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PDP crisis: Atiku Under Pressure To Break Wike’s Camp’s Ranks


PDP crisis: Atiku Under Pressure To Break Wike’s Camp’s Ranks

The Nation Newspaper

Following alleged refusal of his olive branch, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is being pressured to break the ranks of the governors and other stakeholders supporting Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike.

Atiku has joined forces with some highly-placed individuals and his strategists have started reaching out to Wike’s backers on individual basis.

Sources close to Atiku are confident that two of the governors backing Wike will soon pull out of the group to keep the party united ahead of the poll.

A source in Wike’s camp admitted that the group had identified one of the governors likely to pull out. The camp regards the governor as the ‘weakest link’.

He said Wike cannot be intimidated under any guise because of the group’s demand that the National Chairman of PDP, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu must step aside.

To prevent a hijack of the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Thursday, Ayu has taken charge without his fate on the agenda.

It was gathered that the composition of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council and the flag-off of the 2023 campaign shuttles may dominate discussion at the NEC meeting.

Investigation revealed that Atiku’s camp has changed tactics to curtail the influence of Wike without prejudice to the ongoing talks with the governor.

A top source said: “Since the reconciliation talks with Wike have been unstable, Atiku has initiated personal talks with those in Wike’s camp.

“Even within Wike’s group, there are also individual interests. Atiku has said he is ready to work with everybody for the success of the party.

“So far, so good, there have been positive responses from these leaders including two serving governors, some ex-governors and leaders at various levels.

“You can call it talks within talks. But the personal reconciliation moves will not affect ongoing negotiation with Wike’s camp.

A strategist in Wike’s camp said: “We know he has been trying to break our ranks but he has not succeeded. He cannot succeed because such a move thrives where there are poor and hungry people.

“We know the weakest link governor among us. But if he deserts Wike’s camp, he will suffer.

“We have no selfish agenda. Our demands border on how to make the party stronger, ensure equity and justice between the North and the South. We want a sense of belonging for all.

“There is no personal agenda against Atiku but we are asking him to rise up as a statesman and ask Ayu to honour his words to step down if a Northerner was elected as PDP presidential candidate.”

Atiku himself is said to have faulted Ayu on his comments on Wike and other governors.

The PDP presidential candidate, according to a source, said “Ayu should not have made such comments at a time we were trying to calm down the storm in the party.

“He said Ayu ought to be more circumspect in his choice of words.”

Wike’s camp however rejected “a bedroom approach to such a sensitive matter like this. As our presidential candidate, he ought to issue a statement to caution Ayu.”

Ahead of the NEC meeting on Thursday, Ayu has taken charge of the agenda without any reference to his disagreement with the governors he referred to as children.

“I can tell you that the agenda of the NEC meeting has nothing to do with the spat between him and Wike, It is not likely to come up,” a party source added.

Conspicuously missing at the talks were Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, Rivers State governorship candidate Siminilayi Fubara, and his Abia State counterpart Uche Ikonne. The Benue State governorship candidate, Titus Uba, was however present.

Atiku yesterday met in Abuja with all PDP governorship candidates.

A source said Atiku “only unfolded his vision and programmes. He also made it clear to ensure total victory for PDP in all the states.

“While a meeting was going on in London, Atiku was busy consolidating at home.”

But a governorship candidate said: “Throughout the meeting, Atiku did not talk about his challenges with Wike and a few others.”

Ikpeazu: Igbo want be sure of why they should vote PDP
Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu says it is imperative for the PDP to convince the South East on why the people should vote for it in next year’s election after being denied the party’s presidential and vice presidential tickets.

The governor, speaking on the telephone from London yesterday, said neither the party nor its presidential candidate has told the Igbo what they should expect by way of reward if it wins the election.

Ikpeazu, a strong ally of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, said despite the unclear situation, he remained a committed member of the party and would stick with it come what may.

The generality of the Igbo, he added, were also willing to support the party in the 2023 elections.

“Forget all the talks about leaving the PDP. I am not leaving the PDP and I don’t think other governors are planning to do so,” he said.

Continuing, Ikpeazu said: “But the point is that the South East was denied tickets of the presidency in both the PDP and APC. That leaves us unsure of where we are going, what roles we will play in after the 2023 elections.

“That is my concern. That is what I am fighting for. Our votes are for the PDP if we receive assurances of our position in 2023 from the PDP, where I belong in the first place.

“It is not about playing hard with the PDP. It is about knowing what we will be given after the elections. These are things we need to sort out early before we commit to anybody.

“It is not enough for us to vote for the party. It is about where we are going to be positioned after the election. You don’t run blind in politics.

“Yes, truly, we are not happy with the outcome of the primaries, but that does not mean I am planning to leave the PDP. That does not mean my faith is shaken in the party.

“But it is about working things out properly. That is my personal concern. The South East cannot continue to be treated as an outsider in the politics of the country.

“If we don’t have the presidency and the vice presidency, we are asking for something better, something good for the zone.

“We can’t just vote or deliver our state for the fun of it. We must be sure of why we are voting.”

He said Wike and his allies were continuing their discussions with the camp of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and hoped the situation would be clearer in the coming days.

“I said it on Thursday in Umuahia and I insist that I am not leaving the PDP. My concern is the South East post elections. We deserve better treatment.”

Ikpeazu in an address at an event marking the 31st anniversary of the creation of Abia State on Thursday had asked the PDP to fast track discussions on national cohesion and inclusiveness if the country’s various nationalities must continue to remain as one.

Apparently worried by the lopsidedness of power distribution within the ranks of the leadership of the PDP, he warned against the dangers it poses for the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The South East Zone, he stressed, needed a voice in the PDP after being allegedly ignored over the years by the APC.

He said: “Every part of Nigeria including the southern part of Nigeria needs a voice in the Peoples Democratic Party and if the call for our party to be sensitive to the yearnings of my people makes me look like the cry of a child, so be it.

“But I will keep saying it that as we board the train of the PDP, we need to know what is on the table for Nndị Abia and Ndigbo.

“This is because we have suffered under the present APC government where no Igbo man is in the hierarchy of Service Chiefs, no Igbo man is in the top echelon of decision making.

“The day the decision was made for us to host Operation Python Dance here in the Southeast, no Igbo man was there to take decision and come to explain to us that the python dance is a joke.”

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