Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has tackled former vice president, Atiku Abubakar over his expression of confidence in his capacity to pick the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Atiku, who at the weekend in Abeokuta, Ogun State, held a closed door meeting with his erstwhile boss Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, boasted that he would emerge the opposition party’s standard bearer for next year’s presidential election, as according to him, he had never failed to take the party’s ticket.
Fielded questions from reporters after the parley in the one-time president’s penthouse within his sprawling Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), also challenged youths to compete with elders rather than asking they to forego their constitutional rights to seek election as president.
However, reacting to Atiku’s remarks, Wike said it amounted to taking the party’s convention and delegates for granted.
He said: “I didn’t expect him frankly speaking to say that he will always take the ticket of the party. That is going too far and taking the delegates for granted.”
The governor who spoke in a statement signed yesterday by his Special Assistant, Media, Kelvin Ebiri, said the outcome of the forthcoming presidential primary of the PDP would shock many people.
He, however, said whoever emerged of all the aspirants should be rest assured that the entire party would rally round him for victory at the 2023 presidential election.
Wike, who restated his commitment to do everything that would ensure the return of the PDP to power in 2023, urged members of the party to resist divisive utterances.
He urged party faithful to watch keenly the outcome of the primary election.
“People should watch; there will be shock as far as PDP convention is concern; people should watch what is going to happen. People like to underrate so many persons and it is not good in politics,” the statement quoted Wike as saying.
Speaking on the timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) over the weekend, Wike expressed confidence that the National Executive Committee (NWC) of the PDP would follow the guidelines.
He said: “We are law abiding party. The party will soon meet, the NEC will meet and find the way forward on how we will put our house in order and make sure we religiously follow the timetable of INEC without violating any provision of the law and guidelines that INEC may have produced.”
He commended the PDP leadership in Plateau, Cross River and Ondo states for their sterling performance of at Saturday’s bye election.
The governor attributed the victory of the PDP in the Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency in Plateau State to the recent decision of the former Plateau State governor, Jonah Jang and former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FTC), Senator Jeremiah Useni, to work together.
Wike also lauded the PDP for winning the Akpabuyo State Constituency bye-election in Cross River State.
He commended former Ondo State Governor Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and other leaders of the party for the impressive performance of the party in Saturday’s bye election.
Wike spoke of plans by his administration to award contract for the construction of two more flyovers at Rumuokwuta Junction and Location Junction on NTA-Mgbuoba, by Ada George Road, Port Harcourt.