Signs of what are likely to dictate the political direction of Nigeria in 2023 have started to unfold gradually as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his Imo State counterpart, Hope Uzodinma, of All Progressives Congress (APC) lock horns on the party that will win the presidential poll.
Uzodinma is boasting that APC will continue to be at the helm of affairs in the country, claiming that Nigerians have no better alternative than the ruling party. He is insisting that the electorate will vote massively for APC again in the uncertain 2023 general elections.
The Imo governor was speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday.
Disagreeing, Wike says the inability of the APC administration under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari to tackle insurgency, banditry and corruption will compel Nigerians to vote out the party in 2023, noting that with the current economic woe of the country and escalating banditry, it was obvious that Nigerians have realised they made a terrible mistake to have voted for APC in 2019.
The outspoken Governor Wike was speaking on Thursday shortly after inspecting the Greater Interchange and Underpass being constructed by Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State, in Yola, the state capital.
Wike said he was impressed with the developmental stride of the Adamawa governor, pointing out that it was gladdening to note that similar feat were being replicated in states governed by PDP governors.
The governor declared that Nigerians were apparently unhappy with the way the APC led government has mismanaged the affairs of the country: “Are Nigerians happy? The answer is no. If Nigerians are not happy, what is the expected result that you intend to get? Obviously, Nigerians would want APC government not to govern them in 2023.”
He stated that with the overwhelming infrastructural development taking place in all PDP states which Nigerians can attest to, it will be impossible for PDP not to win the 2023 general elections, adding, “I believe Nigerians now know that they made a mistake, and they want to correct the mistake by voting for PDP and no longer APC.”
According to him, the latest ranking of Nigeria as 146th most corrupt country in the world based on recently published Transparency International Corruption Index report, was indicative that the APC administration claim of fighting corruption has been misleading.
“What you see is vindictiveness. Today, if I want to leave PDP and go to APC, I will no longer be corrupt. The moment I remain in PDP, I’m corrupt. So corruption is based on the party you belong to. That is their definition of corruption and that is why everybody is disappointed”, Wike said.
He maintained that the country has never been divided and insecure the way it has been under the APC leadership, explaining that he was in Adamawa to thank Governor Fintiri for honouring the invitation of Rivers people to commission some projects recently, and to use the opportunity to see what his counterpart is doing in his state.
“I am shocked, overwhelmed with what I have seen. I was asking him where he was getting the money from. The kind of construction going on is as if Nigeria economic problem does not affect Adamawa. And that is what we have always said, whatever opportunity you have, whatever privilege you have, you try to make your people happy by providing them the basic infrastructure.”
Governor Wike urged the Adamawa governor to remain focused on the delivery of dividends of democracy to his people and not be bothered by the antics of the opposition, adding, “don’t be distracted. Don’t be bothered with what people will say. Continue to focus on infrastructural development because that is what can drive the economy of Adamawa.”
However, Uzodinma says. “giving the activities and achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari as the President of Nigeria, there is no doubt that Nigerians would vote APC again.
“I don’t agree that after 2023 when President Buhari would no longer be the President of Nigeria that the APC would be weak, no’’. He also expressed hope that APC will emerge stronger after President Buhari’s tenure elapses in two years’ time.
Uzodinma explained that the president being a committed APC member will deploy his resources to the party and his successor to ensure that the dividends of democracy are delivered to Nigerians, claiming that many party faithfuls and non-APC members have begun trooping in their thousands to join their political fold.
On Eastern Nigeria producing Nigeria’s next president in 2023, the Imo governor says it is achievable, adding it is the dream of every politician to attain the highest office of the land, pointing out that the late elder statesman, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe always advocated for a political alliance, which he said helped in influencing the birth of APC in 2014.
“Looking and discovering that the only way the southeast would be developed is if they become part and parcel of the national politics. He created the idea of the NPN/NPP alliance, and our great Zik signed on that alliance.
“Through that alliance, Ekwueme not only became the Vice President, that alliance earned Edwin Ume-Ezeoke the Speaker of the House of Representatives and created Mike Okoye the pioneer Minister of the FCT”, he adds.
While noting that politics is about the people, Governor Uzodinma explained that the eastern region has realised that it cannot attract the necessary dividend of democracy if the Igbo people continue to alienate themselves from the national stage.
He noted that although APC is controlling the Federal Government, the people need to identify with the party by joining the moving train. “It is for this reason that the southeast, we now decided to be part of the mainstream politics of Nigeria. We are committed we have joined the APC the ruling party.
“It is not about being president or not being president. Politics is about ideology, politics is about logic. If you want to be part and parcel of every meeting that we decide how a president will emerge in Nigeria”, he said.