Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike has confirmed that his team held fruitful discussions with the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu as part of consultations for a better Nigeria, The Nation reports.
The Governor further said they also met with the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party Atiku Abubakar and Labour Party (LP) Peter Obi as well as former President Olusegun Obasanjo in London.
Wike spoke at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area, shortly after arriving the state from London on Friday.
He was in the company of Governors Samuel Ortom(Benue) and Okezie Ikpeazu(Abia).
Wike said their consultations were beyond partisan politics, adding that they were only interested in a better country.
He said topmost in their agenda during the London meeting was changing the fortunes of the country explaining that all was not well with Nigeria.
Wike said: “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.
“We met the presidential candidate of Labour Party. We also met with our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. For whatever it’s 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.”
Wike decried the situation where standard, training and competence had always been traded for mediocrity.
The Governor said leadership should not be about one individual and the interest of his family, but about the collective interest of everybody.
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 were used as the tenable identity to describe Nigerians when competence was required.
He said: “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.
“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.”
The leader of the team, Ortom said that they met with renowned persons in the last few days because of their belief that Nigeria was in distress and required concerted effort 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 that Nigerian 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 session for them.
He said they individually had earlier commitments in Europe insisting that consultations were still ongoing as 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.”
Ikpeazu emphasised that they were on a mission and determined to find a way of rescuing Nigeria.
He noted that they were mindful of what society to bequeath to the present generation, their children and grand children alike.
He said: “And 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.”
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