Wike & PDP At An Impasse Over Elumelu 2023
The crisis between the hierarchy of PDP and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has escalated to the extent that some influential members of the party decided to wade in and try to resolve the issue.
Six PDP governors, Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Emeka Ihedioha (Imo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara), paid a visit to Wike in Port Harcourt, where they prevailed on him to reduce the way he castigates the leadership of the party, especially in the open. Wike’s grouse was said to be the PDP’s inability to make his candidate, Kingsley Chinda, the minority leader of the House of Representatives.
Their trip was basically to appeal on Wike to sheath his sword and allow a peaceful resolution, though they went under the guise of congratulating him on his achievements in the state. Wike is said to enjoy a lot of privileges being one of the largest financiers of the party, he had exclusively nominated the party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, hosted the 2018 National Convention of the PDP, and nominating Chinda as the PDP ‘s official candidate for the minority leadership, until Ndidi Elumelu emerged and claimed the title.
Wike expressed his anger, when he openly congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari, after the Presidential Election petitions Tribunal upheld his victory in the February election. This led to a sporadic attempt by the PDP, as a minimum of six peace meetings have been held since his congratulatory message to Buhari. Wike had also openly said that some PDP governors sneak into Aso Rock Villa at night to pay homage to the President.
However, according to the Nation, the last meeting between the emissaries and Wike didn’t end well, as Wike insisted that the PDP leadership must correct some obvious errors before they can be on same page with him.
A source said: “The Rivers state governor is not hiding his anger against some of the actions of the party. He believes that for the PDP to return to its winning ways, its leadership must shun hypocrisy and indiscipline. He insisted that those errors could be injurious to the PDP in future if not corrected now.”
Wike demanded that the emergence of Ndudi Elumelu as Minority Leader of the House of Representatives should be revisited. He insisted that Elumelu must vacate the minority leadership of the House of Reps for Chinda and thereafter be punished by the party. The six governors tried to make him see reasons on why they felt the issue should be threaded on with caution, but Wike was adamant.
However, they promised to see how the matter could be revisited to foster peace and unity in the party. The source also added: “Another issue Wike allegedly raised at the meeting had to do with the 2023 elections. He is not pleased that some PDP chieftains are making inflammatory statements as regards the issue of zoning of the presidential ticket. He feels the party should caution its chieftains. It is not clear what his position is as regards the 2023 PDP presidential ticket, but he is concerned that the party must not spoil its chances early in the day by closing its ears to dangerous remarks being made by some prominent members, on a matter as sensitive as zoning.”
Though the governors promised to look into all the issues raised by Wike, it is however unclear how they would achieve that, because for some, it seems Wike is determined to regain his prominence in the PDP, which was tumulted by the emergence of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar as the 2019 presidential candidate of the party.
The Nation quotes their source as saying, “His camp and that of Atiku have been engaged in a game of wits since the presidential primary election was won and lost. He may not say so, but he feels it is the Atiku camp that engineered the emergence of Elumelu as Minority Leader against his choice. He is also currently displeased with Secondus for allegedly giving the Atiku camp too much chance to make things happen within the party. He sees the leadership of the BoT as an arm of the Atiku camp and will never support any suggestion or position that emanates from them. And it appears the Atiku camp too understand the situation and is wary of Wike too.”
Wike also has a frosty relationship with his Bayelsa counterpart Governor Seriake Dickson, and the crisis in the party had deepened it further. Dickson is the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum. And he had called on PDP governors to reject calls on them to abandon Atiku in his quest to regain the presidential mandate at the courts, which was a direct condemnation of Wike’s congratulatory message to Buhari. However, Wike didn’t seem surprised by Dickson’s position.
“When we were calling on the party to ensure that the directive of the party is respected by Elumelu and co, we didn’t hear a word from the Governors’ Forum leadership. Instead, he joined those applying cosmetics on the surface of the wound while allowing it to fester beneath. That is not the kind of Forum we respect in Rivers. Hypocrisy for whatever reason is not acceptable to us. It is a fact that some of our governors are courting the APC leaders, especially President Buhari. Governor Wike as a man of great discipline will not see such a thing and keep quiet. This is why they are fighting him. He is a two-term governor already and he is not interested in any federal appointment after office. Those who think they cannot win re-election without Buhari’s support and those who want patronage from the federal government are the ones who should tell us whether they are still in the PDP or not. These are the real issues in PDP today. It is not Wike. It is not anything other than hypocrisy,” an ally of Wike said.
“This new development is more about how our leaders see things. It appears Governor Wike is seeing some things others are not seeing and there is need for these to be clarified. Where mistakes have been made, we will correct such. It is when that has been done that, we can have lasting reconciliation,” a source said.
Meanwhile, some elders of the party do not support the revisit of the Minority Leadership issue by the PDP. A BoT member said anonymously from Abuja that the party cannot afford another distraction. “Somehow, what could have been a major crisis within the party resolved itself without much rancor. Elumelu is Minority leader and the PDP caucus in the House of Representatives is not in tumult. Why on earth should that be displeasing to anybody? While they are shouting about the party being supreme, they forget that the interest of the party too must be supreme to all personal interests. If it is one person’s interest that we remove Elumelu and put his person, we must not forget that such a move may not be in the interest of the party. We all can see that what we have now is in the interest of the party because there is no crisis. If we make the change they want and it results in crisis, is that in the interest of the party? These are the serious considerations we all need to make as we seek to resolve the current crisis,” he warned.
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