Wike's supporters challenge Atiku to resolve PDP crisis 

More supporters of Governor Nyesom Wike challenge Atiku Abubakar, the PDP Presidential candidate to resolve the raging intraparty crisis

Wike's supporters challenge Atiku to resolve PDP crisis 

More supporters of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State have challenged Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP to resolve the intraparty disharmony created by the victory at the presidential primaries and his choice of running mate.

The disagreement that erupted after the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party has  pitched Wike, the influential runner-up in the primaries who was snubbed in the choice of running mate, against Atiku and the rest of the party. The crisis has manifested in the defection and threats of defection by Wike's supporters, near boycott by PDP Governors of PDP National Campaign Council for Osun state Governorship election and subtle threats to abandon the party's presidential campaign.
Many of Wike's supporters are coming out to challenge Atiku to resolve the crisis. One of them is the Rivers State chairman of the party, Desmond Akaowor, said only Atiku knew how to end the looming crisis in the party. He noted that the former vice-president would have to decide when he wants to win the election or retain the tag of a candidate.

He said votes from Lagos, Kano and Rivers states were critical for any candidate that would win the election, noting that Atiku could not afford to joke with Rivers State, given Tinubu’s influence in Lagos and the influence of Rabiu Kwankwaso and Ibrahim Shekarau in Kano.
 “They inaugurated a committee for the Osun State governorship poll. How many PDP governors out of the 13 were there? Only two. Is it a good sign? We have lost Ekiti, and now Osun is going this way, and we are saying there is no problem. These things have ripple effects.

“When Ojukwu was confronted with the civil war, he said let those who started the war end the war. This means the person who picked Ifeanyi Okowa (as his running mate) should know what to do. Like Governor Ortom (of Benue State) has also reacted; you (Atiku) said you would make a phone call, which means you don’t care.”

He argued that Atiku promised to make Wike his deputy but reneged in spite of the fact that the committee that was set up recommended the same. “The solution lies with the man who has the yam and the knife. He was the one that made a unilateral decision and only he can give a solution as well,” he added.

A former Commissioner of Information in Rivers State, Mr Ogbonnaya Nwuke, also said reactions from Ortom and former governor Ayo Fayose showed that Wike might not be happy. He warned that if the issue was left unhandled, it would affect the party’s fortunes, noting that Atiku’s neglect of the committee’s recommendation wasn’t helpful.

“If you are looking at the reaction of his friends who are speaking up, it is obvious that something is not right. Beyond that, only Wike can speak on what his next line of action will be. My view is that the flag bearer of the party is the one who should reach out meaningfully, not hide behind a mask and set up clueless committees. Those things mean nothing. The buck will stop at his table.”

A former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Onueze Okocha, who is an ally of Wike, said Wike remained a loyal party man and would stick with the party no matter what.

Okocha said, “Governor Wike does not need any placation. He has always been a loyal party man. As long as the best interests of the party are protected and preserved, Wike will go along. I can say so on his behalf.

“I don’t think Wike is angry about anything. He has an open mind. He is a politician.”

While advising Atiku, he stated, “Wike is such an important member of the party, so are all others. He should ensure he carries all interests along and makes sure there is some form of consensus building. That is the way political parties make progress.”

A former Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, has called on the party’s national leadership to adopt a unified approach in resolving the controversy surrounding the emergence of Okowa as Atiku’s running mate or be ready to face defeat.

In a statement titled ‘2023 elections: PDP must unite or face defeat’ in Jos on Friday, he said it was wrong to neglect Wike when he was recommended by the majority of the selection committee. “You cannot ignore a decision of a committee you set up yourself and expect people to be happy,” he said.

“While it is no longer news that the presidential primaries have come and gone and a candidate emerged, it is disheartening that the manner in which the vice-presidential candidate emerged is nothing but sheer disregard for processes.

“We cannot disregard people who have dedicated themselves to building the party and expect to make meaningful progress. That such people are treated the way the party is currently doing is a pointer to the fact that more is to come. We cannot fold our hands and watch the party drift away from the tenets which have made it the only truly democratic party in Nigeria.”

But a former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, has dismissed alleged cracks in the PDP.

He said since Atiku got the party’s ticket, he represents the party that any internal problem should be solved from within.

He said, “If it happens that you say Ortom and Fayose have left the party, then we have a problem, but in-house we have to sit and everybody will air their views and if there is anything, we will see how we will move forward. But none of them has left the party. Reconciliation is still going on. There is no cause for alarm.”

Speaking on Fayose’s insistence on southern presidency, Bafarawa said, “Go and ask him; he was a member of the zoning committee, he signed the agreement and the committee submitted its report. So, whatever recommendation was taken, he was there and the recommendation was taken to the National Working Committee and National Executive Council.

 “So, it is unfortunate for him to come and say that. As far as I am concerned, Fayose, a former governor, is very responsible and he is a good character and I respect him. Nobody has left the party yet for us to say we have a problem. As far as I am concerned, it is a family matter which I believe our presidential candidate has the capacity to resolve under the party leadership.”

Asked to comment on the fact that governors in the PDP seem to be taking a back seat and watching some issues going in the party, Bafarawa said there should be no complaint.