The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has described the kind of president Nigeria needs in 2023.
Wike gave his description at the 22nd National Women’s Conference of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials.
The event, at the Convention Centre of Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Tuesday, had the theme: “Spring Forth, Stand Out.”
Wike, who was in company of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who he endorsed for a second term in 2023 despite not being a member of his party, Peoples Democratic Party, spoke with newsmen after the event.
When asked the kind of president Nigeria needs in 2023, he answered: “We are looking for a president that has the capacity and experience in governance, a president that Nigerians can say yes can put food on the table for everyone and fight insecurity.
“That’s the person we are looking for.
“Not some people who are talking about ethnicity.
When asked who he had in his mind among the presidential aspirants, he declined to respond, saying: “Don’t worry.”
The Eagle Online, however, recalls that Wike had lambasted the presidential candidate of his own party for the 2023 elections, Atiku Abubakar, over a statement credited to him at an interactive session with the Arewa Joint Forum in Kaduna, Kaduna State on Saturday.
At the forum, Abubakar had said Nigeria does not need a Yoruba or Igbo president, but that he as a Northern had a pan-Nigeria outlook that fits into the requirements.
He was quoted as having said: “I know the whole of this country.
“I have built bridges across this country.
“I think what an average northerner needs is somebody who is from the north, who also understands the other parts of Nigeria, and who has been able to build bridges across the rest of the country.
“This is what the northerner needs.
“He (the northerner) doesn’t need a Yoruba or an Igbo candidate.
“This is what the northerner needs.
“I stand before you as a pan-Nigerian of northern origin.”
Reacting to the response, Wike, who spoke with newsmen at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State on his return from a trip abroad, expressed doubts that such a statement came from Abubakar.
He said such a stance coming at a period of transition for the nation gives vent to the call for equity, fairness and justice.
The governor said the PDP must as a matter of urgency address the issue in order for Nigerians not to view the party, which is preparing to take over power in 2023, as insensitive and devoid of justice it preaches.
His interview in Lagos, where he endorsed Sanwo-Olu of the All Progressives Congress for reelection over his party’s candidate, Dr. Abdul-Azeez Adeniran, popularly known as Jandor, also left many with the feeling he would be backing the presidential candidate of the APC for the polls in 2023, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The Eagle Online recalls that Wike had met Tinubu a couple of times in the United Kingdom in the past few months.
Wike, who donated N300 million to COWLSO at the event in Lagos, equally said Sanwo-Olu’s performance in office has earned him a second term.
He commended Sanwo-Olu for giving women the opportunity to serve in various capacities in the state, especially the judiciary.
Wike told Sanwo-Olu: “By the grace of God, you will be a second term governor.
“Lagos State is doing better than other states in this country because Lagos has allowed women to participate in governance in various capacities.
“I am very happy to participate in this conference.
“I don’t play politics of ethnicity.
“Even if Sanwo-Olu is in my party, but is not doing well, I wouldn’t have come.
“I do not regret saying I am in support of you.”
Wike further said his administration has emulated Lagos State by ensuring a woman became a deputy governor in 2015 as no woman has ever served in that capacity since the state was created in the 60s.
Wike added that all 22 local governments in Rivers have female Vice Chairmen.
Wike, commended the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, for several projects COWLSO had executed and still implementing under her chairmanship in the last three years.
The wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Buhari, in declaring the conference open, made a joke of the lyrics of a song made popular by Wike: “As e dey pain them, na so e dey sweet us.”
She spoke directly to Wike as she declared open the conference at the Convention Centre of Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, with the theme: “Spring Forth, Stand Out.”
She said: “As e dey pain them, e sweet us well, well.”
Meaning: “As it pains them, we are enjoying it.”
The First Lady joined the conference virtually.