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By Dapo Akinrefon & John Alechenu, LAGOS

Following the feud between Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, governors elected on the platform of the party, yesterday, decided to intervene in the rift.

It will be recalled that Governor Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State visited Governor Wike in Port Harcourt, Rivers State last Thursday as a way of placating the latter.

Fintiri, who is chairman of the reconciliation committee, had said the committee will achieve the desired result for the success of the party, ahead of the 2023 elections.

He also disclosed that Nigerians will not forgive PDP if it failed to produce the next President, considering what he described as the rudderless nature of the Nigerian state under APC.

Why PDP govs are wading in

A source, privy to the meeting, told Vanguard that the PDP governors will meet this week in Adamawa State to resolve the protracted rift between Atiku and Wike.

Speaking on the crisis, the source said: “I do not see it as a rift. I know there are plans by Governor Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State to host the PDP Governors’ Forum in his state.

“I do not know whether they have fixed the date yet, but it is going to be within this week or next week.  The governors will meet and discuss issues at that level as part of the reconciliation efforts.

Fintiri seen as neutral person

“I am aware the governors are talking among themselves and as you know, they hold their meetings from one state to another. Fintiri has not hosted and this is his turn to host and I can tell you authoritatively that the governors are talking among themselves about the need to hold that meeting urgently. Since the convention, no meeting has been held.

“Some of the PDP governors believe that if Fintiri is hosting the meeting, he is seen as a neutral person that can pull all the sides together.”

Wike not against reconciliation

Asked whether Wike is not disposed to a peace parley, the source, a former member of the National Working Committee, NWC, said: “Wike is disposed to peace. If you look at his position, he has said that the problem is not Atiku but the people around Atiku. Whether that is true or false, that is his position.”

Ex-northern gov, ex-military brass frustrating peace moves — PDP Source

Also, indications emerged yesterday how a former northern governor and an ex-military top brass are frustrating moves to reconcile Governor Wike and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

This is on the heels of the claim by a Board of Trustees, BoT, member of the party, Professor Jerry Gana, that some forces within and outside PDP were frustrating reconciliation efforts.

Multiple sources within the PDP told Vanguard that while the Wike camp insists on Ayu stepping down, the Atiku camp, backed by these forces, may not want Ayu to be shown the way out.

But countering the anti-Ayu forces, a former Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Chris Ekpenyong, yesterday, faulted those calling for the removal of Ayu, noting that it is too late to change Ayu as elections are around the corner.

But a source familiar with the crisis, said these forces warned that they “will continue to thwart the reconciliation move if it does not favour them.”

The source said: “The powerful forces frustrating the peace moves are a former northern governor and former military general from the north. They do not want the arranged winning formula to change.

“Ayu too is adamant. Wike has given his condition and one of the conditions is what will the South be given to campaign with? Another condition is that Ayu must resign and the position of national chairman must come to the South.

“Ayu also gave his condition that he will not be the only one to go, and that all members of the National Working Committee, NWC, must resign. In as much as you have an internal set-up that will thwart the reconciliation move, the party is not ready.

“For Wike, he has given his conditions and if the party is not ready to meet those conditions, he will sit on the fence.”

It’s insult to give S-West DG position

Asked his position on the proposed plan to pick the Director-General of the campaign council from the South-West as a way of placating the region, the source said: “Is D-G a position? It is not a position in any way, it is nothing. The D-G is like an appointee of the candidate, it is even an insult. We are not talking about the D-G but the South having something tangible.

“In fact, it is an insult to the South. They are looking for someone from the South-West that can boost their campaign but nobody will answer them. That is the problem the Atiku camp will have.

“They can as well pick a D-G from the north. This is simple. If Atiku wants to win and he does not want any problem, he must do the needful but, as I said, some powerful forces are on his neck too.

“These forces are preventing reconciliation.  The day Atiku forms his campaign council and is presented, that may be the end of the PDP. They can’t form the council now because they are anticipating that the crisis will be resolved soon but the condition has not been met.”

It’s risky for Ayu to go few months to polls — Ekpenyong

Speaking on the crisis in the party, a former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Chris Ekpenyong, urged all feuding parties to sheathe their swords, adding that those calling for Ayu’s resignation “should understand that it is too late into the election for that to occur.”

While he warned that propaganda could destroy the party, the PDP leader said:  “The goal should be to unify Nigeria first and every other thing will follow thereafter.

“I’m appealing again to Mr Project, my brother, Governor Wike, to remember his words at the convention ground where he said he will support whoever emerged as the presidential candidate of the party. “He also promised the PDP National Assembly members during his consultation that he won’t leave the party, no matter the outcome of the convention. He is known as a man who keeps to his words. He shouldn’t disappoint those who believe in him.

“Also, those calling for the resignation of the party chairman, especially our time-tested leader and former National Vice Chairman, South-West, Chief Bode George, should understand that it’s too late into the election for that to occur.

“It will cause a lot of confusion that may hurt the party during the election. Such issues should be left till after the general election, as the party stood by other zones to produce presidents, even the South-West during their turn.

“We should all reciprocate and stand by the North-East to also produce a president.

“We should all bear in mind that in politics, you win some, you lose some. I appeal to all sides to sheathe their swords. The election is close by. PDP must convince Nigerians that it can manage the resources of the country in the best interest of the people.

“We should avoid arrogance and name-calling, propaganda that can destroy the party. The Board of Trustees must rise to the occasion and the warring chieftains should calm down.

There have been mistakes, which will be amended after the general election when we win.

“For now, the major goal should be how to rescue the nation from collapsing as the heroes of the party come together to defend this nation. We should also come together as party men and women to defend our nation from the hands of this failed government.

“Let the sacrifices of our party heroes, those who have gone and those still with us not be in vain.”

Those plotting PDP’s downfall fueling Atiku, Wike feud—Group

Meanwhile, supporters of Peoples Democratic Party, under the aegis of PDP Frontiers, have accused some party leaders as the brains behind the seemingly unending political feud between the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike.

The group cautioned Atiku against yielding to pressures by the fifth columnists to isolate Wike who had proved through words and actions that he is an unrepentant party loyalist.

President of the PDPF, Hussein Mohammed, its Secretary, Moses Abidemi and Publicity Secretary, Dan Okafor, in a joint statement in Abuja yesterday noted that it is now clear that those who wished to truncate the party’s march towards victory in the 2023 elections were working hand in gloves with the ruling party.

The PDP Frontliners alleged that “a medley group of losers and political lilliputians in the Rivers State chapter of our party now drop daily tons of lies and propaganda towards further driving a wedge between Atiku and Wike, in the hopes that such a method would increase their chances for ministerial appointment in an Atiku Presidency.

“The listening ears being given by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to fantasy groups like the South-South Ward-to-Ward Group, a mere group of jolly friends who visited him in Abuja, on Wednesday, August 10, 2022, along with potential political expiry products, who still nurse wounds from a failed governorship bid in Rivers state, churns out baseless perspectives capable of misleading Atiku.

“There are mischief-makers in Rivers State who are actively working with mischievous anti-Wike party elements in Abuja; daily, you hear fabricated ‘news’ that Wike has pulled down all PDP flags in Rivers State or that he has kicked out party elders in the state but these are largely the machinations of disgruntled souls from the geo-political zone.

“It is astounding that hours after circulating false reports that Governor Wike had ordered the removal of PDP flags in Rivers State Government House, further lies and propaganda got circulated across many media platforms on Friday morning, claiming that Governor Wike filed suit seeking the removal of Atiku as presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party.

‘’It came at a time every lawyer and knowledgeable Nigerians know that the constitutional deadline for such has been exceeded.

“The ruling APC’s mind-numbing cluelessness in the management of Nigeria’s economy and the blood-curdling woefulness of insecurity caused by their lack of political will as well as a litany of dangerous intra-party indicators readily ensure APC’s loss in the coming elections but PDP needs to put its house in order if we really want to win.

“Sadly, someone like Governor Nyesom Wike who has sacrificed a lot to keep the party together and forge a way forward through moments of grave uncertainties is now being ridiculed and somewhat alienated by few party leaders who never ventured to make a tiny fraction of such personal sacrifices; sadly, some even abandoned PDP to romance another party and returned only when the likes of Governor Wike had done much rebuilding.

“Where was our chairman, Ayu when PDP was going through a major turbulence which Governor Wike and others addressed headlong but his foxy leadership, hasty and not well thought out decisions fosters divisiveness?’’

The group enjoined the party and its presidential candidate to engage in serious fend mending efforts and avoid encouraging divisive remarks which had become the stock in trade of some party elders, if the PDP must win the forthcoming elections.

According to the PDP Frontliners, the PDP’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar needs to stop listening to those who worked with the opposition to frustrate PDP’s victory in 2019 but have today sneaked into the party to finish off what they started.

“Our presidential candidate and the party leadership must ensure unity and address party loyalists’ anxieties by giving an ear to voices of criticism, even when what they say appears harsh and unfriendly.

‘’In 2019, we won four states in the North and thirteen in the South, so there is just no reason the South, including Governor Wike, should be given the impression that they now matter less,’’ the group said.

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