March 26, 2023

‘Enemies’ Within: Why PDP spared Makinde, Ugwuanyi, descended on Ortom, Fayose, Anyim— Sources


•’Wike still under investigation’

By John Alechenu, Abuja

Many people believed they were enemies within the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, because they not only disagreed with the party leadership on who should be their presidential candidate ahead of the February 25 elections but it was alleged in many quarters that they also worked against the party.

They operated under the aegis of Integrity Group but the governors among them were famously known as the G5.
The crux of the matter was their insistence on the removal of the PDP Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, who hails from the North just like the party’s presidential candidate.

Led by Governor Nyesom Wike (Rivers State) who had contested for the party’s presidential ticket with Atiku but came second, they canvassed the ceding of the party’s chair to the South as a form of geopolitical balancing.

But their demand was never met, thus setting the stage for a stalemate ahead of the polls.

Opposition parties won the February 25 presidential election in the states controlled by the G5 governors namely Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).

Thus it wasn’t unexpected that the PDP leadership would fight back now that the elections are over and Atiku not only lost but the party also lost some states it hitherto controlled.

‘No blanket decision’

The PDP National Working Committee, NWC, had, on Thursday, suspended former Senate President, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, former Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayo Fayose, his former Katsina State counterpart, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema and two chieftains of the party, Prof. Dennis Ityavyar (Benue State), Dr Aslam Aliyu (Zamfara State) over alleged anti-party activities.

Of the lot, at least Fayose had been linked to the G5 governors. The NWC also referred Ortom to the party’s National Disciplinary Committee.

However, the decision to spare Makinde, Ugwuanyi, Ikpeazu and Wike alleged to have also engaged in anti-party activities has set tongues wagging.

Sunday Vanguard gathered, in Abuja, that the NWC treated each case on an individual basis.

A member of the party’s NWC, who was privy to what transpired during the meeting when the decision was taken to suspend Fayose and co was taken, explained that it “was not a blanket decision.”

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the issue, said, “We treated each case on its merit.”

He went on: “It was as simple as looking at the level of infraction committed by each of those whose cases were brought before us.
“His Excellency Governor, Seyi Makinde, and his Enugu State counterpart, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for example, were not overtly hostile to the party in spite of the differences we had.

“These two party members contributed men and materials to support our presidential campaigns, especially in their respective states.
“They also didn’t openly canvass for support for presidential candidates other than Atiku Abubakar unlike Ortom who openly declared his support for Peter Obi and to add salt to injury also asked his supporters to vote for Obi.

“Even when there were speculations that Makinde and Ugwuanyi were supporting the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, they were diplomatic and subtle in their approach.

“We are a party governed by rules and regulations. For every action there are consequences.

“As for Governor Wike, his case is still being investigated; although he disparaged our presidential candidate, he was careful not to openly canvass for the candidate of another party.”