Governor of Rivers State, Nyesome Wike said the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors deserve commendation for their nationalistic stance that propelled the party to zone the presidency to the south.
Governor Wike, made these remarks when the three Rivers senators elect; the deputy governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Senator Barry Mpigi, and Hon. Allwell Onyesoh visited him at his private residence in Rumueprikom on Wednesday to present their certificate of return to him.
According to him, the emergence of the president-elect of southern extraction was made possible because of the premium APC governors attached to national unity.
That is why I said that the APC governors are my heroes. They came out openly to tell the world, to tell Nigerians, look, the unity of this country is paramount, we don’t want Nigeria to be divided. In fact, I was shocked when all of them came out and said we have had it for eight years in the north, let it go this way (south) for eight years so that we can have harmony, peace, and unity.”
The Rivers State governor said the emergence of a southern Nigerian as president-elect in the just concluded presidential election will give the people a sense of belonging and cause Nigerians to live harmoniously together without any sense of alienation.
Wike added that the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) committed anti-party and embarked on self-destruct when they blatantly dumped the zoning arrangements entrenched in the party’s constitution.
The governor maintained that the decision of the PDP leadership to abandon zoning in clear violation of the party’s constitution is largely to blame for the party’s catastrophic defeat in the just concluded presidential election.
The governor reiterated that PDP’s Constitution in Section 7(3)(c) states in pursuant to the principles of equity, justice, and fairness the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation of elective and appointive offices.
According to him, the decision to jettison this principle is the worst form of anti-party.
Governor Wike, however, charged the senators-elect to be nationalistic in the discharge of their legislative duties, by supporting policies of the government that will unite the country.
“We are proud to have produced the three senators. Out of 13 House of Reps, they have announced ten, and we have taken nine. We believe that when the election is done in the other ones, we will also emerge victorious because Rivers State has always been with PDP as regards the issues of our local elections.
When our party abandoned the principle of equity, fairness, and justice; when our party abandoned the provisions of our constitution, which is the highest anti-party anybody can do, they also have to pay for it. If you see that your constitution says this is what you should do, and you abandoned it, you have committed anti-party more than any other thing. Our own is unity of Nigeria, and that is what we stand for. Unity of Nigeria is far above party interest.”
He further tasked them not to allow pecuniary interest to sway them from fighting vigorously for the interest of Rivers State.
The governor expressed confidence that the three senators elected will not betray the interest of Rivers State and the country as some former senators did in the past.
“I want to appeal to you when you go to the Senate, talk about Nigeria, not party. Talk about how Nigeria will continue to be one. Support policies of government that will unite this country, and that is where we stand.”
Governor Wike urged the senators-elect to return to their various senatorial districts to galvanize massive grassroots support for the PDP governorship candidate, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, whose administration is expected to consolidate on the remarkable successes of the current government in the State.
Senator Barry Mpigi, who spoke on behalf of the senators-elect, said they remain eternally grateful to God for using governor Wike to enable them actualize their political aspirations.
“You have fought a battle to prove to us that you love Rivers State. Your Excellency, our mission here is just to assure you and reassure you that we are going to Abuja, not for ourselves but for Rivers interest.”
Similarly, PDP National Vice Chairman (South-South), Chief Dan Orbih, said the victory of the three senators-elect is a bold and clear statement that the people of Rivers State are appreciative of governor Wike’s commitment to the development of the State.
“For me, it is a very bold and thank you message to governor Nyesom Wike for the wonderful job he has done for Rivers people. Their election is very clear, the people of Rivers state appreciate everything the governor has done for this state.
“For us in the South-South, we are proud of him. He has done very well, the people are happy with him, the party is happy with him.”