The decision of Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, to host some All Progressives Congress,APC, governors believed to be close associates of the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has sparked fresh anxiety in the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that while leaders of the PDP are haggling over how best to handle Wike and his supporters, especially among governors elected on its platform, the move by APC governors took “only a few” of them by surprise.
A member of the PDP National Executive Committee who pleaded anonymity so as not to “jeopardize fence-mending efforts,” said the party is bigger than every member.
He said: “PDP has been around since 1998. We have seen all kinds of members come and go.
With due respect to everyone, membership of this party is by choice. We would like to have people on board, but we would be better off with those who believe in the cause of the party.
“I don’t think any sacrifice is too much for individual members to make for us to return to power in 2023.
“Yes, without doubt, Rivers State is one of our biggest strongholds and we have accorded and will continue to accord the state and its people the respect they deserve.
“But no individual can hold the party to ransom. Politics is about interest and our interest as a party now is how to win the next election to rescue this country we all love so passionately from the precipice the APC has dragged us to.”
Another top-ranking member of the party who spoke in confidence said: “Thankfully, our National Chairman has returned and we expect our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to return after the Eid-el-Kabir festivities, I can guarantee you that we will meet and take appropriate steps to resolves all outstanding issues.
Asked if he was worried about the prospect of Wike and his allies jumping ship, the source replied, “of course, who won’t be worried? The 2023 election is just months away. We need all our committed members.”
A member of the PDP Board of Trustees, Maina Waziri, in an interview aired on Arise Television, on Friday, shed some light on some information available to party leaders on what some of Wike’s allies within the party’s fold were up to.
He pointedly accused one of Wike’s close associates, former Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose of anti-party activities.
Waziri said: “The first culprit for the failure of the PDP in Ekiti is Fayose, who worked for the APC. We know he is already with (Asiwaju) Bola Tinubu to work for the APC.”
Speaking further he said: “I was in Turkey. I went to Turkey two Fridays ago for a long-
deserved holiday having gone through contentious preparations for the national convention.
“Five days after my arrival, we accidentally ran into one another with Governor (Nyesom) Wike, Gov. (Okozie) Ikpeazu and their entourage in the lift of the same hotel I was staying in.
“I was coming down, he was going up and it was a pleasant surprise. We exchanged banters and pleasantries with them and I jokingly told Governor Wike that ‘’God catch you, you’ve been avoiding me.’’ I said God has brought us together, let us use this opportunity to discuss and he agreed.
“Information at my disposal said Governor Makinde also came to Turkey to the same hotel and the three of them were locked in a meeting that went into the wee hours of the morning of Friday. We were not able to meet to discuss what will be newsworthy.”
Also speaking about calls by some elements within the party who had started a subtle campaign for the ouster of the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, Waziri dismissed such calls.
He argued that the PDP is a party built on processes and procedures, noting that the era of one individual orchestrating the removal of the party chairman was gone.
According to him, the fact that the party held its primary and the outcome didn’t go a certain way was not enough reason to remove the chairman.
Maina said:”There is an understanding that should the President of the country of PDP extraction come from a region, the party chairman should come from another region.
“Have we got a President of PDP extraction? For us to go through the whole gamut of party leadership in the PDP, we are calling for another convention when we are five months to the election.’’
The PDP chieftain went down memory lane to trace Governor Wike’s role in the sack of two of the last three former chairmen.
Waziri said; “With due respect to Governor Wike, why should he be in the vanguard of changing the national chairman all the time? I’m a dedicated and committed party man like him. I have been in this party since 1998.”
Last Friday, some governors elected on the platform of APC as well as close political associates of Tinubu, held a closed-door meeting with Wike at his private residence in Port Harcourt.
Speculations are rife that the visit was in connection with plans by the APC to win Wike over.
Wike and his supporters are aggrieved following what they claimed was the conspiracy which not only denied Wike the party’s presidential ticket, but also the opportunity to emerge as running mate to PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu led the APC delegation, which included Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, Governor Kayode Fayemi and Senator Olaka Nwogu among others.