Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, says decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to boycott the April 17 Local Government election in Rivers State, is to avoid further electoral defeat that will expose its political irrelevance in the State.
Meanwhile, the governor has warned those within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who want to gang up against Rivers State to be circumspect, as no other State has given more votes to the PDP since 1999 than Rivers.
Governor Wike who stated this during the PDP flag off campaign for the April 17 Local Government election in the State at the Isaac Boro Park, Port Harcourt on Saturday, observed that the reason why the APC announced its decision to boycott the polls is to avoid further electoral embarrassment.
He maintained that while PDP has numerous infrastructural projects spread across the 23 Local Government Areas of the State that has endeared the party to the people at the grassroots, the APC cannot boast of a single project in the State since 2015. And to avoid a looming electoral defeat, the leadership of the APC decided to boycott the polls.
Governor Wike used the occasion to appeal to those who had aspired to be councillors and chairmen, but failed to realise their political aspiration not to be dispirited, but rather should join hands with other stalwarts to ensure the victory of the PDP in the forthcoming Local Government election.
“I know, we may have taken wrong decisions, but what is important is that there is no one decision that can go down well with everybody. So, I want to plead with all of you who had the intention to be councillor, I want to plead with all of you who had intention to be Chairman, that you are not a councillor , you're not a chairman today, does not mean you'll not be tomorrow.
“But if you believe in God, everything is possible. So nobody should worry himself that today, you're not a councillorship or chairmanship candidate. But you can never tell you may be a Governor or member of National Assemble tomorrow.
“Therefore, for the interest of our party let all of us unite and work together as a team and deliver our people, those we have chosen as councillorship candidates and those who have chosen as chairmanship candidates.”
The governor advised the PDP chairmanship candidates that if elected into office they must remain in their respective council headquarters to govern their people. He warned that the State government will not tolerate a situation where council chairmen will spend more of their time in Port Harcourt, the State capital.
“Remain in your local government, leave Port Harcourt alone. If you are chairman of Gokana, remain in Gokana. If you are chairman of Khana, stay in Khana. If you are Akuku Toru chairman, stay in Abonnema.”
Governor Wike declared that since his assumption of office in 2015, he has never tampered with the finances or bothered himself with revenue accruable to the Local Government councils in the State. He however, warned that it will no longer be business as usual as he will not fail to embarrass chairmen who fail to deliver the dividends of democracy to their people.
“It is not going to be business as usual, if God has given you opportunity, why don’t you stay with your people. I will make sure you remain in your local government, if you don’t do anything, I will embarrass you.”
The governor stated that some persons within the PDP were conspiring against Rivers State and warned them to desist because the State has the capacity to ruffle the party having delivered the highest number of vote for her in all the general elections since 1999.
Governor Wike announced that the leadership of the party had decided not to give the party’s flag to the Obio-Akpor Local government chairmanship candidate, Mr George Ariolu, for gross indiscipline.
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr (Mrs) Ipalibo Harry Banigo, declared that the PDP will sweep the council polls because of the sterling performance of Governor Wike’s administration since 2015.
The State Chairman of PDP, Ambassador Desmond Akawor explained that all the party’s councillorship and chairmanship candidates have passed through the crucibles and are prepared to replicate Governor Wike’s developmental agenda at the grassroots.
Former Rivers State governor, Sir Celestine Omehia, advised the candidates to conscientiously ensure they represent the party well at the grassroots by emulating Governor Wike zeal to create a new Rivers State.
Similarly, former Deputy Speaker House of Representatives, Sir Austin Opara and Chief Sergeant Awuse, expressed optimism that the party will sweep the polls because, “Rivers State is PDP and PDP is Rivers State.”OMOKOSHABAN