…Pledge Commitment To Sim Project
…As Wike Declares, ‘Fubara Will Succeed Me’
…Rivers PDP Passes Vote Of Confidence On Gov Wike
When Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike declared at several fora that he would put the All Progressives Congress (APC) ‘out of business’ in the State, many of his critics either saw it as a joke or dismissed it as an empty boast.
But the 11th Hour Homecoming Reception for Decampees from Various Political Parties event that played out at the Isaac Boro Park, Port Harcourt on Saturday, seemed to lend credence to the governor’s boast, as no less than five thousand members of the APC renounced their membership of the party and declared for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The elated decampees expressed joy, as many described their sojourn to the APC as a failed expedition, noting that they were pleased to return to the PDP, a party where they all began their political journey.
With their leaders in the front, the decampees joined the victory dance, waving the PDP flag, as popular singer, Holy, sang in mockery of PDP opponents. Led by the local government chairmen, the decampees brimmed with excitement as they danced in groups, alongside the three senatorial districts in the state.
From the stands, Rivers PDP governorship candidate, Sir Siminialayi Fubara and his deputy, Professor Ngozi Ordu as well as Rivers PDP Chairman, Amb. Desmond Akawor and other dignitaries, acknowledged cheers as the procession continued.
There was commotion as Governor Wike and his large entourage arrived the arena, 1.35 pm on the dot. The crowd went awry waving in unison as each one tried to get attention. Unrelenting, Holy and his band burst out: ‘No more, no more, no more, no more APC, no more, no more, no more no more PAC…’. The singer went on: ‘Wike bu okwu ome, okwuna omena..’.
It was a roll call of dignitaries at the event. They include the State Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs.) Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi Owaji Ibani, his deputy, Rt. Hon. Edison Ehie and other serving and former members of the House.
Also present were former and serving members of the National Assembly, including Senator Barry Mpigi, Rt. Hon Dumnamene Robinson Dekor, Hon. Awaji-Inombek Abiante, Rt. Hon. Chibudom Nwuche among others. Former Rivers PDP Chairman, Bro. Felix Obuah and other party chieftain like Chief Kenneth Kobani as well as Chairmen of the 23 Local Government Areas were also present at the occasion.
Addressing the APC decampees, Governor Wike expressed appreciation to the decampees led by Sam Sam Jaja and George Tolofari whom he said, had decided to return to the PDP family, adding that PDP is a house-hold name.
“Let me assure you that we shall work with you. There is nothing like somebody who has been there since and somebody who has just come back. It is the more the merrier, so all of us must put hands together to make sure that our governorship candidate; our National and State House of Assembly candidates in Rivers State are returned 100%.
“At least, that is our primary responsibility. I don’t know of any party who believes that they are contesting election with us in Rivers State, except the person wants it to be on record that he was a candidate in 2023 General Election. I don’t think any person running election in any other party in this state is hoping to win election. Is that possible”, he asked as the crowd roars a deafening ‘nooooo’.
Governor Wike went on: “In this state, if God gives you the ticket of PDP, go home and sew your inauguration cloth ahead of the Inauguration Day. What will any Rivers man or woman be saying? That he or she wants to vote for any other person in Rivers State?
“As a party, we have kept faith with our people. As a party, we have stood for our people. As a party we have never allowed intimidation from any quarter.
And that is what we are talking about, the interest of Rivers State. Remember before I came on board, some states had our properties. As I came in as governor, with the support and prayers of our people, we took all our properties back”.
The governor said he was not going to play party politics with the interest of Rivers people, as he stated that Rivers State is paramount to him first before any other person or group.
“So, eyes can see what we have done. Up till today, we have never abandoned governance. So many governors are already rounding up, using the last they have, but we are still committed in commissioning and flagging off projects. Because of the love we have for our people, we’ll continue to serve you till May 29, 2023 when by the grace of God; Siminialayi Fubara will be inaugurated as Governor of Rivers State.
“Next year’s election is not for big men. It’s not for those who will not come home and mobilize for their party. They are only interested in being politicians away.
“Politicians are at home. Anybody who is not at home now, is not a politician. I have changed the strategy of this election. No more big man. I am going for those who matter in their various units.
“All those who are decamping are those whom you may not be hearing their names, but they are the people who are doing the work. So, they are back and those so called big men are threatened. It’s not me that caused it. It is you that caused it yourself. If God has given you the opportunity, and you threw it away, then it’s your business. Is it my business?” he asked as the people responded in the negative.
The governor mocked the ousted National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Sekondus, who was said to have danced when the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party passed vote of confidence on Senator Iyorchia Ayu, the embattled PDP National Chairman.
He said the decision by NEC will not dissuade him and others from insisting that the prevailing structural imbalance within the party must be addressed.
“I was watching and listening, they said there is one man called Secondus. They said he was dancing and celebrating. That NEC gave their person Vote of Confidence. He forgets history. Ask him. The same NEC through Aliyu Babangida moved a Vote of Confidence supported by the same person, Ndudi Elumelu. They gave him Vote of Confidence and what happened? He left office.
“We don’t fight and go back. If you like, have as many as 20 Vote of Confidence. It is not my business. My business is to make sure that the right thing is done. And the right thing must be done, whether today or tomorrow.
Let nobody worry himself. If you are dancing, come home and dance. Come and mobilize for the person you think that will win election’, he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, State Chairman of the PDP, Amb. Desmond Akawor thanked the decampees for their truthfulness in acknowledging the excellent performances of Governor Wike.
Highlight of the event was the bestowment of vote of confidence on Governor Wike by the Rivers PDP.
PDP State Chairman, Amb. Desmond Akawor who announced the vote of confidence, made a presentation of a plaque through PDP State Secretary, Dr. Benibo George, to the governor amid applause from the crowd.
Akawor said the confidence vote is predicated on Wike’s amazing performances in all sectors of the economy.
He listed the establishment of the Nabo Graham Douglas campus of Nigerian Law School in the state; the Real Madrid Academy and Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostics and Treatment Center among other reputable projects, adding that it was also for these reasons that the decampees have returned to the PDP.