The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may not come to an end soon as the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike is meeting with key members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), in London, an apparent move to either leave the party or scuttle the chances of its Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The party’s Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and Wike have been at loggerheads for months now following the outcome of the party’s Presidential Primaries.
It was learnt that Wike; Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde; Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and the National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Iyiola Omisore, met in London at the weekend to explore the areas of collaboration ahead of the 2023 elections.
This development is coming a day after a key ally of Wike, Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, clarified that he would not leave the main opposition party, explaining that his alliance with Wike was to negotiate better deals for the South-east.
With the renewed calls for the resignation of the PDP chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, there was palpable tension within the camp of Atiku Abubakar following the accusation that he was shielding Ayu from resigning. So far, PDP stakeholders from the South, including the supporters of Wike, are mobilising for a showdown with Ayu’s supporters over his continued stay in office.
The southern stakeholders are demanding that Ayu should relinquish his position for the South-west as a strategy against Senator Bola Tinubu’s presidential bid on the platform of the APC.
The demand for Ayu to step down is no longer just a campaign of Wike but has metamorphosed into a southern agenda. The general perception in the party at the moment is that with Atiku from the North-east, Ayu from the North-central and the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State from the North-west, the southern members of the party have been marginalised.
“There is nothing for the South other than the Office of the National Secretary held by Senator Samuel Anyanwu and the vice presidential candidate, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa,” a source disclosed.
The source explained that Atiku’s camp has been thrown into panic because there is a strong suspicion that the presidential candidate is backing Ayu.
“This is the time for the presidential candidate to speak out and prove to Nigerians that he can take tough decisions. Atiku’s continued silence on the matter of agitation for Ayu to step down is not golden,” he said.
Another PDP stakeholder from the South revealed that Ayu would bring only little value to the table.
“What is Ayu bringing into the campaigns that Atiku cannot sacrifice him? I can’t believe that Atiku is this weak to take a tough decision. Let us see how all these will go with the national caucus and NEC meetings,” he said.
Also speaking on the issue, a former governor elected on the platform of the PDP said the manipulations and horse-trading that took place at the presidential convention and the nomination of Okowa as the vice presidential candidate have divided the once-united PDP governors forum.
The former governor noted that because of the role played by the Chairman of the PDP Governors, Tambuwal, a meeting of the party’s governors cannot be called to intervene on issues affecting the party. The former governor said the governors have thrown their weights behind Atiku and Wike, stating that this is the time for the presidential candidate to step in and restore normalcy within the party members.
The former governor said it is a complete falsehood to think that there is no crisis at hand.
It was further gathered that the Governors of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde; Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Abia State, Dr.Okezie Ikpeazu; Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammed and Benue State, Samuel Ortom have lined up behind Wike to insist that Ayu must go.
However, Okowa; Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel; his counterparts in Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, and Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri have thrown their weights behind Atiku.
The trio of Wike, Ortom and Makinde left Nigeria for London on Friday. The trip to London, it was gathered, was to conclude plans for their mobilisation for the NEC and national caucus meeting.
Wike, Makinde, Fayemi, and Omisore were also said to have met in London to explore areas of collaboration ahead of the 2023 elections. A source close to Wike’s camp said; “This is Atiku’s time to show leadership and he should not fail the party. He should weigh in on the matter before NEC and the outcome should be announced there.”
“This is the hour of reckoning for Atiku and Ayu. But, if he should play the ostrich, we will help him to lose the election,” the source said.
Wike is not relenting in his bid to ensure that the NEC and national caucus of the party force Ayu to resign the same way Prince Uche Secondus was forced to vacate the seat as the national chairman.
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