By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has challenged his Ebonyi State counterpart, Dace Umahi, to resign as governor and contest election if he knows he is a strong candidate.
Wike stated this while wooing PDP leaders and delegates in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, on Friday.
According to a statement made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, thr governor also advised Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to allow any aspirant who will later defect with the party’s mandate to emerge as its presidential candidate.
Wike, a PDP presidential aspirant, urged party delegates to vote for him during the party’s convention, because he had no tendency to defect with the party’s mandate to another party.
The governor referred to the defection of some governors, including Umahi and lawmakers from the PDP to ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), sayin: “I have never left this party for one day. When PDP was in problem, I stood firm and I said PDP will not die. Don’t give (presidential) ticket to the person who will run from the party tomorrow. I am the only person Nigerians know that will not run from the party.”
He expressed optimism that a day of reckoning awaits all those who defected from the PDP to the APC.
“My colleague, David Umahi, wherever you are, wherever you may be, hear me very well. PDP had sleepless night, PDP won election, and you took the mandate of our people and went to another party.
“If you know you are a man and you are very strong, and that any day they fix election you will win, I challenge you to resign as governor and contest election whether you will win again,” he said.
The governor urged Ebonyi delegates to support his presidential ambition because he is the only aspirant who has the capacity to defeat the APC in the 2023 presidential election.
Wike reiterated that PDP cannot afford another defeat in the 2023 general election.
“What PDP wants now is who can win election. It is not about where you come from. What the party wants today is who can win election for PDP. Give me this ticket let me go and win APC for you,” he said.
In his remarks, Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, commended members of the party for remaining steadfast despite the recent defection of some leaders of the party to the APC.
Wike envious of Umahi’s achievements- Aide
Meanwhile, Umahi has said that his Rivers State counterpart,Wike, was envious of his numerous infrastructural achievements in the state.
Reacting to Wike’s comment in a statement issues by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Francis Nwaze, the Ebonyo governor said he would win every other presidential aspirant in a free and fair contest.
‘I’m sure that as Nyesom Wike was coming into Ebonyi State today, he was overwhelmed by the good road networks in the state. And as such, he should be truthful to himself and come and learn from Umahi.
“It’s one thing to construct roads, it’s another thing to know the quality of roads constructed. In Ebonyi State, we have good and quality roads and they are courtesy of Governor David Umahi. This is not to be compared with what obtains in other states, including Rivers.
“Nothing makes Wike mad other than Governor Umahi’s numerous achievements. Wike is just envious of Governor Umahi’s achievements. However, he should come and learn the art of prudence in the management of state resources, and in construction,” the statement said.