, the statement said.
Recall that the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, had last week called off his campaign to honour flood victims across the country.
Again, Tinubu Hits Atiku, Accuses Him Of Plagiarizing PMB’s Agenda
Barely 24 hours after taunting him over his Dubai trips, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has again dragged his People’s Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Atiku Abubakar.
This time around, Tinubu accused Atiku of plagiarism, saying the 5-point agenda of the PDP standard bearer was nothing to write home about.
He said Atiku’s 74-page campaign document has in it ongoing milestones of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
Speaking through the APC presidential campaign council, Tinubu also said the PDP has incurable incapacity to act as credible opposition.
Chief spokesperson and director of Public Affairs of the campaign team, Festus Keyamo (SAN), who issued a statement in this regard was reacting to claims by director of Strategic Communications of the PDP presidential campaign council, Dele momodu, that Tinubu’s 80-page manifesto released in Abuja on Saturday was an appropriation of MKO Abiola’s legacy.
Responding to the allegation, Keyamo, who is also the minister of State for Labour and Employment, said, the Atiku’s campaign team “goofed miserably.”
He said he had expected Momodu to make clear comparative analyses between ‘Hope ’93’ campaign document of MKO Abiola and Tinubu’s ‘Renewed Hope’ document.
Noting that it is Atiku, not Tinubu, that is guilty of plagiarism, Keyamo said, “On the contrary, the 5-point agenda of the flag bearer of the PDP is nothing to write home about. Top on the list is his lip service to unify Nigeria. We can only laugh. This is a man that his party is torn between division and disarray. Till now, he is yet to fix it.
“What a failure! His 74-page campaign document has in it ongoing milestones of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration. From lifting millions out of poverty to power generation to economy revitalization, it is clear that they are either too lazy to think or bereft of fresh ideas. Everywhere Atiku went to, he was never caught speaking to issues of governance. Rather, if he is not promising the Igbo Presidency in 2027, he is playing the ethnic card (like in Kaduna). Nigerians are wise, they know he has nothing to offer.
“Finally, Dele Momodu and his party failed woefully to point out a single example of the copy-and-paste he referred to in the press statement released by him. It was expected that he would have cited one example of an original document from which we copied and the portion in particular.
“In all, his press release is just a juvenile prose, bereft of details and substance, full of highfalutin nonsense and signifying nothing.”
Keyamo lamented what he described as the pathetic and disastrous situation Momodu has found himself today, ssaying he has staged a complete somersault in a cheap hatchet job against Tinubu, “simply because he needed to impress his new paymasters.
“Let us remind the turncoat, Dele Momodu of what he said about the same Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu only on October 26, 2019 in a column published in ThisDay newspaper entitled, “Bola Tinubu And His Date With Destiny In 2023”:
“I have no illusions that Tinubu will definitely perform as President of Nigeria, if he ever contests and wins. He has a knack for identifying brilliant minds and fertile brains, and the ability to nurture them to greatness. He has demonstrated this repeatedly and almost endlessly. Examples abound without doubt”, Keyamo quoted Momodu ad writing.
Accordingly, the campaign spokesman said, “What is obvious is that even the hirelings of the PDP like Momodu are clear believers in Asiwaju’s ability and capacity to deliver on his promises but have decided to play politics this time around.
“Our expectation is that our ACTION PLAN would inspire other political parties, especially the intellectually bankrupt PDP, to engage us constructively on the initiatives and programmes we intend to implement. True to type, PDP has again reacted, in our view, without even reading the content on the document.
“All they are interested in is the title of our message, not the quality of our ideas. We are extremely amused, but not entirely shocked. This only demonstrates once again their incurable incapacity to act as a credible opposition to the ruling party.
“Dele Momodu should have rather stayed in his accustomed lane of praise-singing socialites and the likes instead of dabbling in the more demanding job of critiquing policy statements.
It is clearly not his forte! The quality of his recent write-up is a testament that his team is not made up of experts in governance and policy formulation. He must have gathered his team of photographers and video editors to read through a document that is far beyond their tabloid-centred minds.”