*Why Atiku cannot pick Wike as running mate – MURIC
Mr. Nyesom Wike, who unapologetically and repeatedly declared Rivers State as Christian State and has been accused of hate unreserved hate for Muslims, has been recommended as running mate to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for the 2023 presidential election.
Although competence, integrity, patriotism and ability to unite Nigerians across faiths and regions are vital qualities required of who next leaders should be, Wike’s behaviour in recent times is said to have led to why, according to Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), he has been blacklisted by Nigerian Muslims and, therefore, will not be fit to be part of a joint ticket with potential chances to rule a largely populated Nigeria.
Nigerians, who agree with MURIC on Wike as misfit for the choice of a running mate, are saying although religion and ethnicity should not form part of consideration for choosing a joint ticket, Atiku should look for a more liberal Christian, if winning election is important to him and his party.
According to a media report, the National Advisory Committee that the PDP set up to look into the report of an earlier committee had recommended the Rivers governor.
An inside source, the report said, informed that the committee saddled with the task of picking the party’s Vice Presidential Candidate has agreed to allow Wike, who came second in the primaries, to run with Atiku.
“Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike has been chosen by the committee. He was overwhelmingly voted for by the committee. Majority of the members see him as the ideal person to be the running mate to Atiku.
“You saw his showing at the primaries. The party leaders believe in his capacity and they have chosen him.”
The committee was said to have voted on the three names recommended by the General Aliyu Gusau committee with the Rivers Governor pulling sixteen votes.
The three names the source said were Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) and Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom).
Those at the meeting which was chaired by the Deputy National Chairman, North, Ambassador Umaru Damagun, were Governors Samuel Ortom (Benue), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), and Bala Mohammed (Bauchi).
Others are former governors Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Liyel Imoke (Cross Rivers) Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo) and the minority leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, among others.
Addressing members of the committee just before going into a close door session, National Chairman of the Party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, had urged the meeting to come up with a conclusion “between tomorrow and Friday.”
The chairman said the Candidate Atiku wrote to us as the administrative arm of the party on the choice of his running mate.
He said the various organs of the party are well represented in his committee, NWC, Governors Forum National Assembly, Former Governors, which all put forward their candidate.
Ayu stressed that, “our presidential candidate this time has decided to carry everybody along unlike 2019 when he didn’t consult widely in his choice of running mate.”
In a press released circulated to the media (including The DEFENDER), on Tuesday dated June 14, 2023, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) had advised the flagbearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, against picking the governor of Rivers State, Nyesome Wike, as his running mate.
MURIC said Wike is one of the bigoted Christian governors who had been blacklisted by Nigerian Muslims.
The statement reads: “It has come to our knowledge that Governor Nyesome Wike is among those being considered as possible running mates for the PDP flagbearer, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. We deem it necessary to advise against this. Wike is an open enemy of Islam, a Muslim-hater primus inter pareil and an unrepentant mosque destroyer.
“The extremist remarks of Wike are still on record. He declared Rivers State a Christian State contrary to the constitution. What guaranty can anybody give us that he will not say or do worse things if he becomes a vice president. No, Wike should not be allowed to hold any post at federal level.
“Wike hates the sight of mosques and he is prepared to use or misuse his office to destroy all mosques in Nigeria if allowed to occupy any space inside Aso Rock. Wike is intolerant, unpredictable and violence-inclined. Nigerian Muslims do not
trust him. He will definitely be a bad market for Atiku. His electoral value at the national level is nil.
“We therefore advise Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to avoid Wike by all means. He should go for a moderate Christian, not a fanatic. This should be a lesson for other politicians, particularly governors who are fond of using their office to persecute Muslims and undermine the religion of Islam. Nigerian Muslims are watching and waiting for them.
“Nigerians have a lot to learn from the way many political aspirants from Southern Nigeria dressed up in turban and babanriga in an attempt to convince people in other parts of the country that they are prepared to tolerate Muslims. Unfortunately it was too late.
Tolerance should be demonstrated in our day to day actions and words. Tolerance should be displayed in times of tension, not when we want political offices, least of all during electioneering campaigns. We should appreciate the variety of our cultures as a blessing and realise that we will need other people at a point in time even if we do not need them now.
“In the Nigeria of today, the true statesman is the one who can find loyal friends in different parts of the country, in all ethnicities and in all creeds.”