By Sunday Iduh
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has said he and other well meaning Nigerians are working together to ensure that the country comes out of the present challenges.
The governor stated this Friday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital where he, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and the Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu interacted with journalists at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area, shortly on arrival from the United Kingdom.
According to him, “this task is beyond partisan politics. We are looking on how we can come together and find a way of ensuring that Nigeria survives. Nigeria is on drip, Nigeria is on oxygen and it is about how we can get out of this.”
Governor Ortom explained that they met with renowned persons in the last few days because of their belief that Nigeria is in distress and required concerted effort to rescue it.
“We had fruitful talks with those we met and it was beyond partisan politics, because well meaning Nigerians need to work together in ensuring that Nigeria survives.
“For us, we are looking at the larger picture. Nigeria today is in distress. It is about what we can do. No man or woman alone can get it right for our country.
“We are looking at how we can harness ideas and put ourselves together to ensure that we get out of the present challenges we are in Nigeria today.
“From top to bottom, consider what has happened from 2015 and where we are today. So, what we are doing is a concern that we have for our country, Nigeria.”
He disclosed that the three separate meetings they had within the week were worthwhile sessions for them.
The governor stated individually, they also had earlier commitments in Europe and pointed that consultations were still going on because nothing concrete has been decided.
“The consultation is going on and will continue to go on. We are still going to meet here. We are still going to meet some persons some other time and see how we can work to ensure that the project Nigeria works,” he stated.
On his part, Governor Wike said his team was more interested in a better Nigeria, stating that they were consulting widely with those who mean well for the country.
Governor Wike, who confirmed their meetings with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi and former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo in London, said the focus was how to make Nigeria better than what it is currently.
“All is not well with Nigeria and we are seeking remedies that will restore enduring hope in Nigeria.
“I can confirm that this is the first time as a team that we are meeting with presidential candidates. We met with the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC and we met with our leader, former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo.
“We met the presidential candidate of Labour Party. We also met with our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. For whatever it’s worth, consultation is ongoing.
“Whatever we are talking about, is for the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians. It is not parochial and tied to one person or group of persons. We believe that with what is going on, it will be for the interest of Nigerians at the end of the day,” he said.
The Rivers State Governor lamented the situation where standard, training and competence have always been traded for mediocrity.
“Leadership should not be about one individual and the interest of his family, but about the collective interest of everybody.
“Consultation is still ongoing. Never mind some people who do not believe in the existence of this country.
“It’s unfortunate that we are in a country now where a man finishes eight years as a governor and brings his own son as a governor too and as member of National Assembly.
“It’s only in this part of the world that you can see that, when we are talking about poverty everywhere. These are people who do not mean well for this Nigeria,” he added.
He expressed worries that religion and ethnicity were being used as the tenable identity to describe Nigerians when competence was required.
He said: “The only identity they have in this country is religion and ethnicity, nothing more. It’s either, I’m a Christian or I’m a Muslim, I’m a Fulani or I’m an Igbo. Nigeria cannot move forward except they think it will be them. That’s where we are.
“We are in a country where someone with primary school certificate can be appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. That tells you how bad this country has become.
“But with our consultation, all these will be a thing of the past. No amount of intimidation or blackmail will deter us. We are determined to right the wrong.”
Also speaking, Governor Ikpeazu, stressed that they were on a mission and are determined to find a way of rescuing Nigeria.
“We are mindful of what society to bequeath to the present generation, their children and grand children alike. This is a country with great potential and we have to protect it well. We think that we need to engage across board.
“We are also looking at speaking with civil society organisations, those who have ideas, and Nigerians in the diaspora. All the resources available in this country has to come together at this time to see how best we can move Nigeria forward.”