PDP Crisis: Wike, Atiku’s Men Disagree Over Iyorchia Ayu
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike’s team has given a condition for holding peace talks with the representatives of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar on Friday.
Sources in the governor’s team told The PUNCH on Wednesday that Wike’s men would, on getting to the meeting, insist on the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, as a condition for the talks to proceed.
The PUNCH had reported that the rift between Atiku and Wike started after the governor’s ambition of becoming the party’s vice-presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections failed following the emergence of the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as Atiku’s running mate.
A member of Wike’s team, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Ayu has shown that he cannot be trusted. He once said that once a presidential candidate emerges from the North, he will resign. Now, he cannot honour his own words. Can such a man be trusted?
It was learnt that the Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, who should have led members of the reconciliation committee in Atiku’s camp to the meeting was the chief host during the defection of some All Progressives Congress members in Yola.
“In respect of the meeting to settle the disagreement between Wike and Atiku, and as a counter to the statement that an agreement had been reached for the meeting to be held in Abuja on Friday, we are stating categorically that the meeting will be held in no place other than Port Harcourt.
‘Ayu won’t go’
Confiding in one of our correspondents, a member of the reconciliation panel, loyal to Atiku, said the party could not afford to remove Ayu at this time, noting that such a move would put the PDP on the back foot in the run up to the 2023 general elections.
Speaking to The PUNCH on Wednesday, the party leader and reconciliation panel member stated, ‘’The panel is empowered to resolve the crisis between Atiku and Wike but that does not mean the governor can push the party around or dictate impossible terms and conditions.
‘’Though, he is important to the PDP, he cannot dictate to the party. So, the various conditions attributed to his camp such as the resignation of the party chairman cannot sail through. Removing the chairman less than eight months to the election is a recipe for defeat and we cannot accept that.’’
Addressing the clamour for the resignation of the PDP chairman, especially, the demand by a chieftain of the party, Chief Bode George, that a meeting should be convened to address the matter, the party spokesman, Debo Ologunagba explained that the party had a procedure for handling such issues.
He stated, “The party always has procedures to convene meetings, we are not even aware of what he said. The party has not received any call to that effect. You are just telling me now as news. The PDP is one, we are united.
Reacting to the crisis, Olabode George, in an interview on Channels television’s Politics Today, monitored by one of our correspondents on Wednesday, said it was as if some kind of devil had entered the party.
He said, “It is not only a bother to me, it is a bother to a lot of the committed, the elders, and members of the upper chamber of the party. It looks like some kind of devil has entered the midst of our party. But let me tell you something; our party has the capacity to resolve our crisis, our party has enough experienced leaders, committed leaders, and followers who will sit and be able to handle and resolve this crisis once and for all.
‘’Fortunately, we have about five weeks from now before we commence the campaign. All my appeal now is that Governor Wike should cool down. Presidential candidate Atiku should also cool down because none of their ambitions should be bigger and higher than the ambition of our party. We are appealing to both of them because there is no organisation anywhere in the world that will not have crisis but the capacity and the ability to handle the resolution of such crisis will be a measure of how developed or reliable or respectable that organisation is.”
He argued, “All we are saying, for purposes of inclusivity: give us a position that we in the south will take home to convince our people that now the North has the presidential candidate. What are we going to use on the platform to convince the larger members of the party?
“If we don’t do that, we will not be able to convince Nigerians, especially people in the South. And I’ve told my friends from the North that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Imagine, if it was from this side that it happened, would they have accepted that? No. Continue reading