Governor Nyesom Wike, along with political allies returned from their overseas trip Friday, attesting that they were consulting widely with other 2023 elections stakeholders in order to bring about a better Nigeria.
Wike disclosed this on arrival at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area, Rivers state, from their London trip in company of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and Abia State counterpart, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu.
He confirmed their meetings with Peoples Democratic Party, presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; All Progressives Congress rival, Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi and former President Olusegun Obasanjo over the London trip.
He stated, “This is the first time as a team that we are meeting with presidential candidates. We met with candidate of the APC, met with our leader, former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo. We met presidential candidate of Labour Party, met with our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
“For whatever it’s worth, consultation is ongoing. Whatever we are talking about is for interest of Nigerians. It is not parochial and tied to one person or group of persons. We believe what is going on will be for the interest of Nigerians at the end of the day.
“Consultation is still ongoing. Never mind some people who do not believe in the existence of this country. Leadership is not about you and your family. Leadership is about everybody.
“It’s unfortunate that we are in a country now where a man finishes eight years as a governor and brings his own son as a governor too and as member of National Assembly.
“It’s only in this part of the world that you can see that, when we are talking about poverty everywhere. These are people who do not mean well for this Nigeria.”
Bemoaning abuse of religion and ethnicity as preferences above competence among Nigerians when they have to make leadership choices, the govenor said, “The only identity in this country is religion and ethnicity, nothing more.
“It’s either I’m a Christian or Muslem, I’m a Fulani or I’m an Igbo. Nigeria cannot move forward except they think it will be them. We are in a country where someone with primary school certificate can be appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“That tells you how bad this country has become. But with our consultation, all these will be a thing of the past. No amount of intimidation or blackmail will deter us. We are determined to right the wrong.”
Governor Ortom added, “For us, we are looking at the larger picture. Nigeria today is in distress. It is about what can we do. No man or woman alone can get it right for our country.
“We are looking at how we can harness ideas and put ourselves together to ensure that we get out of the present challenge we are in Nigeria today.
“From top to bottom, consider what has happened from 2015 and where we are today. So, what we are doing is a concern that we have for our country, Nigeria.
“This is beyond partisan politics. We are looking on how we can come together and find a way of ensuring that Nigeria survives. Nigeria is on drip, Nigeria is on oxygen and it is about how can we get out of this.
“The consultation is going on and will continue to go on. We are still going to meet here. We are still going to meet some persons some other time and see how we can work to ensure that the project Nigeria works.”
Abia State governor, Dr Ikpeazu, emphasised that, “This is a country with great potential and we have to protect it well. We think that we need to engage across board.
“We are also looking at speaking with civil society organisations and those who have ideas, with Nigerians in the diaspora. All the resources available in this country has to come together at this time to see how best we can move Nigeria forward.”