The seeming desperate search for a consensus presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is currently eating deep into the treasuries of the vastly polluted Niger Delta, Nigeria’s honey comb. Rather than seek to cut a deal on how to seriously tackle the plural challenges of the oil region, some of its governors with 2023 presidential ambition, are busy hosting their fellow aspirants with state funds on a matter that is lacking in popular acceptance of the people.
While it is still foggy on what Akwa Ibom and Rivers peoples stand to gain in a Udom Emmanuel or Nyesom Wike presidency, one does not think it is wise for the two to blow up state funds, no matter how meager, on an issue seeking to address their personal political ambition. As at this Friday, there is no clue whatsoever that the peoples of Akwa Ibom and Rivers, formally resolved to enter the hot race to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, with a corresponding mandate on their governors to run.
Where there is no such resolution known to the public, it follows therefore that, whatever amount being burnt by the Oil Governors in pursuit of their personal political from the till of their states, could amount to misappropriation of state funds. When viewed against the seeming compromised anti-graft war under President Buhari’s watch, Udom and Wike may not have acted fairly with their state funds. If the electorate demands for a refund, they will not be entirely out of place in making such a demand. In Nigeria, public officials are increasingly finding it difficult to differentiate between their personal money and public funds.
Is there any superior argument why they should not be paying back, and face the consequences of such ignoble conduct?
Governor Nyesom Wike on Wednesday held a closed door meeting with some presidential aspirants battling for the 2023 presidential ticket of PDP. Before the Port Harcourt jamboree, Governor Udom Emmanuel equally played host to them, and made suggestions towards fielding a consensus presidential candidate for the next cycle of elections.
The Uyo meeting was held at the Government House. The delegation included the Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State; his Sokoto State counterpart, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal; the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Muhammad Hayatuddeen.
Commenting on the meeting, Udom, welcomed the delegation to the state, affirmed his support for the “One Nigeria” course, and stressed the need to build a team of patriots to tackle the nation’s challenges on time. According to him, the task of rescuing Nigeria was way beyond individualism and partisanship, rather that it requires a team that can wake up and say enough of certain things and then put things in the right perspective, to rescue and restore the country, as a team.
Continuing, the presidential aspirant described the delegation as a people that love Nigeria, maintaining that they look forward to what can be made out of the country’s bad situation at the moment, adding, “this is the time we have to look inwards and reappraise, then look at certain things we must do and do it right, and timely. That’s why you see this caliber of people coming together trying to find a consensus and to find a common ground to say that we are all but one. We don’t have any other country to go to. That’s the whole essence of all the meetings.’’
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Saraki thanked Udom for playing host to the delegation and lauded his patriotism and commitment to uniting the party and for championing the ‘One Nigeria’ agenda, and described him as a key stakeholder in the party and said the meeting was to brief the Akwa Ibom Governor on the resolve to put the interest of the country first in their quest for the top job and to unite the party.
“We’ve been going around the country and we are here to meet with Governor Udom Emmanuel as a key stakeholder, to brief him of our intention to find a way of uniting us and to put the country and the party first and to inform him of our intention to have a consensus arrangement, because that is what we believe will make the party stronger’’, Saraki said, adding, “we’ve all agreed that where we are now in Nigeria, it has become very critical that we prepare well for 2023 and we can only do that when we are selfless and united. That’s why we are here.’’
He, therefore, expressed optimism that only the PDP can reverse the insecurity currently plaguing Nigerians, explaining that even though each of them may have had individual ambitions the ambition of uniting Nigeria, rescuing it from insecurity and economic instability, is a greater ambition.
Those at the Port Harcourt closed door meeting that was held on Wednesday at the Government House in Port Harcourt were the same Bala Mohammed, Tambuwal, Saraki, and the former Managing Director of FSB International Bank, Dr Mohammed Hayatu-Deen.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Wike said their interest is to ensure that there is unity in the party. He also expressed their interest in making Nigerians happy by developing a formidable strategy that will enable the PDP coast to victory in the 2023 presidential election.
“Our interest is the unity of the party. Our interest is to make Nigerians happy by making sure that by 2023, PDP takes over the reins of government because Nigerians are patiently waiting. And I can assure you that we are going to work as a team to make Nigerians happy’’, he said.
As a leader of the delegation, Saraki on his part said their discussion was on identifying the best available way in ensuring that there is unity within the party and among the various presidential aspirants. According to him, they are aware that Nigerians now look up to the PDP as the only option that will provide the needed direction for the country.
“We are here to have a discussion and we just finished talking about how best way for us to reunite our party, bring unity among all those who are aspiring to lead this country under PDP. We all realize the importance of this and PDP is the only option ready to redirect this country in the right direction and bring progress and provide a better future for our people.
“We have been to some of the other states and today we are here with Governor of Rivers State, a key stakeholder of this party to discuss frankly. He has given us his views, and made some suggestions and we will continue to work with that as we move away from here. But the key thing is unity, the key thing is to put the country first and put the party first’’, the ex-Senate president said.