Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting
GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, on Friday, returned to Nigeria after a week holiday in the United Kingdom (UK).
He confirmed, on return, that he met with the presidential candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, that of the Labour Party, (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, and the candidate of his own People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar.
Governor Wike, who has been in the eyes of the storm as the crisis rocking the PDP’s aftermath of its presidential primaries and the choice of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as the running mate to Atiku, also confirmed that while in the UK, he also met with the former president, General Olusegun Obasanjo, in company of Governors Samuel Otom of Benue State, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State.
The Rivers State governor, who arrived at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area, of the state, hinted the meetings in the UK were part of the wide consultations aimed at bringing about a better Nigeria during the 2023 general elections.
Wike, Makinde, Ortom and Ikpeazu, who have, in the last two months held the four aces to lasting peace in the PDP, set the nation’s political terrain on the edge when the rumour filtered to town that they had a meeting with Senator Tinubu in London, thus fueling the speculation that Wike might ditch his PDP and work for the APC candidate in the next year’s election.
Relief, however, came, when on Thursday, Atiku Abubakar flew into London and held another round of meeting with Governor Wike and his brother governors on the same side of the divide in the PDP crisis.
While confirming the series of meetings he held with the various political interest groups while in London, Governor Wike said, “This is the first time as a team that we are meeting with presidential candidates.
“We met with the candidate of the APC, met with our leader, former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo.
“We met the presidential candidate of Labour Party, met with our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
“For whatever it’s worth, consultation is ongoing.
“Whatever we are talking about is for the interest of Nigerians. It is not parochial and tied to one person or group of persons.
“We believe what is going on will be for the interest of Nigerians at the end of the day.”
According to him, “consultation is still ongoing. Never mind some people who do not believe in the existence of this country.
“Leadership is not about you and your family. Leadership is about everybody.”
He lamented that Nigeria had gotten to a stage where a governor, after serving his two terms as allowed by the constitution, would bring his son as a governor, while he would want to be a member of the National Assembly, adding that that was why poverty had taken the centre stage in the country.
He also upbraided what he termed as “abuse of religion and ethnicity” in place of competence, lamenting that “the only identity in this country is religion and ethnicity, nothing more”.
“It’s either I’m a Christian or Moslem, I’m a Fulani or I’m an Igbo. Nigeria cannot move forward except they think it will be them.
“We are in a country where someone with a primary school certificate can be appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs”, he lamented.
While reiterating his desire to join hands with others for a better Nigeria, Wike said that no amount of blackmail would deter him from pursuing that course.
“That tells you how bad this country has become. But with our consultation, all these will be a thing of the past.
“No amount of intimidation or blackmail will deter us. We are determined to right the wrong.
“For us, we are looking at the larger picture. Nigeria today is in distress.
“⁶It is about what we can do. No man or woman alone can get it right for our country.
“We are looking at how we can harness ideas and put ourselves together to ensure that we get out of the present challenge we are in Nigeria today.
“From top to bottom, consider what has happened from 2015 and where we are today.
“So, what we are doing is a concern that we have for our country, Nigeria.
“This is beyond partisan politics. We are looking on how we can come together and find a way of ensuring that Nigeria survives.
“Nigeria is on drip, Nigeria is on oxygen and it is about how can we get out of this.
“The consultation is going on and will continue to go on. We are still going to meet here.
“We are still going to meet some people some other time and see how we can work to ensure that the project Nigeria works”.