Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has said there is no justification for retaining the Presidency in the North in 2023.
Telescope.ng reports that he urged those protesting against the same faith ticket to ponder on the neglect of zoning or rotation of the president between the North and the South.
The governor said those saying that the country is not ripe for Muslim-Muslim ticket should be courageous to decry the abolition of presidential zoning in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Wike spoke yesterday at the special dedication service for the Rivers State PDP 2023 General Election Campaign Rallies, which held at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Also, All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu promised to be fair to all Nigerians, irrespective of their religious inclinations.
Wike, in a statement by his Special Assistant, Media, Kelvin Ebiri, maintained that persons involved in doublespeak were trying to hoodwink some gullible few.
He said such individuals knew that they were insulting the sensibility of well-meaning Nigerians, who desired a united country to advance national cohesion.
Wike said: “You play on people’s intelligence; you say Nigeria is not ripe for Muslim-Muslim ticket, I agree. But Nigeria is ripe for presidency to remain in one zone? I mean, just look at the insult. You blow hot and cold.”
The governor asked people condemning the Muslim-Muslim ticket to also know that Nigerians were also against the retention of the presidency in the North after President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said: “Most of you just sit there, you don’t ask yourselves questions. Somebody continues to sell this kind of cheap ideas. You don’t ask the person. I agree with what you are saying, but look at what we are saying here.
“Your party wants the presidency to go to the same zone where President Muhammadu Buhari is coming from. Who is cheating who?”
The Rivers governor also reminded the church of the need to participate in the voting process.
He, however, warned them against serving as cannon fodder to any political party or actor.
Wike pleaded with the church to be careful and resist those politicians, who came to mobilise them as if there was a religious war to wage.
He said: “It is not now that politics have come, you want to come and tell the church a different story for your own personal interest.”
Tinubu promised to be fair and just to all Nigerians, irrespective of race, religion and creed, if elected in next year’s election.
He also pledged to retool the economy for the benefit of Nigerians.
Tinubu gave the commitment in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, during a town hall meeting with Muslim leaders from the Southwest geopolitical zone.
The President-General of the League of Imams and Alfas of Yorubaland Sheikh Kewulere Bello advised Tinubu to tackle the menace of insecurity and unemployment across the country when elected.
He advised Tinubu to tackle insecurity and unemployment, if elected.
He said: “There have been kidnapping cases in the country. Please, help us to tackle it.
“Secondly, our children have gone to school, they have graduated, and most of them have no jobs. We want you to help us to provide jobs for them when you get there.
“We also want you to help us to tackle the problem of ethnic rivalries in the country. This is our third request.”
Addressing the clerics, he promised to be “a fair and just leader”, adding: “My pledge for fairness and justice is consistent with the tenets of the Islamic faith.”
He stressed: “A leader in a plural society like ours is enjoined to be a leader of all. If elected, I shall govern honestly and democratically in harmony with our nation’s constitution.”
A statement by his media aide, Tunde Rahman, in Abuja said Tinubu cited his excellent stewardship as Lagos State governor and promised to use that experience to lead Nigeria in the “same spirit of innovation and pragmatic vision to uplift the nation and renew the hope of Nigerians.”
He described the 2023 general elections as “Nigeria’s momentous encounter with destiny”, urging the clerics to educate their followers on the importance of voting only for tested candidates with track records of excellent public service, “and not falling for the lies and gimmicks of those that have nothing to offer.”
Tinubu, who spoke in English and Yoruba, said: “This election season has been a hybrid of facts and falsehood, truth and lies. I would like the election to be one based on facts and truth.
“What is a candidate’s record of performance and what are his policies? I ask you to urge your followers to come out and vote and to do so wisely. Vote for a candidate that has a vision for a peaceful, prosperous Nigeria where tolerance and compassion undergird our constitutional and legal rights.”
On security, Tinubu vowed to end terror, kidnappings and other violent crimes by recruiting more personnel that would be trained and retrained, in addition to providing more security tools and gadgets for an effective fight against criminal elements.
The nation’s economy, according to Tinubu, would be diversified and restructured towards achieving at least six per cent growth annually.
These goals, he promised, would be achieved through the reforms of the country’s industrial policy, infrastructural enhancement, power sector innovation and significant budgetary reforms.
Tinubu said: “Regarding the economy, we seek to repair the very structure of the economy. We can no longer flourish as an economy based on natural resource extraction.
“We must become a dynamic, diversified economy where those who want to work can find a good job. But let us also be a society sufficiently compassionate to help those who cannot help themselves.
“We must revive manufacturing and industrial growth to create jobs as well as produce the goods and services that improve the daily lives of the average person.
“We seek a minimum of six per cent growth annually through reform of our industrial policy, infrastructural enhancement, power sector innovation and significant budgetary reform.”
On his plan for the agricultural sector, the APC standard bearer promised to guarantee food security through enhanced productivity and improved farm incomes to ensure that no child goes to bed without food to eat.