…visit Atiku, Wike, others to follow
John Alechenu, Abuja
Leading figures in the Governor Nyesom Wike Presidential Campaign Council, who are members of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, were noticeably absent from the board’s meeting on Wednesday.
Those who weren’t sighted during the meeting held at the National Executive Council Hall at the PDP National Secretariat include: Governor Nyesom Wike, Prof. Jerry Gana, and Sen. Zainab Kure.
Although details of the meeting which was held behind closed doors was still shrouded in secrecy as at press time, it was gathered that the crisis of confidence between the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike featured prominently.
A source privy to what transpired behind closed-doors who spoke to VANGUARD on condition of anonymity so as not to “further inflame passions,” said, “After taking stock of what transpired during and after our national convention and the choice of running mate, we all agreed we have a problem.
“We cannot deny the fact that we need most, if not all of our party members on board but the question is at what cost?
“There were those who raised issues with the party’s current leadership structure which has been one of the bones of contention of Wike and his group.
“As things stand today, our National Chairman, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and of course our Presidential candidate are all northerners.
“We need to balance our sense of history with fairness in order not to give our opponents talking points during the campaigns.
“On the other hand, Atiku’s supporters in response to the demand in some quarters that Ayu should step down, argue that it would be a harmful strategy to remove the chairman with barely six or seven months to the 2023 elections because Ayu himself knows he must leave without being asked to do so as soon as we win. These are the issues we are dealing with.
“We agreed to set up a committee involving all our (BoT) members to first go and meet the former Vice President who is our candidate for the 2023 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar. This decision to go to him first is in recognition of the order of protocol.
“We will then go and meet with governor Wile to hear from him, beg him if we need to, although some members are not in agreement but we need peace to return for us to move forward. These issues must be thrashed out before we can set up our campaign council.”
After the meeting, Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi spoke to reporters.
He admitted that the BoT members discussed how to resolve the feud between Atiku and Wike but dismissed calls for the sack of the national chairman, Iyiochia Ayu, as speculations which was not discussed at the meeting.
He said, “We discussed the crisis between our presidential candidate and Governor Nyesom Wike.
“In getting it resolved, we set up a committee of the whole to urgently interface with the two of them.
” We have set up in this meeting committee of the BoT to be able to interface between warring factions, particularly the acrimony that is taking place between the presidential candidate and governor Wike and any other conflict that is taking place in the nation within our party formation.
“The committee is the committee of the whole, that means every other BoT member is a member of the committee. I cannot tell you the grievances and the time frame.
Asked if the vexed issue of a demand by Wike’s supporters that Ayu should step down as a precondition for peace, Ningi said, ” We have not even discussed any issue of anybody stepping down. We discuss what we discuss, and what we discussed what I told you.“