BY ANAYO ONUKWUGHA, PORT HARCOURT –
Ahead of the 2019 governorship election in Rivers State, only the incumbent, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike and the senator representing Rivers South-East district in the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, seem to have been given the go-ahead by their supporters to contest the election.
Wike is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and would be running for a second term in 2019 if he accepts the numerous calls on him to contest while Abe, who is a two-time senator and former Secretary to the Rivers State Government had since indicated interest to run for the governorship seat on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Many ethnic nationalities in the state, including the people of Ogoni, the kinsmen of the senator, made up of Gokana, Khan’s, Eleme and Tai local government areas of the state, have already endorsed Wike for a second term in office.
In a communiqué read on behalf of the Ogoni PDP leaders by Senator Lee Maeba, they declared, “That given the outstanding performance of His Excellency, the Governor and his galvanising prowess for the interest of the state, we the Ogoni people in the PDP unanimously urge him to present himself for a second term in office as the governor of Rivers State in 2019.
“That we encourage all Ogoni sons and daughters to give unalloyed support and continuous solidarity to the administration of Governor Nyesom Wike for the sustenance of his developmental strides in Ogoniland.”
The Ogoni PDP leaders resolved that they will never allow the rigging of elections in Ogoni land with the use of the military and other security agencies.
They said: “That never again shall we allow the military, the police and other security agencies to intimidate and influence the outcome of any election in all the four LGAs of Ogoniland. The will of the people must prevail and their votes must count.”
Also, recently, thousands of youths staged a peaceful walk in Port Harcourt, the state capital, to endorse Wike for a second term in office. In the course of the long trek, the youths shared handbooks, DVDs containing Wike’s achievements and sang pro-Wike campaign songs to further sell the governor to the people.
The walk which was coordinated by D-Source Connect Group, had endorsements and participation from hundreds of social media and civil society groups.
Speaking after the walk, convener of the Walk4Wike Season 2, Barrister Vincent Dike Amadi, declared that Rivers youths resolved to stage the walk as a way of telling the international community and others that the people were in full support of Wike.
Amadi stated that contrary to the negative propaganda being sponsored by opposition elements, the governor has performed creditably, churning out people oriented projects across the state.
He said, “The youths of Rivers State have come to say that come 2019, Governor Wike should present himself for a second term. We will march across the 23 local government areas to promote the candidature of Governor Wike and to ensure that he wins in 2019”.
In his remarks, a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ken Chikere said that the walk is an endorsement of the performance of the governor.
Responding, Rivers State governor, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, commended the youths for identifying with his performance and good governance.
Wike, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, declared his commitment to sustain the delivery of projects and programmes that will empower the youths of the state.
The governor said, “The APC has impoverished Nigerians. Today, Nigerians are poor and there is no money in circulation. Unemployment is the order of the day. Indeed there is no positive change anywhere.
“In Rivers State, since 2015, we have had purposeful leadership. We don’t care what happens at the centre. We are focused on developing Rivers State. You can see the projects being executed and the people are being carried along.”
The governor said that institutions have been strengthened, leading to economic and social growth across the state.
For Abe, who have had a serious face-off with the leader of APC in the state because of his governorship ambition, some stakeholders of the party met recently in Port Harcourt, to endorse his candidature for the governorship election on the platform of the APC.
A communiqué issued at the end of the stakeholders meeting, which was signed by the member representing Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Chidi Wihioka and five others, read in parts, “Consequently, the meeting arrived at and agreed on the following, as matters on which there was consensus and that is to: “The meeting strongly urged the State Working Committee to strive for independence, impartiality and inclusiveness if the party must come out of the present low moral of members.
“The meeting affirmed the right of all party members to have ambition within the party, openly express it and canvass and lobby and rally support for its actualisation without fear and within the laws and Constitution of the party. The meeting insisted that the party should be built in line with the change agenda of our great party, rather than through the handpicking of candidates as was done in the past.
“Without equivocation and with the power and support of both the APC Constitution and the Nigerian Constitution, the meeting stated that Senator Magnus Ngei Abe’s eminent qualification to aspire to the office of Governor of Rivers state under our party could not be questioned.
“Accordingly, the meeting called on him to present himself for the 2019 gubernatorial election under our great party, APC, as he clearly has the support and approval of a vast majority of our party faithful across the state.
“The meeting expressed its gratitude and appreciation to all honest-hearted members of the party who have continued to be genuinely dismayed and broken-hearted and fiercely discriminated against in the party on account of their political orientation and the style of leadership which instills fear and threats for associating with Magnus Abe for not leaving the party but have continued to stay on and contribute meaningfully for the advancement of our party.
“Finally, we thank the Almighty God for the health of the President and his triumphant return home to continue with the historic task of building a new Nigeria where no one will be oppressed so that we can hand over to our children a banner without stain.”votes must count.”