Recently, the presidential flagbearer of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, met with the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, in Prof. Jerry Gana’s residence in Abuja. Reportedly, the meeting went well and in the end a Committee was set up by both parties to find a lasting solution to the feud involving the Governor and his group on one hand and the former Vice-President and his loyalists on the other. It is no longer a secret that there is no love lost lately between Atiku and Wike, the latter having suffered defeat at the PDP National Convention and later suffered yet another humiliating defeat as he gunned for a V-P position in the Atiku presidency.
The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa was chosen by Atiku instead of Gov. Wike! And since the Wazirin Adamawa took that controversial decision (though sound in our reckoning) he had ‘murdered’ sleep and the PDP had been thrown into confusion.
The major demand from the Wike camp remained the resignation of the embattled National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu. Ayu like other PDP principal national officers are from the north. And the argument by Wike and co was that since the presidential standard bearer is from the North (Atiku) then national offices must be zoned out of the north in the spirit of fair play.
Chairman Ayu and his supporters are saying that resignation of the Exco or other office holders can only come after the presidential poll slated for February next year. That is the essential point of discord. And resolution of same could take political sagacity, compromise and sacrifice. A balance must be struck if the PDP hopes to carry everyone along leading to the crucial election.
Whoever says Gov. Wike is not important in the scheme of things PDP must have their heads examined. The Rivers helmsman has proven his organisational and mobilisation mettle over time. He had thus far been kind to the party given the ‘injustice’ he was meted out to. If he decamped to another political party then Atiku and PDP would surely lose the crucial Niger Delta votes.
Gov. Wike may have his valid grievances and these grievances should be taken into consideration. He was ‘stabbed’ twice by the same political party to which he belongs with pride, one for which his financial contributions cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand. Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, ‘stabbed’ him first like Brutus during the PDP Convention in Abuja. And Atiku sought to ‘finish’ him off with an Okowa VP card.
Now, the opposition PDP are determined to win back power at the presidency, something precious they lost almost eight years ago when ex-President, Goodluck Jonathan, was shellacked electorally by the underwhelming incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari. Having failed spectacularly to rule for sixty years (as arrogantly predicted by phony seers and prophets that abound in the party) the sixteen accumulated years they held sway at the centre were marked by remarkable high-wire corruption, power-generation fiscal scam (to the tune of 16 billion Dollars!) and promotion of cronyism and nepotism.
Today, the PDP are set for yet another gigantic political battle for Aso Villa power conquest. By ‘electing’ the former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, as its flagbearer for the February’s presidential poll in flagrant disregard for zoning the vibrant opposition party is stretching its luck too far. While Atiku may perform much better than his Fulani ‘brother’ from Daura once in Aso Rock there are these issues of equity, fairness and justice crying out loud to be resolved.
Now that Atiku, the perennial presidential contender, has emerged yet again using his vast resources to ‘buy’ himself the ticket, it remains to be seen how the party would navigate through the internal wranglings and division that had been troubling the party post-Convention months ago.
At the centre of the internal risis rocking the party is the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike and a whole lot of other disgruntled party members and stakeholders. Gov. Wike, no doubt, is a positive force to be reckoned with in the PDP hierarchy. He has paid his dues but his recompense seems to be in short supply.
Inside Gov. Wike’s head the PDP rings a deafening bell. To quit or not to quit, to decamp or stay put? He has his options yet the truth of the matter as we see it is that Gov. Wike has not been treated fairly by the Atiku gang. He was betrayed and treated shabbily. He was disrespected and thrown under the moving bus!
Managing the crisis would definitely take a lot of diplomacy and maturity otherwise the PDP’s chances at the polls are heavily compromised. Inside the mind of Gov. Wike something tells us that the disenchantment he feels runs deep. He believes strongly that he deserved something better given his sacrifices and contributions to the party.
Following the Wike ‘bomb’ waiting to explode anytime Atiku Abubakar had featured exclusively on Arise TV interview recently. And he revealed and said a lot about the crisis within his party. And he did not forget to hit at the opposition too. His intervention did not help matters. The much-vaunted reconciliation process suffered massive blow with the ‘Atikulated’ outing on the Abuja-based television.
For one, Atiku attacked his opponents calling them out, one after the other, without fear or favour. For another, he insinuated that the garrulous Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, spewed lies by declaring that there was a vote (which gave majority votes to Gov. Wike) during their Committee deliberations for the choice of Atiku’s running mate.
For another, Atiku claimed ignorantly that Comrade Omoyele Sowore (the intrepid SaharaReporters publisher and AAC presidential candidate) had been coming back from America every four years to contest for the presidency only for him to run back to Uncle Sam once he was defeated! Atiku goofed because Comrade Sowore had taken part in just one presidential poll — 2019. And since then he has elected to be home, sometimes free and in other times cooling his heels inside the DSS gulag!
And for yet another, Atiku had said that the Labour Party’s presidential hopeful, Peter Obi, had not what it takes to beat him or Asiwaju Tinubu in the 2023 election because Obi and his Labour Party had no structure on the ground unlike the PDP and the APC. Obi had since replied his former boss by saying that the millions of poor and hungry Nigerians were his ‘structures’!
Concerning Asiwaju Tinubu Atiku made it clear that the Muslim-Muslim ticket preferred by the ’emi-lokan’ local champion had all along been his political strategy. He declared that he disagreed with Asiwaju over the same faith ticket many years ago. The Asiwaju camp had reacted angrily to the Atiku declaration generating a war of words between the two camps.
The Rivers State Governor has made it clear that at the fullest of time he would be spilling the beans, revealing what actually transpired before, during and after the PDP ‘dollarised’ National Convention. Wike himself was involved in the Dollar rain but it emerged that Atiku outspent him! Besides, the Tambuwal masterstroke of a wild card, played publicly by announcing his withdrawal in the eleventh hour in Atiku’s favour, must have dealt a devastating blow to the Wike presidential aspiration.
For genuine reconciliation to take place in the PDP and for the party to remove itself in the head of Wike then the needful must be done. Wike and his many supporters must be reassured and accommodated. He needs every assurance in the book if only to prove to him that his efforts in the PDP are not in vain.
If the PDP Presidents that supervised our chaotic national affairs for 16 unbroken years (OBJ, the late Yar’Adua and GEJ) performed negligibly developmentally the present APC administration under Buhari represents nothing but a national tragedy! The President has effortlessly lowered the bar of governance that a lunatic or an analphabetic herdsman would have done much better.
Be that as it may, however, we refuse to apportion the whole blame for the chaos and anarchy in the federal system to Buhari alone. While it is true that the buck stops inevitably at his executive powerful table the political prostitutes and opportunists and contractors around the power corridor in Abuja, cabal et al, must also share the blame for the Buharian monumental failure.
Governor Nyesom Wike has strategically positioned himself as the ‘kingmaker’ in the forthcoming presidential poll as it concerns the PDP. If the PDP meets his grievances and takes him in the better for the party. Otherwise, he could still play a crucial role even in another political party during the election.
Let Atiku and his team give to Wike what he deserves lest the PDP found itself losing out yet again come February next year.
AUTHOR: Ozodinukwe Okenwa
Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.
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