From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has declared to Iyorchia Ayu, the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who has been suspended by his political unit in Benue State, that the fight against him in the party has just started.
The governor stated that it has now become unthinkable to allow any person who was unable to deliver his political unit, ward, local government or State to the PDP during the last general elections to preside over the party.
Governor Wike spoke on Monday during the inauguration of the remodelled Community Secondary School in Okoro-nu-Odo, in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of the State.
The Rivers governor accused Ayu of collecting bribes and the PDP experienced colossal failure in the 2023 presidential and governorship elections in Benue and across the country.
“Ask them, those who want to be chairman of this party (PDP), what do you have to give to the party now? Presidential election; you took bribe and lost in your unit, lost in your ward, lost in your local government and lost in your State. Which party will you preside over now?”
Governor Wike said it was God who hardened Ayu’s heart not to resign when the G-5 governors and members of Integrity Group demanded his resignation after the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as the PDP presidential candidate.
He noted if Ayu had resigned then, his cohorts who were vehemently opposed to the zoning of elective and appointive offices would have used that as an excuse for the party’s abysmal performance in the just concluded general elections.
The governor said it would be morally offensive for Ayu to remain as the national chairman of the PDP after the catastrophic defeat of the party under his watch in his unit, ward, local government, State and national.
According to him, the suspension of Ayu was the beginning of the fight to save the party.
“Those of you who are fighting that they have suspended him, you have not seen anything yet. The fight has started. Ayu, the fight has just started. If you know him, those of you who are close to him, tell him, Iyorchia Ayu, the fight has just started,” Wike stated.
Governor Wike insisted that instead of Ayu, using his position to strengthen the grip of the PDP of Benue State, he allowed it to slip off him.
According to him, other PDP-controlled States could not sustain the party financially and tolerate him as their chairman.
“Will you preside over the one (Rivers PDP) I have secured victory for? You want to come and preside over this State (Rivers) so that we will begin to donate money to the party? You, bring your own State to the party too, so that your State can contribute money to the national. If you don’t deliver your State, you can’t preside over us. You cannot,” the Governor said.
Governor Wike noted that already, some persons within the party are thinking and acting to side with Ayu to fight back against the suspension slammed on him.
He warned such persons that they would be doing so to their detriment because they would have consequences to face.
Governor Wike said: “Look at somebody who did anti-party, he is suspending people. The chief priest of anti-party, native doctor of anti-party suspending those who have worked hard for this party.
“All of you who are joining Ayu, be prepared. Now, I have no other job, the job I have now is to put more heat on them and I will continue to do that.”
Governor Wike pointed out the nullity of the purported summoning of members, by the National Working Committee of PDP to Abuja, to meet and pronounce the suspension as illegal.
“If you like, let the National Secretary rush to Abuja. Let them meet this afternoon and say the suspension is illegal, you will see what you will face. You are calling us small boys, you will see what small boys can do to you,” he said.
Governor Wike stressed that those who thought they could toil with Rivers State and not be dealt with squarely can begin to lick their wounds because they have been “peppered”.
He also dismissed the claim by the former governor of the State, Chibuike Amaechi that he constructed five flyovers during his tenure and yet could not list them for identification.
The Governor restated that his administration, within four years, constructed 12 flyovers, handled by the reputable construction company, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, and went ahead to list the flyovers to clear any public doubt.
Governor Wike bemoaned the N50 billion squandered by the Amaechi administration on less than two kilometres monorail project that was never realised.
He questioned why Rivers residents still listen to such politicians when they come around to woe them to allow them to fill spaces of political leadership when they failed on previous promises of providing democratic dividends.
Governor Wike thanked the people for voting no massively to elect Siminalayi Fubara, who is now Rivers Governor-elect.
Commenting on the project, governor Wike recalled the deplorable state of the school and said Rivers school children who school there will now have a conducive learning place to advance their education.
Inaugurating the project, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, described Governor Wike as a man who loves his people, which has informed the sustained delivery of projects across sectors to better their life.
He insisted that given such a massive infrastructural revolution so delivered, it would be a joke taken too far for any opposing political party to think and dare challenge to win PDP in Rivers State.
Governor Umahi corrected the impression in some quarters that Governor Wike worked against the victory of the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi in Rivers State.
He explained that in 2019, it was governor Wike who tirelessly mobilised political leaders in South East to support the vice presidential ambition of Peter Obi after supporting him to win that slot.
Governor Umahi commended Ayu for not resigning when the G-5 governors and the members of the Integrity Group mounted pressure on him to do so. According to him, if he had conceded to the demand then, it would have been difficult for the APC to win the last presidential election.
“I want to also thank very highly the suspended Chairman of PDP. You know, he did very well because if he had accepted to resign, it would have been very difficult for the APC. So, he is our man and I commend him very well. And I’m begging Wike that they should lift the suspension so that he can suspend many more of your leaders. We love what he has done.
“And so we commend him and I think that Asiwaju (Bola Tinubu) must know that he worked for him, and must also integrate him in the next administration. And, so all these set of people, Asiwaju/Shettima must know that God turned their hands, to work for him, to actualise the will of God and actualise unity, equity and fairness. And we are very grateful to God for that.”
The Ebonyi State also praised governor Wike, whose insistence that a southern Nigeria must succeed President Muhammadu Buhari paved way for the electoral victory of the APC in the south of the country.
“God, directly and indirectly, made Governor Wike very much available. And so, there is no way APC can conclude about the success of the election without mentioning Governor Wike. And I will be asking Asiwaju/Shettima to please bring Governor Wike to the core administration of the federal government. He has a lot to offer. He has a lot to offer for the unity of the country.”
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Special Projects, Deinma Iyalla said the school, founded in 1982, over the succeeding years, suffered dilapidation until the intervention of Governor Wike.
According to him, there is one numbered unit of six and three classrooms block, three numbered unit of six classrooms block, a storey building housing a science laboratory, library and ICT, 300 sister Assembly hall, administrative building, a quarters for members of the National youths service corps and water supply facility.
In his address, Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Chinedu Mmom, noted that the premises once looked like an abandoned poultry farm but have been restored into a conducive educational facility.
On his part, the Chairman of Obio-Akpor Local Government Area, George Ariolu, stated that the remodelled community secondary school is one in the series of magnificent projects governor Wike has delivered across Rivers State.
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