Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike says mass defection will rock both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) between now and December, as politicians realign ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The governor said although defection is an inherent part of the democratic process, those who defected from the PDP lack integrity and character.
A report by Kelvin Ebiri, Special Assistant (Media) to the Rivers State Governor, disclosed that Governor Wike stated this at the inauguration of reconstructed William Jumbo, Ernest Ikoli, Eleme, Akassa, Abana and Mbiama streets in Old Government Residential Area of Port Harcourt on Wednesday night.
“People are defecting; More will defect. Defection is part of our electoral process. As you are defecting, people are coming in. There are those who are angry there (in APC), they’ll come (to PDP). You that is angry here (in PDP), you will go. That is the game.”
The governor stressed that insinuation that some governors and others who have defected from PDP to APC were being intimidated, is not tenable. He maintained that those who have decided to jump ship lack conscience, character and integrity.
“If it is by provocation, if it is by intimidation, if it is by coercion, then Rivers state won’t have been in PDP. Because, if there is one State that has been intimidated, if there is one State that has been punished by the ruling party, it is Rivers State. Yet nobody can push us, nobody can intimidate us to leave the hope and the future of this country, and that is the PDP.”
He remarked that those claim PDP has been unfair to them should also realise that the party had at different times wronged Rivers State, which accounts for its highest votes since 1999. But despite this, the State has remained steadfast and committed to the ideals of the PDP.
“PDP has done a lot of wrong things to the Rivers state, but I cannot say we will leave PDP. We will be there and fight the war. The interest of Rivers state will be fought inside PDP, we will not leave anywhere.”
“Even if the whole States abandon PDP, Rivers State will not abandon PDP because we are people of integrity, we are people of character. Anybody who does not have integrity, who does not have character cannot say he is from Rivers State.”
The governor observed that it is worrisome that some prominent members of the PDP who are aspiring to be presidential and vice presidential candidates, have remained mute instead of speaking out against the maladministration that has characterised the APC led Federal government.
Governor Wike dismissed President Muhammadu Buhari’s assertion that the reason why Zamfara State governor, Bello Muhammad Matawalle defected to the APC was because of the good things happening in the party.
According to him, APC has wrecked Nigeria and those defect from PDP are leaving a party that offers hope to one that offers Nigerians none.
The Rivers State governor also accused some State and National Assembly lawmakers of plotting against him and conspiring with extraneous forces to undermine the State.
Governor Wike revealed that he is aware of their various clandestine meetings in Abuja and warned of dire consequences if they don’t desist from their nefarious scheme.
The governor said one essence of bringing prominent personalities to flag off and inaugurate projects in the State, particularly at night is to prove to the world that indeed Port Harcourt is safe.
He said though some members of the opposition, including his predecessor and Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi have being living in denial of the infrastructural transformation taking place in Rivers State, Mbiama street where he (Amaechi) resides in Port Harcourt is among the streets just inaugurated.
Past President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Onueze Chukwujinka J. Okocha, SAN, who inaugurated the reconstructed streets in Old GRA Port Harcourt, applauded the governor for the great work his administration is doing in Rivers state.
Okocha urged Governor Wike not to be distracted by the antics of the opposition.
The State Commissioner of Works, Elloka Tasie-Amadi explained the reconstructed streets have a combined length of 3.5km, an average road width of 7.3m with 5.4km of surface drains and a sub surface storm drain 615m long buried about 2.8m below the surface of William Jumbo Street.
“They all have street lights and are properly marked for good traffic management and control.
This project is much more than an improvement in the character of the road and its design speeds but also a major improvement in the character of the neighbourhood impacting considerably on the value of real estate and security in the area.
Most importantly, these roads have been built to the highest standards suited to our peculiar terrain which guarantee a life span in excess of 50 years, freeing up funds for other needs in the future.”