News Politics

Wike Refrains From Declaring Support For Atiku After London Meeting, Says ‘This Is Beyond Partisan Politics’

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has hinted that he would throw his support behind the presidential candidate capable of rescuing Nigeria from the mess it is.

The governor dropped the hint when he spoke with journalists on Friday at the Port Harcourt International Airport on arrival from the United Kingdom, where he and his team held meetings with former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some presidential candidates.

He was accompanied by the governors of Benue and Abia states, Samuel Ortom and Okezie Ikpeazu.

According to him, the meetings were in national interest and nothing personal as widely believed.

Wike did not declare his support for Atiku, as widely expected by anxious PDP members, rather he stressed that Nigeria is in distress and what they were doing was beyond partisan politics and ethnic cum religious sentiments.

He noted that competence should be elevated above ethnic and religious sentiments.

The Rivers governor had on Thursday met with the presidential candidate of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar; and that of the Labour Party, Peter Obi.

He said, “I can confirm that this is the first time as a team that we are meeting with presidential candidates. We met with the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (Asiwaju Bola Tinubu) and we met with our leader, former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo.

“We met the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (Peter Obi). We also met with our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. For whatever it’s worth, consultation is ongoing.

“Whatever we are talking about is for the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians. It is not parochial and tied to one person or group of persons. We believe that with what is going on it will be for the interest of Nigerians at the end of the day. Consultation is still ongoing.”

He said leadership should be about the collective interest and not people’s selfish interest. He described as unfortunate situations whereby a governor who served for eight years would want to be succeeded by his son.

“It’s only in this part of the world that you can see that, when we are talking about poverty everywhere. These are people who do not mean well for Nigeria,” he added.

He added, “The only identity they have in this country is religion and ethnicity, nothing more. It’s either I’m a Christian or I’m a Muslim. I’m a Fulani or I’m an Igbo. Nigeria cannot move forward except they think it will be them. That is where we are.

“We are in a country where someone with a primary school certificate can be appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. That tells you how bad this country has become. But with our consultation, all these will be things of the past. No amount of intimidation or blackmail will deter us. We are determined to make things right.”

Ortom, who was the leader of the team, noted that they had met with renowned persons in the last few days because of their belief that Nigeria was in distress and required concerted effort to rescue it.

“For us, we are looking at the larger picture. Nigeria today is in distress. It is about what we can do. We are looking at how we can harness ideas and put ourselves together to ensure that we get out of the present challenge we are in today.

“From top to bottom, consider what has happened from 2015 and where we are today. This is beyond partisan politics. We are looking at how we can come together and find a way of ensuring that Nigeria survives. Nigeria is on drip, Nigeria is on oxygen and it is about how we can get out of this.”

The Benue State governor pointed out that nothing concrete had been decided but that consultations were ongoing.

“The consultation is going on and will continue to go on. We are still going to meet here. We are still going to meet some people some other time and see how we can work to ensure that the project Nigeria works.”

Ikpeazu, on his part, said they were on a mission and were determined to find a way of rescuing Nigeria.

“This is a country with great potential and we have to protect it. We think we need to engage across the board. We are also looking at speaking with civil society organisations and those who have ideas and with Nigerians in the diaspora,” the Abia State governor noted.

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