.. …extols governor’s courage, youthful verve, leadership contributions
By Jacob Kubeka –
Former Nigerian Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, has assured Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike of adequate support in his bid to clinch the presidential ticket of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2023 general elections in Africa’s most populous nation.
General IBB (as he is fondly called), who remains an influential figure in Nigeria’s politics, offered the assurances on Monday when Governor Wike, in the company of other PDP Governors and leaders, paid him a consultation visit.
Noting that the Rivers Governor represents a much younger generation whose energy and verve are required to stabilize and ensure the country’s survival, IBB charged Governor Wike to continue to work to unite the party and maintain its strength as a vehicle of the aspirations of Nigerians.
He also praised the Governor’s courage and achievements, regarding him as ‘Mr. Project’ in reference to his broad infrastructural investments in Rivers State.
“I like your guts, courage, and believe in the country,” IBB said.
“I want to see your great party coming back to take over power. We will give you the support to achieve your political goal. With younger generation which you represent, I am sure the country will survive.”
He continued: “I have been in your political life for quite some time. I remembered when you accompanied Dr. Peter Odili here in 2000, when you were an elected Local Government Chairman. This is the season of politics. I have been more in it than my brother General Abdulsalami. He is neutral and playing a stabilizing role in the conduct of peaceful elections in Nigeria.”
“Nigeria is the first thing in terms of patriotism. When some of your colleagues came here, I gave them that charge; to help sustain the unity of the country. Like you said, Mr. Project, poverty is not written on any one’s face to determine his ethnicity, religion or other considerations. Poverty does not know race, tribe or religion. And like I used to say, bullets doesn’t differentiate also on the basis of religion, tribe or race.”
IBB advised Governor Wike to be wary of the antics of the APC and maintain courage in his ambition to lead the country.
“My only caution is that you are dealing with another party, the ruling APC. We know what will happen. I know you are bold, courageous and have performed in your state. You have guts which is what a leader needs to take certain decisions for the good of the country. I follow happenings in your state, that’s why I called you Mr. Project a while ago. Get the party together. I am giving you my blessing, but please continue to help keep the party together.”
“Keep the party strong, united so that it becomes the symbol of Nigeria.”
General Abdulsalami Abubakar, also a former military head of state, was present at the meeting, alongside other PDP Governors such as Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Seyi Makinde of Oyo who accompanied Governor Wike on the consultation visit.