From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Peoples Democratic Party presidential aspirant and governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has enjoined members of the National Working Committee (NWC ) to avoid the mistakes of conducting the forthcoming election to favour any particular person or groups.
He also charged them to expect litigations and never undermine them when they are secured, but should rather work hard either to vacate them or reconcile the aggrieved persons.
He stated this in an address given to Daily Sun, while speaking to members of the NWC at the PDP national secretariat in Abuja on Tuesday.
Wike said: “As opposition party, we cannot afford to allow people to say this election (convention) is not credible and transparent.
“I plead again, we must not make the mistakes of putting people in the convention committee who are obviously supporting A, B or C. If we do that, then, some of us will challenge it.
“It is good you do what everybody will be happy with. You should do a better convention now.”
Wike described himself as a true party person who should be encouraged to lead the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as its flag bearer in the 2023 presidential election.
He stated that Nigerians are watching to see who the PDP would present as flag bearer with such capacity to deliver them and the country from the maladministration of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Today, terrorists and bandits have taken over the entire country. It is no longer Yobe and Borno States alone. It is now in the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“So, Nigerians are really tired. But again, they are waiting to see who we are going to present, what is the track record of that person.”
He continued: “Not those that you will give the ticket to, then tomorrow, if they fail, you won’t see them again in the party. Or if you don’t give them the ticket, they will begin to work for the ruling party.
” I believe that I’m a true party person that should be encouraged to lead the party.”
Governor Wike maintained that he understood the modus oparandi of the APC and if given the PDP ticket, he could confidently withstand them as well as win the 2023 presidential election.
According to Wike, his confidence stemmed from the fact that he had showed leadership in addressing the security challenge in Rivers State by providing requisite equipment and welfare that served as motivation for security personnel.
“Everybody in this country knows me, and of my views of national issues. Nobody can say I don’t know whether Wike will do this or Wike will not do that.
“Everybody should know me very well that when I see issues, I said this is my view because I am not going to run away from things going bad.
“So, as somebody at the helm of affairs, I called the security agencies in Rivers State. We discussed and they placed their demands with assurance given. I verified sources of the equipment that they want to buy to avoid buying technically faulty ones. We gave timeline and offered incentives for personnel.
“It is on record that when security officer dies in the course of fighting crime that we took care of their family so that they know they are not fighting in vain.”
Speaking further, governor Wike said he is that kind of a leader who has and will continue to consult with the party, and seek its view on what government intends to do as a way of achieving proper integration.
“That is the way to achieve synergy between the party and the government, including the National Assembly members, members of the board of trustees and the national working committee.
“It is not where the government will roll out programme without the party leadership being involved. That way the party will not be in position to defend what government is doing.”
The governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, who accompanied Governor Wike, said the 2023 presidential election will not be the usual presidential contest the country has had in the past.
He said: “It has become existential; it has become about the future of our children, and, therefore, everybody must throw in everything. The two most important requirement as we move forward is competence and acceptability.”
He further added: ” I see this possibility in one of your own (Wike). You elected him in 2015 to serve as Governor of Rivers State, and from the creeks of Rivers State he has emerged as a worthy example of what service should be, firm, straight forward, outspoken, stricker for rule of law, fearless, and yet carrying everybody along and performing and doing wonders in Rivers State.”
Governor Ikpeazu said if PDP is really determined to rescue Nigeria from the brinks of collapse, then the party’s presidential ticket should be given to the Rivers state governor, who has been loyal to PDP since 1998.
“you come to loyality and service to our party, Governor Wike has never left the PDP. He has stood by all previous presidential aspirants and candidates, following them with vigour and commitment, committing resources, intellect and leading from the front.”
The PDP national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, who commended Governor Wike for his commitment to the party, assured him that the NWC would provide a level playing field for all the 17 aspirants, whom he maintained will do better than President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I want to assure you that there will be no foul play, no manipulation. We will certainly do better than what we did in October last year. We will hold an absolutely transparent convention. At that stage, we will try to be the INEC of the Peoples Democratic Party. We will not be partisan, we’ll try as much as possible to make sure that every member of the NWC works for the party.
Governor Wike later met with the Federal Capital Territory PDP delegates led by Senator Philip Tanimu Aduda in Abuja.
The governor unveiled his dream for a better , inclusive and prosperous Nigeria.
At the end of the meeting, Senator Aduda, who spoke on behalf of the delegates, assured the governor of their maximum support.
Gunmen attack Kwara APC Reps aspirant
By Olayinka Owolewa
Gunmen in the early hours of Tuesday, attacked Mr Kayode Bankole, the House of Representatives aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Bankole had gone to visit the delegates at the Igosi-Imode Ward, Oke-Ero Local Government Area to solicit their support for the forthcoming APC primaries.
However, on his way to his hometown in Ekan, his vehicle was trailed by these assailants and he narrowly escaped death.
Explaining the shocking incident, Bankole said he, along with his entourage, were able to manoeuvre their way to escape the onslaught.
The aspirant said he suspected it could be the handiwork of his political opponents because of his soaring popularity, adding that such politics belonged to the past.
He called on security agencies to redouble their efforts at securing lives, especially in this period of electioneering.
However, he said that he would not rest on his oars until victory was achieved in the coming primaries of the party for the House of Reps.
Bankole, who is seeking to represent Ekiti, Isin, Irepodun and Oke-Ero Federal Constituency, called on political opponents to sheath their swords and allow free contest of ideas without bloodshed.
Efforts at getting the Public Relations Officer of the Kwara Police Command, SP Ajayi Okasanmi for reaction, were abortive as calls and text messages sent to him were unreturned.
Lagos warns citizens to disregard false video over market demolition
By Christopher Oji
The Lagos State Government has described the video circulating online showing officials of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and the Environmental and Special Offences Unit (Task Force) at Alaba-Rago Market as the evil works of mischievous people.
The government has blamed it as the evil plan of some wicked people trying to fuel religious and ethnic crisis in the state.
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In a statement by Honourable Commissioner Ministry of Information and Strategy Gbenga Omotoso,”the video is accompanied by a voice, which is not that of any official of the two agencies. The voice is that of a faceless blogger trying to whip up ethnic and political sentiments over the planned relocation of traders for the remodelling of Alaba Rago Market.
“The video is authentic because Commander, Rapid Response Squad (RRS), CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi, and Chairman, Lagos State Task Force, CSP Shola Jejeloye, were in Alaba Rago last Thursday, to brief the traders on the planned relocation. The traders have 14 days to vacate the area to pave the way for the re-modelling.
“Alaba Rago,is occupied by traders from many parts of Nigeria and neighbouring West African countries. Any insinuation towards any ethnic attack is a lie and purveyors of such are mischievous. It is a devious attempt to cause trouble among peaceful traders. Such actions should be disregarded. Engagements are ongoing towards a hitch-free temporary relocation of the traders.
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“The planned relocation is part of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration’s Urban Renewal Programme. Lagos State Government and the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing have just demolished market stalls under Apongbon Bridge ahead of the reconstruction of the bridge, which got burnt.
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“It is illegal to bring ethnic, religious or political colourations to such an exercise, which is designed to ensure development and better security in our communities.
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“The discovery of some locally made shotguns by Ojo Police Division a few weeks ago was part of many other reports that prompted the Government to expedite action on the remodelling of this market.
“About 4:00 a.m. on 3 April, 2022, officials of RRS, intercepted a busload of illicit drugs at Mile 2 en route Mushin. The suspects confessed that the consignments were loaded at night in Alaba Rago.
“The Lagos-Badagry Expressway is an international route. It will be insensitive of the Government not to redevelop an unplanned and filthy market, such as Alaba Rago, with many shanties lined up on such an international route.
“Besides, Alaba Rago is directly opposite the Lagos State University Ojo Campus. Keeping a very busy market like that directly opposite a reputable institution of learning is not right”.