By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Barely 24 hours after Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, declared that he will be running for a second term in office, in 2019, another aspirant, Mr Soalabo West, has also announced his willingness to contest for governorship on the same Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) platform.
Mr West, an energy and maritime lawyer of the Kalabari ethnic extraction, says his willingness to vie for the 2019 governorship election via the PDP “is anchored on a new paradigm to make Rivers State great again.”
He stated that the circumstances that threw up Mr Wike in 2015 have been actualised with his emergence as governor in 2015 under the aegis of the PDP and it is now the turn of the riverine communities to produce the Governor in 2019.
“The prevailing argument then, was that Rivers was a PDP state and the people of the state needed to wrest the leadership of the state from the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party which the then incumbent governor, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, defected to in 2013.”
Mr West recalled that, “Governorship aspirants from the riverine ethic nationalities were asked to work with Wike, not because the Upland/Riverine dichotomy was not there, but essentially because of imperatives of the time.
“One, that Rivers State should go to the PDP, and second, that the state should be properly mobilised to deliver majority votes to former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2019 presidential election.”
Mr West emphasized that his governorship ambition is propelled by his desire to bring to the fore: vision; youthful vigour; and a pragmatic and dynamic approach to the development of the state devoid of political bickering and sectarian exclusiveness that is currently being institutionalized.”
He added that, “My appeal to our youths and all stakeholders is to eschew violence and thuggery because according to former President Jonathan, nobody’s blood should be shed for anybody’s political ambition.”