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…the agenda of the London consultations was all about changing the fortunes of Nigeria

Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike on Friday spoke on his London meeting with the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, earlier this week and declared that it was all part of the effort to make Nigeria a better nation.

Wike, who together with Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom also met separately with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) presidential flag bearer, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Labour Party’s (LP’s) presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, said the consultations were beyond party politics.

He was, however, cautioned by the Director General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr.Osita Okechukwu, who said Wike would be making a mistake if he agreed to work with Atiku  ”who betrayed the South and by extension Wike, who could have won the PDP presidential primary election.”

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Wike, it was gathered, is unrelenting in demanding the exit of the PDP National Chairman, Dr.Iyorchia Ayu, ahead of the presidential campaign which is scheduled to start next month.

The Rivers State governor, who returned to Port Harcourt yesterday accompanied by Ikpeazu and Ortom, said the agenda of the London consultations was all about changing the fortunes of Nigeria.

“I can confirm that this is the first time as a team that we are meeting with presidential candidates.

“We met with the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC and we met with our leader, former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo,” Wike told reporters at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.

He added: “We met the presidential candidate of Labour Party. We also met with our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. For whatever it is worth, consultation is ongoing.

“Whatever we are talking about is for the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians. It is not parochial and tied to one person or group of persons. We believe that with what is going on, it will be for the interest of Nigerians at the end of the day.”

Throwing barbs at unnamed persons, he said: “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.”

Wike also wondered why religion and ethnicity should override competence in considering people for election in Nigeria.

His words: “The only identity they have in this country is religion and ethnicity, nothing more. It’s either, I’m a Christian or I’m a Moslem, I’m a Fulani or I’m an Igbo. Nigeria cannot move forward except they think it will be them. That’s where we are.

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“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 wrongs.”

Also speaking, leader of the team and Benue State Governor Ortom said the London consultations came about because of their realization that Nigeria was in distress and required concerted efforts to rescue it.

He stated that they had fruitful talks with those they met and it was beyond partisan politics, because well-meaning Nigerians needed to work together in ensuring Nigeria’s survival.

He said: “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?”

Ortom stated that the three separate meetings they had within the week were worthwhile sessions for them.

He said they individually had earlier commitments in Europe but explained that nothing concrete had been decided.

He said: “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.”

On his part, Abia State Governor Ikpeazu said: “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 have to come together at this time to see how best we can move Nigeria forward.”

The Nation

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