2023: Wike opens up on PDP crisis
•Levels allegations against Ayu •Admits ‘I’m not bigger than the party’
GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, on Friday, in a live television broadcast acknowledged that he is not “bigger” than the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and asked leaders of the party to thank him for demanding equity and fairness.
Wike has been up in arms against the party since the presidential primary that produced Atiku Abubakar as the candidate of party and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as his running mate.
The governor, who emerged as the runner-up in the primary, was passed over in the search for the party’s vice presidential candidate. The highpoint of his grievances was Tuesday’s pullout by his camp from the Presidential Campaign Council.
However, Atiku appealed to Wike and members of his aggrieved camp to rethink their withdrawal in the interest of the PDP and Nigerians who are looking up to the party to rescue it from the current socio-economic and political quagmire the country is facing.
But speaking on Friday in an interview aired by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), African Independent Television (AIT), Channels Television and Television Continental (TVC), Governor Wike continued his attacks on the PDP, its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and the National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu.
He, however, admitted that he was not bigger than the party.
Answering a question on whether he was not concerned that the party might accuse him of anti-party activities and suspend him, Wike said: “I am still in the PDP and I have not said I am leaving the party.”
He threatened that if the party pushed him further, he would reveal some secrets to Nigerians that would “shake everybody.”
The governor said: “Who will suspend me? What do you think is my job here? I am not saying I am bigger than the party but they should come and suspend me. Anything they see, they will take.”
He took a swipe at some of the party’s leaders who he said have never won their units or state for the PDP but still go about boasting that they would sanction him.
Wike said: “Since 1999, the PDP has never won Yobe State. You have zero vote in your state and Rivers has been bringing 100 (per cent). But you are running up and down saying you will sanction the man who has done so much for the party.
“If Nigerians hear a lot of things going on now in the party that wants to take over from the present government, it will shake the country.”
He explained that rather than thinking of suspending him, the party should be grateful to his team for challenging the party and insisting that the right things be done.
He said: “ They should thank us for pushing our party to make the world believe that there are people who believe in equity, fairness and justice. Let the party take advantage by doing the right thing to enjoy the people’s support and win the election.
“We have taken it upon ourselves not to allow this opportunity of taking over power to slip. If we continue this way, we should be in for a shocker.”
On the propriety of demanding for the resignation of the party’s national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, only a few months to the general election and without a national convention of the party immediately on the card, the govenor said the party could adopt the doctrine of necessity.
He suggested that as a way preventing a constitutional crisis, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party could adopt the doctrine of necessity to decide on Ayu’s replacement, who would be ratified at the party’s national convention after the 2023 elections.
He stated that the insistence of his team was because of an agreement reached with the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the party’s chairman’s earlier pledge to resign if the presidential candidate of the party came from the North.
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Wike said: “We jettisoned our constitution, not knowing we were sowing the seed of confusion in our party. When I see fraud, when I see manipulation, I say these things will put us in trouble.” He explained that his position was informed by his passion for Nigeria.
“My only regret is that I won’t have the opportunity to fight insecurity and oil theft,” two of the problems which he said were destroying the nation’s economy.
However, a source in the PDP Presidential Campaign Council who pleaded anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issues at play said: “We are of the strong view that this is an uncharitable comment by a supposedly top member of the party and obviously an elevated falsehood to put the presidential candidate in a bad light.
“In all his political life, there is no evidence so far that Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, has, in his actions or pronouncements, portrayed himself as an unworthy and unreliable political leader. He distances himself from disreputable actions and embraces the noble values that could propel our country to decency and greatness.
“This is what is responsible for his political activities: to be given an opportunity to contribute to the greatness of the nation and help advance the potentials of the country and its teeming youthful population. The Wazirin Adamawa remains a man of deep conviction, honesty and integrity.
“Governor Wike says he is fighting for fairness, justice and equity, but in the pursuit of all that, the governor assumes the state and the entire south of the country. With all sincerity and as a party faithful which he claims to be, he should stop fighting a war that does not exist.
“It is also important to dispel the impressions that may have been created during the interview that key political positions have been shared. Yes, politics is about negotiations and more negotiations to reach a consensus and, sometimes, even compromise, it is a futile exercise for positions to be shared when an electoral victory has not been secured.
“We appeal to Governor Wike that Nigeria is in desperate need of visionary leaders to rescue and redeem the nation from this wrecking administration. This is not the time to pull punches and settle scores particularly when they do not exist, but a time to combine strength and efforts to lift our people from nearly eight years of sustained pain and despondency. It is our prayer that God will rescue the country through PDP.”