Atiku, G5 Governors: Fresh Crisis Rocks PDP
Atiku, G5 Governors: Fresh Crisis Rocks PDP
Fresh efforts by the camp of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to woo Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and other PDP governors in the G5 into the Presidential Campaign Committee of the party, suffered a hitch, during the week, The Nation learnt.
But an ally of Atiku,Mr.Dino Melaye is optimistic of a truce between the two sides soon,even as Wike yesterday took a swipe at some of Atiku’s loyalists in his state who he said were linking him to political violence.
The Nation gathered yesterday that latest peace talks between the Atiku camp and Wike’s supporters stalled partly because of the intense rivalry in the Benue State chapter of the party between the state Governor Sam Ortom and the PDP National Chairman,Dr.Iyorchia Ayu.
Ortom is an ally of Wike and Ayu,a strong supporter of Atiku.
Wike and his colleagues in the G5 are demanding Ayu’s resignation as chairman as condition for peace.
Sources said a scheduled meeting of the conciliators and chieftains of the Integrity Group failed to hold during the week.
The Nation gathered that following growing concerns from many quarters within and outside the opposition party that Atiku may not win the 2023 presidential election without the support of the aggrieved governors and their supporters, the leadership of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council agreed that fresh efforts should be made to appeal to Wike and others to join the campaign in the interest of the party. Atiku, who had earlier resolved to move on with his campaign without the G5 governors, was convinced to support the proposed reconciliation effort. Some governors of the party were saddled with the assignment.
One of them is Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, who is also the Director-General of Atiku’s presidential campaign.
Tambuwal had met with some members of the Integrity Group two weeks ago. The Nation also gathered that Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State and Atiku’s running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, also made overtures to some of the aggrieved governors and their supporters, in a bid to end the face-off and have the angry party members back in the mainstream of the party ahead of the February 2023 presidential election.
Sources said apart from urging Ortom to support Atiku’s ambition, Tambuwal during his meeting with the Benue State governor, pleaded with him to persuade other members of the G5 and their supporters.
“Internal party wrangling is normal and what we have been having is not a war of attrition but disagreement,” Tambuwal said at the end of the meeting.
Continuing, he said: “We, even in our families, have reasons to disagree several times and even come back stronger. So, it’s a work in progress. We are interested in bringing everybody together and working together.”
Ortom,responding ,said: “The leadership of this party has failed in taking advantage of the challenges of the party and make it stronger. They have failed to do this.
“Rather, it is arrogance, it is nonchalant attitude. Nobody has cared to reach out to us even when we voiced out that things weren’t going well. For me, I commend him (Tambuwal) for taking this step to visit me and we have discussed my opinion on how I think this matter can be resolved and I believe that as a leader and as DG of the campaign, he will do the needful because I am not alone.”
Meanwhile, The Nation gathered that Tambuwal’s visit did not achieve much as supporters of the Benue State Governor rejected any talk of reconciliation with Ayu and his allies in the state.
A source conversant with the dispute said: “Senator Ayu is the problem and Tambuwal saw things for himself when he came. He was shown the many atrocities being committed by the National Chairman and his people here in Benue. “How do you reconcile us with such people? The problem has been localised by Ayu and his people and it will be difficult to solve.
“That is why the follow up meeting promised by Tambuwal did not take place.”
The Nation also gathered that other parleys held as part of the renewed peace move were deadlocked as members of the G5 and their supporters allegedly insisted on the resignation of Ayu as a condition for reconciliation talks. Consequently, Tambuwal and others in search of reconciliation within the PDP are said to currently be in a fix as they do not know what to do next given Atiku’s position that removing Ayu at a time like this is not in the interest of the party.
Wike, Ortom and governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, are unrelenting in their demand for Ayu’s exit as PDP national chairman.
Some of the prominent PDP leaders that have openly identified with the aggrieved governors are former governors Olusegun Mimiko from Ondo State, Ayo Fayose from Ekiti State, Donald Duke from Cross River State, Jonah Jang from Plateau State and former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Bode George from Lagos State. Others are former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Bello Adoke; Deputy National Chairman South of the PDP, Taofeek Arapaja; Senator Nasif Suleiman, Nnena Ukeje, Senator Sandy Onor, the PDP gubernatorial candidate in Cross River State, and Senator Mao Ohuabunwa.
Wike flays Atiku’s campaigners for linking him to violence in Rivers
Governor Wike yesterday lambasted some Atiku campaigners in Rivers State – Lee Maeba, Austin Opara and Abiye Sekibo – for allegedly linking him to political violence.
The governor said that in all his political journey the use of violence has never been part of measures adopted to achieve his goals.
Wike, according to a statement by his Special Assistant, Media, Kelvin Ebiri, spoke when he inaugurated the Okrika Founder’s Park in Koniju Ama in Okrika Local Government Area.
Wike said it was unfortunate that someone like Senator Lee Maeba could accuse him of violence.
He wondered why Maeba would allege that political thugs were sent by him to invade his house
He said: “Two days again, I was watching on TV.It’s unfortunate, I saw Lee Maeba, I saw Austin Opara,I saw Abiye Sekibo saying that my humble self, sent people to Lee Maeba’s house to attack him, to kill him. I couldn’t believe it.
“But you saw the Commissioner of Police’s report. He said, listen, your house is surrounded by houses, you have two gates to your house, not one gate was damaged, not one.
“The cars you said that were damaged are rickety cars, no brand new cars were touched. Have you ever seen such?”
He, however, said instead of playing politics of violence, he would rather resort to legal means to seek redress.
He said: “But you see, I laugh. I said God, well, you know the truth. But people are pushing politics too far. I am sleeping , you are waking me up. When I wake , whatever you see you take.
“Please, advise our people not to play the kind of politics they are playing. Let’s play decent politics. Anybody who knows me knows too well, my own is: if I want to fight you, I don’t need to send anybody, I will go to court.”
Wike hailed Chief Adokiye Amiesimaka, who meant well for his people and chose to invest personal resources in providing the Founder’s Park.
He noted that with such gesture, Chief Amiesimaka had distinguished himself from those who used their political positions to enrich themselves instead of ensuring construction of the ring road in Okrika.
Gombe PDP crisis worsens as more members jump ship
The crisis rocking the PDP in Gombe State is worsening by the day with more members defecting to the APC and the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP).
The floodgate of defections was opened last weekend when popular politician and runner up in the state PDP primary, Jamilu Gwamna, left for the APC.
More members of the PDP, however, left yesterday for the NNPP.
Confirming the development in an interview, PDP Publicity Secretary, Malam Muritala Usman Kumo, accusing the party’s gubernatorial candidate, Alhaji Jibrin Barde, of resorting to divide and rule tactics after winning the party primary.
He feared that the crisis would have an adverse effect on the chances of Atiku in the state.
He said:”Yes, the crisis in Gombe PDP will affect Atiku to some extent, although it will not stop him from winning the state.
“Before this crisis in the PDP, we were sure that the APC would not get even 10 percent in the state but now I don’t think so with the way things are falling apart and people are leaving the party every day for the APC and NNPP.
“Take for instance, a former gubernatorial aspirant, Jamilu Gwamna, the zonal secretary of the party, Kabiru Bapajaro of and the former Deputy Governor, Charles Iliya, have all left the party for APC due to the nonchalant attitude of our candidate. This thing has to be addressed once and for all. Let us see how we can build confidence in the minds of party faithful and electorates in order to ensure that we win the election.”