…To ‘surprise’ Rivers gov
…Tinubu, Obi mounting pressure on Wike for alliance —Source
…Explains what he really wants
….Reconciliation c’ttee to meet this week
By Dapo Akinrefon & John Alechenu, LAGOS
FOLLOWING his opposition and relentless attacks on the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, northern leaders, including senators across party lines, are upset with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Vanguard learned yesterday.
It was learned that the leaders, who initially thought Wike’s tantrums were just political jibes, are now seeing his growing opposition to the PDP candidate as an attack on the north.
Both Atiku and Wike have been engaged in a frosty relationship over the removal of the party’s National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu.
The two leaders also set up a reconciliation committee to resolve their differences but there has been no headway.
Multiple sources said both All Progressives Congress, APC and PDP senators now see Wike’s actions as not just humiliating to Atiku but also the entire north.
But the camp of the Rivers State governor is also not relenting as it is insisting that the promises made by the former vice president must be honoured.
Meanwhile, strong indications have emerged that the reconciliation committee is expected to meet this week to look into the requests of both camps to make headway.
Similarly, Vanguard was reliably informed that the feud Wike has with Atiku is for relevance and a fight for a position, should the party win the next presidential election.
Northern senators, others upset over Wike’s opposition to Atiku
Following Wike’s opposition to Atiku, there is growing consensus to support Atiku, especially the North/South divide they felt Wike has introduced to PDP crisis.
A highly placed source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The north is taking note of what Wike is doing to Atiku. I am one of them and I can tell you confidently that they are not happy with Wike.
‘’He lost an election and has turned his opposition to Atiku into the age long North/South divide. The leaders, including senators in both parties, are not happy with Wike. And they have resolved to surprise him at the appropriate time. What does he want?
‘’He is a poor student of history and has forgotten that Atiku is north’s highest representative in the election.”
Wike’s fight for relevance
On why the Rivers State governor is up in arms against the former VP, a source involved in the reconciliation committee said the feud was deliberate.
Giving insight to the frosty relationship, the source said: “The real issue between Wike and Atiku is deliberately distorted to fit a narrative and that narrative is that it is a fight by Wike for relevance, it is a fight by Wike for a position, it is a fight by Wike to secure himself.
“Legitimately, it could be all of these, Wike, having invested in the party, has a right to insist to be at the top table.
“Also, he came second in the party primary; in all democracies, when the winner emerges, the person who comes closest in the race, some grounds will be conceded to him and his followers.
“One had expected that immediately after the primary, the first person Atiku will court will be Wike and his group.
“All issues that have been narrowed down to Wike are for the governors and members that are sympathetic to him and his cause.
“What are the principal issues in this cause. First is that the BoT chairman, party chairman, party candidate, the chairman of the PDP governors’ forum and all major offices within the PDP are held by northerners.
“Wike and his allies had insisted from day one that the president must come from the South but some people said it is not like that.
‘’That was why the contest was thrown open but with a proviso that if the presidential candidate comes from the north, then the chairman of the party who was elected at the convention, would step down and the chairman would now come from the South.
“This is what I heard and maybe Wike will still commit himself. The first discussion Atiku had with Wike is that Ayu would go as earlier discussed.
“Second, Atiku offered to make Wike, at their first meeting, the vice presidential candidate. Wike now told Atiku that he had heard but he would discuss with his team. Atiku offered Wike to be his running mate.”
Wike’s romance with Tinubu, Obi
On Wike’s romance with Tinubu and Obi, the source said: “There is a consensus that none of the options on the table will bring stability and progress.
“All of the options have k-leg. People believe that the Muslim-Muslim ticket is not an option for Nigeria and that it will continue to haunt us in the future, if allowed.
“Tinubu and Obi wanted to meet him. For political reasons, he was invited and there is no crime in that. I know Obi went to meet him. If you were in Wike’s shoes, will you not meet those who want to meet you?
‘’You see, we are being unfair in this whole thing, somebody held this party together and he was the face of opposition then. The sensible thing is to give him what he rightly deserves.”
The source disclosed that the peace parley is on course, adding that members of the committee would meet this week for further discussions.
The source said: “All I know is that Dr Olusegun Mimiko is one of those facilitating peace in the PDP. If the reconciliation works, which is a possibility, because meetings are still being held and they will still be held this week.
‘’There are meetings going on and the possibility of resolving it is there.
“After resolving the crisis, there is the possibility of building a broad-based coalition. The issue of Nigeria now is not about parties, people are working to build a coalition that will give us a semblance and a platform that will help us arrest what we are going through now. The reconciliation effort is going on.”