Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has lampooned the Uche Secodus-led National Working Committee of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) accusing it of deepening the cracks in the party.
Wike particularly accused the NWC of sowing seeds of discord among PDP governors and jeopardising the party’s prospect to clinch the Presidency in 2023.
The governor also warned that President Muhammadu Buhari’s integrity would be at stake if he failed to honour the invitation of the House of Representatives following rising insecurity across the country.
A statement signed by the governor’s Special Assistant, Media, Kelvin Ebiri, said Wike spoke on a live television programme in Port Harcourt on Friday.
The governor said it was regrettable that instead of capitalising on the inefficiency and misadministration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) five years in power, PDP’s NWC was deepening cracks in the party.
He said: “PDP ought to have harvested from the inefficiency of the APC; from the misadministration of the APC. Ordinarily, that is what the opposition party ought to do. If you ask me, are Nigerians waiting for a change? Yes.
“If you ask me as a member of PDP, am ready to support PDP to takeover, yes. But, if you ask me currently as it is, is the leadership of the party willing for us to harvest this opportunity for a change, I will say no.”
He said instead of focusing on strategies on how to take advantage of the growing disenchantment against the APC government, the NWC was busy creating crisis among governors using two former governors of Imo and Cross River states and a present Senator from Benue State.
He said: “An opposition party that ought to be united, to work, to take over the affairs of government because people are waiting for this opportunity, but the current leadership of NWC is not prepared for that, rather, what they have done is to constitute some people to sow a seed of discord among governors for their own selfish interest. And that will boomerang; that will consume them.”
The governor said he lacked the ability to defect to the APC or any other political party and would continue to fight for the survival of the PDP.
“I will not allow anybody to kill PDP. They have the capacity to move to APC. I don’t and I cannot move to APC. So, anybody that tries to do something to destroy PDP, I will not allow you. Anybody that I see that has the trait to destroy the PDP, I will not allow it,” he said.
He described as disingenuous the decision of the NWC to jettison the recommendations of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom-led committee set up to reconcile the party in Niger and Plateau states because of its vested interest in Niger.
Wike said NWC as currently constituted was merely interested in retaining the current structure of the party to remain in power, and not to win the 2023 election.
“The present National Working Committee is not interested or doing anything to take over the realms of government in 2023. When your interest is to remain in power, you are no longer interested to win the election,” he said.
On the invitation of the President, he said the level of insecurity, particularly in Borno State and other parts of the country ought to have compelled President Buhari to keep his promise of honouring the invitation by the House of Representatives.
He said the APC members controlled the majority in the National Assembly, which moved the motion to invite the President to address them on measures being taken to tackle and end the spate of violent killings.
Wike said it was wrong for the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation to turn around to subject the invitation to legal interpretation, instead of protecting the integrity of the President.
He said: “There is insecurity. People are dying. You don’t go by the legal approach to solve that problem. If Mr. President had given the assurance, saying my integrity is at stake, therefore I will go, that decision was not taken without talking first to his inner cabinet.
“It’s not a question and answers session. You go with a brief to address the congress. To say, see where it was when we came, see where we are today. Yes, we have not achieved what we thought, but what we require from everyone is cooperation.
“For me, I think this is not the period to be legalistic. This is the period every Nigerian should be concerned about what is happening. Just this morning (Friday), I heard that 16 people were killed on Abuja-Kaduna road yesterday. Look at the loss of life in Borno State. Senate has said look, Mr. President, relief all Service Chiefs, which means they are concerned about the security situation in the country.”
He further said if he were the Attorney General of the Federation, he would have advised the President privately and urged him to write a letter to the House of Representatives that he would come at a later day because of the exigency of his office.
To end the spate of violent crime in the country, Wike recommended the creation of employment opportunities for youths and drastic change to the operational system of policing in the country.
He insisted that states must be allowed to get involved in the community police.