By Dapo Akinrefon, John Alechenu & Davies Iheamnachor, LAGOS
The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, took a new dimension as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, met with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and some PDP governors in London, on Monday night.
Vanguard was reliably informed that Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, his Abia State counterpart, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, and other PDP stalwarts loyal to Wike attended the meeting.
Vanguard had reported yesterday that Governor Wike and some of his allies travelled out of the country for what was described as a critical meeting on their political future.
The team, which comprised some PDP governors and other major personalities in Wike’s camp, were said to have left the country at the weekend, after the flag-off of new projects by the governor in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
Governor Wike had been engaged in a cold war with his party over his defeat at the PDP presidential primary and ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s choice of a running mate.
He recently gave the party some conditions for an amicable resolution of the crisis and is currently at loggerheads with other top party faithful in his state opposed to his antics.
Also recall that a reconciliation committee set up to end the frosty relationship between Atiku and Wike met last week, though no concrete resolution was reached.
Tinubu meets Wike, others in London
A reliable source privy to the meeting told Vanguard that the gathering centred on the need for the Wike camp to support Tinubu’s presidential ambition.
The source said: “It is true that there was a meeting where Tinubu met with Wike, Makinde and Ikpeazu. The meeting was held on Monday night, it was not in France, it was in London.
‘’The meeting had to do with Wike and his camp staying in PDP, causing crisis in PDP and asking his supporters to work for APC. Asiwaju is coming back today (yesterday) or tomorrow morning (today).”
Another source, who confirmed the London meeting, said: “I know Tinubu and Wike’s team went for a meeting outside the country. What I know is Atiku will go ahead without Wike.
‘’From what I know, if the internal crisis is not resolved, Wike will be an albatross. I know some leaders are confusing Atiku not to work with Wike but that is dangerous for the progress of the party.
“If they want the PDP to win in 2023, Ayu must resign and if he does that, it will help the party. If Ayu resigns today, the PDP crisis will be over but Ayu has insisted that he won’t resign because of his four-year mandate.
‘’The likes of Uche Secondus will not want the crisis to be over, Austin Opara, who was denied ticket will not want the crisis resolved.”
Wike underrating North, playing anti-party politics—Atiku’s camp
Meanwhile, some allies in the Atiku camp, yesterday, met in Abuja to chart a way forward and seek a quick resolution to the internal wrangling within the party.
A top PDP leader in Atiku’s camp, who pleaded anonymity, said Wike was underrating the capacity of the North, insisting that the party wouldn’t dismantle its leadership because of the Rivers governor.
The source, who was present at the meeting, said: “We will not dismantle our leadership structure at this stage because of Wike. What does he want? The South has the Vice President in PDP.
‘’Isn’t that fair enough? If they are saying the South must produce the President, it shouldn’t be the West but the Southeast in the spirit of equity. Unfortunately, he has Ortom, Makinde and Ikpeazu with him.
‘’Ortom is with him for economic reasons. Makinde, like Wike, has succeeded in offending PDP leaders in Oyo. He has stepped on many toes. If he’s not careful, his re-election may not be possible. He will only win, if APC fields an unpopular candidate.
“Wike can’t kill PDP. Where was he in 1999? He is underrating the North. He doesn’t know the North is taking note of his utterances and actions. And they will pay him in their way.
‘’We are not giving in to his selfish demand. What does he want? He is already playing anti-party but we won’t move against him because we want peace.”
Wike’s man dumps PDP, moves to APC
As the crisis rages on, the Director General of Wike Solidarity Movement, Prince Sudor Nwiyor, yesterday, dumped the PDP for APC.
Nwiyor, who announced his resignation from the PDP in Port Harcourt, cited high-handedness in the party as one of the reasons he left the ruling PDP.
He further stated that he defected because those who worked for the PDP were abandoned, while monies are given to new members from the APC to entice them into the party.
Nwiyor said: “My decision stems from the faulty regime in the PDP where those who have worked for the party are dumped and abandoned, while monies are given to newcomers to entice them to the party.
“The entire leaders in the 23 local government areas of the state have had no appointment, they have been asking what is in for them, I have not been able to proffer any answer.
“This informed my decision or move to the APC. I will collapse all the WSM structures to the APC.”
BoT to receive reconciliation panel report today
But barring any last-minute changes, the committee set up by feuding members of the PDP, will submit its report to the party’s Board of Trustees today.
A top-ranking member of the party leadership familiar with the matter, confided in Vanguard, yesterday, that Governor Ahmadu Fintiri-led team has served the BoT notice that it would be submitting its report.
The source said: “If things go as planned, the report which I understand is ready will be submitted to the BoT on Wednesday (today)
“We’ve met with Fintiri from Atiku’s side and Professor Jerry Gana from Wike’s side, we expect the report and recommendations which will form the basis of our decision on the way forward.”
Another party source, who pleaded anonymity, claimed that the Wike camp was demanding that three members of the party leadership should step down.
The source said: “We may be dealing with another challenge because apart from Ayu, they are asking that the National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, the Deputy National Chairman (North), Umar Damagun should go and in their place, acting national officers should be appointed to reflect Nigeria’s diversity.”
I’ll remain in PDP till I die—BoT chairman
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jibrin, said he stood by his comments about the inherent injustice in the North holding the position of Presidential Candidate, National Chairman and BoT chairman at the same time.
He spoke against the backdrop of reservations expressed by some of the feuding party members over his comments as contained in an interview he granted Channels Television.
Jibrin said: “Based on my earlier statement that PDP cannot produce in North president, national Chairman, BoT Chairman all from the North for 2023 presidential elections.
“I still maintain my stand on that statement PDP is a democratic and national party that caters for all Nigerians it’s not sectional but loved by all Nigerians.
“As a PDP BoT Chairman, I must say the truth and nothing but the truth no matter anyone criticism I don’t fear anyone but God and true agenda of our party. I will add that I stand strongly on my toes I am a true member of PDP since its inception in 1998.
“Today I am one of the truest members of the party who remained in the party since 1998 that never changed to any party but remained only in PDP passing all positions in positions in PDP as follows: PDP unit leader, ward leader, state leader, PDP zonal leader, PDP National Ex-Officio member, National Deputy Financial Secretary, PDP National Financial Secretary, BoT member, BoT acting secretary, BoT confirmed secretary, PDP acting Chairman and today BoT Chairman.
“I saw yesterday in PDP and today kicking very well in PDP adding to this, I am also today A member of PDP National Caucus member, NEC member and member of the National Convention. As chairman of BoT, I have a 5-year tenure but already spent four years and six months. I have only six months left as per the constitution of our party PDP. Therefore, I will never accept any unholy criticism by anyone.
“I will remain in PDP until my death. I still maintain that the BoT is eagerly waiting for the report of the Reconciliation committee headed by the Governor of Adamawa state and Professor Jerry Gana thereafter, the BoT will thoroughly discuss it and inform the public accordingly no more no less.
“The BoT will continue discussing with all other aggrieved members of the party including those in states, zones and nationally. I advise that we should concentrate more on how to win all elective positions in 2023.”
Vanguard News Nigeria
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