•Says it’s the reason he wants them sacked
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said the reason some of them wanted the current National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) removed was because they could not lead the party to victory in the 2023 general election.
Wike, who noted the efforts of members of the NWC in the past, stressed that if allowed to go on, they might corrupt the victory of the party, hence quest for call for replacement.
Speaking on a national television in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, Wike maintained that the internal misunderstanding recently witnessed in the party was following the failure of the NWC to carryout its responsibility as an opposition political party effectively.
The governor said Nigerians only expect credible alternative party to take over power in 2023.
“If you go to the public and ask Nigerians if PDP is ready to take over power in 2023, if you take referendum, you will know that Nigerians are even waiting for PDP. But the fear of Nigerians is whether PDP is ready to take over power. So, people are concerned about it. Obviously, it is ripe for PDP to take over, but you must be prepared to take over.
“And we said with what we have now, it will be difficult to take over power in 2023 if there are no amendment. Leadership was the problem. The point is this, the current NWC, as it is today, cannot lead the party to victory. Nobody has said they have not done well, one way or the other, but we are talking about the challenges ahead.
“That is why we are pushing for the party to have other people to lead the party and to give it a different strength altogether. If you know APC, you know that you need a robust, determined leadership of the party (PDP) to make sure you match them word by word, action by action,” he said.
Wike, therefore, said anyone who loved the PDP and meant well for the party would adhere to the resolutions reached after the intervention of the governors, Board of Trustees and elders to douse brewing crisis in the party.
The governor dismissed insinuation that he was nursing a presidential ambition, hence his opposition to the current NWC, adding that his primary preoccupation was to see how the PDP could be better positioned to win the 2023 general election.
On the issue of the amended Electoral Act, the governor said Nigerians expected President Mohammadu Buhari to veto the bill over the rejection of electronic transmission of election results by APC members in the National Assembly.
Wike accused President Buhari of supporting the position of APC members in the National Assembly even after he had attested publicly on how he benefitted from the introduction of card reader device by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
He stressed that the electronic transmission of results was at the centre of conducting credible and transparent election, and that it behooved the President to bequeath to Nigerians a credible electoral process as he had promised.
“Mr. President gave Nigerians the assurance that, one of the legacies he will leave is to make sure that we have credible, and transparent election. And one of the steps to show transparency is, let the election results be transmitted electronically.
“You remember when Mr. President was declared the winner of that election in 2015, he said the introduction of the card reader was a good innovation. We thought he would have improved on that. But instead of improving on that, we are going backwards.”
The governor also wondered why the Senate committee chairman on INEC, who recommended the transmission of electoral results electronically, voted against it.
Wike also commended the signing of the Petroleum Industry Bill into law, but declared that allocation of a meagre 3 per cent for host communities in the Niger Delta was unacceptable.
“We believe that 3 per cent is not enough as regards the kind of pollution and environmental crisis we have had, because of oil exploitation. I thought what Mr. President would have done was to tell members of National Assembly, yes, you have done what you are supposedto, but again, you need to take into consideration the yearnings of the host communities,” he said.
On the issue of Valued Added Tax, Wike clarified that the Rivers State government went to court to seek constitutional interpretation of the enabling law on whether state or federal government should be the sole collector of VAT.
He stressed that the Rivers State government was not perturbed by the decision of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to appeal the Federal High Court judgment, which declared that it was unconstitutional for the federal government to collect VAT.