The disagreement between the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has continued to unsettle the party ahead of the 2023 election.
This is even as the party has set up a reconciliation committee on how the impasse can be amicably resolved.
Recall that ahead of the party’s primary which produced Atiku Abubakar as its flagbearer, Legit.ng had predicted a two-horse race ahead of the primary.
Wike’s first disappointment
The final battle was eventually between Wike and Atiku Abubakar, but as predicted by our correspondent, a last-minute game changed the entire situation.
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Tambuwal stepped down for Atiku, urging his supporters to vote for the former Vice President. The decision came despite the governor’s closeness to Wike. And the Rivers State Governor considered Tambuwal’s action as a political betrayal.
Atiku eventually won the primary and has since become the party’s flagbearer ahead of the 2023 election. But Wike who expressed his disappointment after the primary said he would have scattered everything if not for the respect he has for the party.
According to him: If I wanted to scuttle the convention, I would have done that and I told them. There are people you think they are human beings but they are not human beings,” he said.
Committee recommended Wike ahead of Okowa, Udom
Since the primary, Wike hibernated politically and would not speak in public regarding the situation in the party. But there were speculations at a time that a committee had recommended him to be Atiku’s running mate amid objection from some party leaders.
But a detailed report on the matter has claimed that the committee had recommended that Wike should be considered ahead of Ifeanyi Okowa and Udom Emmanuel. The committee believes that Wike would make the journey easy for Atiku Abubakar. It was also claimed that Aminu Tambuwal, the Sokoto State Governor was in total support of an Atiku/Wike’s ticket.
Wike’s second disappointment
It’s believed that despite the recommendation by the committee, Wike was not Atiku’s choice, hence he made his decision.
A PDP stakeholder who spoke to Legit.ng said though Atiku did not express openly his choice to the committee after Wike was recommended, he had it in mind that Okowa was his choice.
The chieftain who does not want to be mentioned due to the ongoing reconciliation in the party said Atiku didn’t want Wike because of certain political considerations.
According to him:
“Wike is such a powerful politician who can outshine his principal. Atiku must have considered that as the president, the Rivers State Governor could become too powerful and he may begin to have some problems. You know Atiku had a similar problem under former President, Olusegun Obasanjo. The choice of Okowa may not be as a result of competence but as a result of expected loyalty.
“If you noticed, Okowa has been very calm. He looks likely like someone that can be trusted. But if we are to talk about competence and the ability to attract votes to the party in the presidential election, Wike has all it takes. We think Atiku made that choice on personal grounds and it must be based on who he feels comfortable working with.”
But another trouble started when Wike was rejected and Okowa was picked by the presidential candidate of the PDP, Mr Abubakar. Even though Wike raised no question with regard to his rejection, his body language showed that he is totally aggrieved over the party’s choice. Different statements from groups within the party expressing dissatisfaction over the decision of Atiku and the PDP were issued, some believed to be coming from the camp of the the Rivers State Governor.
Another source told Legit.ng that Wike’s problem with the party, may not exactly be about his failed bid, but the compromising posture of the party leadership under Iyorchia Ayu. The source said Ayu was not partisan in the party’s primary, hence Wike can no longer trust the party if Atiku emerges in 2023.
Wike’s camp is requesting that a concrete agreement be reached before they can trust the party going forward. While asking for Ayu’s resignation, the request for a single tenure for Atiku Abubakar can not be left out.
Atiku’s Arise TV interview ignites fresh battle
Atiku in an interview on Arise TV claimed that the choice of Okowa as his running mate was his personal choice and not the party’s.
The PDP presidential candidate, however, said that the party and himself had engaged Wike on the matter and would resolve it with him. But Wike was quick to call Atiku a liar, stating that the PDP presidential candidate had at no time contacted him over the issue.
Wike also boasted that he was going to speak again when it’s necessary to speak in order to address the entire issue. According to him, nobody can intimidate him and his supporters.
The Rivers State Governor also said that the party’s national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, only reached out to him once and that it was not about any particular thing.
Wike faulted those saying he should not speak on the matter, saying if he does not speak, people would believe the lies being sold to them.
PDP sets up reconciliation committee
The PDP has however set up a committee to look into Wike’s pain in order to sail smoothly in 2023.
The committee was set up by the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
A former lawmaker and member of the board, Sen. Abdul Ningi made this known while briefing newsmen at the end of the BoT meeting in Abuja, last week.
Ningi said the party was expected to interface between factions in order to return PDP to the path of peace.
Despite the move to reconcile the duo of Wike and Atiku, it is yet clear a settlement is possible considering the recent political development..
Wike shuns PDP chieftains, invites Sonwo-Olu for project commission
Details emerge as PDP governors, others loyal to Wike meet, take decision on whether to support Atiku or not
Despite the ongoing reconciliation in the party, the Rivers State governor shunned politicians and governors of his party in the launch of the Orochiri-Worukwo flyover in Port Harcourt on Monday.
Reports had emerged that he shunned his colleagues in the PDP because he feels disappointed over the ongoing activities in the party.
But denying that the invitation of Sonwo-Olu has anything to do with politics, Wike said Sanwo-Olu’s outstanding performance in Lagos pushed him to extend an invitation to him for the commissioning of the project
He, however, said that the people of the state will only support those who know them, in 2023.
A source told Legit.ng that PDP has a huge task of resolving their internal squabble before the commencement of campaign in September.
According to the PDP source who pleaded not to be mentioned:
“Some of us in the party are already tired of this Wike issue. How can only one person hold all of us to ransom? All I will advise is for the party leadership to hurry up and resolve the crisis because we need to start campaign aggressively in September. “
2023: Atiku appoints Dino into campaign cabinet
Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has made a fresh appointment in preparation for the 2023 general election.
On Thursday, August 4, Atiku announced Senator Dino Melaye as his campaign spokesperson heading into the 2023 polls.
Dino will also be joined by Dr Daniel Bwala, who will function as an assistant in the Atiku campaign cabinet team.