PDP crisis: Wike meets Rivers’ stakeholders

2 weeks ago

By Chinelo Obogo, Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja, Tony John, Port Harcourt, Paul Osuyi, Asaba and Okey Sampson, Umuahia

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, is likely to lay the matter of the presidential candidate his camp would support in the February 2023 poll to rest today.

This is believed to be one of the decisions taken when he met with stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) across the 319 wards of the state at the Banquet Hall of the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday. The meeting was to brief them on recent happenings in the party and inform them of his plan to hold a media chat to speak on the state of the PDP in the country.

    He said after the chat, Nigerians would decide if such people were still worthy of the ovation they were accorded, wondering why the PDP is promising to unify Nigeria but cannot unite itself.

Wike, however, said contrary to speculations, he and his loyalists in Rivers State would not leave the PDP but remain to continue the fight for internal democracy, insisting that retreating from a fight was a sign of weakness.  He also said despite the internal crisis at the national level, the party would retain all elective positions in the state. He warned party members in the state against acting as moles because there would be no loopholes in the strategy that would be adopted by the party in the state for the 2023 elections.

Wike and his loyalists, had after a meeting on Tuesday night at his private residence in Port Harcourt, announced withdrawal from the Atiku Abubakar’s Presidential Campaign Council, while insisting that the national chairman, Iyorcha Ayu, must resign for a southerner to take over his position. They argued that the candidate of the party and the national chairman cannot come from one part of the country. 

Those at the meeting were Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; former Governors Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo, Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, Donald Duke of Cross River, Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe and Jonah Jang of Plateau, former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, former PDP national vice chairman (South West), Olabode George, former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana; South-South Chairman of the PDP, Dan Orbih; former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chibudom Nwuche; Senator Suleiman Nazif, Nnenna Ukeje, among several others.

But Atikuhas urged them to rethink their actions, while insisting that the calls for Ayu’s resignation or removal was personal to Ayu and that neither he nor anyone else can make that decision for him.

An insider in Rivers PDP told Daily Sun that those within Wike’s camp argued that in 2014/2015, Atiku was one of those who spearheaded the breakup of the party under former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, after they insisted it was the turn of the north to produce the president. The insider said Wike’s camp believed that just like Atiku opposed Jonathan and insisted on the north producing the president, Ayu would have to resign for a southerner to replace him for justice and fair play.

“For a long time, Ayu’s camp has been very arrogant about the call for his resignation, but this may cost them everything. When Atiku left PDP in 2014, it was people like Wike, Peter Obi, Ayo Fayose that remained in the party to ensure it survives. If they had left like Atiku and his supporters did, would there have been any party to return to? At this rate, we do not mind if this house falls. If it falls, it will be rebuilt after 2023 election.

“By Friday, everything would be out in the open and the plans would be fully activated. We are ready for anything. The same way Wike’s camp kept the party and made it attractive, will be the same way it would be buried and rebuilt after the 2023 elections. We would not allow Atiku benefit from his arrogance,” the source said.

Earlier, yesterday, Governor Emmanuel Udom of Awka Ibom State, advised members of the PDP to learn to keep their words and fulfill any promise they make.

Udom, chairman of Atiku’s Campaign Organisation, said Governors  Wike, Makinde and other “dissenting voices” within the party have the right to express their views and that they would not be ignored.

Speaking on Channels TV, Akwa Ibom governor who was reacting to the calls from Wike’s camp for Ayu to resign, said leaders should always uphold their promises.

“This is a family business. Nyesom Wike is my brother, you all know that…One thing I discovered about politics and life: people should try to do what they say they will do; that is the cause of some of the problems. If I say I will do B if A happens, let me keep to that. If I say I will do B if C happens, let me also keep to that. Everybody has the right to express himself however he wants. The earlier as a country we keep to our words and promises, the better for everybody,” Udom said.

Reacting to claims that the removal of Ayu must follow the constitution of the party, the governor said, “some things are lawful but not all things are expedient. I’m coding my expression here. So let look at those things that are expedient for peace sake. I believe somebody like me if I know, even as lawful as that thing may be, if it is expedient for the sake of peace and for us to move, I think I can take certain actions.”

•Atiku still open to dialogue’

Spokesperson of the Presidential Campaign Organisation, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, has said Atiku was still open for further dialogue with Governor Wike of Rivers State and  other aggrieved leaders of the party.

He said nobody in the party would be left behind in its avowed commitment to rescue Nigeria in 2023.

Aniagwu who spoke during a live television programme said Atiku’s reaction to the alleged boycott of the by Wike’s group was not a foreclosure of further reconciliation with the group and other stakeholders in the party.

“We don’t have any faction in the party just a group with interest which is allowed democratically. As a party we are quite comfortable that in the course of time these issues will give way for everybody to be on board.

“Atiku didn’t say its time to move on because he wants to leave anybody behind, he is asking members of the party that its time for them to move on to talk about those issues that affect Nigerians.

“There are a whole lot of issues that affect us in this country and so Atiku said its time to move on meaning that every hand has to be on deck to carry every Nigerian along and to address those many challenges that confronts Nigerians in their everyday life today.

“Atiku is not just looking for anybody to come and vote, he is looking forward to unite every member of the party and by extension Nigerians so that at the end of the day he would have been able to carry everybody along.

“He has asked everybody to come on board and we are quite optimistic that in the course of time everybody will indeed be on board,” Aniagwu stated.

•Zonal peace panels underway

The PDP has concluded plans to constitute peace panels to interface with aggrieved stakeholders across the six geo-political zones in the country.

Daily Sun gathered, yesterday, that this was part of measures to mitigate the efforts of the  post nomination crisis rocking the party, especially in the aftermath the withdrawal of Governor Wike and his supporters from the campaign council.

A highly placed source at the national secretariat confirmed to Daily Sun that the National Working Committee (NWC) has concluded plans to dispatch respected party leaders to the zones on a trouble shooting mission.“Details of the zonal reconciliation committees will be made public in the next couple of days,” the source stated.

•Crisis over soon

–Tambuwal

Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and Governor of Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, has said the opposition governors were brainstorming with a view to coming up with a solution to the lingering soon.

Tambuwal, according to a statement from his media office, stated this, when he received members of the Board of Trustees ( BoT), in Abuja.

“We all know that the BoT is the conscience of the party and whenever there are issues of this nature, the Board of Trustee steps in, it is part of their functions in the party, constitutionally speaking.

“We have engaged with them and I believe that what they are likely to come up with will be a solution to the problem we have.  Be rest assured that as governors of the party , we are also talking to ourselves on the way forward and very soon the Governors Forum will meet and we will come up with what we feel should be the solution and the way forward for the party.

•BoT looking for solutions Acting chairman of the BoT, Senator Adolphus Wabara, said the board was intensifying efforts to resolve the party crisis. He disclosed that BoT would meet with Atiku,  Okowa, Ayu and Wike in the coming days.

“We are looking for solutions for all of us to come together and win the election in flying colours.

“After Wike’s address tomorrow (today), we will speak with him. Wike is a member of the Board of Trustee. We have made attempt to meet with him, but I believe he has been very busy. Our aim is to get into the Aso Villa. For PDP to get into the Aso Villa in 2023, we need everybody to come on board. We are still moving around, in six days time, the campaign will be inaugurated. We hope and pray that before then Nigerians will see a more united PDP.”

•Abia backs Atiku

There seem to be crack in Governor Wike’s camp following the decision of Abia State chapter of the party to support Atiku.

Leader of the PDP in Abia, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, is a known ally of Wike.

In a statement by the Abia PDP Vice Chairman/Acting State Publicity Secretary,  Abraham Amah, the chapter stated that it was not shaken by the withdrawal of some members of the Atiku Campaign Council.

It said Abia PDP remained solidly behind their presidential candidate and in support of his determination to lead Nigeria in 2023 and restore it to the path of enduring growth and development.

“The Abia PDP however, believes that a certain level of adjustment in the leadership of their great Party to accommodate the interests of Southern Nigeria and create a high sense of belonging within the Party is more than imperative at this moment”.

However, in an interview, Amah said the decision of the Abia chapter of the party does not mean its leader, Ikpeazu has abandoned his friend, Wike, nor jettisoned his ideals.

Amah said rather, Ikpeazu was now in a more vantage position to play mediatory role that will bring the crisis bedeviling the party to an end.

•Why opposition party is turmoil

–Nkire

A member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) National Caucus, Chief Sam Nkire, has blamed the crisis rocking the PDP on disobedience to the spirit of rotation inscribed in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In a statement in Abuja, he said for the PDP to zone the presidency back to the north after the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari amounted to  disrespecting the constitution of Nigeria, members of the PDP from the South and the people of Nigeria in general.

The APC stalwart maintained that Governor Wike’s battle was a noble cause which every patriotic Nigerian must commend, no matter his or her political ideology or persuasion.

He agreed that the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC no doubt ruffled many feathers but added that, “nothing could be more heinous and unpardonable than breaking down the plank upon which the bridge across Nigeria’s unity rests.”

The APC chieftain said the seemingly intractable crisis between the two warring forces in the PDP was sad and regrettable, “especially as my party expected a real battle with the PDP and not to be handed the belt without a fight”.

Chief Nkire reassured Nigerians that Nigeria would be great again, “seeing that insecurity is on the decline at present due to the efforts of the APC government at the centre,  there is no doubting the fact that APC will heal Nigeria from its plundering by the PDP over many years.”

He expressed the conviction that various other social challenges facing the country would be soon be addressed squarely and that Nigerians would prove the APC right and pass a vote of confidence on it when they re-elect the ruling party in the 2023 general election.

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