By Okafor Ofiebor
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has accused the Uche Secondus’ National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of sowing seed of discord among PDP governors and jeopardising the party’s prospect to clinch the presidency in 2023.
He also warned that President Mohammadu Buhari’s integrity would be at stake if he failed to honour invitation of the House of Representatives to address the growing concern about the spate of insecurity across the country.
Wike, while speaking on a live television programme in Port Harcourt on Friday, said it was regrettable that instead of capitalising on the inefficiency and maladministration that has characterised the All Progressives Congress, APC’s five years in power, PDP’s NWC is deepening cracks in the party.
“PDP ought to have harvested from the inefficiency of the APC; from the maladministration of the APC. Ordinarily, that is what opposition party ought to do. If you ask me, are Nigerians waiting for a change? Yes. If you ask me as a member of PDP, am ready to support PDP to takeover, yes. But, if you ask me currently as it is, is the leadership of the party willing for us to harvest this opportunity for a change, I will say no.”
He explained that rather than focus on strategies on how to take advantage of the growing disenchantment with the APC government, the NWC is sowing seed of discord among governors using two former governors of Imo and Cross River States and present Senator from Benue State.
“An opposition party that ought to be united, to work, to take over the affairs of government, because people are waiting for this opportunity, but the current leadership of NWC is not prepared for that, rather, what they have done is to constitute some people to sow a seed of discord among governors for their own selfish interest. And that will boomerang; that will consume them.”
The governor said because he lacked the ability to defect to the APC or another political party, he would continue to do what he could to ensure the survival of the PDP.
“I will not allow anybody to kill PDP. They have capacity to move to APC. I don’t and I cannot move to APC. So, anybody that tries to do something to destroy PDP, I will not allow you. Anybody that I see that has the trait to destroy the PDP, I will not allow it,” he said.
He described as disingenuous the decision of the NWC to jettison the recommendations of Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom led committee set up to reconcile the party in Niger and Plateau States, just because of its vested interest in Niger State.
The governor accused the current leadership of NWC of merely being interested in retaining current structure of the party to remain in power, and not to win the 2023 election.
“The present National Working Committee is not interested or doing anything to take over the realms of government in 2023. When your interest is to remain in power, you are no longer interested to win election.”
Wike also said the level of insecurity leading to deaths, particularly in Borno State and other parts of the country ought to have compelled Buhari to keep his promise of honouring the invitation by the House of Representatives.
He pointed out that it was APC members who control majority in the National Assembly that moved the motion to invite President to address them on what measures are being taken to tackle and end the spate of violent killings, to which he consented.
The governor said it was wrong for the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation to turn around to subject the invitation to legal interpretation, instead of protecting the integrity of the President which is now at stake.
“There is insecurity. People are dying. You don’t go by legal approach to solve that problem. If Mr President had given the assurance, saying my integrity is at stake, therefore I will go, that decision was not taken without talking first to his inner cabinet.
“It’s not a question and answer session. You go with a brief to address the congress. To say, see where it was when we came, see where we are today. Yes, we have not achieved what we thought, but what we require from everyone is cooperation.
“For me, I think this is not the period to be legalistic. This is the period every Nigerian should be concerned about what is happening. Just this morning (Friday), I heard that 16 people were killed on Abuja-Kaduna road yesterday. Look at the loss of life in Borno State. Senate has said look, Mr President, relief all Service Chiefs, which means they are concerned about the security situation in the country,” he said.
He further stated that if he were the Attorney General of the federation, he would have advised the President privately and urge him to write a letter to the House of Representatives that he would come at a later day because of the exigency of his office.
To end the spate of violent crime in the country, Wike recommended the creation of employment opportunities for youths and drastic change to operational system of policing in the country.
He insisted that States must be allowed to be involved in the Community police, which has already been hijacked by APC members.