The aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors yesterday lamented that enemies of progress were frustrating the party’s bid to return to power in 2023.
Members of the “G5”: Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers State), Sam Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo), stormed Umuahia, capital of Abia State, for the kick-off of the governorship and parliamentary campaigns.
The PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, shunned the rally.
The G5, otherwise known as the Integrity Group, vowed to continue its fight for equity, fairness and justice in the party.
Wike, who spoke at the Umuahia Township Stadium, urged Abians to follow Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and ensure that all PDP candidates for the 2023 general election are elected.
He said: “The G-5 governors will continue to support all the candidates of the PDP in Abia State.
“There’s nothing like going back. Do whatever Ikpeazu tells you to do.
“He is a man of integrity, honesty and he is dependable, unlike some people who we supported with money and yet, they left the party.”
Ortom said the governors will not relent until Nigeria is rescued from insecurity, poverty, social and economic problems.
Ikpeazu said the his administration has left a blue print for further development through the provision of a master plan for the state.
He added that Abia PDP can boast of the best candidates for elective office, adding that other political parties picked their candidates from the PDP’s dustin.
The high point of the event was the presentation of the PDP flag to Ikpeazu, who is running for the Abia South senatorial seat and the governorship candidate, Professor Uche Ikonne.
Ortom lamented that governors who endorsed the accord for Southern Presidency chickened out of the crusade.
Reiterating the G5’s determination to remain in PDP, he said the group is committed to the success of governorship and parliamentary candidates in their respective states.
He said: “All our States from Abia to Rivers, to Oyo to Enugu, to Benue, all of us are PDP States, and we are very strong in all these States, and we are committed to our party.
“We have teamed together to build this party to make it very strong and our intention was that we will take over governance in 2023 and build Nigeria again from bottom to top.”
Ortom said Wike had provided enormous encouragement, support and leadership in the battle against forces frustrating the PDP from winning the 2023 election.
He said: “The five governors were men of integrity, who believed in equity, fairness and justice will never succumb to any intimidation.
Ortom said: “One notable person that has made this party what it is, is governor Wike. Since he joined PDP, he has never left PDP.
“In 2015, when I was denied the ticket, l left, went to APC and grab the governor, came back to PDP, because PDP is home.
“So, we appreciate PDP. It is the platform we are working for in our various states. We are not going to be intimated. We appreciate the traditional rulers. You charged us not to be intimidated, but stand for the truth. That is what we stand for.”
Ortom said some of those who were part of the accord that the next Nigeria’s president should be a southerner eventually “chickened out”.
He said: “Unfortunately, enemies of progress came in. Because one thing that we believed as men of integrity, as men who believed in equity, fairness and justice was our resolve.
“All of us and many others who chickened out, especially from the South resolved that after eight years of rule in the North, we all know that in the unwritten constitution of this country, that it was the right thing to do for the sake of justice and equity. And that is what we have stood for.
“Unfortunately, we have found ourselves where we are. But, we told ourselves, we are not going to leave the PDP. You cannot build a house and when a snake creeps into your house, do you abandon that house and run away to go and build another one?”
PDP Chairman, Asiforo Okere disclosed that the party was presenting 36 candidates in the 2023 elections, including Ikonne, three senatorial candidates; Governor Ikpeazu, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa and Col. Akobundu, eight House of Representatives candidates and 24 House of Assembly candidates. He thanked party faithful, especially those that contested and could not get the tickets, describing them as the heroes of the event.
Ikonne assured Abians that if elected, he would through his TIGER Economy manifesto, which covers trade, industrialiaation, good governance, education and rural development, ensure participatory governance in the state. He challenged Abians to give him their votes and expect best results and more developmental projects.
Abia PDP Campaign Director-General, Chinedum Elechi, who described the rally as historic, noted that based on what the governor has done in the state, there is need for the people to elect Ikonne as the next governor.
Elechi, represented by the Secretary-General of the Campaign Council, Stanley Ojigbo, said based on the capacity of the party and achievements of Ikpeazu, PDP will win.
At the rally were Deputy Governor Ude Oko Chukwu, former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose, former Abia State Deputy Governor, Chief Acho Nwakanma, deputy governorship candidate, Okey Igwe, Abia State House of Assembly Speaker Chinedum Orji and members of the House of Assembly, PDP National Deputy Chairman (South), Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, National Vice Chairman, Southeast, Chief Ali Odefa, National Vice Chairman, Southsouth, Chief Dan Orbih, candidates of the party, Secretary to the State Government, Chris Ezem, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Okey Ahiwe, commissioners and others.