Wike dodges questions on presidential ambition, says window still open

Eniola Akinkuotu and Leke Baiyewu

2 February 2022

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Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, on Tuesday, refused to confirm his presidential ambition in 2023, saying there is still time to do so.

Wike was on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television, where he was asked to confirm joining the presidential race.

However, the governor did not deny or confirm nursing the ambition.

When the anchor asked if he was running for president, Wike replied with question, “When is the time limit within which a person can declare to run or not to run? Is there a particular time limit that you can declare (ambition), so that let it not be said that ‘if you don’t declare tomorrow, you may be late?’”

When reminded that aspirants have been making their intentions known, the governor said, “So, if I want to declare to run, I must do it before Channels Television; I will not do it before my people?”

He added, “I’ve always told people that everybody has their own strategy. If I want to run for election, I have my own strategy. If you want to run for election, you have your own strategy. No doubt, people believe that by my performance, I am likely to run. There is no doubt about the belief of the people. But if I want to run for election, everybody will know that I want to run; I will tell Nigerians that today, I am declaring that I want to run election.”

The governor added that he works with people as a team. “So, it is when we have sat down and reviewed everything, and we believe that ‘yes, we think we can do this; we think we cannot do that.’ That is the way I operate. I don’t operate in isolation,” he added.

Wike also said he stands by the demand of the Southern Governors’ Forum for power to return to the South in 2023.

The governor said as a member of the forum, he stands behind the decision of the southern governors.

Responding to a question, Wike, who is one of the most influential Peoples Democratic Party governors, said he remains on the side of the southern governors.

Wike said the PDP would meet and take a decision on the Presidency, adding that the fact that the national chairmanship was zoned to the North did not mean it was automatic that the Presidency would go to the South.

Speaking further, Wike alleged that pressure is being mounted on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), not to assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, especially from within the ruling All Progressives Congress.

Wike said the APC is afraid of free, fair and credible polls that the amendments to the Act seek to achieve.

While Nigerians are debating the clauses on mode of primaries, the governor said he was only interested in the electronic voter accreditation and transmission of election results

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