Worried at the way the main opposition party in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is handling its internal crisis, especially on the sharing of its national offices, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesome Wike has cautioned the party against taking Nigerians for granted.

Wike whocautioned the PDP against taking Nigerians for granted because people are already disenchanted with the failure of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) also said if not, it would be disastrous for PDP to fritter away the confidence the people have on the party (PDP).

Conscious of the fact that the general election is around the corner, the governor also said it has become imperative for PDP to prove to Nigerians that it could be trusted with their votes, which will return it to power in 2023.

Wike pointed out that the promise of hope by PDP to Nigerians must be seen from how it is able to resolve the current leadership imbalance and marginalisation among its members.

“You see, people take Nigerians for granted and that’s what PDP is trying to do. Because Nigerians are not happy with APC and therefore, we don’t want to do the right thing. You don’t do that.

“Rather, since we believe that APC government has not done well then, we, as people, who want to take over, should show more seriousness to Nigerians.

“It is we as a party that must show to Nigerians that we have integrity, that we are trustworthy to do what we have promised Nigerians that when we come, all these issues of marginalisation will be a thing of the past.”

It should be recalled that Wike contested the PDP Presidential primary election on May 28/29 this year alongside others but he came a distant second with 237 votes while the former Vice President of the country, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar secured 371 votes out of the 767 total votes cast there to emerge the Presidential candidate of the party.

Based on this, opinions were rife that he would be given the Vice Presidential (VP) ticket but he failed to get this but rather his Delta State counterpart, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa was given the ticket.

Since then, Wike has been crying foul, fingering the National Chairman of PDP Senator Iyorchia Ayu to be responsible for his failure to secure both the Presidential and VP tickets.

He disclosed that he never lobbied anybody to submit his name for VP nomination saying “ask any of the committee members that submitted likely persons whether I approached any of them. 

“Ayu went to Atiku at 12 midnight to tell him to drop me from being his running mate. Those who meant well for Atiku pleaded with him to pick me if he wanted to win this election but he refused.” 

Based on this, at every opportunity to make a public statement, Wike has never seized to clamour for the resignation of Ayu.

Despite his consistent agitation for Ayu to go, the national body of the party alongside Atiku have insisted that PDP’s National Chair must stay.

Wike disclosed that Atiku had during the meeting they held in London promised to work out within a week modalities for the resignation of  Ayu as national chairman, but never did.

He further explained that after the one week that was promised elapsed, instead of returning back to them to state the challenges encountered, the presidential candidate is now using the PDP constitution as defence.

At a media chat in Port Harcourt on September 23, 2022, Wike blamed his failure at the primary on the role played by Ayu.

The governor alleged that Ayu obtained the sum of One Billion Naira in the guise of funding the party, but never remitted the money to the party’s account.

“Will he (Ayu) deny the fact that he did not collect N1 Billion from Lagos? Let him deny, I will tell him who gave him the money. The money was given to him in Lagos.

“He met one of the presidential aspirants and told him that he is not sure these governors may want to sponsor the party. Let Ayu say no. I will even call some of the business men and how the money was arranged in Lagos. That money did not enter into the account of PDP.”

The governor who also alleged that Ayu is corrupt also said he exerted pressure on some of the PDP presidential aspirants like Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State and former Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, to step down for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on the day of the convention.

“There’s nothing Ayu did not do for me not to emerge as the PDP candidate. Ayu did everything to manipulate the system to ensure that all the numbers did not add up.

 “Ayu had come openly then to say if the presidential candidate emerged from the north, he would resign. Nobody forced him to say that. So, why is he not doing it?

“Ayu wants to be Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Saraki has his eyes on his own too. Some have already been given senate presidency slot. So, we all here are to just watch them. 

“If Nigerians hear what is going on in the party that wants to take over power, this country will shake.”

He said the call for the resignation of Ayu from the party is bordered on justice, fairness and equity pointing out that “development alone is not the only problem Nigeria has.

“Insecurity alone is not the only problem Nigeria has. Part of our problem is none inclusivity of people, certain section believing they are being marginalised. Whether you like it or not you must show that you have the capacity to bring everybody together.”

“You are talking about constitution now, but you forget that the constitution says there should be zoning of elective and party offices. You did not remember that constitution says so. Now, is there nothing called expediency? Is there nothing called doctrine of necessity?  Now, look at where we have found ourselves.”

He further added: “ab initio, the presidency ought to have been zoned to the South, you knew it. What you’ve done is to show how clever or smart you are. Now, there is crisis you’re now falling back to that constitution to say that there will be constitutional crisis. You cannot eat your cake and have it. You can’t.”

The governor noted that National Executive Committee (NEC) of PDP could take the decision now to accommodate the resignation of Ayu as the national chairman and seek ratification at a convention later after the elections.

According to Governor Wike, such decision will be for expediency purposes in order to allow for a southerner to become national chairman of the PDP.

“All we want is, now that you have given presidency to the North, let us (South) take our own chairman, because when they’re meeting for decision making, the presidential candidate seats there, national chairman seats there, the DG of campaign seats there, they take decision and come out and tell you to execute.

“Now, I hear the Board of Trustees (BOT) chairman is gone. Why did they put pressure on the BOT chairman to resign and then now you cannot put pressure on national chairman to resign. When I was trying to run as governor, I had a lot of crisis. But I had to let go certain things for us to be able to win election. The problem is that we have not won election and we are arrogant.”

Continuing, he said those who are advising the PDP presidential candidate to ignore Rivers State votes do not wish him well in the forthcoming general election adding that “anybody advising Atiku, that is a wicked man, and I know those who are doing it.

“They don’t have electoral value in their own units. Some of them are from Edo. Look at their calculation: Buhari didn’t win in Rivers State, but Buhari won Lagos and Kano. Does Atiku have Lagos now, does he have Kano? The only one he has always had is Rivers and you say you don’t want them.”

Wike specifically alleged that Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri, who hails from Yobe State and lacks political relevance, is one of those misleading the PDP presidential candidate.

“Has PDP won Yobe State? Now, what is his electoral value that he (Waziri) will bring to the table? Tell me; since 1999 we started this democracy, PDP has never won Yobe State and then you are going about, we will deal with him. We will sanction him.”

He further stressed that the PDP boxed itself in its current quagmire and to disentangle itself the remedies will include making sacrifices that will engender inclusivity.

 Wike reiterated that he is fighting for justice, equity and fairness now because party primaries have come and gone and “I have accepted the choice of the delegates.

The presidency is waiting for the PDP to sink, so let us make sacrifice. Do not allow the opportunity to slip off. They should even thank me and my group for opening their eyes.

“My focus now is to deliver my candidates in my state (Governor, National Assembly members, Rivers State House of Assembly members).

The issue now, he further stated is the national party chairman pointing out that the PDP constitution must be followed but the leaders do not want the people to know the truth

He said “the founding fathers of the party envisaged national balance. They did not make a mistake in zoning party offices and federal character”

To buttress this point, Wike recalled that in 2013/14, when Goodluck Jonathan won the party primaries, Atiku walked out on him and some persons also walked away to another party.

“Jonathan did everything within his power to woo them back. He even traced Atiku to London and appealed to him to come back but Atiku shunned him. They rebuffed him. 

 “The Niger State former governor has even come out to disclose how they (PDP top-notchers) decided to work against Jonathan, their own party candidate then.

“It is the tradition of the PDP to zone positions and give party chairman to one zone and presidential candidate to another. 

“Southern governors met in Asaba and resolved that presidency must return to the south. They met again in Lagos and Enugu. 

“Some of the same governors changed, to support that presidential aspirants can come from anywhere. They now support chairman to come from the north.” 

Making more expose on the crisis rocking the party, Wike said that it was sown “when they said zone only party offices, not elective positions.

“I said imagine, how can you zone only party offices. I warned them. That is the cause of the crisis. 

“The Ike Ekweremadu committee zoned 2019 to the north. That was why no serious person from the south contested the primaries. We pumped Rivers money to support the north. 

“Now they are saying no zoning of presidency. They said presidency should not be zoned, that it should be left open to get the best candidate.” 

 He added that “Ayu never allowed my phone to rest when he wanted to become national chairman. 

“During the presidential campaigns, I campaigned seriously. When they saw I was making waves, they began series of meetings to stop me. The party chairman who ought to be impartial became a campaigner for one aspirant. He took pains to call each aspirant to step down for Atiku.

“Meetings were going on to just to stop me. I warned Ayu: If you don’t want court case, do the right things. That was why the convention nearly scattered.” 

On Tambuwal’s action, he said “that was when the convention was to scatter. The convention chairman did what was not done before; after every aspirant had spoken, he invited Tambuwal back on stage to make additional statement where he announced his withdrawal and told his followers to vote for Atiku.

 He also said that he is not fighting “because Tambuwal betrayed me. I have moved on, He is not my son to do my bidding. He did what he wanted.” 

“I would have scattered the convention right there but because I wanted the primaries to go on.” 

Wike also said that he did not aspire to go to the senate that is why he did not pick senate ticket like other governors did. 

“Look, we (South) can’t trust these people (North). Atiku told me, let’s work together. He used his mouth to say, look, presidential candidate and chairman of the party cannot come from one zone (region). So, why is he doing a different thing? 

Wike concluded that looking at his achievements in Rivers State that he feels “satisfied” adding that “I am not relying on belonging to associations to feel safe. My handwork speaks for me. “

“My focus now is to deliver my candidates in my state (Governor, National Assembly members, Rivers State House of Assembly members).

While reiterating that he is still in PDP, he stated that nobody in the party can suspend him because it would be “double wahala.”

“Even this one we have is “wahala” and they want to add more. Okay, let them suspend me today, today.” 

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