By John Alechenu, Egufe Yafugborhi, Davies Iheamnachor, Marie-Therese Nanlong, Luminous Jannamike & Adeola Badru
The last has not been heard about the crisis bedevilling the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, in a tell it all television interview, yesterday, dared the party to suspend him for alleged anti-party activities and be prepared for the consequences.
He said this after alleging that the party’s National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, who he has been campaigning should resign, collected N1billion from an undisclosed source in Lagos prior to the PDP presidential primaries.
Wike spoke as the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar cautioned his aides against insulting the Rivers State governor, saying there is still room for reconciliation.
Disclosing this, Atiku’s Spokesman, Daniel Bwala said on Television that “Wike remains a pride of the party.”
Wike’s can of worms
Asked what his reaction would be if the party considered his activities to be anti-party and decides to suspend him, Wike said: “Who will suspend me? What do you think is my job here? I’m not saying I’m bigger than the party but those who ran away from the party cannot suspend me from the party. I beg them, today, today they should come and suspend me. Anything they see, they will take.
“Ayu is corrupt. Quote me. I am a lawyer and I am the governor of Rivers State. Can Ayu deny that he did not collect one billion Naira in Lagos? He told one of the PDP presidential aspirants before the primaries that the governors were not ready to fund the party.”
According to Wike, he knows “how the money was arranged and those involved in packaging the money. He collected one billion. Let him come out to tell Nigerians it is not true and I will reveal more.”
The Rivers State governor expressed disappointment that those championing for sanctions against him were party leaders who lacked electoral value and have contributed next to nothing to the party since its inception.
In a veiled reference to a party chieftain, Adamu Waziri, Wike said, “Since 1999, PDP has never won in Yobe State. You have zero in your state and Rivers has been bringing 100. But you’re running up and down saying you’ll sanction the man who has done so much for the party.”
Ayu, retired Generals worked against my emergence
Wike also revealed that some ex-military generals and top-ranking party leaders working in cahoots with Ayu worked as individuals and as a team to stop his emergence as the party’s presidential candidate.
He said: “Even on the night of the convention, meetings were going on. That is why we started our convention late. Some of the retired generals were involved. Some of the meetings were held in their houses. There is nothing they didn’t do for me to step down.
“Those who know me know that I would have stopped the convention, even if heaven falls. But I said for peace to reign, let the convention go on. Now, a candidate has emerged. And we need to win elections as a party. That is the ultimate, winning elections.
“But the right things must be done. It was agreed and it has been the practice of the party that if the candidate comes from the North, the national chairman should come from the South. The candidate (Atiku) knows all these. He even said it to me when he came to my house in Abuja.
He further revealed that Ayu threatened party officials and stakeholders that he would resign if Wike emerged as a candidate.
According to him, a group of retired generals and influential party members held marathon meetings on the night of the party’s presidential primary and special convention all in a bid to ensure he did not emerge, adding that some of the meetings were held in homes of ex-generals on the night of the party’s convention.
This, he said, was partly responsible for the delay witnessed on the convention ground on the day of the PDP presidential primary.
Wike took a swipe at Ayu who he said connived with certain interests to ensure former Vice President Atiku Abubakar emerged as a candidate.
He said: “A whole national chairman told some aspirants that if Wike wins that he was going to resign. As chairman of the convention, he allowed Aminu Tambuwal to speak a second time. Look, integrity matters. And after everything, he (Ayu) went and hugged Tambuwal that who was the hero of the convention.
“I’m fighting for justice, fairness and equity. I’m not saying I’m bigger than the party. Those who run away from the party cannot sustain the party. We have boxed ourselves into a corner, breaking our convention and constitution.
“Why did we jettison the constitution of our party and now talking about the rule of law? If we had followed Section 7 subsection 3 we would not have ended up in this crisis. I will stay in the PDP to fight for justice. I am not a man that will see fire and run away.
“You cannot eat your cake and have it. Sacrifice must be made in order to come out of this. Let us do things right so that peace will reign. We must do the right thing for inclusivity, so we can be sure that everybody belongs to one house, and for the unity of the country. As it is today, we cannot undermine this factor of marginalization. You must show that you have the capacity to bring everybody together.”
He further stated: “Why did they put pressure on the BOT chairman to resign and could not put pressure on the National Chairman of the party to resign?
“Instead of you doing the right thing, what they are doing is name calling. Wike is this and that. All this will not help us get anywhere. We have not even won the election we have become so arrogant.”
Those who betrayed Jonathan, PDP in 2014-2015
Wike noted that the same set of persons who betrayed the then PDP President, Dr GoodLuck Jonathan and the party, on the issue of zoning were the same people trying to manipulate the system on the same issue.
“The party constitution says, there shall be zoning of the party and elective offices. It is clear. Not ambiguous. But people will always try to manipulate the system to suit their plans. They slant stories in such a way as to deceive the public. The founding fathers know the complexity of this country. They did it in such a way as not to have problems.
“People should not forget history. In 2013 and 2014, there was an issue with the presidential candidate. Jonathan emerged. Atiku and others walked out of the convention. Tambuwal and the former Senate President all walked out.
“Jonathan did everything to talk to them. But they rebuffed him. As a sitting President, he travelled to London to see Atiku but he rebuffed him. Former Governor Babangida Aliyu admitted that they all agreed to work against Jonathan.”
They’ve already shared appointments/positions
Wike also alleged that Atiku and those in his camp have already shared positions in anticipation of victory in 2023.
“Some people have been given positions as we speak. Ayu wants to become the SGF. These are things happening in the party that we can’t say in public.
“You see when we talked about Ayu, it seems people don’t know what is involved. Ayu wants to be in power. So that he will be there and if we (PDP) win (presidential election), he wants to be the Secretary to the Government of the Federation position.
“You know these positions have been shared and then they are talking to ‘small boys’ like us to play along like we don’t know what is going on.
“I can tell you that because most of you don’t know what is going in the party. Somebody has been given the senate president position. And do you think I will sit here on national television to tell you things I don’t know? It is just because of confidentiality and certain things that we cannot say them here.”