2023 presidency: Wike knocks Atiku, Saraki, others

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Sunday visited Benue State where he declared his interest in the 2023 presidential race.

He called on national delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party not to sell their votes but to consider him.

Wike, who addressed the party delegates at the Government House, Makurdi, said almost all presidential aspirants from the party were responsible for the party’s defeat in 2015.

In a veiled reference to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, he said some of the presidential aspirants on the platform of the party left the PDP when it mattered most.

He said, “Let these people who are interested in the presidency in the PDP tell us their contributions. You claimed to be one of the founding fathers of the party, but you left and came back; you have become an ordinary person in the new PDP.

“If you form a company and run away because the company is not doing well, you come back and found that it is now doing well and you want to come and take over.”

The governor added, “Some people want to use Nigeria to get back their private business. Let them mention their private sector that survived. Is it bank that your father had?

“Everybody is an employer of labour. Even me, I have 50 people in my house, so everybody has been employing people according to his capacity.

“In 2015, most of these people made us (the PDP) to lose the election.”

Wike said he had stood firm for the party through thick and thin, adding that he had contributed immensely to the growth of the PDP.

He added, “I have spoken truth to power, I don’t have problem with anybody but have to tell them the truth. Umahi and others abused me because I told him that he cannot take our mandate away.

“As governor, I have performed well, I can go anywhere with my shoulder high. How many of them have challenged this government (APC)?”

Wike, who declared his interest in the presidency, appealed to party delegates in Benue State to vote for him during the forthcoming party primary, saying, “Don’t sell your votes, please give me your votes as we go to primary.

“If I become the President, I will take security as a priority because the main purpose of government is the protection of lives and property.”

Earlier, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, who lauded the contributions of his River State counterpart to Benue State and towards the displaced persons, said the people of the state would support his aspiration.

“Periodically, you have been helping us, particularly during the 2018 crisis in the state, we will support your aspiration because you have sown seed and you need to reap,” the governor said.

Ortom said he has been an advocate of a southern presidency, adding that, “On southern Presidency, I stand.”