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PDP crisis: Wike’s camp gives Atiku Ultimatum, as Party’s Guber Candidates Move Against Embattled Chair

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PDP crisis: Wike’s camp gives Atiku Ultimatum, as Party’s Guber Candidates Move Against Embattled Chair

The Nation Newspaper

Despite ongoing efforts by some prominent stakeholders to douse the raging fire within the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following the disagreement between the party’s presidential candidate and former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and a group of prominent party chieftains led by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State over the fate of PDP National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, there are indications that Wike and other aggrieved PDP governors and chieftains may have resolved to finally dump Atiku’s presidential aspiration if Senator Ayu fails to vacate office before the next PDP presidential campaign rally.

Reliable sources within the party told The Nation that Wike and his supporters have hinted of their decision to foreclose any further reconciliation talks should Atiku and the PDP hold another rally with Ayu in charge as the National chairman of the opposition party.

Recall that five governors of the opposition party, including Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and Wike, are leading a group of aggrieved PDP chieftains and members who are protesting what they called the marginalization of the southern part of the country in the leadership structure of the party ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

Trouble started after Wike was overlooked by Atiku for Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as running mate.

The group, which has held several meetings within and outside the country, have insisted that it is inappropriate for Senator Ayu, a northerner from Benue State, should hold on to the national chairmanship of the party after the emergence of Atiku, also from the north, as the 2023 presidential candidate of the PDP.

Last month, Wike’s team in the PDP pulled out of Atiku’s campaign council. After a meeting in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, members of the team vowed not to take part in Atiku’s campaign activities until the resignation of Senator Ayu as the party’s National Chairman.

The Nation gathered that up till the time of filing this report, the Wike camp was waiting for the outcome of its last meeting with the leadership of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) led by the acting chairman, Senator Adolphus Wabara, on the protracted crisis.

According to a very reliable source, Wike and other governors are currently miffed that the BoT Reconciliation committee, which promised to get back to the group within a few days after the said meeting where Wike and other gave conditions for peace and agreed to shift some grounds in the interest of the party, is yet to do anything about the resolutions reached at the meeting even as Atiku launched his campaign in Uyo and proceeded to hold another rally in Kaduna.

“We have been waiting to hear from the leadership of the BoT since after the last meeting with them. The meeting followed a meeting between Governor Wike and Atiku. At the meeting with the Wabara and other BoT members, Wike and other gave conditions for peace and agreed to shift some grounds in the interest of the party.

“Some agreements were reached and some peace initiatives were suggested by both sides. The BoT members asked for a few days to return for the implementation of the discussion. Up till now, nothing has been said in furtherance of that promise, and these people expect others to abandon what they are agitating for and join a campaign.

“Expectedly, many people are waiting for Wike and other governors in his camp to make their position known on the crisis that has crippled the PDP. But as it stands, no one is sure of anything again. Everything now depends on the BoT reconciliation committee.

“Wike’s camp has made it clear that there is need for some restructuring within the party if they are to be part of the 2023 presidential quest. The leadership of the party also agreed that there is need for sacrifices to be made in the search for peace within the PDP. But it appears the will to do the needful is what is missing as we speak today.”

Another source, a member of the BoT from the Southwest, told our correspondent that it is only with the readiness and support of the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, that the BoT can resolve the crisis.

“It is true that the BoT met with Wike’s camp and promised some immediate actions towards reconciling the camps within the party. I can tell you that recommendations have been made to the necessary quarters and persons towards ensuring that peace returns to the party. But there is nothing the BoT alone can do without the readiness and support of Atiku himself.

“That is where the issue is now. Those waiting for the BoT to say or do something need to understand that.

“This week, a group of governorship candidates of the party from the southern part of the country expressed their dissatisfaction with the crisis within the party and lamented that it will negatively affect their chances at the election if not addressed.

“They were specific about their support for the call on Ayu to resign. They feel there is need for the people of the south to be given some sense of belonging. The development is part of the reports communicated to the leadership of the party,” he said.

The Nation also gathered that the concerned governorship candidate had at a meeting with the BoT reconciliation committee urged Atiku and the party to allow Senator Ayu to vacate office for a National Chairman from the southern part of the country.

Speaking on the current state of things within the party, a close political associate of one of the governors in Wike’s camp told our correspondent that the possibility of reconciliation is getting more and more impossible as the days go by.

According to the former principal officer of the House of Representatives, Wike and other governors in his camp have resolved not to be part of any reconciliation effort henceforth if Ayu attends any other presidential campaign rally in his capacity as the National Chairman of the PDP, apart from the ones already held.

The position, it was gathered, is in protest against alleged foot-dragging approach to the crisis by Atiku and the BoT leadership.

“The governors and Wike have been meeting on the matter because they know Nigerians are waiting for their position on the crisis as well as Atiku’s campaign. But it is not possible for them to keep waiting forever for people who are not ready to do what is needed for peace to reign.

“It is not pleasing that the party and its candidate are carrying on without resolving the issue at hand.

“Senator Ayu is still leading the campaigns as National Chairman in spite of the opposition from the south. How do we tell our people that PDP is not a sectional party?

“We may not be talking about reconciliation again if Ayu presides over another presidential campaign rally. The wait cannot be forever,” our source added.

Rivers governor, allies absent as Atiku outlines agenda at Edo rally

Governor Nyesom Wike, his ally governors in PDP, the National Vice Chairman, Southsouth of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Dan Orbih, and their teeming supporters yesterday shunned the campaign rally of the presidential candidate of the party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

The rally took place at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin, Edo State.

Some Edo State civil servants, who spoke with our correspondent in confidence, said they were compelled by the Godwin Obaseki administration to be at the stadium for crowd effect.

They lamented that they had to “waste almost the whole day” attending the event despite that they are not politicians.

Some of them said they had been at the refurbished stadium for more than four hours without the party’s leaders in sight.

Edo State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Col. David Imuse (rtd.), had earlier revealed that the Obaseki administration in the state had directed all the state’s civil servants to be at the stadium for PDP’s rally or risk being sanctioned.

He was, however, insulted by the Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, and Obaseki’s media aide, Crusoe Osagie.

Orbih, the immediate past chairman of PDP in the state and one of Wike’s allies, had been at loggerheads with Obaseki over the control of the party’s structures from ward to state levels, with parallel primaries held ahead of the 2023 general elections.

In spite of the series of litigation and judgments over PDP’s candidates in Edo, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as at Friday, still recognised the list of candidates from Orbih’s legacy group.

Members of the Legacy group and other allies of Orbih were also absent during Friday’s inauguration of the Edo State Campaign Council of PDP where Obaseki, who is the chairman of the council, assured that the state was ready to deliver votes for the PDP during next year’s elections.

Speaking at the rally yesterday, Atiku, who is still smarting from the backlash of his call on Northerners not to vote for presidential candidates from the Southern part of the country, described himself as a unifier, saying that development could only be found in PDP controlled states and urging Edo people and other Nigerians to continue to support the party to ensure good governance.

He said: “We will give every part of Nigeria a sense of belonging. We are unifiers of our great nation. Our universities will not go on strike, by the grace of God. We promise to revive the economy of Nigeria.

“We promise infrastructural development in Nigeria. Roads will be reconstructed and rehabilitated. We need efficient rail system to move freely in the country.

“Edo is known to be a PDP’s state. PDP will be loyal to you and pay you back.”

The presidential candidate of PDP, who also promised to tackle insecurity and ensure quality education, alleged that APC had destroyed Nigeria and is therefore not a party to be supported.

Atiku’s running mate, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, who is the governor of Delta State, urged the electorate to massively vote for PDP’s presidential candidate in order to ensure a new Nigeria.

Also speaking, the embattled National Chairman of PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, said Atiku and Okowa would tackle all the problems bedeviling the country in view of their years of experience and capacity.

The Chairman of PDP’s campaign council and governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, said an Atiku-led government would be the only administration that could revive and restore Nigeria.

The Director-General of PDP’s campaign council, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, urged Nigerians not to allow the return of poor governance from May 29, 2023.

Atiku to commence tour of flood ravaged states Tuesday

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, will on Tuesday commence a tour of communities ravaged by floods across the six geopolitical zones.

Atiku made the disclosure in a statement issued by his media and signed by his Media Adviser, Mazi Paul Ibe yesterday.

According to the statement, the PDP presidential candidate will kick-start the the tour from Bayelsa State where the Otuoke country home of former President Goodluck Jonathan was ravaged by the floods.

The statement reads in part: “The tours to states ravaged by flooding become incumbent in view of the trauma that the incidents have caused the victims.

“Consequently, the tours will provide the presidential candidate the opportunity to have an on-sight impact assessment of these flooding incidents and give him a veritable window to input those ecological concerns in his policy documents.”

The statement recalled that Atiku had supported flood victims in Jigawa, Yobe and Kano states earlier in the month.

His media office also credited him with being the first among the presidential candidates to speak on the issue of flooding, urging persons living around flood vulnerable areas to temporarily evacuate their homes following the alert by the meteorological agency that some 24 states faced the risk of major flooding.

The presidential candidate of Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, had a few days ago called on other presidential candidates in the 2023 election to temporarily suspend their campaigns and visit flood ravaged communities with a view to assisting the victims.

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